Vertical railroad sleepers

Hi all,
I want to do something like this;
http://www.railwaysleeper.com/Railway%20sleeper%20wall%20eden%202_WEB.jpg
I would like the end result to be more like a city scape, with varying heights etc. It's to display bonsais.
How would I go about laying the sleepers so that they are firmly set in the ground? Would I need concrete? or just go deeper and use soil?
I doubt there's anyway to bolt them together to improve sturdiness.
thanks
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om:

so, you'd cut to different lengths. be aware that old railroad sleepers are dipped in creasote, which can cause cancer. you don't want to be handling them with bare hands or breathing the dust when you cut them. they'll also gunk up & dull a saw blade real fast.

where do you live? does the ground freeze? if you live in an area where the ground freezes & you want to keep the posts upright, you need to sink them below the frostline (4 feet in my area, which is New England). if the ground doesn't freeze, i'd set them in a 2-3 foot deep trench & backfill with sand or gravel for drainage. the life expectancy is propably about 10 years for used sleepers before they rot too badly... maybe less since you're cutting them & placing vertically (there's no preservative in the centers).

sure, you can cross spike them to each other. lee
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Everything you say is correct. But for that particular project I'd choose cedar posts, they don't cost as much as used RR sleepers either, and even though not treated they'll last more than 20 years. A 10" X 10' RR sleeper can weigh 400 pounds. In cedar it'll weigh more like 80 pounds, and very easy to work. You won't find them at your local lumber yard (I had trouble finding a cedar post for mounting a cast iron farm bell) but finally I found a lumber mill near Albany, NY that makes their own, very nice people, they'll custom make any size. For short lengths (ends) they'll likely have lots as scrap, probably give a very good price for you to take them away. My 5"sq 10 foot post cost $16, aged to a beautiful silver grey.
http://www.longlumber.net /
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whoa! does that mean the world is about to end?

yup, but finding a 10" square cedar post might be a bit hard. then again, it's for bonsai, so 4-8" posts would probably work just fine & give him more the effect he wants anyway. i don't know why someone would want to pollute their garden just for an effect. creosote isn't good in a garden. lee
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vertical posts rule of thumb, 1/5 the length in the hole 4/5 above - just like utility poles.
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