The color of my ties has been bothering me. No, I am not talking about the rack of ties that are gathering dust in the closet. I drove past the former SP branch to Placerville the other day. It has been out of service since the 1980s and reflected weathered ties. They were a light gray with slight tone of brown. The light went on and I realized that creosote is not black but more of a sepia color. I need to have more brown in the tie color and little black except for highlights to show distressing. It seems the old lesson of observing the prototype was lost upon me.
Here is another view of SP track in the town of Lodi, CA. The ties have been there for a while yet they show the brown and gray that I missed in my own track. This should be easier to fix except a sold gray color is hard to achieve with stain but maybe paint is the answer. I have noticed that some ties cut from sugar pine have a tendency not to stain uniformly. I guess this has to do with the hardness of the material or something.
The original ties that were stained black with C.C. Crow’s Silver Wood stain. That wasn’t going to hack it after my epiphany I decided to do some experimenting. A section of the previously installed ties were sanded to a natural color and washed with thinned gray acrylic paint. I added a little dab of a alcohol wash with rust color. I was trying to get the creosote highlights. Subsequently, I purchased a bottle of Dr. Martin’s concentrated water color. I chose the sepia tone since it has some of the color spectrum of weathered creosoted ties. I am hoping that this will fill the bill. I still have more work to do before I get the effect I am looking for. I give you an update on my progress.