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Old 05-24-2017, 05:29 PM   #1
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Railroad Ties


Looking to set a row of up to 3 ties high, 40 to 50 ft long to create another tiered look to our backyard mountain. Will eventually have ground cover cascade over the ties. What is the best way to anchor them so they remain upright, and attached to each other?
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Old 05-24-2017, 06:34 PM   #2
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Re: Railroad Ties


Predrill and then rebars or lengths of conduit works for me. For the first row.
Big honking spiral nails after that. Also predrilled.
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Old 05-24-2017, 07:23 PM   #3
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Re: Railroad Ties


When they rot or you otherwise want to dipose of them, they are considered as Treated Wood Waste. In Calif, they have to go to either a landfill that has a composite-lined section, or a hazardous waste landfill.

Not every landfill accepts them.

When I factor in the disposal hassle of hauling them away (about 60 miles for me), I would opt for non-wood options.
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Old 05-25-2017, 03:13 PM   #4
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Re: Railroad Ties


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Originally Posted by jlhaslip View Post
Predrill and then rebars or lengths of conduit works for me. For the first row.
Big honking spiral nails after that. Also predrilled.
Not a fan of ties, but a follow-up to your reply to the OP's question, I've always used rebar then spiral spikes. Would conduit be strong enough?

He also might try a half-lap joint with a rebar/spike driven through (always pre-drilled) to keep rows aligned.

Last edited by lenaitch; 05-25-2017 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 05-25-2017, 03:49 PM   #5
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Re: Railroad Ties


If I read this right, this will be a retaining wall. If so, best go into this with eyes open. If not done right, the fix of the failure could be discouraging and expensive.
Google railroad tie retaining wall deadman and read a bit. Example pages:

https://www.familyhandyman.com/lands...onger/view-all
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Old 05-25-2017, 05:26 PM   #6
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Re: Railroad Ties


There's a reason all these old ties are available, they have already started to rot out so they were removed and replaced with new ones.
They also stink.
Use pressure treated 6 X 6's instead.
Best way is to predrill and use at least 2' long rebar, cut and notch the overlaps and make sure the first row sits level, Offset the laps on the next row and notch the overlaps and use flat head ledger Loc screws.
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Old 05-25-2017, 07:19 PM   #7
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Re: Railroad Ties


I totally agree with all of the negatives regarding railway ties (unless you can legally source new ones, then they just stink more), plus they are murder on saw blades/chains, but I didn't want to dis the OP's project - it's his wall, not mine.

It has always been my understanding and practice that a deadman isn't necessary for 3 rows and under, but I suppose they can't hurt.
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Old 05-25-2017, 09:09 PM   #8
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Re: Railroad Ties


Quote:
Originally Posted by lenaitch View Post
I totally agree with all of the negatives regarding railway ties (unless you can legally source new ones, then they just stink more), plus they are murder on saw blades/chains, but I didn't want to dis the OP's project - it's his wall, not mine.

It has always been my understanding and practice that a deadman isn't necessary for 3 rows and under, but I suppose they can't hurt.
Agreed. That's why I did not mention them.
I have built retaining walls using 8 x 8 Timbers c/w deadmen and they are a ton of extra work.
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Old 05-25-2017, 09:36 PM   #9
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Re: Railroad Ties


Deadman returns are mandatory when building a timber retaining wall.
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