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Scenic Cement vs. Elmers+Water?

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Scenic Cement vs. Elmers+Water?
Posted by kenben on Sunday, April 12, 2020 5:05 PM

Is using Elmers Wood Glue (1 part) plus water (2 parts) as good as Woodland Scenics Senic Cement?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, April 12, 2020 5:23 PM

I always thought the choice was between white Elmers and Scenic Cement.  Is this for track ballast or scenery or both?

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 12, 2020 5:32 PM

Whether it is for ballast or ground cover or both, I would not use wood glue.

Use either white glue or matte medium, 4:1 water:glue.

Not sure what WS Scenic Cement is made from, but surely not wood glue.

Rich

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Posted by selector on Sunday, April 12, 2020 5:46 PM

I seem to recall that scenic cement is essentially white glue, watered, with a surfactant, and some talc to take the sheen off your scenery and oversprayed ground foam, clusters, ballast, etc.

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 12, 2020 5:51 PM

selector

I seem to recall that scenic cement is essentially white glue, watered, with a surfactant, and some talc to take the sheen off your scenery and oversprayed ground foam, clusters, ballast, etc. 

You may be right, Crandell, but I have read some speculation that it is matte medium, less the talc, plus water.

Rich

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, April 12, 2020 7:24 PM

richhotrain

selector

I seem to recall that scenic cement is essentially white glue, watered, with a surfactant, and some talc to take the sheen off your scenery and oversprayed ground foam, clusters, ballast, etc. 

You may be right, Crandell, but I have read some speculation that it is matte medium, less the talc, plus water.

Rich

Either way, it's a product for hobby use,, and therefore more expensive per-unit than a gallon of ordinary white glue, which works just as well for considerably less money.

Wayne

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Posted by John Busby on Sunday, April 12, 2020 11:30 PM

kenben

Is using Elmers Wood Glue (1 part) plus water (2 parts) as good as Woodland Scenics Senic Cement?

 

Don't forget a drip or two of dishwashing liquid what ever brand used at home is fine for this.

The dishwashing liquid breaks the surface tension in the liquid making it soak in rather than just pool.

This is what I use for ballast and scenics its cheap readily avalable and works.

 

If using food products like used T bag tea leaves I use this for modeling cultivated garden soil in gardens

Then also add a couple of drops of houshold disinfectant to the mix this makes it unpalatable to bugs and rodents.

The old school PVA water mix is a lot cheaper if you are building a big layout (most USA outline layouts, I have seen in Aus and read about in magazines I would call a big layout) then the economy of quantity falls squarely in favor of the good old PVA and water remember PVA is used to build the bench work sometimes to hold glazing in place on structures curtains on glazing, it may even glue the structure if it is wood

PVA is a railway modelers friend it just has so many uses, and can be purchased in large containers cheaply where as the modern specialty model RR adhesive products do the job at great expence and can't be purchased in large bulk containers cheaply.

Another example is why do you want plaster cloth when Rolls of chux wipes and an 18kg bag of plaster of paris can be got cheaper than the plaster cloth you would need to do the same area.

Just because brand X says we do the job doesn't mean the old school way should be forgoten in fact many of the new products are old school just pre made easy and convienient for the end user.

Not knowing the Elmers brand make sure it is a white glue and that it is in fact a PVA glue.

regards John

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, April 13, 2020 7:52 AM

I always though that what makes matte medium 'matte' was the inclusion of some talc. I frankly can't tell the diffrence between ballast done with diluted matte medium and ballast done with diluted white glue, and since white glue is much cheaper, I will continue to use white glue. Scenic Cement is handy, it's pre-mixed, but you pay a lot for that slight convenience. 

 One benefit is that out of the bottle, it works anywhere in the country. Diluting your own - well, around here, the water and a couple drops of dish soap method absolute does not work. A few drops of soap are not enough to cut the hard water here and make the diluted glue soak in to the foam or ballast or whatever it is you are trying to stick down. I use isopropyl alcohol to dilute my glue. Still cheaper than scenic cement, as there's no point in using 99% alcohol for this. Soaks in to ballast all the way, so there isn't just a hard drust on top. ANd no sheen. It looks obviously wet when first applied, but as it dries, the ballast goes back to looking just like it did out of the jar. Only now well stuck down.

                                    --Randy

 


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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, April 13, 2020 8:56 AM

rrinker

I always though that what makes matte medium 'matte' was the inclusion of some talc. 

Could be. Both WS Scenic Glue and WS Scenic Cement say on the label, "dries to clear matte finish".

One thing that I notice about these Woodland Scenics adhesives is that, out of the bottle, they are a lot thicker than undiluted white glue or matte medium.

