How to dismantle a pallet


Recycled Wood Projects - how waste wood can be reclaimed and recycled to create fun, useful, wonderful things and at the same time reducing landfill, making our world a more sustainable place

How to dismantle a pallet

Pallets - such a widely available source of recycled wood, yet such a daunting item. If you want to recycle pallets but are not too sure where to begin then please let me help - first off, here is a video uploaded to youtube (not by me, but by 'miscpro').

How to dismantle a wooden pallet

That video-clip is brilliant - I used it when I first started making items from recycled wood and went back to it time and time again.

It shows you the most basic ways to dismantle a pallet - take a club-hammer to it, knock the nails through, and then use a claw-hammer to remove the nails.

The video clip inspired me to dismantle many pallets using the sheer brute force of a club hammer. This did result in quite a few pieces of broken wood, but I was fine with that as I could reuse and recycle the broken bits for smaller projects...

... but it does have one major flaw - not all pallets are the same as the one miscpro dismantled.


Let me explain....

Pallets are generally made of various components -

  • the deck (one or more boards or panels comprising the top or bottom surface of the pallet),
  • deckboards (element or component of a pallet deck, oriented perpendicular to the stringer or stringerboard),
  • stringers (continuous, longitudinal, solid or notched beam-component of the pallet used to support deck components, often identified by location as the outside or center stringer), and
  • blocks (rectangular, square or cylindrical deck spacer, often identified by its location within the pallet as corner block, end block, edge block, inner block, center or middle block)

    They can also be either two way entry pallets ie pallets with unnotched solid stringers allowing entry only from the ends, or four way entry pallets which have openings at both pallet ends and along pallet sides sufficient to admit hand-pallet jacks - giving a full four-way entry pallet.

    (The above definitions came from PalletOne)

    The point I'm trying to make is that not all pallets are the same, you simply cannot dismantle a four way entry pallet by hitting it with a club hammer without a lot of breakage...

    ...and although I totally enjoyed bashing my way through over 100 pallets, the secret lies not in relying on a hammer, but instead the best way to dismantle a pallet is through leverage...(Click here to continue)

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