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Old 02-05-2011, 07:47 PM
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Default chicken coop / small cabin from railroad ties



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I wanted to know if anyone had ever built a small railroad tie structure and had any tips to share. I have a pretty much endless supply of ties and my first batch is for raised flower beds but I was cnsidering making a coop this summer. Possibly making a fort for the kids afetr that.

This could also be a great small shelter at a bug out spot. You could haul them off road with an atv, tractor or horse (being dragged by chains) and if they were left exposed to the elements for a few years while you get everything together, no big deal.

I some day plan on getting some cheap hunting land and the cheap part means it is "no build" land. This would be a good way of quietly taking a cabin up there for almost no money. Wouldnt need to be big, just big enough to store items when I am not there and If we need to bug out, a safe solid structure to sleep in.
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:00 PM
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I'm not sure about the suitability of RR Ties for a childs play area. Creosote gives a pretty mean contact burn in warm weather. Even old ties can weep creosote when sufficiently heated by the sun.
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:04 PM
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They make for very nasty splinters too
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:09 PM
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I like the direction youre trying to go with this...using what you have on hand for a given purpose or need. The creosote is a concern as are splinters as the two previous posters pointed out, in my mind that eliminates them from using for the kids. If the kids arent very young though I cant see it being a problem. As for using them to construct a cabin or shelter they could work very well if you had a decent knowledge of construction and put a relatively sturdy roof on top of said structure that had at least a slight grade on it. If the shtf railroad ties seem like they would do well against small arms fire and as long as you sealed any gaps properly would do a great job keeping the elements out.
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:27 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I wasnt thinking about the creosote. They use plaster in cabins. I would need to think of a different lining for the chickens. For the kids I will just use slab wood. that will be easier and safer.
Old 02-05-2011, 10:50 PM
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When you wrote "raised flower beds" I hope that you mean just that, and not raised garden areas. Creosote from the ties will leach into the soil and thereby into nearby plants. You don't want those plants to be food crops.

Just FYI...
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:02 PM
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I did mean vegetable beds. According to Mother Earth News, as long as the ties are old, it is ok for vegetable production. If they are not so old, they said to use plastic liner. the roots just need to avoid direct contact.
Old 02-05-2011, 11:16 PM
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I have worked with many ties on flower beds...I would be very concerned in a confined area like the inside of a cabin that the creosote would cause cancer........A fort would be nice...I always used a chain saw to cut my ties..You have to be very careful for any hidden metal bands or nails...
I would highly recommend finding a sawmill that cuts rough sawn lumber and they will cut lumber to the size you want...The very best on your project..Post some pics when you get going on it.....
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:25 PM
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Sorry Nick, I can't remember where I read it, I wish I could cite a specific source for you.
But, I do remember reading about the creosote leaching into the soil - because I had planned on making a raised veggie garden using RR ties.
From what I read, there is no way I'd raise food crops anywhere near creosote.
Maybe a plastic liner would help, but I don't think that just keeping the roots from touching the ties would be enough to ensure safety from the creosote.
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:32 PM
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Thanks for your concern. University of Missouri extension service says, "Old railroad ties make a satisfactory raised bed if they are not oozing creosote, which could injure plants." The article I read before was from here... http://extension.missouri.edu/public...b.aspx?P=G6985 Not Mother earth news.

I see alot of things like yahooAnswers where people say its not ok, but in the gardening forums, alot of people say it is ok.
Old 02-05-2011, 11:40 PM
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There's a motel in barstow,ca made from railroad ties from the tonopah and tidewater raulroad.
Old 02-05-2011, 11:46 PM
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sounds like a cool motel

From what I am now reading, it may be best to avoid root vegies in a rr tied bed.
Old 02-06-2011, 12:46 AM
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All of creosote-impregnated wood smells something awful in summer heat and makes the structure an excellent fire hazard.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:53 AM
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Default Creosote Danger Resources

Quote:
Originally Posted by captbob View Post
Sorry Nick, I can't remember where I read it, I wish I could cite a specific source for you.
But, I do remember reading about the creosote leaching into the soil - because I had planned on making a raised veggie garden using RR ties.
From what I read, there is no way I'd raise food crops anywhere near creosote.
Maybe a plastic liner would help, but I don't think that just keeping the roots from touching the ties would be enough to ensure safety from the creosote.
Bob is speaking the truth. This is well know. Creosote is a petroleum product. It is the least refined part of a barrel of crude oil and is the stuff oil refineries scrap out of the bottoms of the distilling towers.

Creosote is a poison, so any food you eat - be it root vegetable or stalk/bush veggie - will transfer that poison to your food supply by leaching into groundwater that plants suck up.

From The Texas Commission On Environmental Quality. They know a little about something in my home state of Texas.

http://www.tceq.texas.gov/publicatio..._download/file

From the EPA:

http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/factshee...isk_assess.htm

From the CDC:

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp85-c1-b.pdf
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:54 AM
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Seems to me that the ties would be great as structural support in an underground shelter application...
Unlimited supply...ready to to build a bug out spot . Sounds good
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:23 AM
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no no no, you will poison your chickens, plants and children.
Old 02-06-2011, 04:30 AM
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hanging on for a moment - I creosote the chicken house in spring to keep parasites away. It was recommended long ago in a hen raising book I read. I think the railroad ties in the chicken run will be good.
Old 02-06-2011, 01:57 PM
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Very little info about old rr ties and vegetables from an actual source. They all know that new creosote is possibly deadly. I don't worry about poisoniong form the plants. The poison would kill the plants long before it poisoned us. I am a bit worried about long term effects.

In the 70's I beleave they used creosote on wooden fences. I remember the smell well.
Old 02-07-2011, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicktide View Post
Very little info about old rr ties and vegetables from an actual source. They all know that new creosote is possibly deadly. I don't worry about poisoniong form the plants. The poison would kill the plants long before it poisoned us. I am a bit worried about long term effects.

In the 70's I beleave they used creosote on wooden fences. I remember the smell well.
Well, it's your funeral. Sheesh.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:10 AM
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I wouldnt use em theyl dull a chainsaw pretty fast too

if i had to recomend a item to use for structures id say look at the newer power poles that are presure treated but not covered in creasote
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