1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

big score, so i am now a happy camper!

Post in 'The Gear' started by eernest4, Oct 25, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    603
    Loc:
    ct
    Amazing what you can get 4 free with a computer and the right web site!
    I still can't believe it. I was worried about not having enough firewood for the winter and having 2 actually buy some.


    I just had 2 huge trucks pull up into my drive way and dump 120 hardwood oak palletts for absolutely free, except for 1 in state long distance phone call and then the drivers asked me if they could delever another 2 truck loads on monday, so--- really hard choice here , because I was looking at a pile of palletts 12 feet high and 20 ft in diameter, and wondering where i was going to put them all; so of course , i said yes!!!

    I just finished spending 3 hours stacking them all neatly together into 6 piles of 19 each with a few odd pallets that woundn't interlock together in another stack. So that fills the back yard up
    and if the delever the other 2 truck loads into the drive way on monday, I will fill the side yard up too.

    I may not have to opperate my log splitter much ,this winter, but I will sure have to wear out
    my electric chain saw cutting up all those palletts.

    some has some pretty heafty 4''x4'x 6 ft oak skids on the bottom while all the rest had 2x4x6ft
    oak.

    anyways, now i can spend that money i had tucked away for a cord of wood on a new log splitter,instead.

    prudent financial planning, such as disconnecting the power wires to the oil burner permanently,
    is the key to sucess.
    That alone saves enough to buy 4 new log splitters, every year.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,327
    Loc:
    Silver Spring, MD/ Munising, MI
    Be real careful burning large volumes of pallet wood, even oak 4x4's. That stuff can be really dry and overfiring can happen a lot more quickly than with cordwood. Best bet is to mix it in with splits.

    I've gone through my share of pallets in the past, but I always found that breaking them down was both slower and less fun than cutting/splitting logs. I can't imagine cutting up 240 pallets. Happy sawing.
  3. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    603
    Loc:
    ct
    so right on both counts. very good advice indeed.I've burnt pallet board before and when it is dry you really get a hot fire fast. When it was rained on 2 or 3 weeks before, it dont burn much better than splits.

    I cut up 12 pallets last month,i seem to remember spending about 4 hr sawing but that works out to 20 min a pallett, so i must have taken time out for soda, cigarettes & nature call.

    I remember the last one went a lot faster than the first one.
    yea,240 pallets, I sure got my cutting work cut out 4 me.
    but i gotta cut to heat.
    Daddy's got a fat hungry smoking dragon in the basement.
  4. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2007
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    Chester Springs, Pa
    Sounds like a great score, congrats. Now fill us in how you came about this score.
  5. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,691
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I found a nice strong magnet with a handle on it at Ace Hardware (for the nails, if you use the ash for something).
  6. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    603
    Loc:
    ct
    i bury ash and nails in a hole in the ground. I dig new hole yesterday, after rain when ground is soft and muddy, for future ashes i soon make.
    I already checked out those nails,nothing there i would want to save & try to straighten out and reuse.he,hee.

    ps i just finish paying off my avitor, has 20k miles on it.
  7. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    492
    Loc:
    Far Northern Calif. Coast
    IIRC my time per pallet was 5-10 minutes last time I measured. Here are some things that helped me:

    Start by leaning the pallet against something, and cutting it in two (that is one cut along the center stringer on each side). This gives you two half pallets that are easier to work with.

    Clamp one pallet on top of a black and decker type workmate, use that as your "table" and put the half pallet to be cut on top of that. This lets you avoid bending over much.

    I find that my super fast Bosch jigsaw can be better than the circular saw. A little slower, but less tiring to use. With the circular saw you have to adjust the depth right or the saw guard will get stuck. I wouldn't want to use a chainsaw.

    Remember to get in the habit of checking for nails before each cut.

    They are quite tedious to cut, and you're going to be sick of pallets when you're done, but for a fast, hot fire, they can't be beat.
  8. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,327
    Loc:
    Silver Spring, MD/ Munising, MI
    When I was breaking down pallets I gave up on the circular saw real quick, and moved to the chainsaw. (My jigsaw is not fast.) So much faster with a chainsaw. I think I settled on laying the pallet on a stack of 2 or 3 others, cutting down all stringers (bottom slats also if necessary), and then cutting the stringers to length.
  9. bjorn773

    bjorn773 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    233
    Loc:
    Rockford, Illinois
    I score about three dozen large pallets/crates each spring when my employer's stock of mowers come in. I found a small gas chainsaw to be the best for cutting them up. I tried with a Husqvarna electric saw. Actually it was a brand new saw when I decided to cut up pallets on it's maiden voyage. I hit a stray nail that I didn't see and the chain flew off taking out the tensioner, side cover and a tooth on the chain. Talk about a sinking feeling. Anyway, I have an old Echo 280 I use now. The occasional nail does mangle the chain, but at least not the saw. Speed wise it beats the heck out of a circular saw. Have fun, that is some tedious work. Personally, I'd rather cut cordwood. But free IS free... and delivered to boot!!
  10. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2006
    Messages:
    718
    Loc:
    Bluewater Area, Great Lakes
    Two words: ELECTRIC CHAINSAW
  11. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,522
    Loc:
    Virginia
    My 18V reciprocating saw cuts through them like butter
  12. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Messages:
    339
    Loc:
    East Lansing, MI
    Good score!

