For many years now, I have been collecting, playing with, designing for and, in general, using found shipping pallets for making both usable and aesthetic objects.
There is info here at my website about the Portland Pallet Project and some images of things i have made:
I will be posting some more things soon as I have been compiling links to creative uses of pallets and pallet wood.
* guilt-free: I source my pallets that have been dropped out of service/circulation and are set out along the curbs for the taking. Every now and then I come across a particularly heave, dense pallet and when I get it back to my shop and clean it up I discover that it is a hardwood, and sometimes even an exotic hardwood from a land far away. What would be expensive at the local lumber store ends up being free, but with a great story that stretches around the world. In Portland there has been an on going emphasis on local sourcing of foods and goods. I would love this to continue on in even more strict fashion. This would help eliminate the need for shipping so much product into and out of the community. Further, the act of rebuilding pallets out of wood could be replaced by recycled plastic pallets that would last longer and not need to be treated for pest infestation...