Railroad Spike Advice

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Picked up a RR spike while on vacation in AK (awesome place BTW). I'm working on this wood project that's going to display such spike, and I would like some suggestions on how to fasten it to the display board I'm working on. Wanted some type of pewter fastener but I cannot seem to find such a thing on-line, sooo....I was wondering if it was feasible to drill through the spike so as to attach it with a couple of screws...any thoughts on this idea? I have a drill press but I really do not want to ruin the spike.
Regards, Rick
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Don't see why you couldn't drill and tap a couple of stopped holes to take some machine screws from the back side--that way they wouldn't be visible--or drill clear through for some screws from the front. Follow standard metal boring practice--low speed, lube for cutting, etc. Good luck.
Dan
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What Dan said... Work at your leisure!
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On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 04:41:08 GMT, Scaramouche

maybe route the mounting board or whatever to fit the spike and put a glass or plastic picture frame type front to hold it in?
mac
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wrote:

nah. just get a big 'ol hammer and drive it in....
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wrote:

... but ya gotta sing while ya do it.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com
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snipped-for-privacy@all.costs wrote in

"Spike maul" is the tool you're looking for, and it's harder to do than you might think (mighty satisfying, tho, when you get the range & rhythm right, and sink it with three blows).
John
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Scaramouche wrote:

Then don't do anything to the spike. Mount it by squeezing it; use your imagination on how to shape the wood to do that. Personally, I would use a couple of iron straps and mount flat on a board that contrast with the spike. Beat the straps into shape with a ball peen hammer, or at least peen them after shaping, drill, paint with a matte or semigloss black paint.
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Gorilla glue.

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How about some square holes in small blocks of wood?
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On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 04:41:08 GMT, Scaramouche

Go to the shop and buy one....
Plumber's solder is pewter (for the modern lead-free variants of both). You may already have some of this in your toolbox, or it's handy home-repair/workshop stuff anyway. It's a thick wire, about 1/8" thick and a little _light_ tapping (8oz hammer on an anvil of a piece of flat concrete) will turn it into a usable length of flat, rectangular pewter strapping.
Drill a couple of pairs of holes in a wooden plaque, one pair above the other, thread loops of this pewter strap through each pair, pull tight round your spike and twist the back to tie it off.
--
Smert' spamionam

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Scaramouche wrote:

SNIP
Then don't. Step over to your forge, make apair "Snidley Whiplash" mustaches with twists in the center. Pin the ends to the back board and place the twists over the spike to hold it against the board.
Dave in Fairfax
--
Dave Leader
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a loop of wire around it below the head, and another near the point?

If you want to go that way, I'd suggest drilling and tapping a couple of holes into the side of the spike that'll go closest to the wood, and secure it that way. Not sure about the metallurgy of a railroad spike, but I think it'd be a pretty easy cutting substance. Maybe something around a #10-24 thread. You could maybe space it out with some brass sleeves around the screws, just to dress it up and hold it square to the display piece.
Dave Hinz

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Railroad spikes are pretty soft (I've bent plenty of the darn things), so this would certainly be feasable. As someone else said, you could drill a stopped hole & tap it...if you wanted to mount the spike flat on a surface, that would probably be the cleanest thing.
Otherwise, the natural orientation of a spike is vertical, sticking out of a hole in a piece of wood (to wit, a railroad tie). You could make a square hole & stick it in, using a wedge to anchor it in the hole.
John
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Make a shelf out of handrail molding and just lay the spike on it or cut a square mortise in the handrail and put the spike thru it. The handrail has a cross section that resembles railroad track.
HTH Big John
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Hi Rick,
I made a display case out of cherry a couple of months ago (12x18x3) to display a 1780 (or so) muzzle loading pistol that my father-in-law gave us. Sort of a shadow box with a glass front.
Anyway, I had the same problem. I used 3/8 inch ply as the backboard (which I eventually covered with felt). To mount the gun, I drilled a couple of holes in two locations (barrel, handle areas) which were close enough together so that they would be hidden by the gun itself.
I then used cable ties which I pulled tight around the gun and out the back where I cinched them up. At this point, I just used the ties I had on hand, but I will replace these with black colored ones which they sell at audio stores when I get time. There are other colors as well.
Anyhow, this worked fine and the gun does not shift/move at all when we move the case around.
Lou

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You could encase the whole thing in a block of epoxy...
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Go to your local craft store or jeweler and get some spiffy wire or cable -- run a loop thru a plaque and hang it on the wall.
Matthew

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If this is a rusty railroad spike I would hang it with rusty concrete tie wire.
If you wipe them with a little light machine oil you do get a nice patina.
I have a spike I am saving too, from the pre-WWII era RR tracks, long gone from behind my house. It is not the value of an anonymous spike, it is one you found and can put into historical context. Agree on Alaska. I spent a few weeks there on vacation. Flew into Fairbanks, rented a van and flew out of Anchorage 2000 miles later. Historic stuff is mid state, touristy "must sees" are mostly in the Kenai. Try to get to Homer to see the anti-Seward. "Homer, A quaint drinking village with a fishing problem".
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Carve a notch to fit the back side of the spike head, or cut a small strip of wood to take up the space between the body of the spike and the head and use hot melt glue to assemble.
Another option would be to use a very thin wire to secure it to the backing of your display. You might also get thin strips of brass or even silver and wrap around the spike and fasten that to the back of the display.
Another way would be to make your frame deep and support the spike on a couple of 1/8" Plexiglas rods. If you heat the end of the rods over the stove burner slowly till they soften you can deform the end a bit to make a little larger flat area. This flat can then be positioned to support the spike with a little dab of epoxy or hot glue. This would give the spike a floating appearance.
Any of these options or something similar would not require any damage to the spike.
--

Roger Shoaf

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