You may have noticed that many of my projects have been made from Black Walnut from railroad ties.
Here’s a little story about them.
Quite a few years ago, back in 1953, I was working as a Track laborer at an Iron Ore Mine, operated by United States Steel Corp.
They did their mining by running their own railroad down in the ore pits.
Everyday the tracks had to be moved in order for the trains to get close enough for the power shovels to reach, & load the rail cars. That’s because they dug such huge quantities of material operating the mine 24/7 .
They used untreated White Oak ties to hold costs down, because there was an awful lot of damage from constantly shifting the tracks, & moving them. They used to get multiple box car loads of ties.
I sometimes was put on the crew to unload the box cars, & I noticed that once in awhile there would be one of these dark brown ties. The guys told me they were Black Walnut. Those were always set aside, & someone would come with a pickup, & haul them away.
Also the employees were allowed to take the old unusable ties for firewood, so a lot of homes were heated with ties.
Many years later, in 1990, a widow of an old friend gave me a call, & said she was cleaning out her garage, & asked me to come over. She showed me the three railroad ties stacked up against the rear wall of the garage.
She told me I could have them if I wanted them, because I had helped her with some repairs at her home.
I accepted them, but I gave her $25. I would have felt a little foolish taking them for nothing.
_I was thinking to myself later, could these ties be the same ties I had handled almost 40 years earlier, because her husband had worked for the same company.
Now! what shall I do with them ?_
A new wood processing plant, that manufactured hardwood wainscoating, had recently started up just down the highway from where I worked. I stopped one day, & took a tour of the plant. I got aquainted with the owner.
I told him about the three ties I had. He suggested that I bring them to him, & he’d have them resawed for me.
When I went to pick the boards up. I asked him what I owed, & he kindly said, ”nothing”.
-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1