LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

Motherload of Pallet Wood

1710 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  b2rtch
The guys in my shipping and receiving dept practically begged me to take away the pallets stacked up next to our dock. I told them I'd take a few and at least put a dent in the pile, but I had no idea how many we had until I really got a look. There's got to be at least 40 pallets, mostly new, plus one huge plywood crate. If only I had the space. Needless to say, I'll have all the bits I need to get some practice in on my router and maybe even churn out something useful. I'll post pics for sure.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
are there any oak? I brought some home from work, made a nice makeup table for the wife, a frame for 2 dry erase boards and finishing up a floor cabinet for the bathroom. A little work cleaning and planning but for free it was worth it!
Probably, there are some really hard slats in there. I'm not looking forward to pulling these apart, but I am looking forward to playing around with it.
I figured out a couple of tricks to help salvage pallet wood. First, don't think you can save it all. Decide which part you can sacrifice-either the flat boards or the vertical timbers. I usually wanted the thicker stuff. Then you saw away the stuff you aren't going to keep, and can easily split out the short bits of board remaining and get a vice grip on the nails. Use a big crowbar under the vice grip to pull out the twisty nails, which are very difficult otherwise.

A circular saw with a cheap, throwaway blade, or a recip saw with a nail cutting blade work well. The scrap makes good firewood.
I've tried it with a pry bar and hammer, which yielded mixed results. One of the main things I want to build with this wood is a herringbone (chevron pattern) wall feature. I figure that will be a good starting point for me to get familiar with my new (to me) planer and handsaw. So, I'm going to want to keep as many longer boards as I can, but I'm not going to kill myself over it either. I can always glue the ones that split at the ends.
We've had some flooding in my area due to April showing up a month late this year. In the creek I found a not too old looking pallet, so I yanked it out and while not that big, the whole thing is oak and maple. It was also made with ring shank nails which were very difficult to remove from sound hardwood.
There are all types of youtube videos on how to break down pallets. There is a tool you can buy or make for prying them apart. It would be a simple tool to make.
Huh. I'll have to look around and see what I can scrounge up. From looking around, it seems like most people's methods incorporate applying a lot of force very quickly, rather than the small amount of force I was able to apply to the boards with a 12" prybar and hammer. Obviously, the more surface area I can spread the force over, the better. I could probably get a couple of wrecking bars from Harbor Freight and whip up something similar to that link from JAY Made (thanks for that, btw). I saw one video where a guy was using a couple slabs of concrete; one to support the board and one to drop on the pallet. I think I'd rather use force through leverage than through gravity, though.
I just used a sledge hammer. Supported the boards I wanted to keep and beat on the ones I was scrapping, it went surprisingly fast. then used a claw hammer and block of scrap under it to pull the nails. ( they are difficult to get out ) I did about 20 pallets in total.
I wouldn't bother with tearing them apart. I would just skillsaw next to the middle beams to end up with 1×4 pieces about 20" long.

Nobody has mentioned it yet, but you do have to be careful what you make out of the pallets because you don't know if the wood has been treated with insecticides. Don't risk making anything that might come in contact with food. No cutting boards or glued up salad bowls.
I get pallets and crates from work all the time this is the only wood I use, I never buy wood.
I get nice wood from Japan through work.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.