Building With Pallets – How to Easily Disassemble A Pallet In Minutes

Cleaning 13 hours ago
As most of you know – we love to build with pallet wood. If you spend some time looking - it is usually pretty easy to find a source to get them for free – and if you find the right kind – the building potential is limitless. I thought for today's DIY post I would show how we go about taking a pallet from its current state to great usable wood in just a few minutes

Working with pallets – the first thing we realized early on is it is nearly impossible and too time consuming to worry yourselves with pulling out the nails. It is too easy to damage the wood with the claw and hammer or pry bar.

Instead, we opt for our sawzall method – which can disassemble a pallet in less than two minutes into 10 or more pieces of great usable wood. Besides – the left over embedded nail fragments actually add a ton of character to pieces when either stained or painted.

So – 1st Tip – Invest in a sawzall. They are the key to quickly destructing a pallet – and without damaging or splintering the wood. Yes, it's an expense – but the inexpensive ones will work just fine with pallets.

2nd Tip – forget about the little 5″ blade that comes with your sawzall. That will only frustrate you. Buy a couple of 12″

To see more:

  • Andrew Pritchard
    The problem with using a sawzall is that it leaves the nails in the skids. If you want to cut up the skids to use in another project, that's no good. Those nail ends will ruin any blades that go near them - planer blades, jointer blades, or table saw
  • Charles Howat
    Charles Howat Australia
    i've been using a broken hacksaw blade in a plastic handle.then just knock the rest of the nails in with a hammer
  • Amanda Thomas
    Amanda Thomas Dickinson, ND
    I took a 2x4 and put between the boards I wanted and pried up in the middle first and then the ends. the sawzall left the nail heads in and then I had to get a little nail punch and hammer all the heads out which took too much time. leaving the nail
  • Sherry brady
    Sherry brady Owings, MD
    I just made a headboard using the saws all technique and the nails are staying put!

    I like the nails.

  • Christine
    Christine Upper Marlboro, MD
    If you're using the boards as is, this is absolutely the way to go. (Frankly, I'm surprised it warranted an entire post about it, since it seems common sense. Work smarter, not harder!) You can still pop the remaining nails out with a nail set, using
  • Jerry Dawes
    When building with pallet lumber, be sure to pre-drill your holes for the new nails or screws. The wood is tough, but it can still split when you try to hammer a nail or put a screw in it. And most nails will bend anyway, unless you're using a nail gun.
    • Beth
      Beth North Port, FL
      Jerry, you just saved me tons of aggravation!
  • Danielle Marceaux
    Danielle Marceaux Lakewood, WA
    I am going to try to rip the pallet to make a small green house for my seeds and make a blue berry change so these dam squrels quit steling my blue berry's think I will put some wire mesh on the bottom and then tule around the sides and top to
  • Calleen
    Calleen Fort Worth, TX
    there is an awesome tool on that is for tearing down pallets. they give you option if you want one with a nail puller or without - it works great and is a lot more cost effective than buying one of these tools if you don't already have one.
  • Kat
    Kat Ballwin, MO
    Thank you for this information that helps us novices out here. I truly appreciate the information and the comments that provide me with further ideas.
  • Danielle Marceaux
    Danielle Marceaux Lakewood, WA
    Thanks calleen never heard of this page
  • Crystal Sifton
    Yes getting those things apart is BRUTAL….good advice on the 12" blade! Thanks
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young Britt, IA
    I found a really handy tool made by Pallet Paw. I was able to salvage most boards without spliting them and it was quick and easy on my back. Check it out at
  • John Vogel
    John Vogel New Lenox, IL
    I'm afraid I have to hang my head in shame also. A neighbor threw away an old wooden wheelbarrow last year. I salvaged it and found that although most of the wood was rotted, the wheel was still in pretty good shape and all the hardware was intact. I
    • Danielle Marceaux
      Danielle Marceaux Lakewood, WA
      Cool pic like that idea and i like the wheelbarow will have to keep my eye out for one to
  • Danielle Marceaux
    Danielle Marceaux Lakewood, WA
    Well since these squrels steel just about every thing i am going to make a cage for my blue berrys so this year they cant steel any more of my blue berry's
  • MarcioWilges
    MarcioWilges Australia
    That's a really cool chicken coop! Not that I'd have space for chickens where I stay in Sydney, but I think reusing packing materials like pallet wood to construct things is awesome!
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