Thursday, December 5, 2013

068 The Navajo Mining Railway - Hand Hewn Ties?

I've not seen hand hewn ties on a narrow gauge layout before.  Will take a lot of work.  But maybe worth the effort.  Nothing gives away the quality of a layout than the track, especially in a photo.

Sugar Pine Crossties

Hare are some hand hewn ties and other track views:

This one has square ends:

Here is how it is done:

Timber pole ties:

Rough cut ties on narrow gauge track at Marshall Pass:

Well worn ties, in color:

Thin rails, ties far apart:

Ok, with these pictures and about 1,000 others that I've looked at on the net and in books, I've come to some conclusions:

1.  Extremely long ties are rather rare.  Micro Engineering ties are just too long.  I'm going with a 6' tie.
2.  Hand hewn chopped ties are even more rare.  Most ties, especially in areas without trees like Utah, are sawn.  I'll be using a sawn tie.
3.  Most all narrow gauge track is buried in the dirt and has virtually no ballast slope.  I'll be putting my track flat on the board, or using a very thin (maybe N scale) road bed to lift it just a bit and to get the spikes in.  Will have to practice with it.

One experiment, and we'll get the saw going!


1.  Don't trust your memory.  Go to the prototype and observe before you model.
2.  Don't model other's models.  Do your own think, but model the PROTOTYPE.
3.  If you don't find a prototype of what you model, then use good engineering principles to develop what you need.


  1. The Shortline Modelers "magazine" has a mini article about creating log ties:

    It seems like a neat effect to represent an abandoned line, but certainly not something any (sane) person would do for any sort of measurable distance.

    About the roadbed, to give it just a slight bit of elevation, there are some modelers here in Denver that use 1/8" basswood. I've experimented with matte board as well (which is also around 1/8") to the same end.

  2. Thanks for the link and the lead on the website! I'll check it out tonight. You are about the forth person that has recommended some kind of "lift" on the track, so I'm kicking that around, too. Thanks! Always appreciate your comments!


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