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...... ..... .....reclaim timber from old pallets

This is actually a copy and paste of reply that I made in a thread in the feather room section. I thought it too good a set of tips to be lost in another section, so I have posted it here I've also added a tip about marking out centre lines on planks and other pieces of timber.

Reclaimed Pallet projects are usually far from straight forward; I should know as over the years I've broken down over 1000 pallets for my various DIY escapades and projects.

First of all pallets can be difficult and time consuming to strip down. There are various grades and quality timbers used in making pallets, from knotty almost useless pieces right through to superb high quality hard wood.

If you know a welder/fabricator, get them to make you one of these:

Here is mine: It is based on the original idea of fellow OTG member Dave NE, and it is about the most useful, quick, easy to use, and the best design of pallet reclaimation bar that I have ever come across and used myself.

The handle is 1 metre long; the steel I used to make it is 40 mm X 12 mm rectangle bar. The head is†welded at an angle of 45 degrees to the handle, the fork tine length is 75 mm (3 inches,) and the gap between the forks is 110mm (about 4 & 1/4 inches).

I've made a couple of additions to Dave NE's basic design.

I spilt a section of scaffold pipe and welded it onto the head to make a rolling fulcrum; this reduces the damage to the pallet bearer and so you have another decent piece of undamaged usable reclaimed pallet timber:

I have also made and welded on a hand/ knuckle protector from 12 mm diameter round steel bar; I can get just a little bit over excited and enthusistic when swinging on crow bars, pry bars, pinch bars and levers, etc. and this has saved me from injuring my hand on a few occasions:

Pallet Reclaimation bars will be available to buy from Cargo Cycles from mid november onwards .... ..... pm me for prices and shipping.

Now you have your pallets stripped down, it is time to remove the nails. A lot of pallets are made using ribbed or spiral nails and these can be extremely difficult to remove; perseverance and perspiration will win through, all that is required is time and effort and a good claw style crowbar:

A good tip is to have a tin of brightly coloured paint to hand. If you are unable to remove a nail, or snap it off in the timber, mark it with the paint. This will help you to spot it when sawing the timber, and you'll not ruin a saw blade. It will also make it more visible when you are handling the timber and so you can see it before ripping a gaping, bdooly, and painful gash in your hand on a protruding sharp rusty nail point... (been there, done that!)

By now you should have a nice large pile of de-nailed, reclaimed pallet timber; time to think about your project and what you want to make.

Sketch it out on a piece of paper, and use only one unit of measurement: inches, centimetres, millimetres, etc. and stick with them. I am an engineer and I work in mm. So 1.2 metres (m) or 120 centimetres (cm) is 1200 mm.

With your basic plan now on paper select the timbers for each section; side walls, ends, roof, top, lid, etc. and sort the timbers into piles for each.

When marking out the timber use a pencil and if possible only one tape measure, rule and square. Measure twice and cut once; it pays dividends in the long run.

Tip; most panel and mitre saws have a standard "square" (90 degrees) and mitre (45 degrees) built into the handle for quick marking out. Just butt the saw's handle up against the timber and run the pencil down the back edge of the blade. In this photo I have positioned the saw on the left in the "square" (90 degree) position, and the saw on the right in the"mitre" (45 degree) position.

Another tip for when working with reclaimed pallet timber (and for marking out other woodworking jobs around the house) is this:

Get a decent peice of timber with at least one straight edge, and carefully mark the centre out with a biro.:

Then half the distance between the centre line and the end of the piece of wood:

Using a saw place a small notch on the end of each line:

Then you can use this template to mark out the centre of a piece of wood without having to measure it, place the two outside notches on the edges of you plank and mark it with a pencil, and then repeat this operation further along the plank:

Then using a straight edge, join the two marks to get the centre line:

You can also use the end corners of the template to make equal distance lines on a piece of wood for either sawing down, or marking out equal distance screw holes, etc.

Where ever possible, cut your timbers using a mitre box. These are inexpensive, this one came from B&Q and included the saw for only £4.99

Without a doubt always use screws for final assembly, by all means hold the frames together with nails as you assemble up, but then screw it all down to make a pukka job. Always countersink the screw heads, it makes a better job, and it saves you from catching and ripping your clothes on them at a later date. Yesterday I bought a box of 200 zinc plated, †size 10 x 2inch screws for £1.80; try screwfix, toolstation or B&Q tradepoints for the best prices.

