Driveway Made Of Wood?

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Jack wrote:

G'day Jack, I believe that there are roads (streets) paved with Western Australian Jarrah in England. I can't testify to this having never been there, but in the dim dark recesses of my mind I recall being told this while doing my apprenticeship. I think the blocks were planted on end.
regards John
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In New York State there were numerous "plank roads" in the 1800's. They acquired a reputation for uncommon slipperiness, and thus danger to horses and cargo. The wood used was whatever was at hand and in abundant supply. Frequently, as in the Catskills, this would have been Canadian Hemlock. To this day, hiking trails there and elsewhere occasionally have small wooden bridges (just big enough for a person) thrown across small streams and with a light coat of green algae/slime/whatever are indeed slippery as all heck. After they were torn up, remnants of said "plank roads" are said to have survived well into the 20th century in piles that moldered in obscure nooks of the countryside. I do not recall having heard whether the planks were treated in any way.
If your goal is just to see how long untreated wood will last before rotting, build yourself a back porch! :-) If made from untreated wood you will go through several during your lifetime.
J.
Jack wrote:

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Growing up in CT, we lived in a house that my Grandfather had bought for his family in the early 20's. Although he never drove, and my father didn't own a car until 1953, we had a wide driveway/pathway... about 12 feet wide and 50-60 feet long... leading to the caning shed. It was made of endgrain treated timbers about 4" thick and about the size of a standard brick. Considering my Grandfather's immigrant roots, I'm sure they were "free", and probably throwaways from the machine foundry where he worked. When we left the house in 1959 they were still there... in fact, they were still there in 1985 when I last visited the house. Tough stuff, huh?

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There are still wooden bridges that are over 100 years old however they often are not exposed to the ground. Either way wood is used for drive ways that lead up to oil rigs.
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Jack wrote:

Used to be common in UK railway stations about 100 years ago. Milk was delivered by rail (first train of the morning was always known as the "milk train") and in metal churns. To keep noise down when unloading these, the light freight platform and driveway at urban passenger stations would be payed with end-grain wooden blocks to reduce the noise. These were commonly made from recycled end-grain blocks, the wedge-shaped blocks used to fill Maunsell-pattern railway carriage wheels (these wheels had an iron core, a steel tyre and a wood block filler between, supposedly to quieten noise).
I've also worked in heavy machine shops (car body panel press shops) where the whole floor (several acres) was end-grain maple blocks. They were an inch thick in grease (sheet lubricant from the presses) too, which made even standing up difficult. I used to wear a suit, tie, rubber gloves and hobnail boots!
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wrote:

When I was growing up my family had a piece of land along the Little Kanawa River (West Virginia). It had a couple of creek beds that my dad built bridges over by setting 4 telephone poles across the creek (creek was about 4 to 6 feet below the bridge deck) and then planking them with rough cut oak planks (about 2" thick x 10" wide). Somewhere along the road he coated them with used motor oil, but when installed they were fairly green and untreated. I know that they were used for about 10 years. How long they lasted after that I don't know (this was almost 40 years ago). A thought would be to excavate the drive deep enough to lay telephone poles or railroad ties as sleepers and plank on top so that the "roadway" is not in direct contact with the ground.
Dave Hall
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Jack wrote:

Interestingly enough, in addition to the corduroy and plank roads of the 18th and 19th century, early 20th century automobile racetracks were sometimes made of wood because ordinary road surfaces weren't smooth enough to race on. With time these plain wood tracks decayed, loosing planks which were set on edge as I recall. I once read an account by an early driver about driving around holes and also heads appearing in front of him as kids under the track would stick their heads through the holes to see the race up close.
Sounds like the best choice would be IPE, http://ipe-wood.com/faq.html , as it is impervious to insects, rot and fungus and about is three times harder than teak, cedar, PT-SYP or other weather resistant woods.
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snipped-for-privacy@heapg.com wrote:

OP was thinking about oak. White oak would be the choice, red oak is porous and rots readily.
Other domestic woods that might be better are black locust, very hard and rot resistant, and osage orange (aka bodark, or hedge).
--

FF


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Jack wrote:

you might find this interesting: http://www.gbcnet.com/ushighways/US80/US80_plank_road.html
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