Pallets are wood structures whose ultimate purpose is not at all aesthetic, however, many of us do projects with pallet slats, whether to clad a wall or make a piece of furniture, the problem is that pallet wood can be very rough and rustic and its unaligned edges cause many gaps in the joints, resulting in a job with a horrible finish.
A wall or piece of furniture made with pallet board and full of gaps can steal all the beauty from the job, fortunately, there are several methods of how you can fix these gaps between the slats of the pallets, depending on the type of work and the place where it is done, in this topic I share with you some ideas.
These filling methods can be used to repair holes in the pallet wood caused by nails, flaws or gaps caused by imperfections in the wood joints.
Can you fill the gaps between the slats of a pallet?
The search intent of this topic has several aspects and I will cover them both, let’s say you have full pallets, and you are thinking of using the pallets, but you want to fill the space or gap that exists between each pallet slat.
The most appropriate thing to do in this case is to use pallet slats, that is to take apart the pallet slats and then put them together, that is the usual way, to fill the space between the pallet slats on a full pallet would require using wood strips and that would simply be too much work.
Yes, I know you don’t want to go through the work of disassembling all the slats and reassembling them, but if you think about it, that’s a lot easier than lining up wood slats between the gaps between the pallet slats and then filling in the imperfections.
Filling holes in pallets with wood repair filler
Wood filler is the usual element used to fill holes and correct imperfections in the surfaces and joints of elements made with wood, these fillers can be based on wood fibers or acrylic latex, they are easily recognizable because they are specifically identified as “wood filler”, as there are several types of fillers depending on their use.
This ready-to-use filler for repairing, filling, and leveling small cracks, holes, and flaws on all types of wood is very flexible.
In very deep holes, several layers of putty filler should be applied, first allowing the first layer to harden for several minutes and then applying a second layer until the crack is completely covered, as the product always loses some of its strength.
The precise drying time of the putty will depend on the environment and the thickness applied, once you can verify by touch that the putty is dry you can proceed to sand the area and give the desired finish.
the advantage of using putty to fill holes and gaps in the wood is that it has sufficient filling capacity and is a very flexible material, it adapts to the natural deformations of the pallet slats.
Filling holes in pallets with sawdust and glue
A mixture of sawdust and white glue can do the job of filling the gaps between the pallet slats, they are also readily available materials so this mixture may be more economical.
Work the sanding dust from the corresponding wood with a white glue/water mixture (approx. 2:1) to form a firm, doughy mass, you should press firmly into the cracks/holes with a small wooden spatula.
Sand after drying, for larger defects it may be necessary to fill a second time as the compound may give way if it was too wet.
Even if the pallet slats are polished, the porosity of the wood creates a good anchoring surface for this filling compound.
Because sawdust and white glue have a very distinctive light color, you can also add a liquid stain to the mixture in the same color you are going to use to paint the slats, so the filler will not be as noticeable.
You must take into account that there are different types of wood stains, with different drying characteristics and densities.
These glues are based on a vinyl resin (polyvinyl acetate) soluble in water. The vinyl components tend to join together as they dry.
The drying of the white glue is quite fast, so you should prepare the mixture with the sawdust and fill immediately with a spatula the gaps between the pallet slats.
When it dries, this white glue becomes transparent. It is not water-resistant.
It is one of the most used glues for gluing, perhaps not for being the best glue for wood, but for having an excellent quality-price ratio, for being a single-component product, for being applied and kept at room temperature, and for its good stability.
Does pallet wood need to be sealed?
The sealing of wood is a finishing and protection process that is performed in most wooden works, in the specific case of a pallet wall, it should be understood that very absorbent and spongy woods such as most white woods, require the application of a sealer.
The sealer layer fills the porosity of the pallet wood, extends its useful life, and facilitates the application of other finishes. The sealer is applied like any other coating, either by brush, pad, or spray.
To give a better finish to the pallet slats, you could also optionally use a pore filler for wood, this is an inert material that can be found in stores and hardware stores, it is used in woods with high porosity to fill the pores and make the finish can be applied more easily.
Wood filler is composed of a binder that helps to hold the filler to the pores of the wood as well as other very fine filler materials such as wood flour and talc.
What sandpaper should you use for finishing pallet wood?
To sand wooden pallets, use sheets or rolls, cloth, or medium abrasive grit paper (e.g. 80 grit). Gently sand all areas of the piece to remove rough edges, working in the direction of the wood grain.
After sanding the pallet wood with the medium grit sandpaper, it is recommended to pass fine-grit sandpaper (e.g. 240 grit), to remove scratches and leave the finished surface with a better finish.