Don't forget that the bottom 4 (6?) of a pole that is intended for in
ground use will have a much heavier application of creosote. Think
"creosote the entire pole - and then dip the end". Creosoted wood,
when first applied, will be as someone said (Darnaby?) dark brown
with streaks/stains of black. It is rarely shiny very long after having
just been treated because it attracts dust and the dirt where its
been laid down.
The heavy areas such as the bottoms of the pole are often more
like tar than just a stain. The areas that look like tar will get quite
pliable and will stain your clothes if you sit on the cap (I think that's
the right term - I'm talking about the 12x12 that runs along the top
of the dock) ... and your Mom will give you the dickens when you
get home with 'ruined' jeans.
Creosoted wood weathers first to a dark grey (weathered black)
and then gets lighter as time passes.
Common uses for creosoted wood would be ties, piers, docks, retaining
walls, etc. - and in the era of this list treating commercial fishing seine.
The weather in the area makes a difference - the amount of creosote
used in the PNW or Maine is different than in Iowa or Kansas.
Most uses of creosoted wood end up with considerable variation from
board to board, pole to pole, piling to piling ... over time and due to type
of use - example the pilings on a dock look considerable different than
the 12x3 used for the decking (which was driven on by cars, trucks and