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Re-sawing old sleepers


trigger_andy
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From past ventures with sleepers, i can tell you that before they where laid on any rail way they where treated just like telegraph poles and that was being soaked in large vats of creosote for up to 3 years depending on timber species, and thats before they had decades of oil spilt over them from all the old steam trains, if they where cut and went in to any property the smell of oil and creosote would be present and would vastly increase as the temp rose when the stove was lit, Going back a few years when i worked in a sawmill we cut some 12ft 10"x10" larch that we delivered to a BT or Telecom depot as it would of been called in the early 80s, these lengths of larch where unloaded and dumped it do a very large covered tank of creosote for 2 years before they went to be erected for a trial of a new style telegraph pole,, if i was you Andy i would stay well clear of the reclaimed sleepers and just go and buy new oak sleepers and cut then up far safer as i can just see the old ones being a massive headache for you. 

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32 minutes ago, richyrich said:

I seem to remember in local paper-  bloke got cancer- blamed on creosoted mantle piece.. A few years ago, so might have remembered it wrong..either way- agreed.💀

My plan was to cut to a depth the creosote did not penetrate and just have fresh timber. 

 

I think I'll try one anyway, just for sheets and giggles. :D 

 

Even if I killed a band per Sleeper it would be worth it I think.

 

£22 for a 2.4m Sleeper. If I get clean wood in a 'Mantle' size Id cut the Sleeper in two and sell them for £150-£200 each. If I factor in a band either completely knackered (£35) or a sharpen (£10) then Id still be quids in. 

 

Just musing the now.

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4 minutes ago, spuddog0507 said:

From past ventures with sleepers, i can tell you that before they where laid on any rail way they where treated just like telegraph poles and that was being soaked in large vats of creosote for up to 3 years depending on timber species, and thats before they had decades of oil spilt over them from all the old steam trains, if they where cut and went in to any property the smell of oil and creosote would be present and would vastly increase as the temp rose when the stove was lit, Going back a few years when i worked in a sawmill we cut some 12ft 10"x10" larch that we delivered to a BT or Telecom depot as it would of been called in the early 80s, these lengths of larch where unloaded and dumped it do a very large covered tank of creosote for 2 years before they went to be erected for a trial of a new style telegraph pole,, if i was you Andy i would stay well clear of the reclaimed sleepers and just go and buy new oak sleepers and cut then up far safer as i can just see the old ones being a massive headache for you. 

Yes, most likely correct. 

 

Still, I'll try one out so I know myself and see whats what. Id be curious to see how deep creosote can penetrate. 

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1 minute ago, trigger_andy said:

Yes, most likely correct. 

 

Still, I'll try one out so I know myself and see whats what. Id be curious to see how deep creosote can penetrate. 

Most will have it nearly all the way through thats why they got left soaking for so long, but one thing you must remember Andy is back when these sleepers where laid and like many many other things in that era is they where made to last unlike the shite we have today, cut one and then cut a piece of it and take it in your own house near the stove and just see what happens ??

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There

are some untreated exotic hardwood sleepers out there. They can be cut and planed with little more effort than oak etc.

Hard to get now though. Only came across them once myself. It was a dream cutting them compared to treated. They were iroko if I remember correctly. I got them through Strata group in Derry

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Just now, spuddog0507 said:

Most will have it nearly all the way through thats why they got left soaking for so long, but one thing you must remember Andy is back when these sleepers where laid and like many many other things in that era is they where made to last unlike the shite we have today, cut one and then cut a piece of it and take it in your own house near the stove and just see what happens ??

Ive never cut into an old Sleeper before so I bow to those who have. But Im still curious to see if thats true with my own eyes. I get that something lighter like diesel could travel up the xylem (or whatever the correct word is) and contaminate the timber but creosote being so viscus Id imagine that it would not travel far. 

 

There is a very interesting article on whether to soak wood chunks for smoking on the BBQ or not. Although its over a much shorter time its a very good read. Especially if you like to cook on the BBQ. :D 

 

AMAZINGRIBS.COM

There is no need to soak wood before cooking with it. Water doesn't penetrate wood. That's why they make boats from it...

 

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9 minutes ago, Conor Wright said:

There

are some untreated exotic hardwood sleepers out there. They can be cut and planed with little more effort than oak etc.

Hard to get now though. Only came across them once myself. It was a dream cutting them compared to treated. They were iroko if I remember correctly. I got them through Strata group in Derry

Very cool video! Very nice haul of timber as well. Is that you in the video? Any updates on the Greenhouse? 

 

Funnily enough the sleepers looked very much like that. I just assumed they'd be coated in creosote, perhaps they where not. Anyway, all sold now. Within a space of a day, and they had over 100. So perhaps they where untreated. :/

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1 minute ago, trigger_andy said:

Very cool video! Very nice haul of timber as well. Is that you in the video? Any updates on the Greenhouse? 

 

Funnily enough the sleepers looked very much like that. I just assumed they'd be coated in creosote, perhaps they where not. Anyway, all sold now. Within a space of a day, and they had over 100. So perhaps they where untreated. :/

Not me, don't know the guy at all. I found him on you tube. 

As regards updates on the greenhouse I'm fairly sure he has done a few more videos. Search "kris Harbour natural building"

You'll know from a distance if they're creosote treated by the smell, if you're not sure, cut an inch or two into one and then give it a sniff. Unmistakable. penetrating, bitter and headachy odour. Or just handle them without gloves and wait to see if yer skin starts to burn that evening! 

Have you pics of the sleepers?

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Just now, Conor Wright said:

Not me, don't know the guy at all. I found him on you tube. 

As regards updates on the greenhouse I'm fairly sure he has done a few more videos. Search "kris Harbour natural building"

You'll know from a distance if they're creosote treated by the smell, if you're not sure, cut an inch or two into one and then give it a sniff. Unmistakable. penetrating, bitter and headachy odour. Or just handle them without gloves and wait to see if yer skin starts to burn that evening! 

Have you pics of the sleepers?

I'll dig out his vids. I have a few days to kill off-shore waiting on job.

 

I dont have a pic no, I was gonna get some to post here but she's since pulled the add as they are all gone. :/ 

 

I love the smell of real creosote though. :D Got 40 liters sitting in the garage, lovely stuff. :D 

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