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How do you get pallets apart!? Answered

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.




Best Answer 8 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

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

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.


I found my car jack did the trick, then just cut off the nail.

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.

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.

Oh yeah?  Good to know!  So that's why the nails for my nail gun are "painted" blue?

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.

 probar and hammer

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.

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.


.  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.