How to Break Down Pallets Quickly and Easily!

How to break down a pallet in less than 3 minutes. As with any project, use safety precautions any time you’re using power tools, and stay safe out there!
how to break down a pallet in 3 minutes 
We have some awesome pallet projects on the blog, like these Massive DIY planter boxes for your pretty plants, this Christmas Tree Craft, and this front porch mantle with hanging gutter planter. and I wanted to show you the easiest way, we found, to break down a pallet. The whole thing can be ripped apart in 3 minutes! No prying or pulling nails out! 
 
I’ve had some readers comment that the nail holes and some of the nail heads will still be visible after you do it this way, there are some great suggestions in the comments for how to remedy these problems. I personally liked the look of the nail heads in the projects I was doing, since I typically use pallets for projects that look better with the distressed look. 
 
 
 

Start by having someone secure the pallet for you. Then use a 9 inch all-purpose blade on a Sawzall to slide in between the planks and saw down those nails! 

Here are links for everything you need for this project. I may receive a small commission if you use this link to purchase. Thanks in advance!



 

Like I said be cautious, and make sure someone is securing the pallets for you! Safety goggles and work gloves are a must! 

Have you found any better ways to rip apart pallets? Let us know in the comments!

What projects have you made with pallets??? Tag us on instragram with the hashtag #llgpalletprojects

Jessica

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60 thoughts on “How to Break Down Pallets Quickly and Easily!”

  1. So useful! Thank you for sharing your these wonderful tips for breaking down pallets quickly and easily at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I'm Pinning and sharing!

  2. I totally have a stack of pallets I need to break down. This is wonderful! Now, maybe I'll actually get around to it. Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday this week!

    1. That's true, Kevin. It was fine for the project I was doing, plus I like the look of the distressed wood and that only added. If you don't want the nails, you'll have to find a different way. 🙂

      1. I’ve done this for years..I use a punch to tap the nails out or you can use a 16 nail they come right out. Some projects I leave them in for a rustic look. I save some for other projects just tap them in for a different rustic look

        1. Oh good! I hadn’t thought of using anything to get them out, but it’s good to know what options are out there! Thanks Chris!

        2. I found an inexpensive air tool that is a nail remover. One pull of the trigger and the nail is gone. Even when the nail points are visible, just one pull and they’re gone. It also can straighten a bent nail to remove it. A very successful tool for about $40.00 from Amazon and Harbor Freight.

      2. The nails do add a rustic touch, but if they don’t want the nails turn it over and bang them out…..leaves a hole then, lolol.

    2. Uhh geez can’t u do any work! Those would pop right out!! I do it all the time my husband takes apart pallets the hard way (until now 🙂 ) and I get the nails out. I’m 4ft 8in tall weighing 92lbs so if I can do it u can! Great tut, thanks!!!!

    3. Nails should be easier to remove once they are cut. Or you can leave them in the pallet wood for character depending on what project you are looking to make.

  3. I love the idea. I made a couple of goat pens out of some old pallets for my grand daughter .
    Thanks for sharing

  4. Crowbar/Utility bar with integrated nail lifter… I use one and fast to dismantle with very very little effort and no nails left neither. It only cost a fiver too

  5. I have been using different methods to break apart pallets. This is a good method but if you want good results you need to pry the boards away from each other or you wasting time cutting wood.. And then the nails..

    1. I think it just depends on what look you’re going for. I’ve done a few projects after cutting the boards this way, and I personally love the way they look with the nails in them. 🙂 A few of the comments above have offered other suggestions too, and I think they’re all great ideas!

  6. To retain more timber without cutting nails I’ve used an old scissor jack to push parts apart….much less splitting wood, takes longer but when you recognise some of the hardwood used in some pallets. Screwfix and other tool shops sell a recking bar with two angled pieces at the business end which are effective and cost about £17.50 when I last looked!

  7. I take a circular saw and cut the boards down the right side and then down the left side. Then I pry the boards from the middle section. However, on some I saw both sides of the center board because I needed short pieces anyway. There’s more scrap but it isn’t as hard on your arms and shoulders.

  8. We actually use a 12 in. Demolition Reciprocating Saw Blade in our sawzall. Both my husband and or I break the pallets down. If I can, you can. It is by far the easiest & fastest way.

    I leave the nail head in I often paint the nails metallic silver or black, I love the rustic look. But if I am going to rip the wood for strips for wood lanterns or whatever and have to remove nail heads, I will use a punch and hammer.

    At first I wood chip into the wood a little but with experience I know have straight cuts so full length pallet wood for coffee tables and large wall art and those reversible snowman scarecrows.

  9. Using a specially shaped screwdriver a pry bar and a hammer i can pull apart a pallet in under 3 mmn and keeping almost 99 percent of wood available and no nails

  10. I think it is better to use screw driver and hammer to pop out the nails. The procedure you explained to break down pallets quickly and easily takes some hard work.

  11. A tool called a cats paw will get under the nail heads. Pry them up a bit and then cut the nail heads off with bolt cutters. The boards will then pop right off. Glue the nail heads back in for the rustic look.

  12. I’m not sure if I get your method right.
    Don’t you still have to take the pallet a little bit apart before you can cut with the saw?
    In the video it looks like there already is a gap between, so the saw can fit in.

    1. Nope, the blade is very thin, so it slides right in between the boards. We didn’t prep the pallet at all. I’m sure there are different types of pallets, but the ones we used didn’t need anything other than what was shown in the video. 🙂

  13. I found it easier to use a circular saw and cut an 1 1/4 inch off each side ( be sure to miss all nails ). Then you only have to deal with the centre. Less split ends as well.

  14. Check out Izzy Swan’s Pallet Pal jig used to lift the boards out.Just slip under board and step on the back end. Lifts the board right out. I build me 1 out of wood and working perfect.Still have to deal with the nails though…or just cut them off .

  15. I just love all the ideas you share it makes things so much easier for those who worry about the nails in the wood first me myself I love the look of the nails in the wood of many of my projects the ones I done I just punch them out with a 16 penny nail. Look at it this way me here were I live I get all my pallets for free people are glad to give them to you so next time you worry about them nails just think of how much you would be paying for lumber if you bought it.so I myself can live with the nail Look for free wood an I have mad things from a simple sign up to a 8×12 foot saw table for my table saw an a work bench so it’s an win win thanks again Lee from Maryland

  16. Look up Pallet Buster. Get one with a pivoting head. I got one and can take a pallet apart in less than a minute. Then you can just remove the nails.

  17. I’ve used this Sawzall method numerous times and it is a good way to disassemble a pallet quickly. And yes, most of the nail heads will be left in the nail hole and visible but you can just tap them out using a tiny screwdriver or a hole punch or even using a bigger nail to tap it out.

  18. I am so glad you posted this!!! I have over 25 FREE pallets just given to me for projects I want to do and after trying to pry then apart for the past 4 days, I gave up! I told a neighbor to come take them for firewood. Busted knuckles and bruised up, cussing and kicking, you name it I did it..lol! After seeing this I could just kick my self..DUH, is what I said, why didn’t I find this sooner! THANK YOU! Now to get back at it The Easy Way!!

      1. oh i forgot if you can’t burn em out try a ten pounds sledge hammer then glue the bits you wanna keep back together keep the kids occupied for hrs😆

  19. Perhaps the guy cutting in the video should have been wearing eye protection as per instructions in the write up.p

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