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  1. #1

    Default Railway Sleepers

    Gday got given some railway sleepers today, Id love to make something great out of them rather than them get used as garden edging. Any one got any ideas? (Length 9 ft)

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    Be aware that they will/ maybe full of sand and will destroy saw blades. As a veg garden edge you may find that they have been treated in creosote which is now banned but as a flower garden edge they may be ok.

    Mike

  3. #3

    Default Railway Sleepers

    Quote Originally Posted by groverwa View Post
    Be aware that they will/ maybe full of sand and will destroy saw blades. As a veg garden edge you may find that they have been treated in creosote which is now banned but as a flower garden edge they may be ok.

    Mike
    Thanks, I have since pressure washed them came up pretty clean. Not sure if we used Creosote in Australia on our sleepers, but Im not 100% sure.

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    I remember back in the 1980's using sleepers for all sorts of landscaping, and prior to any installation creosote was used on every sleeper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cava View Post
    I remember back in the 1980's using sleepers for all sorts of landscaping, and prior to any installation creosote was used on every sleeper.
    Plus they used to use asbestos brake pads on the trains and many are impregnated with the dust
    Neil
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    Yup and if you breathe air you inhale all those carcinogenics, natural or man made.

    A bit of creosote on a sleeper on the edge of your garden bed poses less health risk to you then crossing the street barefoot. Bituminous tar is creosote, different consistancy but exactly the same stuff.


    I wouldn't eat off them or use them for food prep... and hey the crapper on a train used to be a hole through the floor... but don't be paranoid about the risk factors either. Dress the outside 1/4" away and any treatment previously applied will be gone

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    Quote Originally Posted by dai sensei View Post
    Plus they used to use asbestos brake pads on the trains and many are impregnated with the dust
    I had post prepared before saying just that, and I thought "nah, they'll think you're para" so I didn't post it

    The risk of creosote may not be as bad as you think for leeching in a garden. I did quite a bit of research 18 months ago when my vege garden was under construction. Apparently creo doesn't leech out of the timber very much and the amount of take up by plants is minimal, so kind of a 3/5 of 5/8 of SFA situation. Keep the plants about 30cm away from the sleepers.

    And as John says, it doesn't penetrate very far into the timber, esp hardwood like Ironbark.
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    Heaps of stuff you can make out of it, google is your friend.

    I'll have to agree with other posters though, would never use railway sleepers for anything other than around garden beds, for what they are worth compared to the value of my health, machinery and time I don't see the benefit of it.

    However since you've already got them I do suggest getting a metal detector before sending it through any machine, if you've watched any videos or seen how they get removed i'd be surprised if you don't find something in them. Running a slab of timber with some nails in it is depressing, hitting a rail spike that has snapped inside... would hate to imagine what that'll do to a thicky.

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    Well I guess if you can ascertain an absence of nails, spikes etc, then all the potential nasties will be on or embedded in the surface. So rather than thickness or joint off the outer 6-10mm skin, if you could somehow run it through a bandsaw which will not turn the outer layer into dust (asbestos fibres) or have to go through any embedded grit etc.

    Having said that - I know how much these suckers weigh - it might be tricky getting them through a band saw.
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    Hit them with a pressure cleaner.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by John.G View Post
    Hit them with a pressure cleaner.
    I did give it a go, they come up nice. Not sure what Im going to do now though, everyones made some good points

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    I think that they would make absoleutly faaaaaabuuulooous pallets
    Ken

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    No ... that's a coffee table !! the sleepers would make great pallets

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