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Building With Pallets – How to Disassemble A Pallet With Ease For Great Building Projects

Here is a great pallet to use – nice thick wood and untreated

As most of you know – we love to build with pallet wood.  If you spend a little time looking  – it is usually pretty easy to find a source to get them for free (See: 6 Simple Tips To Finding Free Pallets). In addition – if you find the right kind – the building potential is limitless.  I thought for today’s DIY post I would show how we go about taking a pallet from its current state to great usable wood in just a few minutes

Working with pallets – the first thing we realized early on is it is nearly impossible and too time consuming to worry yourselves with pulling out the nails.  It is too easy to damage the wood with the claw and hammer or pry bar.

You can get a corded or cordless sawzall – but they are the king of dismantling pallets.

Instead, we opt for our sawzall method – which can disassemble a pallet in less than two minutes into 10 or more pieces of great usable wood.  Besides – the left over embedded nail fragments actually add a ton of character to pieces when either stained or painted.

1st Tip – Invest in a reciprocating saw (sawzall).

They are the key to quickly destructing a pallet – and without damaging or splintering the wood.  Yes, it’s an expense – but the inexpensive ones will work just fine with pallets.

Throw out the little 5″ min blade and Invest in a 12″ Demo/Construction Blade. They last forever and can rip apart a pallet in a few minutes.

2nd Tip – Forget about the little 5″ blade that comes with your sawzall.

That will only frustrate you.  Buy a couple of 12″ construction blades (trust me – the few bucks are worth it – and they last forever).

3rd Tip – How to disassemble.

You can follow below with the pictorial below on how we do it – but in a nutshell – set it on its side and simply slice through the nails on each end. Then – head down the middle row doing the same thing and in no time you have a lot of great pallet wood for all of your crafts!  We have made everything from our custom mailbox, to a wine rack, raised bed stand and more – all for virtually free with pallets. (See: Our Project Pallets)

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First Step – take your sawzall and cut down through one side of the smaller boards all the way to the bottom

Next cut down the opposite side – followed by the middle if there is one – the boards simply fall off

Once you have the front side finished – repeat for the back side – which are usually the largest of the boards

This is what you are left with – great boards to get building with!

This hutch was made from pallet and shipping crate boards

147 Comments on Building With Pallets – How to Disassemble A Pallet With Ease For Great Building Projects

  1. Thanks for the tip for removing the nails from pallets.

  2. Can’t wait to try it!!

  3. Awesome trick! And I just HAPPEN to have a sawzall in my garage. Going to hardware store tomorrow to find the 12″ demolition blades. Thank you SO MUCH for relieving so much frustration for me and you’re right-the nail remnants add great character to any piece!

    • Only good if u are taking apart one skid. Have u seen the price of the blades? It’s cheaper to buy the wood.

      • Willy – I think i have used one blade to take apart over 150 of them – so the blades should last you a long time.

      • I had a gadget made up to dismantle a Pallet in 5 minutes or less…it’s like a 2 Prong Fork with a 3′ Handle with the Prongs spaced apart to sit over the “Frame” and just exert the slightest of pressure and the Latts { cross pieces} pop up…OK you have to remove the Nails, but your rid of all Nails and you can use Electric Tools without worrying about damaging them…U Tube has the Gadget…check under…”Pallet Levers / Dismantlers”…just thought it was worth a mention…

  4. Robert Schultz // July 21, 2015 at 12:50 pm // Reply

    I have used your method for years. It is the only way to go if you are not worried about nails in the 2x. I have both a corded and cordless DeWalt saws and only buy Premium Blades. Money well spent!

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