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Posted by davidmurray on Monday, April 13, 2020 9:09 AM

rrinker
 One benefit is that out of the bottle, it works anywhere in the country. Diluting your own - well, around here, the water and a couple drops of dish soap method absolute does not work.

A bottle of distilled\deionized water at the store is about $1.00/gallon around here.  Works very well with white glue.

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by kenben on Monday, April 13, 2020 1:55 PM

So, some Elmers white glue, distilled\deionized water and a few drops of dish soap will get the job done for scenic and ballist and drys without any sheen?

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Posted by davidmurray on Monday, April 13, 2020 2:30 PM

kenben
So, some Elmers white glue, distilled\deionized water and a few drops of dish soap will get the job done for scenic and ballist and drys without any sheen?

I consider that it works well.  I dampen/wet the positioned material with wet water, then add the glue/wet water mix using a child's medicene dropper.  As mentioned you can see the glue mix flowing from where applied to remoter areas.

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, April 13, 2020 2:48 PM

kenben

So, some Elmers white glue, distilled\deionized water and a few drops of dish soap will get the job done for scenic and ballist and drys without any sheen? 

The short answer is Yes.

I live in the Chicago area and we get Lake Michigan water from the tap. The pH of Lake Michigan water is around 8.0 which is considered on the hard side. But, it still is fine to mix with white glue, so check the pH of your water source before running out to buy distilled water.

I mix water with white glue at a 3:1 ratio and add some liquid dish detergent, a few drops per cup of water/glue mix. Before applying the glue mix, I spray the area with 70% isopropyl alcohol to facilitate absorption of the glue mix. In tight areas, I will apply the alcohol with an eye dropper.

Rich

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Posted by John Busby on Monday, April 13, 2020 7:19 PM

kenben

So, some Elmers white glue, distilled\deionized water and a few drops of dish soap will get the job done for scenic and ballist and drys without any sheen?

 

The short answer is yes.

But I just use domestic tap water going on some coments here do a test piece and see if it works with tap water before going and buying a gallon of distilled water

regards John

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 8:26 AM

 It's not the pH of the water, but what else is in it. Lots of calcium in our water here - enough that it can change the chemistry of my pool if I top off with the hose. Since I have nothing better to do, I recently cleaned the filters in the dishwasher - I had to soak them overnight in CLR to remove the calcium deposites, which on the fine mesh filter had it 100% clogged. Every few months, the shower heads have to be dunked. That filter in my fridge never lasts long.

 I certainly wouldn't drink the regular tap water here. After the fridge filter it's OK. Can't use it in a coffee maker. Small wonder mixing it with glue and more than just a few drops of soap makes it STILL puddle up on top of whater I triy to spray it on.

 Diluting the white glue with alcohol has another effect on it - it stays kind of rubbery after it sets up, instead of becoming hard as a rock. Perhaps this is why I really didn't have any difference in sound when the track over extruded foam was ballasted.

                                  --Randy

 


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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 10:33 AM

rrinker

 It's not the pH of the water, but what else is in it. Lots of calcium in our water here - enough that it can change the chemistry of my pool if I top off with the hose. 

That's exactly why the pH of the water matters. Calcium and magnesium dissolved in water are the two most common minerals that make water "hard." The degree of hardness becomes greater as the calcium and magnesium content increases in water.

Rich

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 11:08 AM

To the OP, yes, any common glue that can be diluted with water will work.  I happen to use yellow carpenters' glue because I always have that handy in quantities, it's cheap, and I have yet to meet anyone who says they can tell what I used due to some quality my ballast gets once the glue mixture is dried.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 11:14 AM

selector

To the OP, yes, any common glue that can be diluted with water will work.  I happen to use yellow carpenters' glue because I always have that handy in quantities, it's cheap, and I have yet to meet anyone who says they can tell what I used due to some quality my ballast gets once the glue mixture is dried. 

That surprises me. I wouldn't have thought that yellow wood glue would be advisable for ballasting. Can you remove diluted yellow glue once it dries and hardens?

Rich

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Posted by Medina1128 on Monday, April 20, 2020 9:38 AM

For glue, I buy a gallon jug of Elmer's white glue. It makes a LOT of diluted white glue for scenery and ballasting. From what I understand, matte medium held ballast doesn't come up as easily as diluted white glue. With diluted white glue, just resoaking with water loosens the glue so that the ballast/scenery can be removed with a shop vac. I use acrylic latex caulk to hold my track down, so, once the ballast is removed, I can loosen the track with a putty knife.

 

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Posted by selector on Monday, April 20, 2020 11:30 PM

Rich, I am sorry...I didn't see your question until this minute.

I'm unclear about your meaning.  I have never attempted to remove glue from ballast. I have softened the glue in order to lift the outer tie ends if I experienced derailments on curves, but I don't have any reason to remove the glue.

