dissembling oak pallets?

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Forum topic by emmaf posted 04-03-2013 06:25 AM 2510 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1880 days

04-03-2013 06:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: oak pallet crowbar dissemble re-purpose

hi there! i came upon some free oak pallets and i want to try to use the wood for a coffee table. i’m having a hell of a time trying to get the boards apart, and when they finally come apart, the wood splits. i’ve just been using a crow bar, fyi. any suggestions?

7 replies so far

View runswithscissors's profile


2752 posts in 2025 days

#1 posted 04-03-2013 07:30 AM

Usually pallets consist of heavier “timbers” (two by’s or whatever), with cross planks of thinner wood. Assuming you want the heavier pieces, you can saw across the thinner pieces adjacent to the main ones until you have little stubs left. These can easily be split off, exposing the fasteners to be pulled. Or, you can do it vice-versa, saving the thin planks and sacrificing the heavier ones.

To save all the wood is very difficult, and an exercise in frustration. Often the nails are a sort of screw nail and are very tenacious. Once you have them exposed, get a solid hold on them with a vice-grip type plier, and pry away with your crowbar, dynamite, or what-have-you.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 2046 days

#2 posted 04-03-2013 09:12 AM

I saw a video of a guy who would work a sawzall blade between the plank and the beam and cut the nails- then remove the nails after.

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2377 days

#3 posted 04-03-2013 01:03 PM

See this video. It’s the easiest and quickest way i’ve always done it. (not me in the video)

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4572 posts in 2409 days

#4 posted 04-03-2013 02:33 PM

OnlyJustME +1 we used this method to get wood to make end tables and such in Iraq for our CHU’s. Sure was nice to have more than a bed and a wall locker.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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1562 posts in 2377 days

#5 posted 04-03-2013 04:42 PM

Did this method with a buddy of mine who lived on base (wife was the one in the military) and we made a crate and barrel style entertainment center for them. Then he made a desk too. Helps save a lot of coin on a military salary.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View emmaf's profile


5 posts in 1880 days

#6 posted 04-03-2013 04:58 PM

thanks for the replies!

i tried pulling the middle section apart like the guy in the video did, but i think oak is much stronger and the nails were, as runswithscissors suggests, definitely ribbed. i finally got them apart this way, but the wood split every time and i had aches in muscles i never knew i had.

anyone else use a vice grip successfully? trying to decide whether the free wood is worth the time and effort…

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1955 days

#7 posted 04-03-2013 08:07 PM

You can drive a small punch at an angle directly next to the nail which will free up some tension then use a pair of wire cutters to get a tight grip on the nail below the head and twist and pull up at the same time. It sounds much more complicated than it actually is.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

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