True, but the rate of leaching is slow, especially if the ties are
treated with creosote. (The danger of creosote has been exaggerated
IMO.) Your state may also have amended regulations so that arsenic is no
longer permitted in pressure treating wood. If no, you may wuish to
avoid such wood, but again, the amount of arsenic leached into the
ground is minimal, especially compared to nastier things dumped outside
by nearby industries, gas stations, etc (and leachates can travel long
distances, so "nearby" may mean tens of miles away.) The remaining
chemicals are mainly copper sulfate and fungicides, neither of which are
cause for alarm (unless you get down on your hands and knees and gnaw on
the wood... :-o).
Besides, there are worse sources of pollution in your neighbourhood,
such as the car in your driveway or the power mower you use.
As for mitre angles -- they don't depend on the diameter of the cirle,
but on the number of pieces you use to make the circle. Divide 360 by
twice number. This will be the mitre angle in degrees on each end of the
You'll never get rid of the creosote, and it's messy. I acquired some
ties which had been removed from the railway at least 20 years earlier,
and hadn't been treated since. As soon as hot sun shone on the wood, the
creosote came to the surface..a nuisance if it gets onto hands or
clothes (or carpets, via shoes and pets feet).
Oh my, you do have a problem. Must have been fairly fresh ties when you
got them. On the bridge ties that edge my driveway, the creosote doesn't
bubble up, the surface is weathering away sl-o-o-o-o-wly, and moss is
growing out of some of the cracks. I figure there's 20 years left in
Creosote does weather, you just have to be patient. The fact that it
weathers so slowly indicates that its toxins are released very slowly
also - slowly enough that they will degrade (oxidise, usually) before
Perhaps you should provide more information on the fungicides you're
referring to, and which of them might or might not be safe near edible
plants. The OP may or may not want to stick some chives or parsley or other
stuff in the ground near the treated wood.
Unless you're the kind of slug who lets his car ooze fluids for years on end
without fixing it, you cannot compare engines to fungicides/pesticides in
contact with the soil.
Per previous poster, depends on how many "sides" the circle will have.
A method that seems like it should work is to remember that the number of
degrees, cut at an angel, in the "n" sided circle must total 180 degrees. In
other words, a four sided circle (grin) would have each cut made at 45
degrees (180 degrees divided by four). An eight sided circle would have 22.5
degree cuts, six sided circle 30 degrees.
I'm not much of a Gardner nor mathematician, but I believe that should
Old Chief Lynn
I always thought a circle was was defined as a degenerate ellipse with
coincident foci. Sounds more like like a polygon (or octagon) - Most
certainly an over-engineered tree basin. Why not just lay out the ties and
make the beveled cuts where and at the angles requiired to close the
I presume the lengths are diameters and you really want a circle and
not an octogon which would be very easy.
Does the inside have to be circular or just the outside? Are you a
master craftsman with a heavy duty router and a router bit the length
of the thickness of a railroad tie?
The real question here is: How many pieces of wood are you prepared
I propose using only one piece of wood, cut to the circumference of
your circle. (I'm sure _someone, somewhere_ must sell 30-ft. railroad
ties!) You can just use a 90-degree angle on both ends, and then run
it through your railroad tie bender (available from your local home
improvement store for a mere $499.99), and there you have it!
Seriously, I wouldn't be too concerned about an exact angle because the
ties will probably shift over time and something will inevitably grow
up through the cracks anyway! Not exactly like building a picture
OK, now everyone can flame me for my "rustic" approach. :)
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