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Semi OT; RR & Metal question

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  • Semi OT; RR & Metal question

    Can anyone give some info on steel spiral fluted dowels used to prevent rail road sleepers from splitting?
    Usually placed near the ends.
    How were they installed? I'm thinking a pilot hole through then pressed or impact driven.
    What is the carbon content, and any idea of Rc? (hardness as installed, not attainable)
    They appear to be twisted from square stock, but the flutes are arc shaped. No cutting edges.
    There is a round reduced section on at least one end (why I'm thinking a pilot).
    At first glance looks somewhat like a core drill, fairly high helix.
    My sample is old, corroded, beat up and cost the sawyer a sharpening.
    I'd like to hear anything about manufacture, and whether it's a regional thing.

  • #2
    I'd like to see a photo... the only one's I'm familiar with look like this: http://suchandsuchfarm.com/wp-conten...s/img_6230.jpg or on the newer ones: http://www.acmesand.com/wp-content/u...AILROADTIE.jpg

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Carm View Post
      rail road sleepers
      Never heard the term ..
      John Titor, when are you.

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      • #4
        ties

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        • #5
          I'm probably wrong but always thought they were just driven in as ties were a very low tech industry.
          Sawyer as in sawmill or chainsaw? The former should have known & had a metal detector. I never cut anything but forrest trees, no yard, fence row, or roadside trees. Full of steel, rocks, you name it.

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          • #6
            There was indeed a pilot hole, drilled with a scotch auger, all be it a big one in the past, rail screws, also used on a slightly smaller scale on overhead transmission line fittings are twisted in in machine, originally hand twisted, square head is the norm, a key was used to screw them in, looks like a tall fence post auger with a square socket on the end.
            Rail spikes are different in that I beleive they get hammered in, they don't look twisted to me but we don't use them over here.
            The screws were used to hold the "chair" to the sleeper or tie.
            Spikes were med carbon steel, lots of knife guys forge blades from those, they harden and temper them so there must be .75 up carbon at a guess.
            Screws were originally wrought iron, but ordinary low carbon steel was generally used, nothing fancy as cost was important as 10s of millions of them were used.
            Rail ties or sleepers where molten metal is used are still wooden, concrete explodes nicely.
            Looking at one recently made me think it was closed die drop forged, there was a die line along the centre so either method could work.
            It's usually good practice to check timber with a metal detector before milling aka sawing, I've seen what an old gate hinge can do to a saw, circular inserted tooth in this case, it turned the blade into a spinning disk
            Mark

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            • #7
              Thanks for responses, sorry no pics. My surname is Luddite.
              But it looks a lot like a four flute core drill for enlarging holes in steel, not concrete. Low tech industry perhaps, but web searches for information reveal several patents granted for installation machinery. At four dowels per tie, thousands of ties needed, ongoing, somebody thought of a better way.

              The sawyer knew they were there, is getting compensated for the job. I'm in the picture because he has over 200 of these suckers to saw through and asked for some strategies to cut time & expense.
              I have plenty of ideas, just want to know my enemy, forewarned is forearmed etc.

              Fastrack, some of the job includes both styles you show. The S type are thin and don't cause problems (bandmill, might be having a friction saw effect). The toothed plates are easy to pry off.

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              • #8
                So I feel compelled to ask- why are you ripping ties? Do you need creosote soaked lumber for something?

                allan

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                • #9
                  Kitno
                  I'm not the sawyer.
                  The job is apparently for a custom small gauge setup.

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                  • #10
                    Thier definitely going for authenticity!, a normal job would be some of you excellent oak as opposed to stinky crap, telegraph poles might be better for resawing, less hardware
                    Mark

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                    • #11
                      Perhaps the tie manufacturers can help you out. This one came up with a search and looked promising: http://www.grossjanes.com/index.html

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by boslab View Post
                        Thier definitely going for authenticity!, a normal job would be some of you excellent oak as opposed to stinky crap, telegraph poles might be better for resawing, less hardware
                        Mark
                        Mark, as you likely know from the history of the Royal Navy, the north American colonies yielded a great deal of ship building timbers of excellent old growth quality. Many a mast from New England, straight as an arrow.
                        Oak species are still a commodity but size and quality are not what they once were...the fact these bits are already creosote treated (and a very good price as used material) probably drove the track layer's choice, though I speculate.

                        Telegraph (phone) poles in the northeast US are predominantly cedar, either white or red, so too soft. I see new poles are often CCA treated southern yellow pine.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carm View Post
                          ....the fact these bits are already creosote treated (and a very good price as used material) probably drove the track layer's choice, though I speculate.

                          .....
                          The treatment generally does not penetrate that far, even in the best treatment, so if resawn smaller, the new surfaces may not be so well protected. Ties are done better than many other products, and the wood is porous, but even there treatment is not necessarily penetrating to the middle.
                          CNC machines only go through the motions.

                          Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                          Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                          Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                          I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                          Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

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                          • #14
                            As Jerry stated. The creosote is unlikely to penetrate more than 1/2 to 1 inch. Also.. re-sawing used material? YUK. The grit from the gravel penetrates all the cracks. I've cut up plenty with a chainsaw, even with carbide chains, and they all get trashed in short order.

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                            • #15
                              Use a laser or light saber to cut them

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