When you have your project completed, you will need to preserve it. Last month I got approx. 4 gallons of water based Cuprinol from Norwich Freecycle. The Cuprinol was various different colours and so most of it got mixed together to make a sort of reddish mid brown. One trick that I have learnt with the first coat of Cuprinol on exterior wood is to mix it 50-50 with builders PVA (5 litres @ £4.99 from B&Q tradepoint) and brush it on. Leave it in a covered dry place for a few days and then re-coat with neat Cuprinol .... ... you will have†a finish that lasts and looks good for years.

We are starting to make small hay racks for the paddocks out of old pallets! I'll get some pics up (along with others promised!) very soon! Pete met a chap a few weeks ago who built his entire black of stables, tack room and feed store out of old pallets!  

Must have taken him forever....

My next reclaimed pallet timber project will be to cover a 1000 litre capacity bulk liquid container to help make it blend into the garden a little better. It will be connected to the guttering down pipes from the garage to collect rainwater, so we will be more than ready for next year's hosepipe ban.


i,ve made numerous sections of garden fencing over the years using stripped down pallets and soaking them in an old bath filled with creosote,can't beat them

Another reclaimed timber that I like to use for projects is tanalised roofing tile battens (or lathes where I come from). Roofing contractors often welcome me helping myself to the piles of timber destined for the skip.

Pallets are great we have made sheep/calf pens  fences even a shed using them for walls, there is a very good web site about using them for these things but I will have to find it again. We also get plastic ones which are great for putting on the ground and fences

love your pallet tool just might have to make one.

Found it google "palletfence"

i made one of those tools earlier this , iuse it for work stripping battens off slate roofs, just the job
Dave NE

I like the knuckle guard Gareth and the cut off scafolding tube, good luck with your business, cheers Dave NE

Just remembered this old tool we used for pulling nails out of pallets


got one of them myself, handy tool

love it

just come across this while surfing the net tryed the website but can not find the pallet buster. are you still making them? if yes Please sell me one
PM me
ps i joined only so i could get this item but now that i'm here wow this site is BBBRRRIIILLLLLL

Yes be careful its very addictive I've found hope you enjoy

Thank goodness you said that Shelia.

Re: love it

shella wrote:
just come across this while surfing the net tryed the website but can not find the pallet buster. are you still making them? if yes Please sell me one
PM me
ps i joined only so i could get this item but now that i'm here wow this site is BBBRRRIIILLLLLL

Hello Shella

Yes, I still make the the Pallet buster bar, but I am out of stock at the moment: However, don't worry! I can make another batch of them very quickly.

You will not have access to PM's until you've made a few more posts. But my business mobile number is; 07758 786036†call me or text at your convenience, and I'll ring you back so you won't incur too big a whack on your phone bill.

Yuo know what mate, when you make another batch put one in for me would you, I have found a place that collects pallets for cash but all the ones with a couple of broken slats he bins so there is plenty of good usablr timber there still and should be easy to collect.

Pilsbury wrote:
Yuo know what mate, when you make another batch put one in for me would you, I have found a place that collects pallets for cash but all the ones with a couple of broken slats he bins so there is plenty of good usablr timber there still and should be easy to collect.

I'll make a batch of Dozen; 4 of each of the 3 sizes that I offer at the end of this week .... it's not as though they will take up acres of room if I have to hold them in stock for a few weeks, and it is getting towards the traditional relaimed pallet garden project season

I am now offerering 3 models of Reclamation Bar, and I will be opening an ebay shop this weekend so that you may purchase these bars.

The design of these reclamation bars has now been registered and copyrighted exclusivily to me, with all rights reserved

Top to bottom:

Top. Heavy duty double ended pallet reclamation bar complete with a 2 inch wide head, and 4 inch wide head, a 1 metre long handle with two hand protectors.

Middle. Super heavy duty Standard single head pallet reclamation bar, 4 inch head, and 1 metre long handle with single hand protector.

Bottom. Heavy duty Roofers tile batten/lathe removal bar. 2 inch wide head, 50cm handle with single hand protector.

