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Recovering wood from discarded pallets

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Blog entry by DaveFFMedic posted 04-10-2018 07:56 PM 1344 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

LOML asked me to make a pallet wood accent wall in our kitchen. I set to task of recovering boards from discarded pallets. I searched around and didn’t find any definitive information on the best way to disassemble the pallets. I did some trial and error and found the quickest way for me to disassemble them. In the following video, I show how I took apart the pallets in about 2 hours time. Enjoy.

https://youtu.be/ZEX7xrofNHg



6 comments so far

View MKH's profile

MKH

53 posts in 177 days


#1 posted 04-11-2018 12:26 PM

I tried our method but it didn’t work out too well for me. I used a wood & nail blade but it just vibrated my hands something terrible and it didn’t cut the nails very well. May have to try again with more of a metal cutting blade.

Which blade did you use?

How did you get the nails out for running through the planer? Nails can really nick up a blade.. I ‘ll have to figure out that little problem.

-- Marshall --------------------------- In with 10. Out with 10.

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

206 posts in 691 days


#2 posted 04-12-2018 12:06 PM

Another method is to use a circular saw and basically saw through the top of the pallet just inboard of the nail line. Then you discard the runner, which still has the ends of each top board nailed to it, and you don’t have to worry about those nails messing you up later.
With this done to both sides of the pallet, it’s not as hard to rip the boards off of the center runner, since you have more freedom of movement at the ends.
This is a good time to use the Sawzall technique shown, to cut the nails holding to the center runner.
After that, I punch out those center nails since I don’t want any in my finished product.
You end up with nail-free boards that are about 3” shorter than otherwise.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View MKH's profile

MKH

53 posts in 177 days


#3 posted 04-12-2018 02:15 PM



Another method is to use a circular saw and basically saw through the top of the pallet just inboard of the nail line. Then you discard the runner, which still has the ends of each top board nailed to it, and you don t have to worry about those nails messing you up later.
With this done to both sides of the pallet, it s not as hard to rip the boards off of the center runner, since you have more freedom of movement at the ends.
This is a good time to use the Sawzall technique shown, to cut the nails holding to the center runner.
After that, I punch out those center nails since I don t want any in my finished product.
You end up with nail-free boards that are about 3” shorter than otherwise.

- JohnMcClure


Thanks John!

I like that approach.

-- Marshall --------------------------- In with 10. Out with 10.

View Mike_in_STL's profile

Mike_in_STL

681 posts in 584 days


#4 posted 04-12-2018 06:47 PM

I have many projects consisting of pallet wood. My preferred method of disassembly is to take the circular saw just inside of the nail line on the outside runners and then use the leverage gained from the loose ends to extract the nails from the middle runner.

-- Sawdust makes me whole --Mike in STL

View jbay's profile

jbay

2419 posts in 950 days


#5 posted 04-12-2018 07:09 PM

Our local pallet company puts their scraps out front in a bin, free for the taking.

View DaveFFMedic's profile

DaveFFMedic

81 posts in 2217 days


#6 posted 04-19-2018 12:14 AM

Marshall: I used a wood blade for demolition. It is designed to cut through any nails it may encounter. I use a reciprocating saw frequently to cut apart cars in my job as a firefighter. In most cases, the vibration is a result of not setting the shoe of the saw against the work piece.

My goal is to use the reclaimed wood to cover a wall in the dining area. The wood will be cleaned on the surface, stained and sealed. Food prep will not take place within 10 feet of the wood.

I used my lumber straightening jig to get one long edge straight and then ripped the other edge to size. Crosscut the ends square. Light sanding to remove the large splinters and fuzz.

I was extremely careful to avoid any nails when running the boards through my TS. My wife wants the nails still in the boards wherever possible to fill in the nail holes. After cutting the boards free, I turned them over and ground down the remaining nail shank using my angle grinder. The nails that were loose were removed.

The boards will not be run through the planer. I want there to be a large variety of board widths, thicknesses, species, and defects.

I recently decided that the ribs and the boards that are moldy will be perfect to build my compost bins in the back yard. I think its fitting that reclaimed lumber that was obtained for free can be used to recycle yard waste.

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