What to use for staining ties

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jkristia, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    I just tried to stain some ties using brown walnut wood stain, and it came out too dark. What do you use for staining ties?

  2. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Jasper. I answered your question in another web site.

    Back in the 50's and 60's, I used brown liquid shoe polish.

    Recently I have used brown dye mixed with water in a coffee can and that worked real good. You can mixed it any way you want between darker or lighter.
  3. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Jesper, A slightly different approach is to glue the unstained ties down ( I glue them to homasote) then paint the whole affair. I brought a suitably colored tie to a paint store and had a quart made to match. The paint seals the homasote for ballasting later and of course colors the ties. I know the advantage of staining is to obtain color variation but this is easy to obtain with paints also. Some prefer staining so wood grain shows but I don't think the wood grain looks like real ties anyway. If I want older beat up ties I run my exacto sawblade across the ties and paint appropriately. One other point: I use Woodland Scenics ballast, usually the light grey. The residue left on the ties after applying the ballast and cleaning off the tie tops prior to glueing does lighten the color slightly.
  4. Big Don

    Big Don New Member

    I just finished building a trestle for my small N scale layout. I also used a dark walnut stain, but diluted it 2:1 with turpentine because I was also finding that the full strength stain was far too dark.

    Another trick --- minimise the amount of stain in your brush (even if that means wiping the excess onto a paper towel) and brush it on quickly. I sometimes find I need to go back and touch up areas that are too light using this approach, but its much better than the reverse problem.

    Hope this is useful.

    Big Don
  5. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Jesper, Shoe dye (not liquid polish) makes execellent tie stains...just thin it with denatured alcohol to get the degree of color you want. It dries quick too....In fact thats what commerical tie stain that you can buy in the hobby shop is.
  6. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    I just tried to use India Ink diluted with alcohol, which seems to work fine, but I will give some of the other methods a try (to find the one that works best for me)

    Thanks for the help.
  7. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    I hand lay a lot of my track, I just glue down unstained ties down, sand them to ensure they are flat, I use Miniwax dark walnut stain diluted 50/50, let it dry. I then dry brush on miniwax white oak, this gives the ties a little whiteish look, let it dry. I then come along with some very fine sandpaper at least 250 grit and randomly sand some areas lightly to give it a varied look. I then spike my track down. I then go to areas where the ties are going to be darker: switches, crossovers, water tank area, engine terminal etc and dry brush on Ceramcoat charcoal. Do this sparingly and build it up to get the effect you want. On the areas that get little use and you want to bleach out the ties a little more ie: dead end spurs, I go back and dry brush on more of the white oak or drybrush on a diluted mix 50/50 of driftwood. I also go along different areas to give it variety and use sparingly some maple and oak stains. This is a method that I use and I am happy with my results. I would suggest getting a few scrap pieces of whatever you are putting your ties down on, glue several short length of ties and experiment with a few of the ideas that have been presented, practice a little and go with what you are happy with that you find the easiest. Make sure you write down on a piece of paper what you have done on each experiment so you can re create it if required, it will also let you know what you did if you do not like it. One thing that I have learned from experience, as you do one step let it dry good , assess it before moving on. Good luck and let us know how you made out. Ron..
  8. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Jesper, I've stained a lot of ties with spaghetti sauce :D :D :D

    For the On30 diorama, I used minwax walnut stain thinned. Poured the mixture into a bowl and dumped the ties in. I strained the ties out while pouring the stain back into the storage container, and spread them to dry on newspaper.
    Something to think about; Steam Era, Journal boxes were filled with oil, which dripped down on the ties, outside the rails. Also, there was water from the injectors. Inside the rails was mostly ash from the grates. Diesel Era, freight trucks are roller bearing, and not much lubricant gets out. Traction motors, and possible drippings from the crankcase would darken the ties between the rails. Depending on the loads, covered hoppers leak, and you'll find traces of the product between the rails. If it's a lightly used branch line, you might also find green growing things between the rails.
  9. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Sorry about that. As Vic says, I really ment brown shoe leather dye.:eek:

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