Protecting oak sleepers

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Westwood

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Not quite sure where to post this but here goes.
I'm about to build retaining walls of about 800mm high with 2.4 metre long lengths of oak sleepers along two sides of my timber log cabin garden building. Bought half a dozen sleepers last week at auction and see that a couple of them show signs of woodworm. i.e. exit holes. No sign of frass so perhaps this is not an active infestation. Apologies if this has been covered before but what do you suggest I treat the sleepers with, if anything ? Local builder suggests creosote but I thought that was not so widely available now. Or on the naughty list, or both. Unlikely that I or others will have any direct contact with the sleepers, they are being installed to retain surrounding higher level lawn and topsoil, and to provide a clear maintenance and access to the building. Hope that' s clear ?
 

TheUnicorn

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TheUnicorn

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I believe the proper creosote will kill your grass, not sure about the stuff they now make.
not very impressed with creoCote (creoSote being a thing of the past), horrible messy stuff to work with, pure liquid so goes everywhere, environmental warnings all over it so panic stations over every drop that goes awry. More importantly, definate signs of greening from algae a matter of months later.
 

MARK.B.

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I still have a 25 litre drum of the proper stuff , fence posts and the like get a dunking or two and as we have a high water table it helps give a longer life. In a former life i was involved in the clearance of a factory that had major fire damage , they made all sorts of stuff from turps to creosote and other stuff. When i pop my clogs they will still find a good sized stash of -Turps-meths-proper turpentine etc all savaged intact from damaged packaging. My Boss made a fortune selling on the Stuff in 45 gallon drums :) ohh those were some happy days when the perk's of the job made up for all the crappy days.
 

pidgeonpost

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Creosote is fairly nasty stuff, but so are some of the other alternatives which are also vastly more expensive.
CreoCote is a rather poor substitute for it in my experience. It seems that creosote is still available if you are a 'professional user' or are able to find a friendly one who will order on your behalf from Creosote Sales
Before it was banned from general sale I used to make it go a bit further by mixing it with old engine oil (clutches pearls in horror).
 

Westwood

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Thanks for replies so far guys. Think I might avoid creosote based on those. Wondering whether i can get bulk tins 5 litres of other compounds, like the one you mentioned Unicorn. i see that on Amazon - thanks for the link- but seems they may not post to me - I live on an island. I guess I'm really after something to deal with the woodworm rather than a long term preservative
 

Dave Moore

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The
I believe the proper creosote will kill your grass,not sure about the stuff they now make.
[/QUOT
The proper creosote is thick like thick oil and is watered down with spirit if you can still get it. On our local steelworks it’s distilled from coal and is like treacle.
 

Jacob

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Leaving wood lying around on the ground permanently wet is not conducive to longevity, even with preservatives. I'd accept the short life or use stone/concrete. A few old kerb stones?
 

Rorschach

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I use old engine oil on outdoor wood, not sure even that would last that long with constant ground contact though.

"Real" creosote though was pretty good. The wooden frames inside our greenhouse are in constant ground contact and are 20-25 years old. Before being fitted they were soaked for weeks in a bucket of creosote, still sturdy and no signs of rot, never been treated since either.
 

Puggers

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We were looking at doing something similar but were concerned about longevity and the agro’ of having to replace and so have opted to install gabions instead.
I love the industrial look and the test one I loosely installed blended surprisingly well with the stone path, small gravelled area and trees/bushes.
Work hopefully starts in earnest in the spring.
 

TheUnicorn

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Thanks for replies so far guys. Think I might avoid creosote based on those. Wondering whether i can get bulk tins 5 litres of other compounds, like the one you mentioned Unicorn. i see that on Amazon - thanks for the link- but seems they may not post to me - I live on an island. I guess I'm really after something to deal with the woodworm rather than a long term preservative
sorry to here about issues getting it shipped to you, but it isn't anything that special, just a fairly generic woodworm treatment, I'm sure your local merchants will sell something similar? just check that it suits external use
 

pidgeonpost

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Some of the 'oak sleepers' I've seen for sale on Facebook Marketplace look to me like just sawn oak. The genuine article used to be very heavily pickled with creosote and seemed almost indestructible. At our last house we inherited a blacksmith's leg-vice which was bolted to a length of sleeper sunk in the ground. I've no idea how long it had been there, but 16 years later I dug it out as we were building an extension. There was no sign of decay so I planted it again closer to the garage. There used to be an old local man who used sell them as gateposts or rip to whatever size you wanted.
 

thetyreman

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you could try burning the oak where it touches the ground as an alternative, it's what they do in japan and works well for them.
 

Skala

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Not quite sure where to post this but here goes.
I'm about to build retaining walls of about 800mm high with 2.4 metre long lengths of oak sleepers along two sides of my timber log cabin garden building. Bought half a dozen sleepers last week at auction and see that a couple of them show signs of woodworm. i.e. exit holes. No sign of frass so perhaps this is not an active infestation. Apologies if this has been covered before but what do you suggest I treat the sleepers with, if anything ? Local builder suggests creosote but I thought that was not so widely available now. Or on the naughty list, or both. Unlikely that I or others will have any direct contact with the sleepers, they are being installed to retain surrounding higher level lawn and topsoil, and to provide a clear maintenance and access to the building. Hope that' s clear ?
There are rural traditions where fence posts were charred at the base to protect from fungus/rot.
 

Jameshow

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last ones i bought were 250 x 125 I think, but I've seen 1.2 lengths described as sleepers too

They were probably the genuine item!

Did they have with the track fixing holes!

Rather than sso- sleeper shaped object!

Cheers James
 
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