What Exactly Is A Molded Wood Pallet

Making a sawdust presswood pallet involves compressing sawdust and other wood particles into a solid block using a compressed pallet hydraulic press machine.

Materials Needed:

  • Sawdust – Hardwood sawdust works best. Gather from sawmills or woodshops.
  • Binder – Use a natural binder like lignin or a synthetic resin binder.
  • Pallet mold – A mold with pallet dimensions to form the presswood sheet.
  • Heat press machine – An industrial heat press that can provide high pressure.
raw materials

Steps:

  1. Prepare the sawdust – Screen and filter the sawdust to remove oversized particles and debris. The sawdust should be uniform.
  2. Dry the sawdust – The sawdust must have low moisture content, around 8-10% moisture. Spread out and dry if needed.
  3. Mix with binder – Mix the dried sawdust with the binder using an industrial mixer. The binder helps bond the sawdust particles under heat and pressure.
  4. Fill pallet mold – Add the sawdust mix to the pallet mold, spreading evenly. The mold gives the pallet its shape.
  5. Press under heat – Place the filled mold in the heat press machine. Apply pressure of 1000-1500 psi at 300°F for 10-20 minutes.
  6. Release pallet – Open the press and release the hot presswood pallet from the mold. Allow to cool and cure fully.
  7. Trim and finish – Once cured, trim any excess material and sand or finish edges as needed. Attach blocks if needed.
  8. Inspect and stack – Inspect the completed presswood pallets for any defects before stacking for storage or shipping.
pallet 101

Some additional details about making sawdust presswood pallets:

  • Sawdust Type – Hardwood sawdusts like oak, maple, ash, and hickory work best. Softwood sawdusts don’t bind as well. Mixes can be used too.
  • Binder Ratios – Typical binder to sawdust ratios range from 10% to 25% by weight. Start with 15% binder and adjust as needed.
  • Binder Choices – Natural lignins or synthetic urea-formaldehyde resins are common. Phenol-formaldehyde is also used for moisture-resistant presses.
  • Press Pressure – Hydraulic heat presses exert 1000-1500 psi typically. Higher pressures increase density and strength.
  • Press Time – 10-20 minutes under pressure allows time for the sawdust and binder to fuse properly through the thickness of the pallet.
  • Pallet Sizes – Molds can be adjusted for standard pallet sizes like 48×40 inches or custom dimensions if needed.
  • Finishing – Pallets may need light sanding to smooth surfaces. Paint or varnish can help protect from moisture damage.
  • Performance – Properly pressed pallets can support 5000 lbs or more. Density ranges from 50-65 lbs per cubic foot.

With some trial and error, you can formulate a sawdust mix and pressing process to create strong, durable presswood pallets using this wood waste material.

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