A railroad spike looks like a large nail and its main use is for fixing rails (train tracks) to railroad ties. In the last few decades, railroad spikes have started being used as main material for creating all kinds of innovative solutions around the house, anything from cabinets hardware to toilet paper holders, giving a more rough, rustic look to a place.
While most railroads buy railroad spikes directly from the manufacturers in large orders, the railroad spike “artists” looking to buy railroad spikes have to look into secondary markets which can fulfill a small order, usually 50 to 100 railroad spikes.
Since we’re talking about where to buy railroad spikes from, I should mention that we recently wrote an article about railroad spikes art, which gives you over 100 ideas of what you can manufacture out of a railroad spike. Check it out!
Before we discuss the places that sell railroad spikes, let’s address the following question.
Can I get free railroad spikes?
If you have read How to Get Free Railroad Ties? You will know my answer. Let’s assume you didn’t.
Many people have noticed that railroads leave either railroad ties or railroad spikes right by the tracks, which raised many eyebrows for people looking to get free stuff. Well, nothing is free.
Taking any of those items without advanced permission from the owner is considered theft, walking around the rail tracks is considered trespassing.
So, there is no chance I can get free railroad spikes?
You might be able to get them for free, but not by just taking them. First make sure you contact the owner, which in most of the cases is the railroad company that operates there (not all the time), they might be willing to just hand them to you for free. Or not.
You might be able to get a better price if you buy them directly from them in bulk, assuming you need a large number.
Anyhow, the essence of my answer is that you shouldn’t take the railroad spikes that are sitting by the tracks, it can get you in a lot of trouble.
Where to buy railroad spikes from?
As mentioned above, unless you are building a couple miles of train track in your backyard, chances that you need more than a few railroad spikes are slim.
The average buying order for railroad spikes is between 50 to 100 pieces. I am not saying you cannot buy more, that’s just the average. Probably that’s kind of the sweet number that is used for a decent size project, where things can go wrong and you need spare pieces.
Some of the railroad spikes that are for sale out there were previously used, most of them being completely covered in rust. These are usually the cheapest ones you will find, if cleaning doesn’t bother you it might be the best option. However, the more expensive ones are already cleaned by any rust and are ready for your next project.
Let’s look at the rusted, uncleaned ones first.
One of my favourite places to buy railroad spikes is Amazon, there are few sellers that offer railroad spikes in great condition (as great it can be for a 10-25 years old railroad spike).
25x Railroad Spikes - Rusted, Weathered With Petina & Pitting
If you are looking for a slightly small order, this is one of the best places to buy them.
With an average buying price of $1.32 per railroad spike (NOTE: Price might change, check out the listing), it has a great value, the shipping is free.
50x Railroad Spikes - Rusted, Weathered With Petina & Pitting
This is a medium to large order, 50 railroad spikes would be enough for a few decent size projects.
The dollar value is great, with approx. $1.16 per railroad spike (NOTE: Price might change, check out the listing). Free shipping is included.