WHAT DO WE RECOMMEND?
Everyday we are asked how to fasten railway sleepers. In the past we'd have mentioned coach bolts etc.. NOW we always say 'TimberLok'. I know that that seems really cheesy, like 'I always use Persil to remove those stubborn stains', but genuinely they ARE fantastic.
When we had a visit from TimberLok's secret agents, we decided to set them a tough test:
1) "Drill through softwood railway sleepers". Their screws easily went through pine railway sleepers without pre-drilling, and pulled the screw heads flush with the surface.
2) "Drill through hardwood Oak, Jarrah, & Azobe railway sleepers"
We found that the screws STILL went in, although with more of an effort. These railway sleepers are much harder than softwood, with more pressure put on both the drill & screw. We did find that the metal-like hardness of the Azobe caused several screws to sheer.
OUR CONCLUSION: "Genuinely great!"
- they install much faster and easier than coach screws or coach bolts
- they generally requires no pre-drilling (with the exception of some dense hardwoods)
- they countersink flush into all but the hardest timbers
- they draw warped beams down and can normally be removed and reused
- designed not to rust in pressure treated timber, except in saltwater settings.
- the 'anti-friction topcoat' allows it to penatrate hardwood more easily than other screws.
1) you must use a drill that is sufficiently powerful - with high torque and low speed settings. This would normally be a mains drill, although there are some powerful 18v and 24v chargeable drills that are very effective. The Timberlok agent recommended the Metabo BE75-16 75Nm Compact high torque rotary drill 240v: https://www.ffx.co.uk/tools/product/Metabo-Be75-16-4007430201737-75Nm-Compact-High-Torque-Rotary-Drill-240V.
It is very high torque but does not have a clutch. It works fine as long as you are holding it with both hands and have a firm grip on it. If not, the drill will keep turning and flip out of your hands – you have been warned!
2) you must pre-drill any hardwood railway sleeper that is particularly tough with a 6mm wood drill that will ease the insertion of the screw (See shopping cart below). You may also have to countersink the hex head, as the TimberLok screw may not pull itself flush into very hard timber.
3) if you manage to insert the TimberLok screws into very hard sleepers without pre-drilling, and then you decide to take them out at a later date, you may find that the screw sheers / snaps.
TOP SECRET! The TimberLok secret agent went on about titanium and the space rocket or something.. Hi-tec you see...!
SPECIAL OFFER ON SILVER SCREWS!
We are offering some similar looking SLEEPER SCREWS that are manufactured by a different company that are coloured 'SILVER' rather than BLACK and which are presently on offer below, highlighted YELLOW
You need a powerful high torque, 1/2" variable speed drill. A cordless 18V - 24V may be OK for Pine sleepers, however if you are going through hardwood, you will invariably need a very powerful mains drill. WARNING We have had customers who's drills have failed to be powerful enough.
TIPS FOR USING TIMBERLOK SCREWS
Only about 50mm (approx 2") of the end of the screw (see diagram) actually screws into the wood. So, if you want to attach, say, a 6" sleeper to another 6" sleeper, you will only need an 8" screw. Ring us if you're unsure
IT IS EASIER TO UNSCREW a TimberLok screw that has been put into softwood (e.g. pine) than into hardwood (e.g. oak). These screws tighten up so powerfully, locking together the sleepers with enormous pressure, that in a hardwood, it sometimes almost 'welds' itself to the timber, making it harder to screw it out again. So, make sure everything's correctly in position before you screw it up tightly.
TimberLok screws are engineered for increased strength and performance.
(info supplied by the manufacturer)
Average ultimate single shear = 1359kg
Average TimberLok pullout strength = 658kg
Straight shank spike = 156kg
Spiral shank spike = 193kg