The Three Pallet Problem

As part of the exhibition planning and development, I changed from a set of three wooden euro pallets mounted on scaffold poles in a triangular formation with a single image on each of the three sides to a single pallet with three photographs mounted on it.

Original sketch of how I wanted to display my images.

This can be read about in the post here. Poles, Pallets and Prints and how I ultimately used a single pallet, due to the space restrictions in the gallery space.


Today was a beautiful sunny Bank Holiday Monday so I ceased tidying up my essay for an hour whilst I tried to fit the pallets together in the original formation. I still have the pallet from my exhibition piece and the two I didn’t use, along with six of the board retaining clamps so I set about fixing them together.

Having only six board retaining clamps that I’d previously drilled screw holes into, I used two clamps per pallet, one screwed onto the top of the left side and one on the bottom of the right side, I figured that once it was all clamped together it would become super stable and an ideal platform for the art work.


But then I tried it and as I clamped the pallets to the poles, it seemed to be very unstable, to the point that the screws ripped out of the wood, I’d only used 35mm screws so could have used longer screws. With the screws now gone AWOL the whole structure began to tip and collapse. There was noone around to get hurt and the pieces of the structure hit the floor safely.

The wobbling came from the fact that I only had a single clamp on each side of the pallets, the load was too much for one clamp and the two screws it employed.


I stripped all the remaining screws and clamps from the structure,, stacked the pallets ready to dispose of as part of a bug hotel at a local college and began to contemplate how I could do it in the future, if I ever needed to repeat the exercise.

I would affix two clamps to each side of each pallet , meaning that I would need double the number of clamps, twelve, and use some clever spacing so that the clamps didn’t foul each other. This I decided would be the solution to the issue and if I ever do need to create this sort of structure, at least I have these notes and experiences under my belt.

I don’t have a photograph of the structure in it’s built state as it was only there for a short time and I was jumping to safety for the rest of the time that it was still tenuously connected together, but trust me, the extra clamps will do the job properly.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply