Dismantling sleeper walls and beds

I am quoting for a job where we need to remove a children's play area and some raised beds, all constructed from softwood sleepers.  They have only been down a max of 5 years, so if I possibly could, I'd like to save as many sleepers as possible.  Some are screwed together with big crosshead screws, some bolted with hex head timber screws.

Realistically, am I going to be able to separate them to re-use (for me to use, the customer doesn't want them) or will I be wasting my time and should just cut them up with my chainsaw?

Cheers, Darren

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  • PRO
    If they are new softwood it will depend on how whether they have rotted yet.....Only when you undo to fixings will you find out
  • PRO

    I'm just wondering how easy it will be to get the fixings out?

  • PRO
    Make sure you have the right bit for the fixing. It should come out with a decent power drill as long as you start gently
    • PRO
      Start the hex bolts with a ratchet first then use a powerful drill to heave them out.
  • PRO

    I would say it depends on the quality of the fixings, I wouldn't use an impact driver to get them out as you will likely snap them. Ask yourself how much is a new sleeper compared to the extra time it will take you to get them out>

    • PRO

      Yes I did wonder if it was worth the effort but If we don't dismantle them I've still got to cut them up to make them manageable to move.  Think I'll take ratchet, drill and chainsaw so I'm prepared whatever.

  • sometimes driving them in half a turn first brakes the lock and then they will come out easer

    also a hacksaw blade with a handle to cut the fixing between the sleepers but you might need a wedge to part them enough to get the blade in   

  • PRO

    just use a long shaft bolster which will snap off the fixing between which will be very quick, then as its reclaim timbre any way what ever job you plan for them ensure visible fixings are positiond out of sight

  • Unless your very lucky the sleepers will have rotted too much to use again. 5 years is the max life of softwood in contact with the soil. if you can get a recip saw to cut the bolts and screws. so much quicker and easier than a hacksaw or grinder.  

  • PRO

    Just to give you an update - 

    We got the job and ended up just prising them apart with a wrecking bar.  They came apart easy peasy.  Although I think some of the reason may have been due to the "budget" way they were fixed together in the first place :-o

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