I need to crosscut a few railroad ties for landscaping, and maybe make
a couple crude half-lap joints. I've got a light-duty chain saw, an
old circular saw, and some hand saws.
Any advice? Better ways?
Thanks a heap,
Be very careful on the ends if they are very old ties. There is an 'S'
shaped piece of metal used to keep the end from splitting. It's easy to
spot from the end. It should be about an inch wide. One other thing is to
look carefully at where the tie plates were spiked to the tie. Sometimes
the spike heads snap off leaving the shank in the wood. I worked on the
railroad for seven years back in the '70's so some of this may have changed
but it's still good to be as safe as you can be.
I have done that work several times. Used both chainsaw and circular
saw. Go with the circular saw. Much easier and just toss the blade
away when done.
You will ruin whatever chain you use plus put real hurts on the bar
using a chainsaw.
I'd use a chain saw and that's just because I have one. A good Bow Saw
might work, too. Watch out for nails. If they are very old, there will be
a galvanized nail about two inches long with a head the size of a nickel.
The shaft of the nail will be quite a stout diameter. On the top of the
head is the last two numerals of the year the tie was installed. Called
"date nails". Crews could look and instantly tell how old the tie was and
if to replace. Date nails from the 1800s are very collectable.
I never found a galv nail from the 1800s, have you? <G> The nails are
collectable. I have a piece of track that is a small anvil. It was
made as a going away gift..22 year old gift and I still can't break
I'm not Steve- but yes.
See http://www.tremontnail.com/searchgalvanizednails2.htm who have
been Galvanizing nails since 1819.
I haven't found any of the oldest ones though- as the web site notes
they have been galvanizing nails since 3000BC.
Yes, I have found them in ties used for corral posts in Northern Nevada, and
in some ties that were just laying around. I have also found them at yard
sales. Not sure if galvanized, but dates in the 1880 and 1890s.
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