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Understanding the "Ins and Outs" of Pallets

Banding Notch - recess or cutout on the upper edge of the stringer or the bottom of the top deck board to allow tie-down of a unit load to the pallet deck with strapping or banding. (also called strap slot).

Base deck - the lower or bottom surface of the pallet.

Block - rectangular, square, or cylindrical deck spacer, often located within the pallet as corner block, end block, edge block, inner block, center, or middle block.

Block pallet - a type of pallet with blocks between the pallet decks or beneath the top deck.

Bottom deck - assembly of deck boards comprising the lower, load-bearing surface of the pallet.


Chamfered deck board - deck boards with edges of one or two faces beveled, along the full or specified length of board or between the stringers or blocks creating easier entry of pallet jack wheels.

Clipped corners - gives pallet a rounded shape by cutting the outer edges of the top and bottom deck boards at a 45-degree angle.


Deck - the top or bottom surface of a pallet that may or may not be continuous.

Deck board - the boards used to construct the deck, oriented perpendicular to the stringer or stringer board

Deck mat - assembly of deck boards and stringer boards that form the deck of a block pallet.

Double-wing pallet - a pallet top with top and bottom deck boards extending beyond the edges of the stringers or stringer boards.


Export-grade - a one-way use pallet designed to be lightweight, yet durable enough to protect your shipment to the destination.


Four-way pallet - a pallet with openings at both pallet ends and along pallet sides that can admit hand-pallet jacks for full four-way entry.


GMA pallet - GMA stands for Grocery Manufacturers Association; this pallet is 48" long x 40" wide with standard specifications for the bill of materials and configuration of the top and bottom deck boards.


Heat Treatment - process of raising the core temperature of the wood material to ensure the extermination of harmful insects that infest wood.


Multiple-use pallet - a pallet designed for repeated uses with an average minimum life-to-first repair of ten trips or more.


Nesting - stacking pallets to best utilize space for shipping.

Notch - cutout in the lower portion of the stringer to allow entry for the fork tine, typically 9" in length, 1-1/2" in depth.

Notched stringer - a stringer with two notches spaced for fork-tine entry


Pallet - a portable, horizontal, rigid platform used as a base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling, and transporting goods as a unit load.

Pallet Design System (PDS) - computer-aided design (CAD) program, used to determine the safe load-carrying capacity, performance, life, and economy of wooden pallets.

Pallet dimensions - When specifying pallet size, the stringer or stringer board (block pallet) length is always expressed first.

Pallet life - the period during which the pallet remains useful, expressed in units of time or in the number of one-way trips.

Pooling - manufacturers, distributors, and retailers rent – rather than own – their pallets.


Recycled Pallet - a pallet that has been used, salvaged, repaired, and which passes through a cycle again.

Remanufactured Pallet - a recycled pallet that has been used and restored.

Reusable Pallet - a pallet designed for use in more than one trip.

Reversible pallet - a pallet with identical top and bottom decks.


Shipping pallet - a pallet designed to be used for a single one-way trip from shipper to receiver then disposed.

Single-wing pallet - a pallet with the deck boards extending beyond the edges of the stringers or stringer-boards with the bottom deck boards if present are flush.

Skid - a pallet with no bottom deck.

Strapping - securing the load for transport.

Stringer - Continuous, longitudinal, solid or notched beam-component of the pallet used to support deck components that are fastened that run the full length of the pallet.


Top deck - the assembly of deck boards comprising the upper load-carrying surface of the pallet.

Two-way pallet - a pallet with unnotched solid stringers allows entry only from the ends.


Unit load - assembly of goods on pallet for handling, moving, storing and stacking as a single entity.


Wing - part of the deck which projects beyond the bearers.