Staining the second batch of ties

For the second batch of ties, I have learned a few things.

  • I need to stain the ties before I route out the notch for the rails
  • if I put a piece of wood behind the ties as I cut them, I will avoid the splinters on the back side due to the blade on the soft poplar wood
  • dipping the ties and then letting them dry without wiping them results in a better looking tie as it is consistent and very dark

So, I started the morning by building a jig on the saw that has a thick piece of wood on the fence and then my little odd shaped piece of wood for a stop. I cut four 3/8×3/8×36 inch square poplar dowels at a time and put them into a pile. The last piece always has the stupid SKU from Lowes that gums up the sander and so I separated it into a different pile.

Next, I took two poplar test pieces for the main rails and laid them on top of some old bricks that were pulled up from the patio and are just waiting to be buried or dumped. I then took 3 already routed and stained ties and put one on each end and one in the middle to separate the boards the exact spacing that the normal rails are. Finally, I took a six foot 1×2 poplar board on end and set it at the end of the ties to form a backer. This whole setup was done so that I could dip the ties, brush off the excess, and then lay the ties on the beams that were separated the exact amount for the normal beams. This setup is done because the beam will absorb some of the stain causing a light spot on each tie and I want the light spot to be exactly where I will route when cutting the notches in the tie.

Here is a picture of the newly stained ties on the bricks.


It was about 85 degrees and dry so the ties seemed to dry enough that they aren’t sticky to the touch in about 4 hours. After letting them sit for 4 hours, I took them inside and laid them on the worktable with the light spot from the rails facing upwards. I separated each tie by a small amount for airflow to let them continue drying.


After putting this first set on the work table, I then dipped and set another row of ties on the bricks. But, by the time I set these, the temperature had dropped to 75 and it was a bit more humid so the ties did not dry as fast. I let them sit outside till about 9pm and then took them in because it is suppose to rain tonight.

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