Cutting Railway Sleepers
Cutting railway sleepers is a popular DIY gardening project, and with the right tools and instructions, it can be a straightforward process. This article from building material supplies Builders Marketplace will provide an in-depth guide to cutting railway sleepers for garden use, helping you understand all of the essential steps and necessary tools.
Whether you are looking for a planter box, retaining wall or just want to add character to your garden, this guide has everything you need to know about cutting railway sleepers. You can also take a look at our handy guide on garden designs with railway sleepers if you need some further inspiration for your upcoming project, or use our cutting service if you don’t have the correct tools on hand!
How to cut Railway Sleepers
Cutting railway sleepers is generally more straightforward than it looks, provided you follow the correct steps.
Railway sleepers are typically made of hardwood, and it is recommended that you use a circular saw or a chainsaw, aswell as wearing appropriate safety equipment such as work gloves and dust masks. Additionally, when working with a wooden railway sleeper, it’s important to keep the blade sharp and cool. This can be achieved by regularly changing out blades during longer projects, as using too dull of a blade will cause more splintering of the wood while cutting which could lead to further issues.
Steps for cutting sleepers with a circular saw or chainsaw
- First, select the appropriate blade or chain for your saw. Using one that isn’t suited may cause damage to the sleeper itself and can be dangerous.
- Be sure that all safety guards are in place and wearing protective gear such as goggles and gloves is advised
- Make sure that you have made the correct measurements of where you want to make the upcoming incisions
- Make straight and accurate cuts, slowly. A square angle ruler is going to be helpful for making sure you are cutting the correct area
Finishing cut Edges
It’s important that all sharp edges are filed or sanded down in order to prevent splintering and other potential hazards. Plus, it also looks a lot better!
In order to ensure that cut edges on railway sleepers are finished properly, you should make sure you are stocked up on sanding paper. Depending on the type of material being cut however, different tools may need to be used in order to achieve a smooth finish with minimal effort.
Tools Needed for Cutting Sleepers
Cutting railway sleepers is a task that even though is straightforward, it does require precision and accuracy. To ensure a successful cut, it is essential to be equipped with the right tools for the job. Here are the tools that we would recommend for cutting sleepers:
- Circular saw or chainsaw
- Levels and measuring tools such as a square angle ruler and a spirt level
- Safety gear such as goggles, gloves and a dust mask
- Sanding paper
Safety Considerations when Cutting Railway Sleepers
As cutting railway sleepers generally requires the use of power tools, it’s important that the proper safety precautions are taken in order to protect the user, and to keep the working environment safe.
The most common tool used for cutting railway sleepers is a chainsaw or a circular saw, although other saws such as reciprocating saws may also be suitable depending on the user’s experience level. When using a chainsaw, it is important to wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles and hearing protection to help prevent injury from flying objects or loud noises. The use of an extension cord with the correct rating should also be considered when using any type of power tool near sleepers.
One final consideration, is that you if you are working on your knees whilst cutting the sleepers, maybe consider getting some protective knee pads to avoid any possible strain on this area of your body.
How to lay Railway Sleepers
To lay railway sleepers, firstly choose the area where you would like the railway sleepers to be laid. Ensure the area is clear of any debris or plants, and use a spirit leveler so that the surface is even before installation. It’s important to make sure there is enough room between each sleeper so that they can expand when wet, as this will help prevent any warping or splitting. When laying out your sleepers, line up their ends as closely as possible by adding sand underneath them if needed. This may help create a smoother end result once finished.
How to fix Railway Sleepers
It’s important that you fix the sleepers together correctly so they last and remain secure. One of the most efficient ways to do this is by using stainless steel screws.
Stainless steel screws are corrosion resistant, so they won’t rust even when exposed to moisture outdoors and remain strong over time. You can begin by drilling pilot holes at either end of each sleeper before inserting the screws. This will help prevent cracking or breaking of the timber. Use two around screws per joint for stability and make sure all screw heads are flush with the surface of sleepers. Countersinking may be required on some surfaces to ensure a secure fit (use a countersink bit in your drill if necessary).
Conclusion: Cutting Railway Sleepers
Final thoughts to bear in mind are that railway sleepers for your garden are a great DIY project that can help to transform any outdoor space into a beautiful and functional area. With the right tools and safety precautions, you can easily complete the task on your own. If you are not comfortable with cutting railway sleepers yourself however, you can always use the Builders Marketplace cutting service.
Above all else, remember to always stay safe and be mindful of the environment when disposing of cut railway sleeper ends.
Railway Sleepers at Builders Marketplace
At Builders Marketplace, we stock a range of railway sleepers. Available in 8×4 and 10×5 configurations, our railway sleepers are perfect for a number of different DIY outdoor projects. Make sure to also take a look at our full range of timber, sand and tools and fixings to help with any sleeper project.