How do you dismantle pallets?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by thegriffiths, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. thegriffiths

    thegriffiths Well-Known Member

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    I have a pretty good supply of 12 foot by 30inch pallets that I would like to dismantle and use the wood. I know its very hard wood but I can work with it for what I am doing.

    I also know how hard it seems to be to dismantle one. I have tried to beat the parts loose with a hammer only to have them splinter and get destroyed.

    Anyone out there know of a way to dismantle them without splintering them or using a saw to cut the boards (I need them in the longest pieces possible).

    Thanks!
     
  2. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    Use a prybay, what i know as a cats paw to remove the thin boards from the larger frame boards. If you do it right you should pull the boards out with the nails still in them, then just hammer on the tips of the nails to back them out a bit, then pull with a claw hammer.
     

  3. paden

    paden Well-Known Member

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    Try using a sawzall. Slide the blade between two fastened pieces and you should be able to cut the nails or staples holding them together.
     
  4. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    Pallets are nailed together with spiral pallet nails. The nails are designed so they will not come out. If I was going to try to take a pallet apart, I'd use a reciprocating saw to cut the nails.
     
  5. thegriffiths

    thegriffiths Well-Known Member

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    I will try this today. Thanks for the help.
     
  6. rannie

    rannie Well-Known Member

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    the nail puller (prybar) thingy is what i used then tap the nails out backwards til you can pull em out with the claw part of the hammer.we usually do this in an assembly line my husband does one part then i do next then the kids finish up family project makes it go a little easier. We have built a chicken coop and a picket fence from pallets we are fixing to build dog houses next . good luck rannie
     
  7. Gunner

    Gunner Member

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    Northern Tool www.northerntool.com sells a tool specially made for breaking down pallets. Kind of a prybar with a forked head that fits around the supporting frame. Works like a charm, but is a little spendy. I paid around $70.00 for mine a few years ago, but if you have a lot of them to take apart it's worth the money.
     
  8. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    Sawzalling them will leave metal in the wood. This may or may not be a bad thing. If you want to save the long peices, but not the cross members.....

    saw off the ends of the long peices and eliminate the end crosses (forget wasting time pulling the nails for just the very end 1 1/2"). Put a cross member next to a solid protrusion (end of a saw horse or something) with the long peice supported. Hammer down on the cross peice. It'll fall away. Back the nails out of the long peice.

    minimal damage to surface of long peice (no catspaw-ing into the face to get the nail out.) Few if any nails left in the cross peices.
     
  9. diehard47

    diehard47 Well-Known Member

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    The above advice of a prybar is correct. You could go to a local welder and have one made cheap. The angle at end of handle where claw attaches has to be welded very good, cause that is where most stress is. When dismantling pallet, do the ends of the 1x4 first and then the middle and you will have less board breakage. I have been in pallet repair business for 18yrs and hope my experience can be helpful
     
  10. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How to dismantle palllets:

    Step 1. Take two teenage sons (16 and 13) who are bored and laying around the house.

    Step 2. Give them a pry bar, hammers, and an empty coffee can (for the nails when removed) and send them to the pallet pile.

    Step 3. Tell sons they must each dismantle x number of pallets and stack the boards from them before they can come back in the house.

    At least, that's how I did it. I do have to confess my pallets were pretty old and rotten (no longer useful for even building compost bins) so I didn't care if the boards splintered.