To give you some idea of the size, here is Lois holding a double ended 4+2 Pallet reclamation bar.


Pallet Buster

please where on ebay what is you shop name we seamed to missed comunications when i tryed my luck at getting onelast time
now your on ebay selling it i think thats fantastick good luck

Right, I have the ebay shop sorted, but I've not gone live with it just yet. The reason being courier companies ..... it is turning into a veritable nightmare dealing with any and all of them as I try to open an account. So for the time being I can only offer my apologies regarding this situation; I hope to have this matter completely resolved during the mid to latter part of next week.

Here is a quick vid of the new double ended pallet reclamation bar in action;

This morning I have at long last sorted out the issues with the courier companies, and all of the problems that their incompetent call centre staff have caused me. The shipping accounts have now been activated, and all those that have contacted me about Pallet reclamation bars will be emailed by me with the relevant details in the next 24 hours. All I can do is humbly apologise for the problems that the courier companies have caused regarding this.

On an up beat note, I have recently been gathering up abandoned pallets from all over Norwich, and most of these I have now stripped down to reuse the timbers. I have also entered the Pallet Reclamation Bars into the Barclay's Bank "Take one small step" competition for small businesses, and my entry can be viewed here:

I have used some of these reclaimed to timbers to start covering over the 1000 litre bulk water container that we have connected to the guttering so that rain water can be stored to irrigate the garden. Over the next few weeks I'll be making some "Hook-on" flower planters to hang from this container to help hide it, and provide a few more square feet of planting & growing space in the garden.

I have nearly completed making the large stepped 3 tier vegetable planter that will occupy a space adjacent to our veg plot. I've just got to finish panelling the sides and back, and then give it a coat or two of preservative before filling it with drainage stones; riddled from the soil from the heap at the bottom of the garden, and then placing this cleaned soil on top of the stones ready for some fast growing salad plants.

The base tier is: 1.5m L X 1.5m W X 0.3m H (or about 60"' X 60" X 12")

The middle tier is: 1.0m L X 1.0m W X 0.6m (or about 40" X 40"" X 24")

The top tier is 0.5m L X 0.5m W X 0.9m H (or about 20" X 20" X 36")

In what little spare time that I have (work, gardening, plywood & pallet projects, Polo, OZ exercising & training, etc.), I am designing a reclaimed pallet timber garden bench that folds open into a picnic table and back again (full details & photos to be posted in the very near future).

Is your shop and running yet Gareth?  Would like an idea on price...

The double headed Pallet Bars are £45 each plus £11.50 P&P (2-3 working days)


i wish you all the best in the Barclay's competition

I have been extremely busy stripping pallets today, reclaiming some where in the region of 1000 metres of planking and stringers this morning. Lois is becoming a little fed up with the back garden looking like a timber yard, but as I have told her "you have to break a few eggs to make omelettes" or in this case strip a lot of pallets to obtain the timber to make planters, panel a bulk liquid tank, make a chicken tractor, etc.

While I was doing this Lois started to paint the inside panel surfaces of the 3 tier planter were the soil will touch with black Bitumen paint, and then she painted green Cuprinol onto another 16 planks for the Bulk liquid container. This will require 18 planks each side or 72 in total for the sides and only 25 have been fitted so far. These planks are currently the off-cuts from the planking for the planter as I am trying to optimise every linear metre of timber that I can.

After denailing several pallet stringers, I got on and made the rear framework for the planter; 44 cut outs for the halving joints in all, and another 12 for the long bottom frames.

Yes, I know the framework is standing on it's side while the glue dries. I'll be diagonally panelling over the framework with reclaimed pallet planks tomorrow:

The inside of the panels coated with bitumen, note; the gap in the panels is to allow free drainage over the filler stones between the sections;

OK, I see from the stats, that this tread is getting around 25-30 hits per day.

I currently have 25 Double headed Pallet Bars in stock and available for shipping, and will be making another 25 this week. They are £45 each plus £11.50 P&P. I can be contacted regarding these bars by either calling or texting my mobile 07758 786036 (don't worry about the cost of the call as I'll call you straight back), or by emailing me;


bar arrived, both ends work very well. broke three pallets up quickly when I got home. no real energy expended compared to a crow bar and hammer will get some more pallets from work tomorrow and give it a real work out.

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