Sleepers are always a popular product, probably due to their versatility. They are often used as garden retainers, horizontally or sometimes dug into the ground and used vertically. Other popular applications are for steps and increasingly for growing vegetables in garden raised beds
Oak sleepers will vary in appearance. Fresher cut stock tends to be a pale green to soft russet tones, but as they start to weather the colours will become more muted and after a season or two will become slate grey in colour. This is perfectly natural.
Very occasionally fresh cut oak sleepers may have dark grey or black marks on the exposed face, this is perfectly normal and sometimes occurs when the timber has been in contact with steel from fork lift “prongs”. Marks can be removed by use of a belt sander or an experienced tradesman may prefer to use Oxalic Acid. Details on Oxalic Acid is in the pdf download section of this page
Some sleepers will have waney and uneven edges, some may even have bark on them and this is part of their rustic appeal. These are all allowed within the sleeper grade, this is not a structurally graded timber. Usually the sleepers will have two adjoining faces, but this is not always the case, this makes them useful for steps.
As the sleepers dry out they will start to exhibit end splits and the grain will open up a little. Fresh cut oak contains a high proportion of water, after cutting typically 7% of the volume will change in the first year. This potential rustic appearance is considered a feature, not a defect of the product
Because oak leaks water some of the tannin will leach out of the oak sleeper as well. When assessing your design make sure you make allowance for this leaching, it will stain gravel, rendered walls, slabs and other light coloured materials.
Oak sleeper sizes and weights
We normally carry the following three sizes of oak sleepers, there may on occasions be a slight variation. Approximate weights are 48 kg., 72kg. and 96kg. As a rule we would expect a mechanical (i.e. forklift) offload or the assistance of one, or preferably two able bodied persons when we are delivering oak sleepers
100mm x 200mm (approx. 4″ x 8″) at 2.4 metres (approx. 8′)
130mm x 220mm (approx. 5″ x 9″) at 2.55 metres (approx. 8’4″)
150mm x 250mm (approx. 6″ x 10″) at 2.55 metres (approx. 8’4″)
Alternatives to oak sleepers
Our oak sleepers are intended primarily for landscaping uses. If you require structural oak or graded oak then we can price this for you, we can bring over bespoke sized oak sections from France for larger structural projects. Smaller oak orders can be sourced from England using French oak, for example for mill wheels, gates and freshwater fish passes
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