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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am expanding my raised live steam layout and to save some money I want to use some Aristocraft track I already have. Since I model narrow gauge I would like to remove the Aristo tie strips and replace them with larger wood ties. I have heard of using cedar for its rot resistance but I have some redwood and sitka spruce on hand. Do any of you have experience with these woods as ties? Did you use a sealer/preservative of some type, spikes vs screws, predrill or not and how did they hold up? I am in Florida where the sunshine degrades materials exposed to it as these will be.
Thanks, Tom
 

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The rot resistance woods do well, but often they are softer and may not hold spikes as well.

Soak the ties in a preservative/stain to really get it into the wood. Some people approximate the prototype creosote with used motor oil.

Greg
 

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I have some redwood and sitka spruce on hand.
Hi Tom,
I used redwood for the ties on my old layout in Maryland, which is just as damp as Florida but only for 6 months of the year. It is very rot resistant. As Greg says, it isn't as hard as some woods, but if you use regular steel spikes they will rust into the wood and after a few years you will be breaking the heads off to get them out. Mine never broke in service but the layout only lasted about 6 years. I ended up pre-drilling with a tiny drill to speed up the process and I used ME spikes and tie plates on most of the track as it kept the spikes in the right place and looked good. Don't use stainless steel as it just pulls out of any wood.

I dunked them in black latex paint to get a uniform color, but the paint flaked off after a few years and I got grey ties. Useed motor oil may last a few years.

61707
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Greg and Pete,
I never thought about tie plates, was just going to spike the rails. I knew about the spikes rusting to help hold them. My friend James Barnett has used screws to spike his track in MS. I think I'll check in with him to see how it's holding up. Too bad the Aristo rail doesn't fit the Accucraft tie strips, would save me a great deal of work!
 

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I used redwood and stainless spikes and the spikes do come out. If I had it to do again, I would use Mahogany or Teak as they are both weather resistant and much harder than cedar or redwood
 

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My personal choice is azobe wood, very rot resistant, will last at least a decade in the worst case scenario without treatment.
I read stories that it was surviving 19 years without treatment.

I personally would not use wood stain, it will not soak in deep enough, i experimented a lot with that stuff.
Instead you can use motor oil or creosote or carboleum for better results if desired.

Fir or conifer are also very good long lasting wood species.

As stated before pre drill a hole, a bit larger than your diameter of your nail.

My two cents,
With best regards Igor
 

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reading about azobe wood, the rot resistance is high, but apparently hard to work with... might not be easy to use with spikes

I do not think it is commonly available in the USA, looks like it is from Africa.
 

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but apparently hard to work with
I did not have any problems to work with it.
The feeling is the same as if you are working with fresh oak wood(gets harder over time)
It is even more pleasant to work with than Palisander Mahogany Bankirai or most Meranty spices due to splinters and fractions.
As a carpenter i had them in my hands quite often.

Cultivated Chestnut (without spikes on the nuts) would be also a good option if it was left alone after cutting down the tree for two years, due to the tension in the wood itself.
 

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As I said, perhaps hard to spike, you just mill the wood and mill a slot right? The descriptions of the wood are interesting, the "internal reinforcement". I could not find anyone in the US stocking it, and it also might be much more expensive than the common hardwoods here, although most people pick cedar or other inexpensive rot-resistant wood.

At the risk of derailing this thread, do you have closeups of the this wood Igor? Just curious as have never seen it before. The reading I did indicate you need a sharp blade or carbide to cut it.

Greg
 

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Yeah, California ha boats too, and better weather, you can keep Annapolis for sure! ;)

78 degrees, light breeze, no humidity today... as usual...

Anyway we have exotic woods too, but I believe the OP wanted something reasonable in price, and I have not found anyone stocking this wood in a basic google search.

It does sound interesting, but not helpful for the OP....
 

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