I want to mount a 60 year old (ie - no more creosote) rail road tie to a wall - think barn beam mantle except on a wall rather than over a fireplace. It is an interior wall and I should have no impediments to the studs along all 8.5 foot length of the rail road tie. Initially I thought of drilling into the studs to put in large lag bolts allowing them to stick out several inches (with a slight upward tilt), then drill into the tie to slip the lag bolts into the tie. While that sounded good in my head for a bit, I began to think about the realities of trying to get that whole thing to come out level and I am doubting my skills. It is a long run on a very visible wall and I can't afford to be off. So I have been thinking French cleat but I have never worked with those. It seems that I would have an easier time getting it straight and I should be able to order them designed to hold this kind of weight. I really don't want this thing falling off the wall after I put it up there.
I am absolutely no expert at hanging heavy things and am willing to take any guidance. Thoughts? I really want a "floating beam" look, so would prefer not to have corbels.