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  1. #1
    tiachica's Avatar
    tiachica is offline Rooter
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    North Surrey

    Default How to take wooden pallets apart?

    I got offered some wooden pallets. Now we only have a hatchback, so I don't think I'll be able to fit them whole and will need to taken them apart, probably in my lunchbreak.

    A colleague is giving me a crowbar, I have a clawhammer at home, but I am not sure if I am going to be strong enough to pull them apart nor whether I am going to be skilled enough not to break them.

    anybody got any advice or experience they would share? updated 10-03-2010 with homebrew pics & allotment pics

  2. #2
    organic is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Manchester, UK


    I read an article about exactly that not too long ago... I'm not sure where it was though.

    In short the idea was to knock a chisel between the slats and the bearers (the bearers are the chunky blocks that hold it all together) and lever them apart.
    Some slats will break, but with the right approach you can salvage the wood AND the staples so you can tap them in with a hammer when you're making whatever they are earmarked for.

    Another slightly less gentle approach was to use an old chisel and basically smack it through the staples. That means no salvaged staples to re-use but it's probably a bit easier to do.

    I'd rather try that with a lump hammer than a claw hammer though.

    The only time I've taken pallets apart so far has been a somewhat destructive approach as they were destined to become kindling for our woodburners. I'll be trying one of the above methods soon though as I'm going to need loads of wood to make paths, beds, compost bins and stuff.
    Last edited by organic; 12-03-2010 at 03:50 PM.

  3. #3
    Norm's Avatar
    Norm is offline Rooter
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    Jan 2007


    How about asking a friend with a van to collect them for you. Then when you get back to the plot, ask if they can take them to bits for you as well. I've been suckered into that one on more than a few occasions!

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it and if you ain't going to eat it, don't kill it

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    I take the pallets apart by turning them on the side and hitting the blocks with a big hammer or the flat side of a small axe untill the block comes away from the planks.
    ---) CARL (----

    a seed planted today makes a meal tomorrow!

    now in blog form ! UPDATED 15/4/09

  5. #5
    yeti's Avatar
    yeti is offline Sprouter
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    cocking,near midhurst,west sussex


    thats quite difficult,they use those nasty long staple things,and they are made to be quite tough,use the crow bar as a lever after knocking it into the joins with the hammer,just mind ya pinkies!!
    totally mad on growing veg and keeping bantams!!!!

  6. #6
    chris's Avatar
    chris is offline < moo beans.
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    South Wales


    This thread may be of some interest..

  7. #7
    Lazgaot is offline Rooter
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    Pallets are buggers to split!The nails/staples they use have very small heads (so you can't get a clawhammer to rip them out) and they are ridged to resist working themselves out!

    A chap on my site has a van and electric band saw and he's split his into perfect boards!

  8. #8
    geoff is offline Rooter
    Join Date
    May 2008


    Pallets are not intended to be taken apart, they are designed to withstand rough use in factories and warehouses; so taking them apart needs something a bit heavier than the average household tools. They are often held together by serrated nails and inserted by a machine below the surface of the wood so they don't damage the goods on the pallet
    The best combination of tools I've found is an 18" or 24" crowbar and a 1 and a half or 2 pound lump hammer or ball pein hammer. Put a piece of pallet wood under the crowbar for extra height and leverage
    Pallet wood is poor quality and roughly sawn so use gloves to handle it
    If you have to buy a saw for the job get a cheap hardpoint or toolbox saw

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