As long as you're on my page, I'll share my jargon with you. "Cleaning" a pallet is what I say when I refer to stripping apart a pallet until it's a neat stack of individual boards.
I almost always strip a pallet apart even if the piece I am making is going to be put right back where it started. Reason being, pallets are rarely ever truly squared up. They get put together in a hurry and they are only meant to be functional. It's our job to make it pretty.
My main strategy to clean a pallet is a sawzall with a good blade on it. Slip that blade in between the wood and fire it up. It should cut those nails in half in no time. So to save time, stand the pallet on its side, and cut right along the frame. Flip it over and run the saw down the other frame. All that you are left with is the center frame piece to remove. So get after it.
The other strategy I use is when the end pieces of the slats are so cracked and split that I know I would end up trimming them off anyway. So to save time, lay the pallet on the ground and grab a circular saw. Run the blade close to the 2x4 frame as you cut the slats. 20 seconds later you'll be just about done.
I know the Pinterest boards are full of DIY folks who are just making gardens or a rough piece of furniture from their pallets, and they will tell you to use a hammer and a nail puller to separate the boards.
That's not what I'm doing and it's not what I recommend. You will ruin more wood than you salvage.
Start with those tips to strip down your pallets.
Clean 'em and check out my Pinterest boards if you need an idea of what to create!
Have fun with it. Leave me a comment below. Thanks for stopping by