Grade: New Ukranian oak railway sleepers are classified as landscaping grade, as opposed to furniture grade. That means that although they are mainly square cut, they may have some rounded or waney edges, cracks or imperfections. Like all 'green' or freshly cut landscaping railway sleepers they have been cut in the last 6 months and are still seasoning or drying out, as opposed to kiln dried oak furniture oak which is slowly heated in driers over weeks, and would require a second mortgage at the very least! See oak description below.
Colour: Ranging from yellowy gold when freshly cut to silver grey when bleached by the sun. There are several pictures above that show how new oak railway sleepers change from a gold colour, to a blotchy, darker, 'stained' look, & finally to a silver grey as it fully seasons in the sun. This natural cycle of seasoning will take 4 - 12 months, depending on sunlight & location of the new oak railway sleepers.
Weight: Can be reasonably heavy to lift, but not impossible. The 2.4m x 200mm x 100mm new Ukranian oak railway sleepers will weigh about 50 - 60 kilos. Bear this in mind when you are planning your project. How do I plan to carry the new oak railway sleepers into position? (e.g. maybe to the back of a garden, or up a slope). You'll need at least two willing strong people, with the possibility of further bribery or coercion.
Treatment: New oak railway sleepers are supplied untreated and generally don't need treatment to do their job. You can of course apply your own wood treatment, although it may take some time for it to soak in to the tight grain of the timber.
Description: New Ukrainian oak railway sleepers are normally square edged on one face, with some rounded edges (scallops) on the opposite face, where the oak has been cut from the outside of the tree. See pictures above. New Ukrainian oak railway sleepers are unseasoned or 'green' (meaning they have been freshly cut in the last 6 months) and untreated. As they season or dry out they may slightly shrink by a few mm or so. This is dependent on various factors such as temperature, humidity and setting. This can naturally cause the timber to develop dozens of thinner cracks, or sometimes a lesser number of larger ones. Conversely, in wet and damp conditions the wood may swell or increase in size, and the cracks can disappear. This is the never ending merry go round of using natural timber outside! The oak can also have knots, blemishes, or insect holes and can be slightly warped or bowed along the length. These Ukranian railway sleepers have thin metal plates fixed onto the ends to slow down or lessen this process. The oak species is Quercus Robur, which the possessive British refer to as 'English Oak', but which is often called 'French' or 'European Oak' on the other side of the channel. The trees themselves are generally oblivious to their nationality or Brexit.
Cutting: Fairly tough. You can either use a circular saw, chainsaw or even a handsaw (if you've got the energy) to cut these railway sleepers. As with any project, it makes sense to try and limit the amount of cuts you need to do. Try and plan a design around the sizes available.
Attaching / Fixing: Timberlok Screws will probably not screw through these Ukranian oak railway sleepers without a pilot hole, even if the drill is powerful, so we recommend first pre-drilling these hardwood railway sleepers with a 6mm pilot hole, otherwise the screws may get stuck or snap. Drill into the railway sleeper about a cm at a time, and then withdraw the wood drill, so as to clear the wood shavings from the hole, and then drill a bit further. If you don't do this, the drill may overheat, smoke, and eventually bend, snap or go blunt.
Sizes: IMPORTANT. All sizes are approximate. That means that although a railway sleeper may be described as approximately 2400mm in length, or 200mm in depth, or 100mm in width it may in fact be several centimetres longer or shorter. As it happens, most landscaping projects have an element of flexibility or tolerance in them that can cope with this. If your project needs exact accuracy in length, width or depth, then you may need to cut the railway sleeper to your precise specifications yourself, or think of using a different size or type of railway sleeper.
IT'S A TRIPLE WIN SITUATION!!
Firstly it's a great opportunity to support the D.E.C.'s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. However you might perceive the war in Ukraine, it is crystal clear that there is massive suffering, displacement & hardship, and so for every piece of Ukrainian oak sold we will donate £3. One online order for 20 railway sleepers will generate £60 of humanitarian support.
Secondly, it's a chance to support a family sawmill in Ukraine that had to close when the war started, as they are situated close to both Kyiv and the Belarus border. When they started production again several months ago, they used returning lorries to bring back humanitarian aid. As they said at the time: 'Difficult times. We won't give up, and we will carry on to support Ukraine'.
Thirdly, it's a chance to buy wonderful new oak railway sleepers that are brilliant for those wanting a longer lasting alternative to softwood, with a crisp, clean and neat landscaping appearance that can look architectural and stylish. They are also from approved well managed forests. WIN, WIN, WIN!
You may know exactly what you are going to build with your railway sleepers. The great wall of China. The Taj Mahal. A perfect plan written in stone after hours of sleepless nights and youtube visits. However you may be more uncertain and in need of moral and practical support, especially if your nearest and dearest is sowing seeds of doubt, as they question your undeniable abilities to landscape the garden. In this case you need inspiration. A boost to your self esteem that will replace uncertainty with optimism. A visit to our projects section! Thousands of projects and photos that will fill you with confidence and excitement, and cement the guaranteed adoration of your once doubting loved one as you triumphantly complete your railway sleeper masterpiece. VISIT NOW!!