    Stack 'em up neatly and then cut the whole stack at once with a big bar, that'll get your cutting time down! And here you thought that the home firewood cutter didn't have a need for a 40"+ bar...
  13. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,127
    Loc:
    Midwest
    I passed by a construction site this summer with a sign advertising 'free' pallets, so I shot home, got the truck and headed back. A few minutes later I had a couple dozen loaded up and headed home.

    Now that it was said and done, that was the most work for the least amount of wood I think I've ever done! My only advise would be to cut them as big as you possibly can to fit in your stove. The slats of almost every pallet I have ever seen were nailed with twisted shank nails that grip practically like screws.

    If you have a 3'x2'x2' stove, you might be able to just cut down both sides of the center stringer, then cut each side in half or thirds and leave it at that. Just chuck that whole piece in your stove. If you wind up pulling every plank off every pallet, you've got way more determination and stamina than me!

    Good Luck!
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    I had to dismantle a few pallets to make the flooring in my woodshed suitable for the new stove length I was cutting to - I tried my Milwaukee Sawzall (AC model) a circ saw and my chain saw. Chainsaw was fastest followed by the Sawzall, but the Sawzall would beat you to death. Definitely I would use the chainsaw to at least do the first dismantling given a large amount of pallets. I'd probably rip down the slats fairly close to the edges to end up with stringers and small chunks of slat wood. I would then look at whether it was likely to hit nails when cutting the stringers to stove length - would depend on the pallet design. If I was getting to many nail hits I'd switch to using the sawzall on the stringers, or possibly try setting up the table saw with a cheap blade.

    Gooserider
  15. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,522
    Loc:
    Virginia
    Unfortunately I run into the "beat you to death" aspect with the Sawzall too. If I hold it tight to the pallet it doesn't jump and goes through it like butter. But it frequently starts that jumping stuff and is annoying. I figured it was just my technique or perhaps my aggressive blade. But my blade is a wood blade so it should be OK. I just need to get more leverage onto it to keep it tight against the wood.
  16. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    What I find to be the problem is that you have so many boards with gaps between them - each board cuts fast once you get the cut started, and lean into the Sawzall enough to keep it tight against the board. Trouble is though that you get to the end of one board and you have to ease off so that you don't punch through the gap between boards, and it starts beating you as you finish the board you are on, and try to get the next board started.

    What might be nice is if there was a "big foot" available that could span the gaps between the boards and keep you from punching through. The little foot that the saw has works great on continuous material, but it seems like anything with gaps is a challenge, the bigger the gap the bigger the problem.

    Trouble is, I don't think there is an easy way to change the foot on a Sawzall - mine has an adjustable depth, but I can't pull the foot off completely - if I could it might not be that hard to create a specialised foot that would do other things better.

    Gooserider
  17. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,327
    Loc:
    Silver Spring, MD/ Munising, MI
    I cut a single pallet in half with the chainsaw the other day; hit funny hidden nails in all three stringers. Was not a time saver when you count in grinding the mangled chain back to some semblance of sharp...
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    I'd never touch the stringers with a chainsaw, just run down the planks an inch or so from the stringers after checking for misplaced nails. That would give me a pile of stringers and a pile of plank scraps. I would then use a "nail embedded wood" demo blade on the sawzall to get the stringers to length.

    Gooserider
  19. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    603
    Loc:
    ct
    oh my gaud----!

    I never thought this post would take off like this!
    Well, I tried electric chain saws & after streching & loosening two different chains on 2 different
    electric chain saws, I gave up on the chain saw idea. Too much time wasted adjusting chain tension & resharpening the chains.

    Now, instead, I use the 6 lb sledgehammer of light pallets, the 12 lb sledgehammer for medium pallets & the 30 lb sledgehammer for heavy duty pallets.

    I put 1 pallet on the ground up side down, so that the 3 runners are facing me & then the pallet I want 2 bust up, upside down on top of it so that the stringers fit between the 3 runners.

    Sometimes, I hit each stringer 1 shot at each runner,& off it flys. other times, I need 2 shots at the side of each runner, to bang loose the stringer. It depends on if I am using the 6,12 or 30 lb sledge.

