Nothing is more closely associated with “upcycling” than the lowly, splintery shipping pallet. You can get them for next to nothing and turn them into sweet boxes, benches, light stands, or put the wood towards hundreds, nay, thousands of other projects. Here’s how to pull one apart without ending up in the ER.

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Jim Ether’s method requires just three tools: a hatchet, a hammer, and a Sawzall. You could probably swap the hatchet with a crowbar if you’re so inclined. Rather than rip all the boards out one at a time, Ether shimmies the shorter horizontal boards off the supports just enough to fit the blade of the Sawzall in. Cut those nails and you’re golden, no mess no fuss.

It’s a simple trick, but if almost-free furniture is your bag, this is bound to save you lots of time and more than a few injuries. Let us know how your wall-mounted whiskey shelf turns out.

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