How to cut railroad ties?

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, -Zz
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Zz Yzx wrote:

Chain saw with an old chain. Go easy and expect to hit a few rocks and things (thus the old chain).
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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chain saw.

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wrote:

A circular saw, hammer, chisel and square. Make a series of cross cuts 1/2" apart, hammer out the slices, smooth with a large chisel.
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Make initial cuts with circular saw, use kerf as guide for chainsaw.
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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.
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wrote:

Thanks to all, much appreciated.
-Zz
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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.
Harry K
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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.
Steve
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On Sun, 13 Apr 2008 20:42:45 -0800, "SteveB"

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 it. :-/
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-snip-

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.
Jim
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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.
Steve
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