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Oak reclaimed railway sleepers

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sumo2001

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This is the blurb

Pallet of 24 Reclaimed Oak Railway Sleepers.

The section size of this sleepers will be 250mm x150mm (approximately)

These short lengths of Oak sleepers are perfect for a multitude of landscaping purposes from retaining walls and garden steps.

These sleepers are creosoted.

These sleepers have been stored over the summer months, so could be weathered and dusty however will still be perfectly fit for purpose.

*FREE DELIVERY to mainland UK excluding the Highlands in which an additional charge may apply.
 

AJB Temple

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If they are standard length used sleepers they will be a) vey heavy and b) full of grit and possibly bits of metal. Highly likely to wreck your band saw blades and very difficult to handle on the saw table.

Chain saw or hand saw would be my choice.
 

sumo2001

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There shorts only a metre long was of using an M42 bandsaw blade want to rip into narrower boards for planters
 

mynamehere

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I've cut a few just for garden borders and the smell when cutting was terrible, if I remember right my throat was hurting for a day or so, god knows what kind of carp they were treated with.
The Bandsaw will probably cope okay but wear some breathing protection.

Cheers!

Ferenc
 

Inspector

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Don't do it. Ceosote, even old, is bad to breathe and even with a mask and dust collection you will kick up more down the road and breath it. As already pointed out the sand and gravel imbedded in the wood will do in your blades faster than you can replace them. Even carbide tipped will get wrecked. Use them as is or buy treated dimensioned lumber. Your choice though.

Pete
 

Jelly

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Creosote won't do your plants much good.
If they are creosoted, it doesn't penetrate through, so the outside edges could be cut off, still got to get rid of that though (and it's pretty carcinogenic for humans too!).

However if they're Oak I highly doubt they're actually sleepers (and thus unlikely to be creosoted), as it would exacerbate corrosion of steel.

I was under the impression most genuine sleepers were made of slow grown softwood, hence being pressure treated with creosote.
 

powertools

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Sounds to me that they are offcuts from the ends of full size sleepers if that is the case they will be rubish full of cracks and will not cut down into boards.
 

bjm

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This always sounds like a good idea until you try it!! The problem is that, apart from the hidden debris, you have no idea what hidden stresses you may be unleashing as you cut it and you don't know what the moisture profile across it is. You may be lucky or you may end up with a pile of useless rubbish but can't tell until you try it? As others have said, I'd get something more suitable for the job-in-hand.
 

Sgian Dubh

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My parents were farmers, and my father used to buy old railway sleepers and other large lumps of timber by the lorry load (after Beeching) to turn into fence posts between which was usually strung barbed wire and/or sheep netting. They were cresoted and full of grit, lumps of metal, and other odds and ends that would pretty much instantly destroy saw blades of all types. My father had a simple solution for creating two roughly equal parts out of one big lump which was a home made splitter rigged up to a tractor and it's PTO at back end. It took seconds to split a sleeper once it was put into position. It did, however, generally need at least two people to place the sleeper in the right place, and take off the halved parts, plus it was useful to have someone operating the splitting device.

It was quick and economical, but there was the advantage of plenty of space to work in, and along with the tractor and its splitter device substantial additional agricultural machinery (fork lift, tractors and trailers, that sort of thing) for handling the work. That's equipment that I suspect sumo2001 probably can't access easily; but if he, or she(?) is determined maybe some steel wedges and a sledgehammer might do the trick. The oak sleepers generally rived the most reliably and easiest, but that wood species is well known for that because of the line of 'weakness' in the wood that follows the same orientation as the direction of the medullary rays radiating from the tree's pith. Slainte.
 

ceefax

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I actually tried this years ago with a 14" bandsaw on "green" (but actually a few years old and still seasoning) oak sleepers. It was a complete disaster. The sleepers were 80-90 kg and although the saw would cut them with a 3tpi blade, the stresses in the wood caused a lot of blade grabbing, and trying to move the sleepers smoothly through the saw was almost impossible, even with roller stands on either side. In the end I borrowed a 14" Makita circular saw and cut from both sides, outside on tressles. Not a pleasant task. Having said that the planks I made are still holding up our raised veg beds teen years later....
 

Richard_C

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I thought it was now illegal to sell creosoted sleepers but don't recall where I read it. Also restrictions on where they can be installed. Might be worth some research before spending any £££.
 

TheUnicorn

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I thought it was now illegal to sell creosoted sleepers but don't recall where I read it. Also restrictions on where they can be installed. Might be worth some research before spending any £££.
I know you can't buy creoSote any more (only creoCote) but I assume you can still buy old treated sleepers, I'm pretty sure they had some in a local yard to me when I was looking at wood for garden edging a year or so ago

I put in some oak sleeper edging from new sleepers a couple of months ago, cut with a circular saw first then completed with a hand saw as the depth was too much. I softened the edges with a flap disk on a 115mm grinder, which looks a lot nice than the crisp cuts from the sawmill. The cuts weren't too bad all, much harder was moving the things around, they are heavy!
 

rocketman_k

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creoSote is still available in my area (the Fens) ......to "professionals", minimum quantity 25 litres though
 

Richard_C

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I overstated the 'ban'. Sorry. I remembered it from a long time ago.

It seems that back in 2003 there was a ban on creosote, but in 2017 that was partially lifted for things like stakes, cut end of fence posts and sleepers. As far as I can see though some of the 2003 regulations remain in place - this lifted from "The Creosote (Prohibition on use and marketing) regulations 2003" which you can find on legislation.gov.uk.

The following extracts might help:

Second-hand treated wood
7. Wood that has been treated with a dangerous substance or preparation before these Regulations come into force may be supplied thereafter for second-hand use.

And

Prohibition of use of treated wood
6. Treated wood in respect of which regulation 4(2) or regulation 7 applies may not be used—

(a)inside any building;

(b)in toys;

(c)in playgrounds;

(d)in parks, gardens and outdoor recreational and leisure facilities where there is a risk of frequent skin contact;

(e)in the manufacture of garden furniture (such as picnic tables); or

(f)for the manufacture and use and any retreatment of—

(i)containers intended for growing purposes;

(ii)packaging which may come into contact with raw materials, intermediate or finished products intended for human or animal consumption; or

(iii)any other materials which may contaminate the products mentioned in this sub-paragraph (f).

Reading that, "d" is the most likely use of reclaimed sleepers so I guess you need to do your own mini risk assessment: if you have young children or expect visitors to repeatedly sprawl semi-naked on your landscaping it maybe a no, but for most uses it looks OK.
 
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