Instructables

How do you get pallets apart!?

I brought home a bunch of free pallets in hopes of making some raised garden beds but I can't get them apart. I'm trying to use a hammer and crow bar but the things are like welded together! Is there an easier way. I'd like to not cut them so I can use as much wood as possible. Thanks.

caarntedd4 years ago
Slide hammer. They are commonly used to pull bearings, hubs etc. But there is one designed to open packing crates.
I have just posted a video on Instructables showing three ways to dismantle pallets to obtain the maximum amount of free, reuseable carpentry wood for all your projects. This includes how to deal with difficult pallets! Good Luck and please ask, if I can help.
Best Wishes
Andy
Irock1482 years ago
sry this is late but a good idea would be too soak it in warm wateradn then try to pry it
here is a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtPmUZ-k3aI
framistan4 years ago
It might help to use a hand-held angle-grinder to grind off the nail heads first. That would minimize damage to the board. and allow the boards to be separated easier with prying. However it would leave a nail sticking up on the board underneath.
grinder.JPG
vixenblue4 years ago
I found my car jack did the trick, then just cut off the nail.
wilsoda34 years ago
I acquired several pallets last year for my sons drum riser ( he plays a kit).  I to had an experience witht the pallets breaking.  The quickest way I found to take them apart was with an electric sawsall with a blade that can cut wood and nails.  We would saw between the gap of the top slats and the runners.  The saw would cut through the nails and barely damage the boards.  I dismantled about 20 pallets in around 2 hours.  My son would drive the nailheads out with a punch and hammer.
Re-design4 years ago
They are usually put together with nails that are twisted and work like screws.  They hold really tight.

Best way is to get a long bar and use the leverage to pry them apart.
...and the twisty nails are coated with glue !
Oh yeah?  Good to know!  So that's why the nails for my nail gun are "painted" blue?
frollard jeff-o4 years ago
Sometimes it is just to identify the length at a glance "blue is 2 inches" or whatever (not actual, just an example)...but some have the thin coat of goop.
+1  It's special stuff with dual purpose - holds the nails together in the nail gun, and does a fancy 'hot glue' trick as the nail rubs on the wood to soften then immediately secure the nail rather permanently...

Most people don't have one - but try a nail puller, or inserting a block from the underside and hitting with a large hammer or dropping the pallet to the ground - the inertia does the work for you.
You can also get "cement coated" nails for use with a regular old hammer that work the same way. They are a flaming beeyotch to remove.
If you have a screw/sissor jack that will fit between the boards that helps.  Slow and steady pressure works better than a hammer.

Lots of times they are made out of oak boards or other hardwoods so if you have a surface planer you can end up with some very good wood though short pieces.
acidbass4 years ago
 probar and hammer
 sorry crowbar lol

Jayefuu4 years ago
I gave up trying to save a whole length of wood when I made my pallet planters last spring. (before I found instructables :( )

I cut the ends off so I lost about 20cm of each piece of wood. I then only had to contend with 2 nails per plank instead of 6.
lemonie4 years ago
The non-returnable one will usually pry apart. Once you got one piece of you can whack the others. If they're tougher returnable pallets they should really be returned and re-used.

L
NachoMahma4 years ago
.  They're built very tough. Getting one apart is not an easy job. Get a bigger crowbar, if necessary.
.  PS: Cutting them up isn't going to be any easier - that's some very hard wood.