Cutting and Fixing Oak Sleepers

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Hi all

I recently purchased 20 reclaimed oak sleepers, all 2.6m long and 170x260mm (give or take) to edge a raised patio down to a lawn about 500mm below. Originally our builder was supposed to be doing the garden and he knew of a blade that would apparently make mincemeat of them that fitted to his petrol disc cutter. However, his idea left when he did..!!

Reading up on them I hear a chainsaw would do the job but leave a bad cut, does anyone have any suggestions??? The cuts only need to be made width ways not length.

And once they'll all cut I STILL need to fix them together. The deepest fix would be 690mm (one laying down, two upright) but do you suggest fixing them all together (with metal rods for example) or each individually (say with timberlock screws)???

Any help would be much appreciated

Thanks :D[/b]
 
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holmslaw

If you're thinking of using a saw blade in a grinder - DON'T. I think this poor bloke use to use the forum, god rest his soul.

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/627085-man-killed-by-improvised-power-tool

Railway sleepers are a rough finish so I can't understand why people want a perfectly smooth cut.

Just use a chainsaw, secure the sleeper, mark your line with french chalk and go for it. Do a few practice cuts first and follow all chainsaw safety advice, they are powerful weapons.
 
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I used a circular saw on ours, allowed for mitering etc at angled corners too. Will need a 200mm+ saw blade though to make it through on a 90deg. cut (assuming sleepers are 6" across the shortest face dimension).

They can be prone to making a chainsaw blunt quickly as they often have embedded grit from their time in service. Again, a circular saw with tct blade wont worry too much about such debris in its path. Just remove any affixed marker pins etc from the cut areas first if necessary.

As for securing them, assuming you get the first on a sound and level bed (soil will suffice in many instances) then adding a layer or two secured to just that below row will be fine. If you want to use them on edge, or higher than a few rows, then sink some support posts in behind then timberlok or similar through the sleeper faces to support posts behind which will be hidden and buried once bed filled. I'd use posts for anything over 2 rows as the effort and cost is minimal, yet it keeps it all together with no risk of any movement - reclaimed oak sleepers can be a little less than perfectly square and can rock or pivot on each others high points.
 

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