There are several projects floating around social media that use crates as a primary building material. These projects consist of everything from children's bookcase options to complete outdoor decks. You will find how to build the projects, supply lists, and other related information regarding the projects. What you will likely not find are the steps you have to take in order to prep the crates for the project. Here are the steps to take to ensure the crates will serve their purpose without causing issues during the project process.
Removal and Cleaning
The removal and cleaning step is to make sure that you are removing any nails or staples that could pose an issue with the project. You want to make sure the area is clean of debris as well. Both steps will need to be done on each crate or each plank of wood taken from the crates. Sometimes the crates will come to you in a bare wood or unfinished wood form. This means there has been no cleaning to the wood and the way that it is nailed or stapled together may not be as precise or finished as you would like. This step will help with those issues. For cleaning, make sure you are using a damp sponge or rag with soapy water.
Once the wood crates have been cleaned and the nails or staples have been removed, you can move onto the next step. This step is the sanding step. You will need either sandpaper or a hand held sander with sanding papers. If you are keeping the crates intact, then you will want to sand both the inside and outside of the crates. You will also want to pay careful attention to the edges of the crates to give a smooth surface. If you are taking the crates apart, you will need to sand down each plank, including the edges. The idea is to remove rough spots that could splinter and to give a smooth surface for a finished look.
Staining and Sealing
Before you begin attaching the planks or crates in the configuration for the project, you can take an extra prep step that may save you time later. You can go ahead and stain the wood and seal it for whatever weatherproofing you may need. By staining the wood, you will have the color you want on all areas of the crate or wood planks. This makes it easier, since you will not have hard-to-reach spots of wood that need painting or staining once the project is completed.
These are only three of the basic steps you will need to take with crates that you plan on using for a project. Keep in mind, these steps do not necessarily cover waterproofing the wood if it will be going outside or used in an area with high humidity. Make sure you take additional steps to protect the crates and wood from those crates based on the climate the wood will be used in.