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Can You Cut Pallets With a Chainsaw? Don’t, Here’s Why

As a homeowner who is looking for ways to cut pallets into smaller pieces, you may be wondering whether a chainsaw would be an option.

While this task can be done with a good old hand saw, you should know that a chainsaw isn’t actually better. In fact, the saw will make a much bigger mess.

Sorry, I can’t help but be pessimistic, but the answer to this question is no, you cannot cut pallets with a chainsaw. 

You can’t get a clean cut as the blade is much bigger. It will just tear the wood apart instead of cutting it.

If you want to make your own wooden boards, then there are other wood pallet cutting tools you can use. 

Check out this blog for more details.

Why wood pallets

Wooden pallets are one of the most common items seen in a warehouse or storage facility.

A wooden pallet is typically made from pine, fir, spruce or hemlock.

Wooden pallets also come with several different types of wood: rough cut, smooth cut and kiln-dried.

The rough or smooth cuts refer to how much sanding has been done on the wood before it is put into use for constructing a wooden pallet; this determines its level of durability.

Rough cutting can be more difficult to work with because they haven’t had as much time for their grain to settle down as well as being less durable than their smoother counterparts because they are often still green when constructed due to not having been dried out fully yet.

Wooden pallets come in many sizes but the most common are 48″ x 40″s, 42” x 42”s and 48” x 48”s.

The width is often dictated by what a manufacturer can fit through its wood chipping machine.

This means that if you have an odd sized project then these pallets may not work out for you.

Why use wooden pallets?

Pallets are often used to make furniture or other useful household items because they are so readily available and the cost of regular hardwood can be prohibitive.

Because it is a lot cheaper than using regular lumber, this is another reason why a lot of people will use the wood from a wooden pallet to make household items.

Wooden pallets are also often used in construction where they are needed to help move or support other materials. Many people will construct simple homes for themselves with the aid of lots of these pallets.

In short, they are very useful and versatile things which come at a very affordable price.

Best pallet for woodworking

Pallets are a popular material for many woodworking projects because they’re readily available, inexpensive, and often in good condition.  

Some pallets have staples or nails that can be problematic; others will have the markings of their previous owners. 

Pallet quality varies widely depending on where you live and what type of project you’re completing. 

For example, if you are building furniture from reclaimed wood, your best bet is to find a high-quality pallet with low levels of moisture content (to prevent splitting) and very few marks from its previous use (to allow for the most options when it comes to design). 

Take a look at this article where I share wood pallet treatment codes for safe cooking and domestic use.

If you want something easy to paint or stain without worrying about pesky details like knots or nail heads protruding through the surface, then look for a pallet that’s been carefully stripped of all its markings and any other potentially problematic portions.

Why would you want to cut a pallet

You’re not going to find a lot of people who would argue that cutting pallets isn’t an excellent way to spend a weekend afternoon.

And if you do, they’re probably just jealous because they don’t have the guts or know-how to get out there and do it themselves.  

So if you’re planning on cutting a pallet or two, don’t blame me when your neighbors start to talk.

There are so many reasons people would want to get a pallet into a desired shape and size. 

Maybe you want to make a back-yard playhouse for your kids and the pallets provide the perfect lumber. 

Or maybe you’re in landscaping and need sturdy wooden planks cut to just the right length. 

In either case, it’s going to take more than some clippers or a pair of garden shears. 

It takes a right cutting tool to get the job done right.

Pallets are made of pine, a hardwood that’s strong but still easy enough on its own to cut with many kinds of saw.

Will a chainsaw do the work?

Can you use a chainsaw to cut pallets?

It’s always a good idea to use the right tool for the job. 

That means that if you’re looking to cut pallets, it would be wise to use a saw with a blade specifically designed for this type of woodwork.  

Although there have been documented instances in which people have used a chainsaw to cut pallets, this isn’t the most efficient tool for the job.

A chainsaw is designed for cutting trees and other large objects.  

Because of its design, a chainsaw won’t be able to cut pallets as cleanly as other woodworking tools are able to do. 

It can also be unsafe trying to maneuver this type of tool around without sufficient training in handling it .