WHAT DELIVERY OPTIONS DO I HAVE?
You have two options, depending on which delivery option you choose at the checkout stage online, or when you telephone the office.
1) STANDARD DELIVERY - CUSTOMER TO OFFLOAD RAILWAY SLEEPERS
This is normally a quicker & cheaper means of delivery that generally covers 100% of the UK, providing you have a forklift or sufficient strong people to offload your railway sleepers.
* DELIVERY TIMESCALE: You can choose any delivery day you want in advance within 2- 4 working days, Monday - Friday. Delivery will be between 9am & 5pm. You can choose, for a surcharge, a Saturday delivery.
* YOU are responsible for offloading the railway sleepers from the vehicle. The vehicle does NOT have a crane offload. If you do not have a forklift, you MUST have at least 2 or more strong people to manually offload. These timbers are too heavy for one person. The driver is NOT able to help you offload or carry materials into your house or garden. One exception! If the railway sleepers are 1.2m or less in length, the lorry driver CAN place the railway sleepers onto the pavement or road using the lorry tail lift and hand pallet truck.
* ACCESS: You must ensure that there is sufficient space for the lorry to access your road and property, and that there is sufficient area for you to safely offload. The vehicle is normally a rigid lorry which is about 10 metres long and about 2.6m wide (Imagine a full size bin lorry) It is crucial to tell us, when we contact you to arrange delivery, whether there are any delivery problems - e.g. a narrow road, cul de sac, cars parked in front of the property etc... An unsuccessful delivery will incur a further charge, often equal to the original haulage cost.
2) PREMIUM DELIVERY - THE RAILWAY SLEEPERS WILL BE OFFLOADED FOR YOU
This delivery charge is normally more expensive than the Standard delivery, but is essential if you order some heavy railway sleepers, and you haven't got a forklift, or sufficient strong people to help you offload. Having your railway sleepers placed on your drive is a perfect way of protecting your back and keeping your friends happy!
* DELIVERY TIMESCALE is generally within 1- 2 weeks, Monday - Friday, and between 8am & 6pm. Unfortunately you can't normally choose your own delivery day in advance, as the haulier will need to efficiently piece together a set of deliveries, according to which part of the UK they are driving to. Please let us know in advance if there are any delivery days you can't make. We will normally confirm the exact date a few days before.
* ACCESS: You must ensure that there is sufficient space for the lorry to access your road and property, and that there is enough area for the lorry to be safely offloaded. The vehicle is normally a rigid lorry which is about 10 metres long and about 2.6m wide (Imagine a full size bin lorry) It is crucial to tell us, when we contact you to arrange delivery, whether there are any access problems - e.g. a narrow road, cul de sac, cars parked in front of the property etc... An unsuccessful delivery will incur a further charge, often equal to the original haulage cost.
IS THERE A MINIMUM ORDER OF RAILWAY SLEEPERS?
No. It makes no difference. The cost to you is the same whether we deliver 1 railway sleeper or 10 railway sleepers... e.g. if the delivery cost to somewhere in the UK for 20 railway sleepers was for example £99 + Vat, then the delivery for 1 railway sleeper would cost the same. That's because our hauliers charge us according to how much lorry space the order takes up, so whether there is 1 railway sleeper on a pallet, or 20 railway sleepers on it, it makes no difference!
HOW DO WE WORK OUT THE DELIVERY COST?
The delivery charge depends on what type of railway sleeper you choose and where you live. If you go online and place the number of railway sleepers you are interested in into the shopping basket, and input your postcode, the website will calculate the delivery cost according to the number and length of the railway sleepers. If you play around with different lengths of railway sleepers, you will discover that 1.2m ones are the cheapest to have delivered, followed then by any sleeper up to 2.4m in length, and then finally the longer 2.6m, 3m and 3.6m ones. It's all about what space the railway sleepers take up on a lorry, and what the haulage companies then charge us. Lots of different variables! If you order online, the delivery cost will be worked out automatically by a computer brain. If you order by telephone, the delivery cost will be calculated by a mere human being, who will chat with you whilst working it all out!
WHY ARE NEW RAILWAY SLEEPERS UNTREATED?
Dense, tight grained, hardwood oak railway sleepers, are completely different to light, softwood railway sleepers which have to be treated with either creosote or pressure treatment to prevent them rotting and collapsing. Hardwood railway sleepers are generally much more durable, tighter grained and naturally longer lasting. Untreated oak railway sleepers are sometimes popular with those wanting to keep clear of chemical treatments, or potential contamination, and eager to use something that is naturally longer lasting.
People often ask: 'Do I need to treat my new oak railway sleepers?'. Of course, you CAN apply a coat or two of wood preservative to them, and no doubt that would probably be beneficial, however it isn't essential, and most landscapers don't.