How To Take Apart A Wood Pallet 1

How To Take Apart A Wood Pallet


Every year 4 to 5 billion feet of lumber is being used just to produce shipping pallets. Reusing and recycling wooden pallets help save mother earth in some form. Because they are built for stability, breaking them apart requires good planning if you want to reclaim the wood. If you’re planning to create a wood project out of reclaimed pallets, it is important to learn how to take apart a wood pallet. We’ll tackle this topic on this guide, so just continue reading below!

What You’ll Need to Follow This Tutorial

Take apart a wood pallet by cutting through the nails using a reciprocating saw or a prybar to carefully pull out the nails. Buy a Sawzall tool which is a handheld reciprocating saw to help reduce pallet deconstruction. Buying a metal cutting demolition blade measuring 12 inches (30.5cm) is also important because the 5-inch (12.7cm) blade won’t work, and you’ll just break the saw. Also, wear some safety goggles, gloves, earplugs or ear protectors, and work clothes.

Step-by-Step Guide to Taking Apart a Wood Pallet

Step 1

Choose a wood pallet that displays no sign of deterioration. While they might be easier and simpler to disassemble, the pallet is more likely to be ruined beyond use, and get up to 12 meter or 40 feet. Do not take apart the wood pallets using regular tools. The shipping pallets are specifically built with annular ring nails to stay put.

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Step 2

Make sure that the blade on your saw is secure and plug the saw in an electrical outlet. Wear some safety goggles, gloves, and work clothes. Earplugs reduce the risk of potential hearing loss. Prop the wood pallet vertically and get it securely clamped. If ever you can’t, simply lay it across the sturdy workbenches and saw the nails off in a horizontal motion.

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Step 3

Look for the two major vertical wood pieces on the pallet. The horizontal slats (2 x 4) should be nailed to these wood pieces to construct the top pallet surface. You’ll have to cut through the nails where the vertical and horizontal slats meet along the vertical wood pieces.

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Step 4

Reciprocating the saw by placing it between the two wood pieces, cutting downward or sideways in a smooth motion away from your body. Just continue to cut down at one side of the vertical slat to make sure that the horizontal slats become loose and the nails are cut free.

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Step 5

Locate other vertical slat and just repeat the process on this side of the wood pallet. At this point, the horizontal boards start to fall off. Ask for help and pile them up if they’re becoming a hazard. The next step is moving towards the back of the pallet where the pallet frame has been constructed. Move around towards the outer edge and cut between where the wood frame pieces meet.

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Taking Apart a Wood Pallet Using a Pry Bar

You can also use a pry bar to take the wood pallet apart. Wedge a pry bar where the nails look pretty loose. You’ll usually need to loop the pry bar where it meets the frame underneath the 2 x 4s. Moving the pry bar back lifts the wood piece and loosens it. Do not attempt to lift the board all the way up to loosen the nail. Loosen the nail further by moving a few inches away and repeating the process. If you do it too much, it will just split the wood. Move slowly, rocking the pry bar around the nail instead of lifting it up forcefully.

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Repeat the steps on the other end and hit the top of the crowbar using a hammer to wedge it under the tightly nailed sections of the board. Move towards the middle of the slat to loosen the nails. Once all nailed sections are loosened, work the pry bar as far as you can underneath and slowly pull up the slat. Dispose of the nails instead of keeping them on the ground. Repeat it with each slat to loosen the nails before you pry the entire slat loose. It can take 30 minutes for the entire process, requiring physical strength.

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When taking a wood pallet apart, you can use a reciprocating saw or a prybar to carefully pull out the nails. Did you have fun reading this helpful guide? Share this post and leave a comment to share your thoughts or post a question.