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Cutting railway sleepers

Our Cutting Service

We can cut railway sleepers and telegraph poles to size if you don't have the equipment (chainsaw, circular saw, handsaw etc..), simply can't be bothered, or if it speeds up your project.

Have a go yourself. If you've only got a few cuts to do, and the railway sleepers are softwood pine, or a thinner profile hardwood, it is worth considering cutting them yourself on site. It means that you're more flexible than if everything is pre-cut, and you can make changes as you go along, especially when you realise that your beautiful plans on paper don't stack up when you're putting things together ! Don't be afraid of cutting a few by hand. It might only take you 2 minutes or so per cut. 

Of course, sawing a thick hardwood railway sleeper by hand isn't much fun, especially if it's a dense concrete-like tropical hardwood, and believe me, people try ! We've known persistent gardeners take 40 minutes with a blunt handsaw to cut one single sleeper. Surely there's better things to do with your life !

At present we can ONLY 'cross-cut', e.g. cut an eight foot railway sleeper or pole down to five foot in length. We CANNOT cut 'length-ways', e.g. reduce the 10" width to 7" or turn the sleeper into planks. You can try contacting a sawmill, although most are hesitant about cutting reclaimed timber. Most will insist that you agree to pay the price of broken blades should they hit a sleeper bolt or nail. At £250 a shot, it concentrates the mind!

Cutting charges

Charges for cutting are worked out generally according to the size and nature of the material, and of course the quantity. A hardwood railway sleeper costs £5.00 + Vat per cut. A softwood sleeper costs £4.00 + Vat per cut and a pine telegraph or landscaping pole, costs £3.00 + vat per cut

We can normally complete a cutting order within 48 hours.You are welcome to keep the off-cuts if you want (just say). However, if they are smaller than 12 inches, they often split and are only fit for burning.

Urban myths

There is an urban myth that states that it's dangerous to cut European railway sleepers because they have bullets embeddied in them. Apparently, so they say, the RAF and Luftwaffe sprayed railway tracks with machine gun fire, for target practice, during WW2. However Richard Watson has exposed this myth with simple logic: "Even if you found a bullet it wouldn’t be dangerous as it is the cartridges which are explosive not the bullets!" He carries on: "I did find this in a sleeper I was working with yesterday, luckily when denailing rather than cutting". Hardly a bullet!

Can you believe it?

An older customer returned to Nottingham to pick up some more of the new 2.6m x 250mm x 75mm French oak, that he'd used to create the effect of beams in his kitchen. He said in passing that he'd planked one, and that it looked brilliant. "How did you cut it ?", we asked. "By hand", he replied with determination. He'd cut it with a hand saw and it had taken 10 hours. Astonishing determination !

Chainsaw tips & massacres

1) Cutting sleepers, poles and timber on site is invaluable. Yet we're amazed at how many landscapers pay £10 every time their chainsaw blades get blunt (which can be often if you do a lot of cutting or hit stones or nails etc..). Why? Why lose money and the use of your saw when you can sharpen it yourself on the job in 5 minutes, for about 20p. That's all it costs. One file for about £1 will sharpen your saw 5 times or more. The total kit will cost you about £10. (File, file guide, portable vice). It's not rocket science. We'll even show you !

2) Who are we to criticise fellow professionals !... but really... some of the knackered saws that limp to the yard, with dangling blunt blades, and users who strain life and limb to cut something with the top tip of the saw (One of the definite NO's in chainsawing). Be careful out there. Consider a chainsaw course if you haven't done one. You'll learn how to stay alive, as well as sharpening, changing chains and servicing. It'll also give you a licence to use it in a public place. Well worth it.


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