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, April 20, 2020 11:40 PM

selector

Rich, I am sorry...I didn't see your question until this minute.

I'm unclear about your meaning.  I have never attempted to remove glue from ballast. I have softened the glue in order to lift the outer tie ends if I expenced derailments on curves, but I don't have any reason to remove the glue. 

No, I didn't mean remove yellow wood glue from ballast. I was just surprised to hear that you used yellow wood glue to hold down ballast instead of white glue. So, dried and hardened yellow wood glue can be softened with water?

Rich

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 12:03 PM

Yes, and surprisingly quickly.  I can slowly dribble some water onto the area I need to soften, go away for a scant minute, and come back to find the ballast quite easily displaced and I can get to work doing what is needed.  Then, press the displaced ballast back into place, shape it, wiped clean the rail web and tie tops, and then let it harden over the next two or three hours.  I will often re-wet it with more dilute glue, though. This is because my glue mixture for scenery and ballast is very dilute, maybe one part glue to eight or more parts water.  So, perhaps your question is in response to your idea/practice of using a thicker solution that would probably take more doing to get it truly softened.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 12:53 PM

selector

Yes, and surprisingly quickly.  I can slowly dribble some water onto the area I need to soften, go away for a scant minute, and come back to find the ballast quite easily displaced and I can get to work doing what is needed.  Then, press the displaced ballast back into place, shape it, wiped clean the rail web and tie tops, and then let it harden over the next two or three hours.  I will often re-wet it with more dilute glue, though. This is because my glue mixture for scenery and ballast is very dilute, maybe one part glue to eight or more parts water.  So, perhaps your question is in response to your idea/practice of using a thicker solution that would probably take more doing to get it truly softened. 

Thanks for that additional info, Crandell.

Rich

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 1:54 PM

My experience with wood glue, yellow glue, or carpenter's glue is that is DOES NOT soften with water.

I just spent the better part of an afternoon fighting a glob of it off of my wood workbench surface. Water did nothing to loosen it up.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 2:00 PM

SeeYou190

My experience with wood glue, yellow glue, or carpenter's glue is that is DOES NOT soften with water.

I just spent the better part of an afternoon fighting a glob of it off of my wood workbench surface. Water did nothing to loosen it up.

-Kevin 

That has been my experience as well, and that is why I was so surprised when Selector made his comments.

Rich

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 3:58 PM

Also, please note... Elmers White Glue (not School Glue) actually dries fairly matte. It has even less glossy sheen than "Mod Podge Matte" in experiments on my layout segment. Only true artist's "Matte Medium", which is expensive, has less sheen from what I have been able to experiment with.

I will be using good old Elmer's on my layout.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 5:14 PM

Strange. 

SeeYou190

My experience with wood glue, yellow glue, or carpenter's glue is that is DOES NOT soften with water.

I just spent the better part of an afternoon fighting a glob of it off of my wood workbench surface. Water did nothing to loosen it up.

-Kevin

 

I wonder if there are some variations in forumlation.  I have only ever used yellow glue...for everything except stacking layers of extruded foam or mounting plaster/hydrocal tunnel portals directly onto roadbed before applying strips around them and fashioning goop terrain around them.  In those cases, I use PL-300.  I also use DAP Alex Plus 'clear' to stick rail lengths into place.  But for scenery and ballast, it is only yellow glue.

I have never tried to soften a blob of glue, or to soften wood glue adhering two layers of wood, say on an L-girder.  That might be quite a bit tougher.

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Posted by billslake on Saturday, May 30, 2020 11:27 AM

I’m a woodworker who has used a lot of different types of glues over the past 50 plus years.  The idea of wood glue (the yellow stuff) is it is water resistant (not water proof.  So for scenery I only use Elmer’s white glue ... in the gallon jug.  I would never use wood glue for scenery.

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Posted by kasskaboose on Monday, June 1, 2020 12:57 PM

GO with what's readily available and cheaper.  Regular Elmer's glue is with some water and 1-2 drops of dish liquid is perfect for scenery and ballast.  I find that it takes time to get ballast to stick, but worth the effort.

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, June 5, 2020 11:06 AM

Main difference I've found between using white Elmer's glue and Matte Medium (which is pretty much what Scenic Cement is) is that - for lack of better terms - white glue is 'crunchy' while matte medium is 'rubbery'. What I mean is, if you have put down ballast with white glue and press your finger against it, you can hear a 'crunch' sound and chunks of ballast come loose. If you do that with ballast held down with matte medium, basically nothing happens - nothing breaks loose.

If nothing else, I'd say the extra cost of matte medium or Scenic Cement would be worth it in areas near aisles where people would be accidently contacting the scenery / ballast etc.

Stix

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