summerhouse made from telegraph poles

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fobos8

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Hi all

Later this year I'm going to make this summerhouse



I have a load of long thick telegraph poles that were installed in someone's garden as an assault course/climbing frame. They are very old and smell slightly of creosote albeit you cannot see it. The timber is softwood - not sure which but likely to be some sort of pine.

My wife really wants me to re use them for the summerhouse but I have some reservations. About half of the poles I took out have badly rotted end grain (which I could cut out). I know pine isn't very durable when used outside. The posts, wall plates and braces will all have their end grain cut and so will be succeptable to rotting.

Is there something I could treat the end grain with to protect it forever or is eventual rotting inevitable? I want my kids to enjoy this structure when I'm gone!!

Please give me your comments on the suitability of softwood telegraph poles for this project.

Kind regards, Andrew
 

blackrodd

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I have used telegraph poles in some projects which were specified by a landscape architect friend also utilising old railway sleepers.
The first problem was matching the pole sizes for using in pairs, as they can vary in size as the weight carried.
Normally scots pine or douglas fir, Cut out the rot, and if possible let the new cut end sit upright in a bucket of you're chosen preservative for a day.
When sitting in well drained soil, they will obviously last longer than wet, clay type soil.
I wrap the bottom 700mm in a plastic rubble sack tied round before filling in, in the hope that this will help keep the wet out.
When fitted and set, You then can drill a hole, slanted down, ending below ground, and make a bung to keep the hole clear.
Fill this from time to time with preserver and bung the hole back up, it's like a reservoir.
The older folk, here in sunny devon, have been doing this for years when using second hand telegraph poles.
Sometimes, The older poles can leak the oily, creosote type preserver, when in the sun's rays, so be aware when brushing past etc.
We made some hanging basket, fixed on these sometimes, just to stop people getting closer and grubby.
Telegraph poles are easy to use and work, I like using them, they can look good, and, it's nice to recycle
HTH Regards Rodders
 

n0legs

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Bear in mind splinters from the treated poles can turn septic quickly, damhikt ](*,) .
Old poles are no longer allowed to be used for children's play equipment, jungle gyms, playhouses etc.
 

pitch pine

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Rodders I do like the slanted hole bung idea and periodically filling with preservative. Stored away in the brain for future use. Thanks
 

fobos8

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you can get a product call pole saver. Its a bitumen sleeve that you put around the base of the pole and use a gas burner to shrink it to fit. This guarantees it for 40 years.

How do I go about protecting the end grain at the tops of the vertical poles, the ends of the wall plates (horizontal poles) and the braces (short diagonal poles) shown in the picture?

There is a product called Ensele which can be used as an endgrain preservative but it only lasts 15 years. Once this structure is build I will not be able to recoat any of the endgrain....
 

blackrodd

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I found the pole saver site, very interesting, but noticed the cost out at about £1.oo a post, with a 20 year guarentee.
A plastic bag and some string, somewhat cheaper!
I wouldn't worry too much about rotting above ground, as I read that the telegraph pole, has a life of 25, to 50 years out in the open,
with the base in the ground.
As you're design shows the pole's are out of direct weathering, just apply you're chosen preserver on the fresh saw cut's,
and add preserver every spring and autumn.
I would think that a scots pine/douglas fir pole would be longer lasting, and preferable to a home grown softwood post any day!
Regards Rodders
 

Shed hermit

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Hi fobos8
Looking at your drawing, is the building going to have a concrete slab floor? If so why bury the poles at all. I have done similar things over the years and the worst place for rot is where the post leaves the ground. Why not site the poles on some steel flanges concreted into ground and incorporated into the floor. Have a look at some oak frame car port kits. I used some last year and worked really well on a savage sloping site for a tree house. The other advantage would be you could be a little more choosey on the part of the pole you use. Just a thought, sorry.
 

Mark A

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Would coating the section of telegraph pole below ground with epoxy resin (available from roofing suppliers) help to prevent rot? Or would the impermeable resin only trap moisture at the bottom end of the pole, accelerating the decay?

Mark
 

n0legs

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Just dig a hole and bung them in the ground.
Do you think the electric board worried ?
Answer, no we didn't.
The gpo didn't care either and their poles were a lower grade than ours.
 
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