I poured over Pinterest and several Facebook pages that showcase pallet projects. One of my biggest frustrations is haphazard creations that are nothing more than raw pallet boards nailed into some shape or another.
My take is that using pallets is great because it's free material, it's environmentmentally friendly, and it can look great.
But it takes some effort.
Those boards can be rough, and getting enough good useable wood may take several pallets.
Stripping,(I call it cleaning) a pallet is the most tedious part of the process. I don't usually use a pry bar or anything like that because it only breaks the boards. A sawzall will cut between boards and chop the nails easily enough.
If your project will still look good with the nail heads in the boards, for example, a rustic chest, leave them in. But a lot of the time I will tap them out of the wood, and fill the holes before I'm done.
I also use a plane to scrub the top layer on almost every board. Followed up by some sanding, to really smooth out the surface. I don't mind grooves and grains and other irregularities showing in my projects. But I can't stand a board that hasn't been tuned up first.
Plane, sand, then fill those holes and seams. It will look good down the road.
Last tip: wood glue. Use it. Nails are great, but when I join boards, I want them joined for life. A bead of glue and some finish nails will do wonders.
So there you have it. I know every project is different and every person may have a different style in mind. So take my advice with a grain of salt. It's working for me.
I'd love to see some other creations. If you have one, feel free to post a pic and a link in the comments.