When using pallets for your projects, you will find that pallets are usually sturdily built. So it can be hard to disassemble a pallet. Have no fear, here are a few tips on how to disassemble a pallet without ruining the wood.
When using pallets for your projects, you will find that pallets are usually sturdily built and sometimes hard to disassemble.
Hammer and Pry Bar Method
One option is to manually remove the nails. To do this, the best tools to use are a pry bar and a hammer. A pry bar to wedge between and separate the top slats of the pallet from the bottom rail pieces and then the claw of the hammer to remove the nails.
You will quickly find that removing all the nails with the claw of a hammer and a pry bar can be difficult and time-consuming, and you risk damaging the wood, however, it is an option for someone who doesn’t want to invest money into a saw.
Saws are great for disassembling pallets in an easier way. The preferred type of saw when working with pallets is a reciprocating saw (commonly known as a “Sawzall”).
A Sawzall has a metal cutting blade that can cut through nails, so you can simply use a pry bar or hammer claw and pry the boards apart just enough to insert the blade of the Sawzall and easily cut through the nails, preserving the entire pallet and making disassembly of the pallet an easy job. Work with the pallet laying on its side, vertically. The leftover embedded nail fragments in the wood actually can add a nice touch of character to your project.
You can also choose to use a circular saw or chainsaw to remove the wood slats from the rails of the pallet. This will yield shorter pieces of wood (about 18″ slats from a 42″ pallet), discarding all edges with screws. This is the fastest way, but you lose some wood. One important thing to remember when using chain saws or circular saws is to not let the chain or blade make contact with the nails. You could damage the saw or be injured by a flying shard of metal.
Pallet wood is rough and nails are dangerous, so no matter how you disassemble your pallets, be sure to wear safety glasses and work gloves. Before you start your project please read this article: Red Flags to Watch Out For When Choosing a Pallet For Craft Projects to ensure your project lasts.
Learn more about pallets in this article: Choosing a Pallet For Craft Projects