This is why it’s a better idea to use a saw that’s designed for cutting pallets. 

These tools will allow you to cut the wood into smaller pieces without damaging the pallet outlook or breaking up the wood too much.

There are several excellent saws available that can be used for cutting pallets.

Let’s find out.

What saw to use to cut pallets?

I’ve seen some people use chainsaws for cutting pallets, but I never liked it when they did that. 

Chainsaws work great for cutting trees and logs into firewood and things like that, but not so well for cutting wooden boards into smaller pieces. 

I’ve never seen anyone that can control a chainsaw well enough to cut wooden boards into fine pieces without getting the saw stuck in between the planks or messing up how the wood appears.

It also may be a good idea to think about the size of the pallets that you are going to be cutting. 

If you’re going to be cutting wood the size of a pallet, a chainsaw is simply too big and will produce big cuts.

The smaller saws made for cutting wood are more appropriate, and may produce the perfect cut that you need.

Using smaller blades for cutting wood pallets is also a good idea because it is easier to control a small saw than a big one.

Here are examples of saws I’d recommend when working with wood pallets:

  1. Hand saw (serrated) : A hand saw is a fine tool for cutting wood. I personally like the serrated ones that can cut through wood and plastic without much hassle.
  1. Jigsaw : A jigsaw can be very useful when you want to cut shapes and curves into your wood pallet, which is what I recommend. The design of this saw makes it less likely to get stuck in between the planks while cutting, compared to a chainsaw or other saws that have straight blades.
  1. Table saw : This method is for people that are well versed in using power tools, and it’s something that I don’t really recommend. To be honest, I’ve never seen a table saw being used to cut pallets properly. Everyone just uses the saw without taking any precautions whatsoever, and then they ask why their blade gets stuck.
  1. Circular saw : Circular saws are very dangerous tools and should only be handled by experienced people because some are corded. I feel that most of the time a hand or jigsaw will do just fine for cutting wood pallets, so I’d really recommend not using a circular saw unless you know what you’re doing.
  1. Miter saw : Miter saws are great tools for straight and angle cutting, but they aren’t very useful for making curves or shapes into the wood. I’d recommend using a jigsaw over a miter saw, because as far as I know, it’s easier to get smooth cuts out of it.
  1. Reciprocating saw : A reciprocating saw will do the job for you if you have a lot of pallet wood to work with. I feel that all of the time and effort spent on using this tool would be better spent using other methods, but it’s your choice.

How do you cut a pallet without a saw?

Most people don’t know it, but a saw is not the only way to take wood apart.

In fact, there are plenty of other ways to do so that might even be easier and more cost effective.

For those of you who are looking for ways on how to cut a pallet without a saw, here are some different alternatives that you can try:.

1. Pry bar

One way you can cut a pallet apart without using a saw is to use a pry bar. 

While this isn’t the most ideal tool, it will still get the job done and might be quicker than trying to break all of the slats apart with your hands. 

It’s definitely worth trying if you don’t have any other tools available.

2. Hammer and nails

While this method is pretty dangerous, it can actually work really well if you know how to do it correctly. 

Depending on the size of your nails and how many you hammer in, this can be pretty effective when it comes to breaking apart slats. 

Just make sure that you wear safety goggles or some sort of eye protection because if you miss then it could really hurt.

3. Drill with a twist bit attachment

One thing that people don’t often think of is that they can use a drill to take apart a pallet as well. 

While this isn’t the quickest way to do it and it will require you to get close, if done correctly then you can actually pull slats apart with ease just by drilling into the side (make sure that you wear goggles, ear protection and a mask for the dust).

Conclusion

If you are looking for ways on how to cut a pallet without using a saw, there are plenty of different alternatives that might work better than the chainsaw.

In this article we’ve listed some of these methods and given instructions on how they can be used.

Saws are not the only way to cut a pallet apart and won’t cut pallets the way you want.

We talked about other tools that can be used for cutting wood without using a saw, such as pry bars and hammers.

We also mentioned how dangerous it may be if you use circular saws because some are corded; this isn’t something I would recommend doing unless you know what you’re doing.

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