Common Pallet Terms

Banding Notch – see strap slot

Bin – four-sided superstructure to be mounted on a pallet base, with or without a cover; also known as a box or container bin pallet.

Block – Rectangular, square or cylindrical deck spacer, often identified by its location 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.

Butted Deckboard – an inner deckboard placed tightly against an adjacent lead deckboard during pallet assembly.

Bottom Deck – Assembly of deckboards comprising the lower, load bearing surface of the pallet.

CAD – Computer-aided-design software that allows the design of the “right” pallet at the best value; see Pallet Design System (PDS).

Chamfer – a bevel on the top edges of the bottom deckboard to facilitate the passage of wheels and/or forks of pallet trucks.

Combo Pallet: Built by combining new lumber with used lumber to create a completed pallet.

Cost-per-trip – average cost of pallet use for a single one-way trip.

Deck – the top or bottom surface of a pallet. This may or may not be continuous.

Deck mat – assembly of deckboards and stringerboards, forming the deck of a block pallet.

Deckboard – boards used to construct the deck.

Deckboard spacing – distance between adjacent deckboards.

Deckboard span – distance between deckboard supports (stringers, stringerboards or blocks).

Double-wing pallet – a pallet top with top and bottom deckboards extending beyond the edges of the stringers or stringerboards.

Drive screw nail – helically (continuous spiral) threaded pallet nail.

Exchange pallet – a pallet intended for use among a designated group of shippers and receivers where ownership of the pallet is transferable with the ownership of the unit load.

Expendable pallet – a pallet intended for a series of handlings during a single trip from shipper to receiver; it is then disposed; see shipping pallet.

Flush pallet – a pallet with deckboards flush with the stringers, stringer-boards or blocks along the sides of the pallet.

Fork entry – opening between decks, beneath the top deck or beneath the stringer notch to admit forks.

Four-way block pallet – a pallet with openings at both pallet ends and along pallet sides sufficient to admit hand-pallet jacks.

Full four-way entry pallet – entry through which the wheels of a pallet truck can pass without leaving the ground.

GMA Pallet: Standing for “Grocery Manufacturer’s Association”. This is a 48×40 pallet which is the standard size for North America.

Hand jack opening – space provided in the bottom deck to allow pallet jack wheels to bear on the floor.

Hardwood – wood from broad-leaved species of trees (not necessarily hard or dense).

Inner deckboard – any deckboard located between the end deckboards.

Joint – intersection and connection of components, often identified by location within the pallet as the end joint, center joint and corner joint.

Lead boards – members which form the outside edges of the decks under which the lifting device enters.

Length – refers to the stringer or stringerboard (in block pallets) length; also refers to the first dimension given to describe a pallet, i.e., 48″ x 40″, where 48″ is the pallet stringer/stringerboard length.

Line load – the weight of a unit load concentrated along a narrow area across the full length or width of the pallet.

Load bearing surface – actual area of material in contact with and supporting a unit load.

Nail – fastener made from endless wire by cutting a point and forming a head at the shank end opposite the point.

National Wooden Pallet and Container Association – a national association with the goal of promoting the design, manufacture, distribution, recycling and sale of pallets, containers and reels.

Non-reversible pallet – a pallet with bottom deckboard configuration different from top deck.

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

Notched stringer – a stringer with two notches spaced for fork-tine entry, (partial four-way entry).

Opening height – the vertical distance measured between decks, from the floor to the underside of the top deck, or from the floor to the top of the stringer notch.

OSB: Oriented Strand Board is a manufactured panel commonly used in construction industry and industrial packaging for crating. Has the appearance of wood chips glued and pressed together.

Overall height – the vertical distance measured from the floor to the top side of the top deck.

Overhang – the distance the deck extends from the outer edge of the stringer or stringerboard; wing; lip.

Pallet – a portable, horizontal, rigid platform used as a base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling and transporting goods as a unit load, often equipped with a superstructure.

Pallet Design System (PDS) – reliability based computer-aided design (CAD) program, for determining the safe load carrying capacity, performance, life and economy of wooden pallets.

Pallet-dimensions – when specifying pallet size, the stringer or stringerboard (block pallet) length is always expressed first; for example, a 48″ x 40″ pallet has a 48″ stringer or stringerboard and 40″ deckboards.

Pallet jack – hand-propelled, wheeled platform, equipped with a lifting device for moving palletized unit loads.

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

Partial four-way stringer pallet – a pallet with notched stringers.

Plywood: A manufactured panel consisting of layered lumber glued and pressed together. Typically has higher weight capacities than OSB

Quality – consistent performance of a uniform product meeting the customer’s needs for economy and function.

Repair – to remake in order to use again.

Recycling – a pallet, container or reel that has been used, salvaged, repaired, and which passes through a cycle again.

Rental pallet – a pallet owned by a third party, different from the actual pallet user.

Returnable/reusable pallet – a pallet designed to be used for more than one trip.

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

Shipping pallet – pallet designed to be used for a single one-way trip from shipper to receiver; it is then disposed; see expendable pallet.

Single-wing pallet – a pallet with the deckboards extending beyond the edges of the stringers or stringer-boards with the bottom deckboards flush (if present).

Skid – a pallet having no bottom deck.

Softwood – wood from coniferous or needle-bearing species of trees (not necessarily soft or low density).

Solid deck pallet – a pallet constructed with no spacing between deckboards.

Span – the distance between stringer or block supports.

Stevedore pallet – a pallet designed for use on seaport shipping docks, normally of heavy-duty, double-wing construction.

Strap slot – recess or cutout on the upper edge of the stringer or the bottom of the top deckboard to allow tie-down of a unit load to the pallet deck with strapping/banding, also called the banding notch strapping – thin flat bands used to secure load to pallet.

Stringer – those members to which the decks are fastened. They run the full length of the pallet.

Stringer board – on a block pallet, the intermediary members between the blocks and the deck.