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Color Ff A Wood Trestle

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  • Member since
    September, 2013
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Color Ff A Wood Trestle
Posted by caldreamer on Sunday, September 03, 2017 9:28 PM

I am goingt o be scratch building a wooden trestle for my railroad and would like to know what would be the best color to stain the wood.  It will be based in Northern California, north of Scaramento.  I know that the prime time period when railroads built wooden trestles was 1860  to about 1920, so figure it was built during that time period. 

  • Member since
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  • From: US
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Posted by wp8thsub on Sunday, September 03, 2017 10:17 PM

Wood trestles tend toward dark grays and grayish browns.  

Knights Landing, CA, 1958 http://www.railpictures.net/photo/180675/ .

Westside Lumber Company "River Bridge" in the Sierra Nevada, CA http://www.american-rails.com/cllg.html#gallery[pageGallery]/2/  .

Capitola, CA, 1986 http://www.railpictures.net/photo/217180/ .  Note the replacement timbers showing maintenance.

Stockton, CA, 1974 http://railpictures.net/photo/62489/ .  Some of the weathering on this trestle is mud accumulated during periods of high water.

Color didn't vary much by era, and not necessarily that much within a geographic area.  Steam era color reproduction is much less reliable than with photos taken later with better film, so diesel era photos can still be useful even if modeling steam. 

*EDIT* The photos from Railpictures disapeared when I saved the post, but the links still go to the correct images.

Rob Spangler

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, September 03, 2017 11:27 PM

Like the ones shown in Rob's links, most remaining in-service wooden trestles that I've seen are made from creosoted timbers, and would be a colour similar to that shown in the photos.
An early timber trestle, built as an expediency to complete a new line, might be made from timber cut on-site, and might even not be cut lumber, but rather suitably-sized de-barked logs.  The intention with trestles built in that manner was to come back as the line pushed on, with the excess material from cuts brought back to the site of the trestle in side-dump cars.  The material would be dumped until the trestle was completely buried, and the track resting on the fill thus created.

I'll be adding a short, low wooden trestle to the second level of my layout, and while it will feature an occasional train, the line will be a scenic feature only, and not operational.
I plan to build mine from dimensional styrene strips, though.

Wayne

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Posted by caldreamer on Monday, September 04, 2017 12:02 PM

Thanks for the pictures and informations. I have completed the engineering drawings for my trestle are complete.  The nnext steop will be constructing the bent jig. and purchsasing the bass wood strips.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Monday, September 04, 2017 1:24 PM

Hello all,

There are a couple of color options...

It was common for some railroads to use the same lead-oxide paint on rolling stock and wooden structures- -trestles, water tanks, etc.

Krylon makes a primer in Red Oxide (also known as Ruddy Brown) they both go by the stock number 51317.

You should paint the finished sub structures or the entire trestle once fully assembled.

Painting each individual piece before assembly might require removing the paint at the joints before assembly to get good adhesion.

I prefer my wooden trestles to have the look of creosote.

To achieve this I mix one part Minwax Ebony stain (#2718) and three parts Red Mahogany (#225).

Next, I place the individual wooden pieces in a gallon zip-top freezer bag. I pour in about one ounce of the mixed stain.

Then I shake the bag, being sure to coat each individual piece. 

With a gloved hand; I use Nitrile as they are chemical resistant, remove the pieces to a few layers of newspaper to absorb any excess stain.

Be aware the stain might soak through the newspaper so don't do this on the dining room table.

This method gives a pretty saturated look.

For a lighter stain remove the pieces to a few sheets of paper towel and blot the excess stain until you get the look you desire.

Then transfer to newspaper and allow to fully dry.

I prefer to stain each individual piece rather than the sub structures or the completed item.

Wood glue, once set, inhibits the stains ability to get into the wood leaving unstained areas at the joints. 

Exactly the opposite as the first method.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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  • 1,522 posts
Posted by caldreamer on Monday, September 04, 2017 7:21 PM

Sounds like a good color , I will try it and see if I like it,  I prefer Tite Bond wood glue.  It is an alphadic resin cement and a lot stronger than white glue.  What did you use?

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