Gromgor

Best way to cut a RR track

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A friend of mine works for a company that used to have railroad track installed for some purpose. They have the track just lying around and they've said he can get all of it that he wants. So I'm curious what are some ways to cut RR track are.

 

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For the average "joe", probably Oxygen/Acetylene rig with big cutting tip..... If you have something similar to a 12 inch capacity cutoff saw (which most of us don't) that would work... Anything smaller is a exercise in futility....

 

Dale

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I've used a 14" chopsaw, cut from the bottom, when there's very little left pick it up and drop it on another piece of rail.  You should get a clean break.

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Dcraven,

 

Does that technique work well when you're just cutting off a small section (torch cut end) to make a clean cut end? with the cut section being less than 1" long?

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I don't have an OA cutting torch, and have only used the chopsaw as mentioned above.  I was cutting larger sections to use as an anvil for either myself, or for friends.  I did have intentions on cutting smaller pieces to use as hardy tools until I found that jack hammer bits are readily available at tool rental places for next to nothing and easier to work with considering the tools that I have.  Besides the piece of track mounted vertically, I only have one 2 foot section of track remaining which is useful for other things, ie. straightening large pieces of steel by heating them, setting it on the ground and then pressing the track on top of it, so I decided against cutting it up.

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I've made two anvils from track before I got my hay-budden. First one I did with an angle grinder and it took a little while but cut was clean. Second one was with o/a torch and was kind of tricky when you got to the top of the track but didn't take long at all. Problem was the torch cut track is a nightmare to clean the edges up, might as well used a grinder to begin with.

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RR rail isn't some mythical substance, you can cut a rail in about 20 minutes with a hack saw and 14tpi blade Cut from the flange towards the face, tip it slightly so you NEVER put the teeth on the rail surface. Only the contact/wear face of rail is induction hardened, the rest is normalized. I use my HV band saw to cut rail, no sweat, no muss no fuss. Cut from the flange with just enough tip so the blade ALWAYS comes on the wear surface from underneath.

 

If you're in the field you can cut rail really easily with a little ingenuity, a good cold chisel, hammer and a bar. Score the flange and web with the chisel, lift the rail as high as reasonable, 2" at least. Use the bar to pry it up and block it to hold it. Put a rock or another piece of rail under either the end or where you scored it and push it off the blocks. the shock of impact will snap it at the score marks. this is how the rail hands do it, or used to.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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The only reason I ask is because I've got a few sections of rr track. all are under 4' long, closer to 3' or less. All were torch cut. I'd like to clean up the ends but not cut off/waste more than I have too. The two longer sections will be cut to matching length and used as the base for the shorter section which will be dressed to look like a traditional english anvil as best I can with a grinder and cutting torch. I'd like to have a clean cut end oposite the horn which would mean using the 14" chop saw to cut it clean but I want to know if I need to cut all the way through with the saw, or if I can get close and than manage a clean break at the track surface. I plan on leaving the top side of one of the supporting sections hanging out on the non-horn side of the base to give me another area to use as an anvil/hardy tool giving me the best of both worlds as far as track anvils go (vertical and horizontal possitions). In order to do this I need the ends of the supporting tracks to be straight meaning a torch cut is out of the question. The vertical track will be sunk into some hardwood to act as the base. of the full height anvil.

 

no, I'm 6'5" can anyone give me a recommendation on the best approximate final working height of an anvil for someone my size?

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I cut it with my bandsaw, a Roll-In, with no problem. I set the speed at it's lowest fpm with light to medium pressure  and use a 14/10 bi-metal blade. It takes around 10-15 minutes.

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The general method for gauging proper anvil height is to stand relaxed with your hand at your side. The anvil's face should contact your hand somewhere between your knuckles and wrist. Old school says knuckle height but that isn't as comfortable for a man striking one handed. during his clinic here a few weeks ago Gordon Williams showed us a really handy gauging technique. He holds a pair of tongs in his holding hand and sets the anvil height at a level where they lay flat on the face. OR he sets the anvil where tongs held between his legs are flat on the surface. Holding the tongs between your legs is how you use struck tools without a helper.

 

Once you have some hammer time you'll find you can adjust to different heights so long as it isn't extreme. I like different heights for different jobs, lower for hard striking and higher for finish work, say chasing.

 

You can cut partway with a grinder and use a sledge hammer to snap it. I forgot that method earlier but it works a treat. Not too good for cleaning a rough torch cut though.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I'm thinking if I cut to between 1/4" and 1/8" and score the face with a cold chisel I should be able to get a fairly clean break. at least nothing a little grinder work wouldn't be able to clean up.

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I've run a lot of rail of different sizes thru my power hacksaw. Standard 12 inch blade and a lot of time. The back and forth pitman arm rhythm of an old PHS is very fitting for RR track.

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If you take the sawing option, start from the base and leave the top work hardened bit 'til last.

There was a previous lengthy discussion on cutting railroad track, including using cold chisels to score around the rail, and then snap it over bolsters/supports.

post-816-0-33093900-1371065830_thumb.jpg post-816-0-76893700-1371065953_thumb.jpg

One of the problems with rail is ascertaining the basic material, most methods quoted are non specific to your particular piece, so be prepared for all sorts of different outcomes.

Another useful gadget used to straighten or bend rails was this post-816-0-45219500-1371066267_thumb.jpg

Whatever you choose to do, it is a good learning experience.

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A Concrete cut off is what they use to install them with a guide.

 

a 70cc 2 stroke with a shop saw wheel on it basicly

 

it will cut though one in 30 seconds or less and leave a clean cut

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