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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2021
    Location
    Newcastle
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    29

    Default Old hardwood fence posts, maybe railway sleepers

    HI all

    Probably been asked before but I have some old hardwood fence posts, maybe railway sleepers and I was wondering whether you can turn these on a lathe. It is dense and heavy but looks like it may turn out ok when done.
    thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Mooroolbark
    Posts
    428

    Default

    Sure can, some if the old red gum posts come up beautifully.

    Cheers Peter

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    921

    Default

    Definitely. Just take care that it doesnít come apart on the cracks. If it starts making a different sound stop and check.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, South Australia
    Posts
    3,874

    Default

    The older the darker the colour.

    Caution, if old fence posts... some have been coated with preservatives or bug repellent (eg for white ants) that wouldn't be suitable for some uses when turned.

    With railway sleepers there are additional issues, they get a lot of crap (literally) dropped on them, plus grease and oil.... apply the smell test...

    A railway sleeper that is suitable for garden beds may not be suitable for food bowls and utensils.
    Stay sharp and stay safe!

    Neil



  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Oberon, NSW
    Age
    62
    Posts
    13,080

    Default

    'Proper' old, used railway sleepers also often contain small shards of ballast embedded deep in them. Not detectable by metal detector, but very detectable by freshly sharpened gouges.

    DAMHIKT.

    Apart from such risks, so long as the timber isn't badly cracked they should be quite usable.
    I may be weird, but I'm saving up to become eccentric.

    - Andy Mc

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2021
    Location
    Newcastle
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Thanks all
    I have some very strong magnets which were used in 4WD fuel tanks to collect rubbish I will run these over the timber. Apart from that the timber looks solid.If all goes well I will post some pics
    Cheers

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, South Australia
    Posts
    3,874

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Skew ChiDAMN!! View Post
    'Proper' old, used railway sleepers also often contain small shards of ballast embedded deep in them. Not detectable by metal detector, but very detectable by freshly sharpened gouges.
    Yeah.... forgot that nasty aspect, Skew.

    Also, old fence posts end up with grit that works its way deep into cracks, of which old posts have plenty, particularly if they have been lying about on the ground for some time after being pulled.

    One of the few uses I've found for those carbide tipped turning tools is for removing the gritty layers to save my good turning tool steel. Removing the embedded grit and stones from root balls is the other use I make of those.
    Stay sharp and stay safe!

    Neil



  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2021
    Location
    Newcastle
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Thanks Neil
    The posts were vertical with rails attached for the fence, I have cut off the bottom to ensure no dirt etc is in the bits I plan to turn. I will take your advice and get a tungsten setup, I do not want to ruin my Sorby HSS tools.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Prestons Sydney
    Posts
    5,352

    Default yup

    Definitely, however and it might be a big however, you will work for it. As the reason they are sleepers or fence posts is the degree of hardness ,long life, bullet proof features etc. Then as mentioned the other little goodies embedded in the timber, its not for everyone. But I would and I love the challenge as the results can be spectacular.


  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Doncaster East, Vic, Aus
    Posts
    142

    Default Another Yup

    As an added bonus for the original owners I've turned some pens for them from it - now that is how you earn some brownie points.

    Also from where all my mallets have been turned from.

    Cheers, Steve

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