A while back I had decided to build some vegetable planters out of old pallets. I mean, hey, free wood, right? I had originally decided to deconstruct the pallet by yanking out all the nails and reusing the lumber. However, to my annoyance, I discovered the nails were darn near impossible to pull. Every single time you ended up cracking the board you were trying to remove, reducing it to useless splinters.
After a few cracked boards I paused to curse and kick at the pallet, and then sat down and decided to puzzle out a different way of doing it without having to pull out each nail. And here is how it is done:
Step 1: Cut slats off the support board
First just cut the slats off with a jigsaw. Just cut them off from each side of the support beam. You'll end up with a nice pile of slats.
Once the pallet is all cut up, you end up with a couple of support beams with pices of wood still nailed to it.
Step 3: Trim the nails
Now, you can pull those nails off, or do it the easy way and run it over the table saw. The blade easily cuts through the nails, and you can trim off any uneveness of the wood while you are at it. Be sure to wear eye protection.
Step 4: Cleaned boards
In short time you have a pile of nice clean boards.
You need all the support pieces from both pallets. Six in this case. No pallet ever seems to be made the same, so if your pieces are not the same length, trim them down to match. In my case I had a pallet about half a foot longer than the other one.
Step 5: Measure and trim boards
Boards all trimmed to live up evenly.
Step 6: Cut end pieces
You want four long ones and four short ones, or half the size of the long ones. Actual length will vary with pallet, so just scale the smaller pieces down by a half.
Step 7: Add end slats
Find two slats of roughly the same size, and nail or screw them down on either end of the support wood. You do this first so you do not have a box that is two feet high on one end and then goes up crookedly a half a foot in the other.
Step 8: Add all slats
Just go right down the line and add the slats to the support wood. I personally used screws along with a squirt of wood glue. The wood glue helps because these cheap pallet boards love to crack, so if it does crack the glue will help old it in places.
Step 9: Add slats to end pieces
Fill the slats on both the side and end pieces.
Now just assemble the four peaces together. I just used long screws and some wood glue.
Ta-Da, a sturdy planter.
I do not have a bottom on mine, because I am filling it up with good dirt and letting the roots of the plants just work their way down. You can put a bottom on it easily enough, however.
This way is a lot easier than trying to get those impossible nails out of the pallets.