I’d rather do four hours with a chopsaw than two with a sawzall taking pallets apart.

I got my quota this morning, but won’t be much good for the rest of the day.


All told I took apart a dozen pallets this morning, including two really small ones and one eight-footer that used to be the woodshed floor. Mostly junk pine but they always include some nice dense hardwood that are a colossal pain to dismantle but sure are nice in the woodstove.

And at the end of the ordeal, that’s how much there is. We’ll see how much it contributes to the newest tier when I cut it all to stovelengths and stack it tomorrow morning. There’ll also be some substantial time spent knocking nails out.

Right now don’t want to think about firewood anymore. I’m tired and want my lunch.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to I’d rather do four hours with a chopsaw than two with a sawzall taking pallets apart.

  1. Mike says:

    “Right now don’t want to think about firewood anymore.” That’s about how I felt last evening but it wasn’t about firewood, it was about helping someone move. After helping my Bro-in-law move, my whole body hurt. I swear that if you looked up hoarder, there would be a photo of him to illustrate the word.

  2. Judy says:

    Nah, I’m sure it was my mother-in-law.

  3. Norman says:

    Chop- vs recip-: I understand the concept. But…is a Sawzall the best tool for this particular job? There is stuff a recip will do that a circular won’t, mostly involving thickeness and the presence of nails, but now that you have electrons on tap, would a standard 7 1/4 circular saw with a generic “rough and coarse work” blade be a speedier solution perhaps requiring less manual effort for much of the project? I don’t know your process but I’m guessing that the recip is often “pre-chop” prep.

    (Yes, I understand one nail kills the circular blade, those blades are more expensive, etc.but I’m thinking less effort for the bulk of the work.)

  4. Mark Matis says:

    Have you tried that TENS unit on your bad shoulder after a workout such as this?

  5. Joel says:

    Norman, I mainly use the sawzall to cut nails, whenever possible. It’s hard to get at the center supports so there’s also a bunch of wood cutting, but the platonic ideal of pallet dismantlement is to cut through all the nails so it falls apart. Don’t know any tool quicker for that than a sawzall. I do go through a lot of blades, but they come in 5-packs.

  6. Sendarius says:

    Just a quick question about your wood shed:

    Can you get to both ends of the pile?

    Here in Oz, if we leave a wood pile too long, the termites think it is an invitation to party, so we try and practice FIFO – First In, First Out, and always use the wood that has been there longest.

    We also use the “salt the earth” philosophy – dust the floor with ant-killer before we start a new stack.

  7. Joel says:

    We have really voracious ground termites, so we can’t stack firewood in contact with the dirt. But you can thwart them just with a stone floor. My big problem with storing wood long-term has been packrat nests. They get into the stacks and make these horrid foul multi-generational nests that ruin a lot of wood. So this time I tried sealing off the back of the shed entirely by wrapping it with hardware cloth. The theory – unproven – is that rats can get in the front short-term but won’t work their way to the back.

  8. John says:

    Ah, the universe.
    Window to the opportunistic,
    meteor or critter of any nature.
    Away will be found…

  9. Even more fun is taking apart the hardwood pallets with an eye to re-use the lumber. The stuff works great for chicken coops and rabbit hutches, small sheds, pens, fences, etc. Using a prybar and rip claw hammer to get the boards off and the spiral nails out is a sheer pain in the keister, and definitely a young man’s game. Now that I have entered the “my time is more valuable” stage of my life, a trip to the lumber yard yields something good enough, but I am certain those hutches and pens are still standing today if they were left alone, especially since I reused as many of the spiral nails as I could…

To the stake with the heretic!