As most of you know – we love to build with pallet wood but that means you have to learn a quick and easy way to disassemble a pallet.  

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

Video On How To Disassemble Pallets:

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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How To Disassemble A Pallet

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

8 thoughts on “How to Disassemble Pallets With Ease

  • December 6, 2016 at 10:21 pm
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    Depending on the length of boards you are looking for, you can also use a circular saw to cut off the left and right end. Then all you have to do is slowly pry the board from the center rail and done!

    • December 11, 2016 at 8:15 am
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      Thanks Shane for sharing another way to disassemble pallets.

  • September 11, 2016 at 2:21 pm
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    Did you ever try a Zenith Trim Puller, a great tool,
    it will make your work easier and faster, and most importantly will not damage woodden pieces, check it it out.

    Ed

  • January 29, 2016 at 11:01 am
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    I have tried to sand down pallets for the projects i’m doing and those nail heads destroy sanding belts.Any ideas ?

    • January 30, 2016 at 7:17 pm
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      Just pop them out from the back side with a punch and hammer. If you don’t have a punch then use a 6 or 8 penny nail.

  • January 23, 2016 at 10:32 pm
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    Excellent info! I have a source for pallets but busted tbem up trying to pry them apart. Let the building begin!

  • January 23, 2016 at 8:53 pm
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    Thank you. I want to make stands for raised gardens because of bad back preventing getting up and down. This info will speed up process of building those stands.

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