Saturday, 19 January 2013

Track Sleepers

The series of videos on  The Route of The Arrow  on track work and specificity on painting sleepers [ties] and is a must view for those thinking of hand laying track. Visit OST Weathering Track Work web site as it will provide inspiration, incite and discussion on track work.

What will be covered here is the specifics techniques used to create the sleepers seen here.


After the adhesive has set all ties are sanded flat using 120 grit garnet paper glued to a flat piece of timber or Uni-Pro Sanding Block

Detailing is achieved in a time honoured manner by using a 42 tpi razor saw, X-Acto No 17 blade and dental pick. 

These detailing methods are covered in great detail in the OST - Detailing Track Work





After preparing all the timber sleepers the base colour of Mini-Wax Classic Grey is applied to all exposed timber faces. After the stain is fully dried weathering can commence. Mini-Wax Ebony is applied to all the heavily distressed areas. A small 1/8'' [3 mm] flat brush is used to apply the stain to these areas. The best technique is to just touch the area and allow the stain to spread. Continue to apply the stain outwards till the brush dry's out - reload brush and repeat. The goal is to taper the colour intensity. Some of the ties area's of plain ties can be blended with the Ebony Stain by loading a small amount of stain to the tip of the brush and then insert the bristles fully into methylated spirits [metho]  or isopropyl alcohol.




A alternative to using a liter tin of the Ebony Stain is to use Mini-Wax Wood Finish & Stain Repair pens are also available from Globak - click to go to web site

Once the stain is dried it is time to age the timber by applying Black Japan from Feast and Watson.

STOP here because this is were it can and will go wrong...!

Japan Black is an intense black and the fumes are issue and another suitable products could be substituted but it was used as it is a stain and is broken down by metho. Application MUST be done using a 1/8'' [3 mm] pointed brush. Dip the tip of the brush JUST into the Japan Black and  then into the metho bay about half its length. Just touch the tip into the deepest parts of the the distressing and allow it to spread - follow as the moment dictates and at the right moment insert the brush for full depth of the bristles back into the meto and flare the stain out. Try not to create stark blotch's or patterns but its just gut feel that will guide you.

When to you know when to stop?  The only advice that can be offered is when you begin to think "just a bit more" - STOP..!

In the example it may have gone to far and if it dose - stop - wait - come back and dry brush to break the effect down. The final appearance will appear a little stark but when the rails are installed onto the ties plates and it is in turn weathered it will break the effect down.





The final job is to remove all the fur from the sleepers. I use 180 grit Uni-Pro Flexible Sanding Pads.  They are flexible and conforms to the sleepers and remove most of the fur in one swipe. The other effect is to fade down the sleepers a tad and at this point a thinned mix of Classic Grey can be added using a large brush in a semi dry brush techniques. Tamyia Sky Grey can be dry brushed to further age the sleepers or break down some of the Japan Black.



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