Preparing for a Project With Timber Crates? 5 Tips to Help You Get Started

The Internet is full of fun projects to do with timber crates, and turning old crates into something new and functional for your home is a great way to prevent them from piling up in landfills. However, whether you are turning your crate into a wine rack, an ottoman or anything else, you need to do a bit of prep before you start. Check out these tips.

1. Find the crate

If you don't have any old timber crates lying around, you'll have to hunt for them. You can buy them online from many shipping companies, or if you want free crates, you can contact liquor stores, feed and seed shops, construction companies or any other resources who seem likely to receive shipments packaged in sturdy timber crates.

2. Investigate the crate to learn about potential toxins

To survive being loaded onto trucks and ships or being left out in the rain, the wood of some timber crates are treated with chemicals to help them resist the effects of time and weather.

Unfortunately, in some cases, the chemicals in certain crates may make them unsafe for use in your home. Look at the crate for any markings indicating how the wood was treated.

  • No markings typically indicate that you have a safe crate
  • The marking HT indicates the crate was only treated with heat
  • Avoid using crates marked MB as that stands for methyl bromide which is toxic.

3. Have tools on hand for careful dissemble

For some projects, you may have to disassemble parts of your wooden crate. To do that without ripping or breaking any of the wood, ensure that you have the right tools on hand.

Pry bars or the backs of hammers work to pull slats off your crate without breaking anything. However, if you need to remove nails, you may prefer a nail punch or an oscillating tool for cutting through old broken rusty nails.

4. Smooth out rough edges

Designed for shipping rather than displaying, many timber crates feature rough edges. To prevent splinters while working with the crate or in the final project, you may want to sand and possibly even finish your crate before you start your project.

5. Set up your work space in a ventilated area

Ideally, you should do your timber crate project in a well-ventilated area. Keep in mind that even if your crate was not treated with toxins, it may have had items spilled onto during its service in the shipping industry. Additionally, if you are painting or using sealants, you also want as much ventilation as possible. Work outside, in a garage with an open door or in another ventilated area.