I have six pieces of pressure treated 8"x8" railroad ties (8' long) that I
need to cut into short, 8"-10" long sections. What is the best way to go
about it? I can't use my compound miter saw with such a large cross
section, and I am not sure I can get a clean cut with a circular saw (not
with my skill level). Any suggestions?
Used ties? Get a saw from someone you hate. Or take your garden variety
bowsaw or crosscut and do it. Lots of grit in there, and then there's the
treatment. Neither will make the job easy nor improve the saw.
I have similar thoughts to George's reply but here is a method for
cutting timbers larger than a saws cutting depth;
Make a fence around the sides of the timber to guide your circular saw
on all four sides. After cutting you will be left with a small nib
that can be cut with a hand saw or recipricating saw. That last cut
won't be perfectly smooth but the edges will look nice. Hold your
breath for each cut! Seriously, wear some type of respiraory
protection. Maybe wet down the area so the dust/chips don't blow
Would your miter saw be able to make a contiguous starter kerf on each
face? If so, that's a simial approach to my first suggestion.
Heh, I cut the tops off a bunch of 4x4's when I built a fence for my
last house. Since the holes were not all dug at exactly the same depth,
I decided to just put all the posts in and when the concrete base dried,
cut the tops off all of them to a standard height. I just made a square
"jig" out of wood and slipped it over the top of the post and screwed it
in at the right height. That served as a clamped edge guide that I ran
my circular saw across all the way around the post. It worked great!
I'll bet my neighbors were wondering what the bleep I was doing, but I
did get great results.
I would do the same for these timbers, but I would probably not subject
any of my saws to that. Assuming these do not have to be precision-cut,
I would go retro and use a bow saw and previously mentioned.
marc rosen wrote:
Hire a chain saw and appropriate protective equipment including the kevlar
quilted trousers (V.
important). The cut will be OK for rustic garden use.
If you are making fine furniture, you need some different wood.
Are these real rail road ties? That is, the type preserved with creosote? If
so be aware that they often have steel embedded in the ends to stop
splitting which presents a hazard when sawing. Also be aware the creosote is
nasty stuff so wear a dust mask and gloves.
On the other hand, if they are just PT (green wood) there is no steel
embedded in the ends but the mask and gloves are still warranted.
How clean a cut do you need for landscaping? I'd be inclined to use a speed
square and circular saw coming in from all four sides and finish it off with
a hand saw. Worst case you can clean the cut up with a sharp chisel.
Boy, you guys sure have different experiences with railroad ties
than I do. They eat tools for breakfast and destroy men and
muscle by lunch. These things are full of rocks, sand, grit, and
creosote - none of which lend themselves to anything I want my
tools working on.
The best suggestion to date: Cheap blades in a circular saw,
finished off with a hand bowsaw. Don't plan on many cuts per
A carbide chainsaw blade at about $70 will give the most cuts, but
is only effective if you are paying for labor. You will destroy a
regular chain in a very few cuts.
A have tried a gasoline cut off saw with a fiber blade which can
take the abuse. Smokes a lot, but actually isn't bad. I've not
ever found what I would call a good solution.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
Hmmm, when I bought this property I inherited some railroad-tied garden
features with it. Not my style. So I pulled them out and cut them up.
No they didn't eat my tools, but definitely 'yes' to the destroy men and muscle
bit: Aussie hardwood, about as heavy as concrete of the same dimensions it felt
like .... ;-)
It's definitely a good idea to give them a good hosing off first and get dirt,
and stones out and see what else might be in there. I didn't just grab the saw
and start cutting.
firstname dot lastname at gmail fullstop com
Peter Huebner wrote:
> Hmmm, when I bought this property I inherited some railroad-tied garden
> features with it. Not my style.
Many years ago built some flower beds using creosote impregnated
railroad ties and lucky stones.
A hand pruning saw did the job, but I was young and ambitious back then<G>.
Many years ago (32 or so) I landscaped with used railroad ties,
loaded with grit, rocks, and such (no spikes). I bought an
electric chain saw with what was called a "baracuda" chain.
Probably spent $99 on the thing. It went thru a significant
number of ties, mostly cut to 3' lengths but with many short
pieces standing tall in the landscape with trunctated tops (45
degree cuts all around with a flat on the top).
ABSOLUTELY no problems! One technique I used was to
put the "rocky side" down so that debris might shake loose.
I didn't intentionally cut into stones, but from time to time
I'd hit one and it didn't damage the chain.
A rough estimate is that I made well over 80 cuts thru the
whole ties, plus untold number of "truncations," all with the
Still have the same saw, though don't use it too often. About
five years ago I replaced the original chain.
Oh, and the saw is a Craftsman, bought from Sears.
Build a saddle that |__| fits exactly over the 8x8 and use
that as your edge to cut against with the circular saw.
Finish up with a "hand saw"....(sort of neanderthal) but it
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