Pulling nails without heads / pallet recycling

I scored some exceptionally good pallets from a friend, Bob Herres, who saved them but never got around to using them.


They had not been exposed to much weather, so the nails were not too rusted in place. They were also put together with relatively small nails, so they came apart relatively easily.


Nonetheless, a lot of the nails did not pull out when I pried them apart, and of these nails, a good fraction broke their heads when I tried to pull them out with a claw hammer.


My trick for nails like that is to put a vise grip locking plier on them, then put the claw hammer under them and pull.

That way, the nail isn't bent any further, reducing the risk of breaking it.


As long as the vise grip is on tight enough, this pulls the nails out nice and straight without doing too much damage to the wood.


I had quite a stack of these pallets to go through. They were custom pallets for holding 400-pound propane tanks.

Custom sized pallets are the best source of material. They are usually made of higher quality material. But more important, because they are custom, they tend not to get reused. The more times pallet has been used, the more dirt gets ground into the wood from being moved with forklifts, and the more damaged the wood becomes.


Some of these pallet were very clean wood, and planing them, they came out quite nice.

When you start with good pallets and plane down the wood, your pallet wood projects don't have to look like they are made out of crap!


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