One of my many home improvement dreams is to remove our disgusting, stained, dog hair filled carpeting. While our house is small, it would cost money that we don’t have to install real wood floors. Back in the day, when we had some money 😉 we had a friend help us remodel our kitchen and I purchased real wood flooring that was on sale. I’m happy I did it, but now I can’t imagine buying it for the rest of our house.
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How To Take Pallets Apart The Easy Way
When pallet projects started popping up years ago, I saw so many tutorials on pallet flooring and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. It’s a project that seems daunting but, Joe and I work really well together and when we get into kick ass home remodeling mode, we kind of can’t be stopped. #cantstopwontstop
Then came the thoughts of just how long it would take us to accomplish it. Finding good, safe pallets, taking apart the pallets, removing nails, borrowing a planer, not to mention installing, staining and sealing…you get the idea. The thought has never left my mind though.
I know there are people who cut the pallets up with reciprocating or circular saws avoiding any screws but, in that case, I’d think you’d lose a lot of potentially good wood not to mention losing the length.
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I’d remembered reading somewhere, in one of those pallet flooring posts, on how to take pallets apart. They mentioned a tool that makes it easy to take pallets apart so when we were given a few pallets recently, I told Joe about it. He looked it up and before you know it, it’s bought and delivered. Now, we’re the proud owners of a pallet buster. You can also purchase ones with the pole already attached. Or one that needs a bit of assembly. Also, know that if you get a painted one, the paint will rub off on the first board you remove because of the friction. No big deal.
Before we ordered it, I thought it best to refresh my memory on the safety information on using pallets indoors. I came across this article and luckily the pallets we got all fell into the ‘good to go’ category. I think the most important things are looking for the IPPC and HT logos.
With the pallet breaker we bought, it’s just the tines and a bolt meaning we’d have to install the pipe. Luckily, the previous home owners had left some pieces of our chain link fence poles and guess what, it’s 1″ thick which is exactly what we needed.
I took the pipe, maybe it was 8′ long, and held it where it felt comfortable in my hands when pretending to pry off boards. We marked it with a marker and cut down the line with the reciprocating saw, sanding down the rough metal edges.
We could have just inserted the pipe into the base and screwed it in tight with the bolt that came with it but, Joe went a step further. He drilled a hole all the way through. We then found a longer bolt matching the threading on the tines, twisting it all the way. This isn’t necessary at all.
Once that was done, we were ready to destroy some pallets! We had 3 pallets and took 2 apart easily, then we noticed the 3rd pallet was constructed differently. The wood was too wide for the tines to fit over and pry. So, just remember that if you end up getting a pallet breaker. I’ll try to show you what I mean.
Here I am on a pallet that works with the pallet breaker. The metal piece can slide underneath the top pieces of wood using the 2 x 4 as a fulcrum. When we were taking these off, we stood on the pallet to add weight and would wedge it under lifting it a little bit, move to the middle nails, nudge it a bit, then to the third. That way, we lessened the chance of breaking a board. As you get closer to the end and you have nothing else to stand on, you just need to get creative 😉
This pallet won’t work because the bottom piece is too wide and won’t allow the pallet breaker’s tines to slide under in order to get the force needed to pry it off.
Now that the boards are off of the two pallets, it’s time to remove the nails. We have a different model one of these workbenches and it’s really nice because it has a vise, giving you the ability to lock things down. It worked great to hold the metal pole steady while sawing. I also locked down each pallet piece, first, with the nail side up so I could hammer them down. Then I’d flip the wood over to pry the nails out.
This pallet breaker or pallet buster, whatever the proper name, is the best! While Joe was removing the boards, I was pulling the nails and then we switched. Between the two of us, it took about 10-15 minutes for 1 pallet including the removal of the nails. I doubt we’d be able to do that if we were using a crowbar and hammer. Maybe a saw would be faster but, like I said, I think it would waste so much potentially good wood. Now all I need is like 300 more pallets so I can get that beautiful flooring I’ve always wanted.