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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Take out the TRASH for E-mail.
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
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.
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
"Homer, A quaint drinking village with a fishing problem".
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
Any of these options or something similar would not require any damage to
About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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