    Some of the thinner stringers just shatter into flying pieces.---- "COOL" , except once one flying piece hit me in the face. lucky 4 me it was a small piece!

    Billy Katis told me that could happen, but it took 3 weeks of smashing pallets to occur.

    I have all the unbroken pallets inside that I could fit into 3 woodsheds & another 100 outside waiting 2 be rained on, or for me to finish breaking them up to take the pieces inside.
    I took the light wieght ones in & left the 80 lb ones out, too heavy to move,until I break them up.
    Them 80 lb pallets are tough, with 4 inch sprial twist nails so I have to use the 30 lb'er on em
    or a swift driven 12 lb with some zip behind it. The 6 lb' er just bounces off without loosening them spiral nails.


    I have my pallet time down to 4-5 min per pallet, with a 10 min break to rest after each pallet.

    Some times , I skip the 10 minute breaks & do 4 pallets in 20 min & then instead of the 10 minute break,I spend 10 minutes loading up the wheelbarrow with busted up stringers, if stringers are the thin boards that go across the pallet.

    I take them into my nice heated basement wood shed, where I set up the new 10 inch carbide
    black & decker table saw I bought for $104.oo from lowes home improvement. It came with its own stand with wheels on it for easy moving around. Its great,only weights 50 lbs & easy to move.

    The chineese bearings , which usually are low quality on a 100.oo table saw, are what you would expect for a saw in this price range, "junk"!

    So the life of the saw will be determined by time to bearing failure.

    Black & decker does put a 2 year guarantee on the saw though & the way I am using it, I will probably use the warranty before the end of winter.

    Im taking it real gentle with the saw, but I have a huge volume of wood to cut. It zips right thru the stringers but takes almost 1 minute to cut the 4x4's.
    I could probably push the wood thru a bit faster, but I am content to let the saw cut at its own speed , without loading down the rpm's.

    I'm working hard to harvest them pallets, but I hope to have processed every last one before
    christmas.

    Thanks 4 all the advise, but my sledgehammers dont need chain adjustments & sharpening, like a saw, & im getting one hell of a free fat burning workout, to boot!
  20. kolbyTheDog

    kolbyTheDog New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Central Illinois
    I just got my first wood stove and was thinking about pallets as a wood source. I don't have a truck, just a 4 door sedan with a big trunk. I can fit two intact pallets in the trunk - I know this cause I got 2 the other day from the grocery store to use as a storage platform for the real firewood I got delivered the other day.

    Since I am limited on hauling capability, I was thinking about some type of cordless circular saw to break the pallets up that I find on site and toss the pieces in my trunk. Couldn't I just slice through the thin deck boards with the cordless saw - about 36 cuts - and then load those small pieces into my trunk and then load the stringers with all the nails and ends of the deck boards still attached for processing later at home?

    I've never used a cordless circular saw, or even a corded circular saw for that matter. Does anyone know how many pallets I could cut up before the battery goes out? What about a having a corded saw in the trunk along with a long extension cord that I could use to find power on site where the pallets are?

    Let me know your thoughts / experience with trying to break up pallets on site to fit more into a car.

    Thanks!
  21. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,327
    Loc:
    Silver Spring, MD/ Munising, MI
    I can't tell you about a cordless circular saw, but even a corded one can be a pain to use for cutting up pallets. Main problem I've found is that the weight of the saw on the slats makes them bind the blade, so you have to hold it up some while cutting, or make sure you only cut where a stringer will support the saw. Standing them up on end and chainsawing down through the slats is much faster.
  22. sixminus1

    sixminus1 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Loc:
    Coastal NJ
    Looks like this thread hasn't been touched in a while, but, I need to extol the virtues of a reciprocating saw fitted with blades that can handle wood with nails in it. I have a Porter-Cable "tiger saw", but they're just casually referred to as Sawz-all.

    This thing *eats* pallets, and I never worry about nails (just clean them out with all the ash).
  23. kolbyTheDog

    kolbyTheDog New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Central Illinois
    I found another use for one of the pallets I had emptied of firewood: Political Sign Holder! I live across from a corn field so it gets pretty windy in my yard - this is holding my Ron Paul sign up nice and proud! I just removed the top and bottom stringers off the ends and screwed them together with some 1 inch screws to the center rail. I added the solar powered landscape lights to keep the light shining 24/7! :)

    Attached Files:

  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,691
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Did I mention that a powerful magnet with a handle sold at hardware stores will filter out those nails if you want to use those ashes.
  25. boostnut

    boostnut Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Messages:
    216
    Loc:
    central IL
    kolbythedog, where are you from in central IL?
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page