What's the best way to simulate creosote color on ties?

Specifically I have some basswood which I want to stain to look like tie material. What's the closest stain I can get?
TIA Norm
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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
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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.
Norm
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Remember also that shoe dye and alcohol is also a usable stain and dries much faster that oil based stains. You need to blend your own color however.
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| Remember also that shoe dye and alcohol is also a usable stain and dries | much faster that oil based stains. You need to blend your own color | however. | Shoe polish is usable too, especially the liquid variety, although I've used the paste form for dry-brushing highlights.
Norm
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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.
Ed
in article 2GQ_f.9539$ snipped-for-privacy@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net, Norm Dresner at snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote on 4/11/06 9:19 AM:

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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 well.
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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 articles.
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I recall that it caused a reaction between ties, rail and spikes. Roger Aultman
Jon Miller wrote:

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Roger Aultman wrote:

Very likely. If it's indeed an electrolytic salt, it can be expected to cause corrosion.
Separate issue:
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 grayish.
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.
Dan Mitchell ===========
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Jon Miller wrote:

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.
Dan Mitchell ===========
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