A pallet is used to tool designs on a surface, usually leather. It can be used for both gold tooling and blind tooling. It is most often used in bookbinding, particularly on fine bindings. A pallet can either have a continuous design on it, or be a line or combination of lines.


     __------__         \
    /          \        |
  /              \      |  brass plate having a
  \              /      |  curved face with design
    \          /        |  or straight line
      \      /          |
        \  /            /
         ||             \
         ||             |
         ||             | brass shaft
         ||             | approximately
         ||             | 5 cm / 2 inches long
         ||             | 5 mm / 1/4 inch in diameter
         ||             |
         ||             |
        /__\            /
       |    |           \
       |    |           |
       |    |           | wooden handle
       |    |           | approximately
       |    |           | 10 cm / 4 1/2 inches long
       |    |           | 15 mm / 1/2 inch in diameter
       |    |           |
       |    |           V

Many pallets are used in combination with a roll or fillet of the same pattern, to provide a neat finish to a line on the cover of a book. On its own, the pallet is also used to tool the lines on the spine, both between and on top of the bands.

Pallets, like all tools used in tooling, are heated before application to the surface to be decorated. As a result, second-hand pallets are often blackened, particularly where the wood meets the metal. This does not affect their function.

A pallet is a squat platform used to move small or delicate items in bulk quantities. By loading them onto the pallet, a large number of small items becomes one load, or delicate, heavy items can be moved by powerful but ungentle machinery such as forklifts.

A typical pallet is roughly four feet square by six inches tall and consists of a top and bottom surface supported by a minimum number of posts to ensure it won't collapse under load. Often the top and bottom are rough cut 1"x4" slats with wide gaps between the slats, and the support posts are little more than scrap wood of sufficient height. The sides are open to allow the forks of a forklift truck or a pallet jack to slide inside and lift the load (the forks should be perpendicular to the slats to allow maximum support). Most pallets are built as cheaply as possible, out of unsanded, unfinished, unpainted pine cut to a wide, almost haphazard tolerance. Since pallets are typically used only for shipping, the end customer usually doesn't see them so they don't have to look nice.

While the above describes a typical pallet, they are available in a wide variety of variations on the theme. Four by four feet is typical for most applications, but larger products require larger pallets and smaller loads don't need one so big. Pallets intended for extremely heavy loads are sometimes made of stronger (and more expensive) wood such as oak instead of pine.

However, as cost-trimming warehouse-style stores began saving money by simply setting pallets full of merchandise on the sales floor rather than paying employees to shelve them nicely, the roughly produced platforms became a liability. The warehouse employees that previously were the only ones to see the pallets could be required to wear steel-toed leather workboots, but customers balk at dress codes more restrictive than "No shirt, no shoes, no service." Open-toed sandals and unfinished protruding wooden slats are a recipe for a lawsuit, so plastic pallets have gained popularity due to their less dangerous smooth edges. Plastic pallets are molded as a single platform supported by pillars extending from the underside, and pose much less of a threat to unprotected feet. Areas where pallets are not exposed to the public still use wooden ones, because they are much cheaper.

Since there is no "standard" of any kind, pallets built by different manufacturers will be somewhat different (tighter or looser tolerances, taller support posts, different number of slats, varying gap width between the slats, etc). In fact, since the tolerances are so loose and the materials are often little better than scrap, two pallets built by the same manufacturer might look very different. This can make it difficult to design automatic pallet loading machinery, since the equipment must be designed to handle so many variations. Although manufacturers can tighten their tolerances for a customer on request, the result is more expensive and usually prohibits the customer from using pallets from other places. After all, when the receiving department brings in raw materials and spare parts, these are often on pallets themselves that could be re-used for free.


avalyn reminds me that pallets are often stolen for use as scrap wood. Since they're so cheap, they are often left outside overnight and become a tempting target for anyone who needs a bit of free rough lumber. I doubt anyone has ever been prosecuted for stealing a pallet left behind a loading dock due to their inexpense.

A pallet has many standards, which are usually Product dependent. however, due to standardising warehouse racking concerns and international containerised freight volumes, some standards do exist.

Europallet Standard. 1200mmx800mmx150mm The Euro pallet was originally designed by the Germans to fit easily in their railcars and containers. The pallet is a 4 way entry pallet, open for Forklift access on each side. Usually constructed of softwood, these are usually destined for a one way trip, then disposed of. More detail: http://www.europal.net/en/Infos/enaccueil_info.shtm

Australian Standard. 1165x1165x150mm This pallet is the standard Pool or Hire Pallet as used extensively in Australia. Constructed of Hardwood and armoured with Steel caps on the bearers, this pallet survives where others fall apart. They last for years.

Other standard sizes exist, but I have little experience with them.

Pal"let (?), n. [OE. paillet, F. paillet a heap of straw, fr. paille straw, fr. L. palea chaff; cf. Gr. &?; fine meal, dust, Skr. pala straw, palAva chaff. Cf. Paillasse.]

A small and mean bed; a bed of straw. Milton.

 

© Webster 1913


Pal"let, n. [Dim. of pale. See Pale a stake.] (Her.)

A perpendicular band upon an escutcheon, one half the breadth of the pale.

 

© Webster 1913


Pal"let, n. [F. palette: af. It. paletta; prop. and orig., a fire shovel, dim. of L. pala a shovel, spade. See Peel a shovel.]

1. (Paint.)

Same as Palette.

2. (Pottery)

(a)

A wooden implement used by potters, crucible makers, etc., for forming, beating, and rounding their works. It is oval, round, and of other forms.

(b)

A potter's wheel.

3. (Gilding)

(a)

An instrument used to take up gold leaf from the pillow, and to apply it.

(b)

A tool for gilding the backs of books over the bands.

4. (Brickmaking)

A board on which a newly molded brick is conveyed to the hack. Knight.

5. (Mach.)

(a)

A click or pawl for driving a ratchet wheel.

(b)

One of the series of disks or pistons in the chain pump. Knight.

6. (Horology)

One of the pieces or levers connected with the pendulum of a clock, or the balance of a watch, which receive the immediate impulse of the scape-wheel, or balance wheel. Brande & C.

7. (Mus.)

In the organ, a valve between the wind chest and the mouth of a pipe or row of pipes.

8. (Zoöl.)

One of a pair of shelly plates that protect the siphon tubes of certain bivalves, as the Teredo. See Illust. of Teredo.

9.

A cup containing three ounces, -- &?;ormerly used by surgeons.

 

© Webster 1913

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