Underway again...finally #7: Analysis paralysis, but progress...kinda

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Blog entry by JohnTM posted 11-07-2017 01:10 AM 2515 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: College Football Day freebie haul Part 7 of Underway again...finally series Part 8: Actually made cuts today »

Spent hours and hours de-nailing the pallet haul. When I got to the plywood pieces, I was overwhelmed and disappointed by the construction. There were over 90 nails in the plywood – over 90!

That pic shows just some of the nails on one side along one edge. Examining the construction left me with the realization that trying to de-nail that and salvage the plywood would be an exercise in time-wasting and material destruction, not salvage. Luckily, that point was before I actually wasted any time trying to de-nail it. Man was did my mood take the opposite tack compared to when I first picked up the palletized plywood.

So I took a break…and engaged brain (such as it is). Can you smell the burning oil and hear the gears grinding? It was difficult to imagine how I was going to “make it work”. I ran around in circles in the dark recesses of my mind for a while and finally decided to “go for a drive”. (Some people think in a stinky room with men’s magazines. I think (?) best while driving.) No deliberate destination.. just drove.

I semi-surprised myself ending up where I’d picked the pallets and plywood sides up the other day. A second surprise, 3 more plywood sides of similar design and size were available. So I snatched them up. And drove some more… gears ground loudly and smoke surely wafted from my ears (I know that because I couldn’t hear anything but road noise and my vision was obscured – oh wait. That might [possibly] have been due to the windows being open and the wood blocking the rear view mirror.)

I surprised again by the number of nails/screws in the palletized plywood pieces I brought home – but a light bulb had begun to brighten while I was driving and it involved the angle grinder. Yet… methinks maybe if I cut off all the nails and just make some legs and braces, I might be able to turn these into a couple usable work surfaces – notice I didn’t say “work bench”? That kinda reflects my current disappointment due to not “building something” again today.

Oh, did I mention that the plywood structures have 1.5”x1.5” pieces set in a rectangle 1.5” inboard of the plywood edge all the way around? On the other side of the plywood is “normal” pallet construction – crosspieces and stringers. And the ones I picked up today are longer than the ones I picked up the other day. All are 34-36” wide by either 62 or 71-73.5” long.

Analysis paralysis…. too much thinking. My head hurts.
Where’s that beer?

Yes, Scarlett. Tomorrow IS another day dear. Do something with it!

5 comments so far

View Rich's profile


5130 posts in 1191 days

#1 posted 11-07-2017 01:30 AM

Given the number of nails you’re dealing with, it might be worth it to look into a nail remover like this one.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View JohnTM's profile


91 posts in 880 days

#2 posted 11-07-2017 02:53 AM

I have looked at those. 2 issues. First – $. 2nd – I don’t have an air compressor so more $.
But it’s a thought. Thanks.

I really don’t mind de-nailing “manually”. Being retired, time is a commodity I have lots more of than money. What is “bad” about manual de-nailing for me (at least right now while I’m trying to figure out how to not screw up the boards more than they already are) is that I sometimes do create more damage than I think I should. Shrug. I’m learning… slowly to be sure. But repetition is a hard taskmaster.

Also, I’m learning, unfortunately after the fact in some cases, that some pallet/free wood simply isn’t worth picking up in the first place. In the case of the plywood I discussed today, I’m not sure it’s unusable. I am pretty sure that I can use it – just not in a straight-forward manner like I would with store-bought sheets.

I’m going to try something with it tomorrow. Will post about the results whether positive or negative.

View Rich's profile


5130 posts in 1191 days

#3 posted 11-07-2017 05:38 AM

When the pallet craze hit, I looked into it. Ultimately I decided the negatives far outweighed the positives.

Best of luck though.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View robscastle's profile


6675 posts in 2805 days

#4 posted 11-07-2017 07:03 AM

When you encounter that many nails have a re think, .... but do not pull them out. (Not just yet anyway)

Now the thinking should be along this train of thought

1. Have a good look at the ply, and decide is it a piece worth saving
if the answer is no dump it, if its yes or even a maybe yes read on.
2. Now have second look at it and see if there an area free of nails that you can use? its this is a yes consider the following.

3. Can you safely cut the ply and remove the edge off cut with the nails intact? , if yes do it and dump the off cuts and keep the piece/s of ply.

Problem solved.
You now have a piece of ply with no nail holes no raggedy edges ready for a project later.

I am not sure who actually builds these boxes but they must have shares in a Nail manufacturer, as they dont spare the nails thats for sure, no doubt an automatic nail gun.

A nice cold beer always helps!!

-- Regards Rob

View JohnTM's profile


91 posts in 880 days

#5 posted 11-07-2017 11:24 AM

I appreciate both comments. Thanks.
The spacing of the nails along the perimeters of the pllywood pieces made me think, at first, that I could “save” the middle like Rob suggests – cut off the edges where the nails are. What I didn’t notice is the number of nails in the middle. Also, I hadn’t noticed that the 1.5” “furring strips” were nailed from below which makes removing them more difficult (if I want to try to save those pieces as well as the plywood). Maybe I’m being too greedy and I need to make a choice – save the plywood OR the 1.5’s/ Pick one and sacrifice the other. I’lll look at it again after the Sun comes up.

It’s 5am or I’d be outside trying out what I think is a different possible solution, at least as far as using the plywood for the top of a bench structure. Again, not looking for “pretty” right now, just functional. I might be able to put legs on the outside of the perimeter rather than directly under the corners like I’ve seen with most benches.

Then again, I may be trying to put lipstick on a pig – been there, done that, didn’t like the result.


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