All pallets are made from the core of a tree; but, because the lumber used to make pallets is a mixture of hardwood or softwood species, pallet producers usually cannot specify the type of wood.
However, there are two species of wood found in high proportion in lumber mixtures used to manufacture standard wooden pallets in Sydney at Wooden Box & Crate Co. These are oak and southern yellow pine (or SYP for short).
Oak is used because of its strength and wide availability. There is often a surplus of oak leftover from markets such as housing or furniture construction, which is then used in pallet production. Because it is considered a high-density hardwood, oak is ideal for pallets that must haul heavier loads of fragile goods.
Pine is also commonly used in pallets because softwoods tend to be more consistent in weight than hardwoods, giving the product a high strength to weight ratio. Softwoods are also easier to dry, which helps prevent contamination from fungi, molds, or other pests. For this reason, pallets produced with a mixture containing SYP are ideal for industries such as pharmaceuticals or food and beverage where pallet cleanliness is paramount.
The Process of Creating Pallets
Pallet cants from local sawmills are trimmed to the proper length, ripped into boards, and sawn into the proper-sized deck boards and stringers for whatever type of pallet is needed. Next, notches can be cut into stringers to allow 4-way entry with forklifts or 2-way entry with pallet jacks. If the pallet will be used for international shipping or in sanitary applications, the wood may be treated prior to assembly.