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Master firewood maker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my area is an internet group called "FreeCycle". On a whim, I joined and posted that I was interested in hardwood pallets. I got a bunch of responses, with this one being the most promising:

Hi,

We have a ton of pallets at my work in Beltsville. They are in great condition, but too large for us to use for outgoing shipments. Please let me know if you are interested. You can pick up anytime and take as many as you want as they are just sitting outside.

Thanks,
I think I'm going to like my FreeCycle!
 

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Next thing is to build a pallet demo tool. I saw a picture of one someone made and kinda duplicated it. I had a heavy duty pry bar about 42 inches long. A friend welded on two pieces of steel plate leaving room inbetween them so it could fit over the pallet 2x runner. Then we welded on a 2 inch piece of pipe to go on the back side to act as the fulcrum. When I press down on the handle, something is going to give. :)

It looks sorta like this, only better.
 

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Can still count to 10 yea
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Another way to break them down is to use a saws-all with a 12" demo blade to cut the hardwood slats off. The nails that stay in the slats are easily removed with a punch.
 

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Master firewood maker
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The lady said they are always getting them and would be more than happy if I took as many as I wanted any time.

:thumbsup:

So it sounds like it's hard to get them apart, huh? Maybe I can rig something up with a crowbar. It all about the mechanical advantage you can generate.
 

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So it sounds like it's hard to get them apart, huh?
Big understatement. The force a pneumatic nailer can produce is surprising. To compound this, the wood may shrink after the pallet is constructed.

Maybe I can rig something up with a crowbar. It all about the mechanical advantage you can generate.
MT Stringer had a good idea in an earlier reply. The issue is not only mechanical advantage, but which gives first the slat or the nail.

I have only taken a couple of pallets apart, from tools I have purchased. They were a LOT of effort to disassemble so I could burn the wood. Often the slats broke and removing the nails is NOT fun.
 

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Master firewood maker
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dave, yes, I saw MT's post about the tool. The problem for me is that I'm not a welder, and I don't know anyone who is, so that's not a very realistic option for me.

I guess I'll start with just one and see how big a struggle I have getting it apart. That could very well turn me off to the idea. Then again, I might find it to be a great workout!
 

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I agree with a reciprocating saw. I've taken many apart. I use them to make small potting benches for a local boutique all the time.

My number one stressor with pallets is that they will easily consume the whole garage. I only bring home a few at a time now or else my borderline-OCD mind goes nuts with 10 pallets stacked in my garage.

Just about any big warehouse you come across will likely give you free pallets. I am a contract manufacturer and literally every local business has given me full permission to grab whatever pallet I want.

Curtis
 

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Can still count to 10 yea
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Chris

If you have a sawz-all (sp?) (saws-all might be a regional name, think big reciprocating saw like this
) just put a 12" demo blade in it and run it between the slats and the stringers. I've taken quite a few pallets apart this way and it only take a few minutes. You might have to punch out a little bit of nail that has been cut, but a lot of them just fall out.
 

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Master firewood maker
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
yes, i have a sawzall. it is not cordless though, and i think i'd rather break the pallets down before i put them in the car. i will scout things out, and if there is an outlet nearby, i'm good, otherwise, i might splurge on a cordless sawzall.

thanks guys
 

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I was trying to save the pallet runners, some of which were oak. However, pulling those nails has proven to be difficult. Most of the slats break apart anyway leaving only small piece to make small things with.

The nails used are the twist type that screw into the wood when driven by a nail gun. I managed to pull them with a big pair of pliers I got at Harbor Freight. That and a board shim to aid the mechanical advantage usually results in either a pulled nail, stripped head, or the nail breaks.

I think I need to look for a different type of pallet. I did manage to salvage some boards that included pine, poplar, cedar, oak and a few I couldn't identify. To salvage the boards, either the reciprocating saw or a circular saw would probably be the best bet. The runners would be junk then but I don't have a burn pile.

So, I made some crates with them (after running them through the planer).
 

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Chris, check for metal before you plane your boards. I have found metal slivers in some of the wood. No telling where it came from but will ding up a planer (or you favorite hand plane I would think);
 
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