Prototype wooden ties typically range in colour from very dark brown -
when new - to a very light bleached near-silver on old trackage that's
been baked in the sun for half a century, so it all depends on the
effect you want.
I've had good success using woodstain of a suitable colour ('suitable'
depending on the prototype as above) soaking the ties thoroughly in the
stain and then letting them dry right out before using them. Make up
several batches of nearly-identical colour, then mix the resultant ties
to get a little variation along the line.
After they've been installed you can take time to add all the other
features such as dribbles or pools of oil from passing trains, rust
stains from the rails and so on. Enjoy!
John M Hughes
West and Wales Web at http://westwales.co.uk
I asked the question because I knew that my memory was hazy about the
"correct" color [Yes, I know that there is no single "correct" color because
wood varies so much]. But about 30 minutes later I remembered that I had
hidden on a shelf some Tru-Scale prefabricated trackbed from the late 60's
which was manufactured with a reasonably light colored wood whose ties were
stained with what I believe to be real creosote. Using that as a guide, I
found that I could stain basswood with Minwax's Red Mahogany stain to a
reasonable match. Their English Chestnut is too red but not too far off
either and if I was going to be anal about it -- if I had a lot to do -- I'd
mix the two stains to what I believed was the exact color I wanted.
| Remember also that shoe dye and alcohol is also a usable stain and
| much faster that oil based stains. You need to blend your own color
Shoe polish is usable too, especially the liquid variety, although I've used
the paste form for dry-brushing highlights.
There are a couple of Weather-All products: one which "ages" raw wood,
another colors to a weathered gray appearance. Also, Micromark sells a tie
and bridge stain and a gray weathering solution.
I have all 4 of 'em and use them singly and in combination. Since ties
aren't all the same color, using various combinations and mixing them up a
bit looks pretty good.
in article 2GQ_f.9539$ email@example.com, Norm
Dresner at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 4/11/06 9:19 AM:
I've always used black or dark brown RIT dyes for fabric. After ballasting,
the black isn't so black anymore. For the older ties, the dark brown works
Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
There was something about the chemicals used in RIT dyes that I thought
people said stay away from. As I don't have any reference right now I can't
say for sure but if you decide to use them I think I would hunt for the
Very likely. If it's indeed an electrolytic salt, it can be expected to
Really FRESH creosoted ties are quite glossy in appearance. If you're
depicting a scene of tie replacement you should keep this in mind. Once
they're buried in the ballast, this disappears rather quickly, though
ties that bake in the sun a lot may develop glossy spots as fresh
creosote 'cooks' to the surface from inside.
As mentioned by many others, older ties turn brownish, and eventually
It's normal to replace ties based on both inspection and lifetime. Thus
any given section of older track will likely have a mix of ties showing
ANY of the above colors. Mainline track will likely have more recently
replaced (darker color) ties. Old industrial sidings will likely consist
of almost all badly weathered gray ties.
Based on earlier reports, apparently the RIT dyes are a salt of some
kind, and are electrically conductve (slightly). When dry it's not much
of a problem, but in a humid environment, they can conduct sufficient
electricity to 'trip' signal circuits and cause other woes. Each
individual tie conducts only a minute current, but is's accumulative for
ALL the ties (they're effectively resistors in "parallel"), so the total
may become significant. Years back I recall reading of someone who
actually got SMOKE from resistive tie heating (can't verify THAT).
I HAVE seen wooden ties become sufficiently conductive from soaking up
liquid solder flux to cause substantial "short" problems.
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