Why haven't I thought of this before? (Ballast)

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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Ya know, I've never had much fun ballasting track. The main problem, for me, is applying the cement to secure it in place. I've used Woodland Scenics spray cement (expensive) and 50/50 white glue/water mix. The problem with the mix, is the actual application. Dropper, spoons, etc have their drawbacks and seem to take a good dose of patience to use effectively. Yesterday I stumbled across the obvious solution. Use the Elmers glue bottle itself for dispensing the mix!!! With it, the cement is applyed much faster and can be done with individual drops or flooding. What an improvement. Total cost, $0!

Ok, I'm easily excited and this is a trivial tip. That said, I'm stoked! Anyone need any track ballasted???
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
CP990 said:
To ballast the sides of my EZ or Unitrack I use a 2" paintbrush and a paint the sides of the plastic a medium grey latex paint then sprinkle my ballast on while wet. When it dies everything is stuck real well. This wouldn't work with real tracks :D

See: Wet paint grass technique.

Dave.
Sounds good Dave. That reminds me why I loved using Woodland Scenics foam roadbed( we've got it and cork). For lightly ballasted track, I'd spread Aileen's Tacky Glue (the thick stuff in the purple bottle) over the entire roadbed, spread it out with a brush, lay the track and pin it temporarily, then sprinkle the ballast on. After the glue dried, the excess ballast could be removed with a shop vac.

For heavily ballasted cork though, I like the Elmers bottle!
 
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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
CP990 said:
I've also used the Aileen's glue thing, much better results but VERY expensive! I've also found that Aileen's eats/melts my styrene base! :eek:

I haven't bought any Aileen's glue in some time, but found a deal on it at Wally World as I recall. A bottle goes a pretty good way if spread thinly. My problem is that I prefer heavier applied ballast for most main trackage. Either way, it's some good stuff for many uses.
 

ak-milw

Member
I use a large syringe, that they use for injecting cattle, I just pour a small amount of my Elmers white glue mix into a small tub and suck it out with the syringe, then apply it to my ballast and other ground coverings. You really can get a good controlled amount layed down. I guess this wouldn't help you city boys with no farm supply store in town!!
:eek:
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Eric, when I started my layout I tried to do as the books would suggest and one suggestion was using an eye dropper. With as much track as I have, I soon realized how ridiculous using an eye dropper was and started using the Elmer's glue bottle as you mentioned.
I now use alcohol (drys faster and removes surface friction better) to wet my ballast and then go down the middle of the track dragging my mix glue bottle that is adjusted just right. Then I go down each outer side of the rails. Capillary action takes care of all of it. FYI: I'm still using the same glue bottle after 2 years.:D
 

wpgrailfan

WYSIWYG Photographer
What we use on our home layout is a water bottle, similar to the glass cleaner (Windex).

Fill it with 50/50 water/glue and spray away. Makes a fine mist of the mixture and covers a large area.

The only drawback is if you don't clean the nozzle at the end of the day, you need a new bottle.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
wpgrailfan said:
What we use on our home layout is a water bottle, similar to the glass cleaner (Windex). Fill it with 50/50 water/glue and spray away. Makes a fine mist of the mixture and covers a large area.
That's the approach I would like to use when I start ballasting my track; my main concern is how to get the gluey mix off the rail tops without disturbing the ballast underneath. I don't think I can simply wait for it to dry and then scrap it off, like I do with paint... And I doubt a piece of cork would be absorbant enough to use when the mix is still wet.
 
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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Marc, I tried the spray bottle with white glue mix and couldn't keep the nozzle from clogging. I must have had to much glue in the mix. :eek:

Ken, When I used Woodland Scenics spray cement, a Bright Boy took it right off the railheads. Some folks don't like BB's, but there are times when drastic measures are called for.:)
 

Steve B

Firefighter
I use a spray bottle for my water / alcohol mix, this i apply in vast quantitys then drizzle the white glue / water mix in the center of the track, as long as the ballast is soaking it wicks right through, bob on
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
I found that spraying the ballast doesn't get enough on to soak all the way through. All I would end up with is a crust. A little bump or disturbance would break the crust and then I would have loose ballast everywhere. The other down side is you also spray everything around the track. Just try the bottle method and see what you think.

But, this is one of those methods that you have to say, "...what ever works for you is good."
 

Fergmiester

M.E.S.S. Maker
Funny how we all are coming up with the same conclusions. I was running out of my glue slurry that I'd mix in a 2 ox container and finally saw the 16 oz glue bottle half full and said "why not?" I've gone one step further and added tole paint to the mix. A dab of black and a dab of Burnt Sienna. This gives it the "not so clean look"

And yes I add rubbing alcohol to the glue as well, though it's watered down to about 25% of the total ratio.

Fergie
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Fergmiester said:
Funny how we all are coming up with the same conclusions. I was running out of my glue slurry that I'd mix in a 2 ox container and finally saw the 16 oz glue bottle half full and said "why not?" I've gone one step further and added tole paint to the mix. A dab of black and a dab of Burnt Sienna. This gives it the "not so clean look"

And yes I add rubbing alcohol to the glue as well, though it's watered down to about 25% of the total ratio.

Fergie
Fergie, that's a GREAT idea about adding the paint! Why didn't I think of that? :)
 




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