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Was it common practice to use creosote on Trestles bents to make them last longer? If so most would have a darker color to them correct? I am going to use cedar, but wanting to try to be some what close to what they usually were like, I have used Linseed oil in the past, but that has not darkened cedar very much.
Thanks for any info you guys can help me with!

tom h
 

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From what I've read, Trestle Bents were either left to age naturally or they were treated with a water repellant oil to try and get them to last longer. Square cut wood was often treated and actually look pretty good back in its day. We are more familiar now with 100 years of weathering with no upkeep by the long gone railroad. Round pilings were often treated with black creosote and on a lot of logging trestles I have seen, they left the bark on to protect the wood. I really think anything and everything was out there. Make them look the way you like them to look. I treated mine with redwood oil based stain as I didn't want the redwood to weather away.
Russ
 

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Tom,

I use cheap redwood and cedar fenceboards for my trestles. I stain them chemically with a mixture of white vinegar and steel wool (the wool will dissolve in the vinegar). It reacts with the tannin in the wood.



Makes for a good creosote look. I just paint it on and it starts reacting in minutes. After it's set for a day I paint it with 30 weight motor oil and stick it outside.






Best,

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, TJ. thats a better look then I had before, and sounds easy. Whats your mixture rate, how much steel wool do you put in?

tom h
 

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I use Rust-oleum camouflage brown non-reflective finish. It's the perfect color for trestle bents, ties, and even rail. For already assembled track and switches, I just spray it on everything then wipe off the rail heads. After you add ballast the ties and rail end up slightly different colors and it looks great.
 

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John,
What store chain carries the Rust Oleum camouflage brown?
 

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There was at least one N.G. trestle in Hawaii that was painted a bright white.....
Newer trestles are of 100% pressure treated wood, some of the older ones were "painted" with creosote. When treated, the woods useful life went from 8 to 30 years on average.
If you want to leave them their original color, tell your detractors that they are "Wolmanized". That was a treatment using sodium fluoride, chromate, phenol and arsenate. It was also used on natural (unpainted) wood structures like fences and cattle pens. It was not as flammable as creosote and it didn't change the color very much
 

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Paul,
Your best bet is to try an AUTO PARTS Store. Most around here in California carry the full line of KRYLON Camo colors.
Posted By Paul Burch on 03/29/2009 8:59 AM
John,
What store chain carries the Rust Oleum camouflage brown?
 

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Tom,

I'll take a plastic juice bottle or whatever (I'll guess in the ~ 1/2 gallon range) and fill it 3/4 with white vinegar and then shove in 1 or 2 steel wool pads. I use the 000 fine stuff because I figure it's dissolve easier. But it's really hard to mess up. I like a plastic jug so can shake it up once in a while. Oh, when you first drop in the steel wool, leave the top off or just covering (not air tight) since there is some hydrogen gas generated as a by product. Not a hazard, unless you're making up gallons of the stuff. Keep in the garage though, because anything porous like clothes and whatnot that this stuff gets on will stain and won't wash clean.

However, you can use it to weather plastic surfaces like engines and if you don't like it it'll scrub right off.

Best,
TJ
 

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Posted By Paul Burch on 03/29/2009 8:59 AM
John,
What store chain carries the Rust Oleum camouflage brown?



Paul, I get it at Home Depot.
 
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