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Purge the railroad ties!

Posted by ytsemaddy z5 IL (My Page) on
Thu, May 22, 08 at 15:22

I'd like to pick the communal landscaping brain. My house suffers from the "typical 80's tiered railroad tie garden" syndrome. We're aiming to remedy that ASAP. What's the most efficient / safest way to remove ties and the 8" lengths of rusty rebar that's holding them in the ground? Some of the ties have rotted pretty thoroughly, so those have been removed, but many are largely intact. My only minor success with pulling the rebar has been with locking pliers, but as most of them are rusty, the rust generally just ends up flaking away and there's not a good surface to grip on.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. We're thinking of taking this on over the long weekend. Thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Purge the railroad ties!

I would hit them with a sledge hammer to widen the hole in the ground and then lift them out.

RE: Purge the railroad ties!

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Thu, May 22, 08 at 18:22

Pick axe. Swing the head under the end of the tie and use it to lift the tie in the same manner you use a hammer on a nail.

A sawzall with a long metal blade is not the worst thing either if you can fire it up and ease it between the seam to cut the nails. You have to be careful, though, because if the blade bottoms out it will break.

RE: Purge the railroad ties!

The funny thing is that I tried the pickaxe method last fall. I apparently didn't get the head far enough under the tie, since the edge of the wood broke as I was pulling back on the pickaxe, which sent me sprawling backwards and I ended up with a sprained wrist! I think if I try it again this week I'll wear my rollerblading guards. :)

RE: Purge the railroad ties!

The bigger the pry bar, the better. Use scrap 2X4 or 4X4 as a fulcrum. To remove the rebar, tap side to side to loosen. Then clamp big locking pliers down low and use the pry bar against the locked pliers.
Just before using these techniques, I broke the pick axe handle and went flying backwards. Being on a slope made it even more spectacular. Fortunately, no injuries.

RE: Purge the railroad ties!

I'm faced with the same problem of getting them out. The neighbour's railway tie wall pushed over onto our property a long time ago, and they need to be removed sooner rather than later. (Man, those things smell.)

Anyway, once you get them out, how do/will you dispose of them? Where?

RE: Purge the railroad ties!

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Sat, May 24, 08 at 13:39

If using power saw I'd wear something to protect me from toxic dust being thrown up. I also wonder where off-site disposal could take place. I think the transfer station near me doesn't even accept flourescent lights! Everything gets dumped on the floor, where it is eventually scooped up by an earth mover - they took out the pits when they built a new facility.

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