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  1. #11
    Epic Contributor jinman's Avatar
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    Texas - Wise County - Sunset
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    NHTC45D, NH LB75B, Ford Jubilee

    Default Re: rail road ties for fencing

    Quote Originally Posted by RFB
    I use ties all the time (most around here do) for corner and line "jacks" for barbed wire fencing.

    A line jack looks like H, with non-barbed wire turnbuckled in an X fashion pulling tension on the 4 corners of the H. (A corner jack is 2 H's at a 90 angle). We usually put a jack in every 200 yards or so, and run metal T posts in-between. About every third T post we attach a length of blunt ended split rail. We fence staple that piece to the 4 strands of barbed, but it just rests on the ground straight up and down. It provides support in the winter to keep the snow from pushing the T posts too deep.
    I have used ties just like you. I notched the line jacks and put regular posts between them. What did you use for the horizontal part of the "H"?

    I think ties are a waste to use other than corners and line stretching posts because t-posts are so easy and do all you need. I used to have a friend who worked for the railroad and sold me near-perfect ties for $5. Some of them still had metal rail plates on them with spikes. Most ties are 9' long and either pine or oak. You can sure tell the difference between a pine and oak tie when you strart to lift them.
    Jim


  2. #12
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: rail road ties for fencing

    I'm impressed with how well they have worked for you guys. My experience with RR ties is when used as landcapes and retaining walls. It could be that the ones used around here are pine, I honestly don't know what wood they are, but I've seen them rotting at five years and pretty much ruined at ten years of age. I don't know about fencing, but would be very sure of what type of wood they are before putting them into the ground.

    Eddie

  3. #13
    Elite Member tallyho8's Avatar
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    Katrinaville LA west of Westwego east of Ama south of River Ridge north of Boutte, above sea level
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    Default Re: rail road ties for fencing

    One thing I have learned about cross ties is that if you cut them with a chainsaw, put a tarp down to catch the sawdust because the creosoted sawdust will kill the grass everywhere it lands. Oh, and don't breathe the dust.

  4. #14
    Platinum Member
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    hoyt, Ks
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    century 2535

    Default Re: rail road ties for fencing

    I've had good luck with the oak ones for fencing and other ground contact apps.
    the pine ones make good backstops - if you don't mind replacing the middle ones every couple of years. Do 2 stacks of them about 18" apart and fill the space between with sand or crush lime.use t-posts about 6" in from either end then use wire to tie the tops together.
    Erik
    Mahindra 3510, box blade, pallet forks, 6' KK mower...

  5. #15
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: rail road ties for fencing

    Quote Originally Posted by EddieWalker
    I'm impressed with how well they have worked for you guys. My experience with RR ties is when used as landcapes and retaining walls. It could be that the ones used around here are pine, I honestly don't know what wood they are, but I've seen them rotting at five years and pretty much ruined at ten years of age. I don't know about fencing, but would be very sure of what type of wood they are before putting them into the ground.

    Eddie
    Eddie, there are just many, many railroad tie retaining walls in this area, and I guess they last quite awhile, but every time I go by one, I wonder why anyone would use them for a retaining wall when you know it's going to have to be rebuilt some day.

    I believe it was 1973 when I got a bunch of ties and used for a flower bed border across the front of the house, and a border in the back yard which I filled with gravel for a parking place for a little motorhome. At least, when they're lying on top of the ground, they're easy to replace. But I sold that house in 1977 so didn't have to replace any, but I sure would not do it again.
    Bird

  6. #16
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: rail road ties for fencing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bird
    Eddie, there are just many, many railroad tie retaining walls in this area, and I guess they last quite awhile, but every time I go by one, I wonder why anyone would use them for a retaining wall when you know it's going to have to be rebuilt some day.

    I believe it was 1973 when I got a bunch of ties and used for a flower bed border across the front of the house, and a border in the back yard which I filled with gravel for a parking place for a little motorhome. At least, when they're lying on top of the ground, they're easy to replace. But I sold that house in 1977 so didn't have to replace any, but I sure would not do it again.
    The reason? Probably like me. When I bought this small place (2 acres), it needed a 5' retainer across the back lot line. Being short on money and ties being cheap that is what I used. I figured I wouild have to replace them and would do it with those fancy concrete blocks. That was 30 years. Wall is still standing but should be replaced. Will I replace it? Not at my age, the next guy can do it .

    I also used the ties to fence my 1 acre pasture - 1 tie every 9 ft. Having patched fence all my young years on the farm until I got smart, I knew that the basic rule sould be - the smaller the enclosure the better the fence. That fence is still standing also but I suspect at least 1/2 the posts are rotted out.

    Edgings for flower beds, walks, etc. they don't seem to last all that well. I tore out a bed 2 years ago and out of around 10 ties, one 2 were sorta salvageable.

    Harry K

  7. #17
    Elite Member tallyho8's Avatar
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    Katrinaville LA west of Westwego east of Ama south of River Ridge north of Boutte, above sea level
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    Default Re: rail road ties for fencing

    One of the things that make treated or creosoted wood rot faster is that people cut them after they have been treated. The treatment does not go all the way through and a cut end will rot fairly quickly. If your fence posts are too tall, dig deeper holes!

  8. #18
    RFB
    RFB is offline
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    Default Re: rail road ties for fencing

    jinman

    "What did you use for the horizontal part of the "H"?"

    We cut them in half, and then split the length of the halves. They are hard on chainsaw blades but out here we use the loggers method. Sharpen 20-30 extra chains all at once on an electric sharpener, change out as soon as saw speed starts slowing.

    Lots of long fences here; some big ranches. It ain't Texas, but it ain't like those littleuns back east either.

  9. #19
    Platinum Member
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    The real central PA everything else is philly or pittsburgh
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    DK45 SE HST

    Default Re: rail road ties for fencing

    Quote Originally Posted by tallyho8
    One of the things that make treated or creosoted wood rot faster is that people cut them after they have been treated. The treatment does not go all the way through and a cut end will rot fairly quickly. If your fence posts are too tall, dig deeper holes!
    True, very true.

    Cut any PT lumber and it will have preservative about 1/4" in, the rest is untreated.

  10. #20
    Epic Contributor jinman's Avatar
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    Texas - Wise County - Sunset
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    Default Re: rail road ties for fencing

    Ties or landscaping timbers in costant contact with wet ground will not last but a few years. Ties are usually set in crushed rock on the railroads and that rock provides great drainage. As retaining walls, a properly built wall will have good drainage. Ties around flower beds or posts set in damp spots will deteriorate much quicker. As with any wooden post, most of the damage will occur just above and below the surface of the ground where most moisture collects.
    Jim


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