Q: We have some old mahogany pallet wood, but are afraid to use it because we were told it is probably contaminated with huge amounts of pesticides and dangerous to cut or use for anything. Is this true?
Stephen Rosasco: If I were milling, I would take precautions, such as good ventilation and dust mask.
Andy Rae: You might have some really fine wood there. First, check it for debris, such as nails and other hardware, remove any of this stuff by digging it out, give the boards a good cleaning with a steel bristle brush, and then try planing it to see the color and the grain. My bet is you'll love what you see.
Michael Dresdner: Most pallet wood is perfectly fine to use for woodworking. Bear in mind that pesticides are used primarily on foodstuffs, since that is mostly what interests pests. Even materials used to kill wood boring pests won't render the wood unusable, but do take the precautions Steven suggested, something you should do whenever you mill wood.
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