How to Build a Railroad Tie Wall

Tie Wall Construction Methods

Tie Wall Construction Detail Pages :

Starting a tie wall

Figure the Dimensions of the Tie Wall

With a string line and some stakes I outlined the dimensions of my tie wall. Using a string line level, Ileveled the string to a height slightly above the highest railroad tie.

The idea was to create a level line just above the top of my tie wall. From the line I could measure down to level the dirt.

Digging the ground level

Digging to Level the Ground

Now that I had a level string line, I dug out the ground to make a level bed for the railroad ties. In addition to measuring down from the string line, I used a 3 foot level. The true test to level comes when you set a tie in place. Only then will you know if your wall is truly level. Don't forget to take a visual with your eyes every now and then. What you see can give a better clue to haow your wall is lining up.

How to Build a Tie Wall notes

Measuring to maintain level

Measure from the String Line

The string line is very handy for keeping your dig straight and level. As I dug the ground level I took measurements along the way to ensure I was staying level.

Setting the first row of ties

Building the first row of Ties

As I worked my way down the first row I set ties in place. The 3 foot level was used to verify the ties were stil level. It is a good idea to step back and make sure the tie wall is straight by looking down the entire run of ties.

Adding a row of ties

Building the Tie Wall with Additional Tie Rows

After the entire first row of ties is set and leveled a second row of ties can be added. Remember to stagger the the tie joints to ensure a solid wall.

Normally ties would be cut in half to stagger tie joints. Use whatever dimension you need to stagger the joints. The second row of ties was set in place and staggered into the fill side of the tie wall about 1/2". In other words, looking down the wall it would look like it leans in to the fill side. Once a second row is completed the ties need to be fastened to one another. I used 3/8" X 12" galvanized nails. A pilot hole should be used to prevent bending the nail while hammering through the ties. Typically, I installed 3 to 4 nails per tie. Repeat the nailing process for each additional row of ties.

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