It was Gerrit Reitvild who first deconstructed a transport crate to reassemble it into furniture that was both affordable and could be easily constructed from the individual pieces. In that sprit this booklet is made to reveal a method to dismantle this wooden beast of burden, the pallet.
Like a donkey it has to be broken-in and for the task you will need
a lump mallet,
a claw hammer,
and a prybar.
You will also need a scrap piece of wood, MDF or ply to use as a cushion to avoided damaging the wood when knocking pieces apart.
Bare in mind that pallets come in various sizes, shapes and conditions, so you may find this manual to be more of a rough guideline then accurate instructions when applying them to your pallet.
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Step 1: Steps
1) Begin by turning the pallet upside down and knocking the chocks (wooden supporting blocks) out.
2) The technique here is to distribute your blows with the lump mallet between the three blocks (a, b and c) and gradually knock the sections apart.
3) Once you have done this to all three supporting sections place these pieces underneath the main body of the pallet.
Step 2: Steps
4) Using the claw hammer knock the revealed nails through their holes. Try to get all nails out of the wood otherwise you risk damaging your tools when using the pieces for your next project.
Knocking nails out of wood is a skill. A skill albeit that you most likely will never write on your CV but one that nonetheless require you to be patient and accurate.
If nails bend use the lump mallet like an anvil and knock them against back it into shape with the claw hammer.
If a nail becomes to malleable cut it in half using pliers or a hacksaw and try knocking it out again.
Step 3: Steps
5) Once those nails are out use the prybar to remove as many strips of wood as you can. Depending on the number of strips the pallet has you may decide to remove all even number pieces using the odd strips as leverage, or Vice Versa.
If this is proving difficult you may find it easier to turn the pallet upside down, again resting it on the chocks and hitting along each strip, distributing your blows (a, b, c and d) to loosen them.
Step 4: Steps
6) To get the remaining chocks of their strip of wood, while standing the piece vertically use the lump mallet to knock pieces e and f off. Turn the piece around and repeat to chock g.
Be careful when knocking the chokes of their strips to avoid squashing your fingers. Also take care to avoid kneeling or standing on the nails as they are ribbed and not for your pleasure. They also have shards of metal attached to them from however they were arranged in a nail gun. Try not to run your fingers along them otherwise you will receive metal splinters along with wooden ones if you decide not to wear work gloves.