They are mostly free and everywhere, pallets are awesome when they are being used nearly in anything even in DIY projects, may be you want to create your own coffee table or shoe cabinet out of pallets. I have discussed and illustrated all the possible ways to find free pallets and the next step is to disassemble it.
Making furniture and objects from pallets is easy, but disassembling it is sometimes more physical, so here is one of my tips to disassemble a pallet quickly.
Choose the Right Pallet
You have found a pallet, it is good, but is it reusable? Here is my checklist to see if your pallet is right for your projects or not:
- Condition, check if the pallet does not have too many shocks or broken slats
- Color, I prefer a raw and unstained wood pallet
- Stains, some products may have left deep stains on the wood; which may affect the adhesion of your paint.
- The nails, some pallets have already been recycled and have a large number of nails and marks, in this case, it is better to avoid these pallets
The Main Parts of a Pallet:
A pallet consists of 3 main parts:
- The bottom deck board (three or four in general), which are in contact with the ground
- The stringers, which support the boards.
- Top deck boards
The 4 Methods of Disassembling a pallet
I do not pretend to know all the techniques, but here are the ones that I could do. If you have a method to share, do not hesitate to leave a comment at the bottom of this article.
1-The Crowbar method
When I first started with pallets, that was how I disassembled my first one. This is the old classic method; you use a crowbar with a good hammer.
Simply, you use a crowbar and a hammer to split the boards off the nails. I do not hide that it is quite tiring. It also often has many falling pieces of wood.
- A crowbar of 40cm at least
- A hammer
- A big flat screwdriver
- A pincer
- Protective gloves
- Protective glasses
- At first, wear your protective gloves (please😬)
- Lay the pallet upside down on the floor in a free area of all furniture and fragile objects.
- Start by removing the bottom deck boards
- Use a flat screwdriver, insert the tip of the screwdriver between the bottom deck boards and the stringers, and try to push in with the hammer.
- Make a constant movement up and down with the screwdriver and create a space between the two pieces of wood.
- Insert the head of the crowbar into the created space.
- Pull on the crowbar to remove the board completely from that side, and do the same thing on the other points of attachment, then proceed to the other boards.
- Remove all the other boards in the same way
- All you have left are the nails to remove.
Removing the nails from the pieces
- Place the boards with the nail facing you
- Lay the board on any two other pieces of wood, the boards, for example, the head of the nail will be positioned between the two supports.
- Hit the nails with the hammer enough to push the head out at least two millimeters.
- With a pincer, remove the head of the nail and try to make a movement from left to right to facilitate the removal of the nail.
- Do the same for the other nails.
2-Quick Disassembly with the Jigsaw
When you are in a hurry or out of breath, this method will be good for you. The downside of this method is that you will get shorter boards, you will understand why in a sec.
Before explaining this method, you must understand that the pallet boards hold their resistance by three attachment points, if one of these points was dismantled, you will be able to move the board easily, which would create a space between the nails and the board, and this will make it easier to remove.
- Nail hammer
- A jigsaw or a circular saw (it’s even better)
- Check the Bosch jigsaw, one of the best jigsaws that you can use for pallets
- Protective gloves
Here is my trick to disassemble a pallet quickly with a jigsaw:
- Place the pallet flat on the floor
- Equip a jigsaw with a blade for wood (avoid an inverted blade)
- Start with the bottom board on the left or on the right.
- Saw the first board and proceed to the next one.
- Do the same thing on the other side of the pallet.
- Flip the pallet and apply the previous steps on the other side.
- Now, the two sides of the pallet are separated, the boards are only attached to the central stringer with the nails.
- Make sure you wear your protective gloves and hold both ends of each board and try to rotate it several times so you can remove the nails.
- After you create a space between the board and the stringer, use a nail hammer or a crowbar to detach the board out of the stringer.
- Do the same with the other boards.
- The nails will remain attached; use your nail hammer to remove each one of them.
This video will show you exactly the steps above for both this method and the next one.
3-The Super-Fast method with a reciprocating saw
It is the same idea as the previous one, but we will be using a saber saw. This is even faster and we do not even worry about nails (provided you have the right blade).
The only downside is that the cuts are less clean and the wood a little mistreated.
4-Using a multifunction tool
Why should you remove the nails when you can leave them?
For this method, you will need a multifunctional tool with a good metal blade, which you will insert between the pieces of wood to cut the nails, that’s it!