There is something about freight pallets. All that wood — it must be good for something.
As a grad student with a fireplace, I would pick them up for free at the city dump — and than I would come up against a problem. If your only tools are a handsaw and a claw hammer, it takes a lot of time to break one up, and the reward is not all that much firewood.
About that time I visited some Cree Indians living near Great Falls, Montana. This man had a big sweat lodge out behind his house, and he had a good source of freight pallets.
So he would stack them about chest high, set rocks on top, and toss some gasoline at the base of the pile. Add fire, whoomp!
Drink a little coffee, and then you had a bunch of hot rocks sitting in the ashes. People would strip down, crawl into the sweat lodge, and the fire keeper would carry in some rocks on a shovel. Commence lengthy prayers in the Cree language.
That is one thing to do with them.
Then M. is thinking about building some raised garden beds, protected with hardware cloth from the insidious gophers. She mentions this to a neighbor who also has a good source of freight pallets at his workplace, and he drops off about half a pickup load.
In the comments of that site are people worried about chemicals and bacteria in the wood. Hello, we're building garden beds to be filled with dirt. Dirt is full of bacteria, mostly good stuff. But there those people are, wiping down the wood with bleach. M. would be more upset at having bleach in her garden.
And every time I hear someone worry about chemically treated wood in freight pallets, I wonder, have they ever handled some? They are BUILT CHEAP. Some wood looks recycled, other looks like discards from a lumber mill. Who worries about treating something that is basically a disposable product?
Maybe on their planet you find heat-treated pallets. I never see them.
The other problem is that the cheap, untreated wood splits easily, and prying it loose from those spiral nails that a lot of pallet-builders use causes more splits. Many cross pieces are not even truly rectangular. So a lot of the pieces end up in the firewood stack.
And that brings me back to the beginning. Even with a power saw, I'm cutting and stacking and realizing, once again, that there is not that much volume of wood in a freight pallet. But there it is, and it's free. It fills that space between kindling and actual firewood chunks.