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Ballast adhesive

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  • Member since
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Ballast adhesive
Posted by Blind Bruce on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 11:09 AM

I realize the necessity of adding detergent to the water that is used to wet the ballast before adhesive is dribbled on. When using a 50-50 mix of water and white glue for the adhesive, is it advisable to add detergent to this as well?

73

Bruce in the Peg

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Posted by joe323 on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 11:19 AM

Yes the detergent breaks up surface tension and allows the glue to sink in.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by wp8thsub on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 11:32 AM

Since I always include a surfactant (detergent, alcohol, etc.) with the water that I spray on the ballast, I don't add one to the glue mix.  In the past, I've found that detergents and alcohol can cause the water/glue mixture to form clumps at times.  The diluted glue will soak in anywhere the "wet water" has been applied.

Rob Spangler

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 1:43 PM

I only ever pre-wet the groomed ballast grains immediately prior to gluing the ballast.  I use 70% isopropyl alcohol from the drug stores, and then dribble on my glue mixture.  For the glue, I use yellow wood glue, the cheapest available, and I only dilute it to a ratio of 3/1 in favour of the water.  Works very well for me, and I find that if I have to wet it to fix track, it softens inside of a minute.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 2:46 PM

I use detergent-in-water as the wetting agent, but no detergent in the glue/water mix.  Do not skimp on the pre-wetting operation - it's key in getting a good bond and is just as important in making ballasting the simple and enjoyable process it should be, rather than the arduous task about which many complain.

Wayne

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 3:23 PM

 We have hard water (high calcium) in this area, and no amount of added detergant has ever made the water 'wet' enough that it actually flows into the ballast. I have since switched to 70% isopropyl as it definitely works. I srpay staright 70% alcohol first, then I dribble on the glue mixed with alcohol. I haven't noticed any clumping - in fact glue mixed with alcohol seems to stay liquid longer before it sets up. I tried more expensive matte medium as the adhesive - after it dried, couldn;t tell the different between areas ballasted with dilute Elmer's white glue and dilute matte medium. Considering Elmer's glue, especially in teh gallon jugs, is FAR less expensive - I'll be sticking with the glue.

 For the alcohol, I found a small spray bottle at the craft store, it releases a very fine gentle mist, so it doesn't blow ballast grains all over the place. FOr the glue - we have a brand of mustard available here called Plocher's, the dispenser tip on their bottles is much smaller than other brnads, and it's teh twist type so you can adjust the opening - like a glue bottle only a lot smaller. After usign up the mustard, I washed out the bottle and this is my glue/alcohol mix dispenser, each to close and shake to keep mixed, and it release small drops that do not wash away the ballast.

                         --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 3:44 PM

Wow, lots of different approaches so far.

I spray first with 70% isopropyl alcohol, followed by a 4:1 water:matte medium with a few drops of dish washing liquid mixed in.

The alcohol prepares the ballast to readily accept the glue mixture.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by GP-9_Man11786 on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 5:45 PM

I use alcohol as a wetting agent as well. However, I've found the 50/50 white glue tends to either gum up the spray bottle complelty or cause the mixture to shoot out like it's coming out of a fire hose. I use Mod Podge Matte Medium diluted instead of white glue. It works just as well, it's relatively inexpensive and still sprays out in a fine mist.

Modeling the Pennsylvania Railroad in N Scale.

www.prr-nscale.blogspot.com 

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Posted by Medina1128 on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 7:19 PM

rrinker
 For the alcohol, I found a small spray bottle at the craft store, it releases a very fine gentle mist, so it doesn't blow ballast grains all over the place. FOr the glue - we have a brand of mustard available here called Plocher's, the dispenser tip on their bottles is much smaller than other brnads, and it's teh twist type so you can adjust the opening - like a glue bottle only a lot smaller. After usign up the mustard, I washed out the bottle and this is my glue/alcohol mix dispenser, each to close and shake to keep mixed, and it release small drops that do not wash away the ballast.

Randy, I used to use the mustard bottles, but I couldn't see what's inside. I found some of those condiment bottles like the ones found at old time burger joints. They're translucent, making it easy to see the contents/consistency. I've found that water/glue mixtures tend to separate if they set for a while. I drop in a large fishing weight, that acts like a big rattle ball in a can of spraypaint. The bottles with the longer snout work better; they have a smaller hole.

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 9:01 PM

Hi, Bruce

I like to use the Mod-Podge for ballast cement and I thin it with distilled water. Like Wayne and Rob mention, with plenty of wet water soaking the ballast, the glue will flow down and around the ballast to displace the wet water.

Randy, I have hard water, too, so I make sure I have a few gallons of distilled water (about 90¢ a gal. from the grocery store) it is a must for decaling, ironing, cleaning your airbrush, etc.

GP-9 Man, Don't put the glue into a sprayer. Use a container with a nozzle or a bulb-type dropper to apply the glue.

Here is an array of my favorite ballasting tools:

I have great results with Smith & Son's ballast, Highball is good, too and I'm sure Arizona Rock and Mineral is good as well but I haven't personally used that brand.

These "sampling spatulas" are handy for precisely applying the ballast where you want it, especially around turnouts. I scoop up some ballast and do a rapid tapping with my finger to shake the ballast where I want it.

This Nalgene unitary wash bottle is perfect for applying the glue since a gentle squeeze gets just the right amount I want. An eyedropper is just too tedious for the area I usually want to cover. Begin the stream at a tie or rail base where you won't wash out the ballast then drench the wetted ballast until everything is soaked.

Another ballasting hint: I first brush on a full strength bead of glue to the edges of the roadbed and lightly dust the ballast over this and let it set for a day. Then when you go back to fill in around the ties the ballast doesn't all spill down the profile of the roadbed. It stays in place better.

Hope this helps, Ed

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Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 10:08 PM

Medina1128

 

 
rrinker
 For the alcohol, I found a small spray bottle at the craft store, it releases a very fine gentle mist, so it doesn't blow ballast grains all over the place. FOr the glue - we have a brand of mustard available here called Plocher's, the dispenser tip on their bottles is much smaller than other brnads, and it's teh twist type so you can adjust the opening - like a glue bottle only a lot smaller. After usign up the mustard, I washed out the bottle and this is my glue/alcohol mix dispenser, each to close and shake to keep mixed, and it release small drops that do not wash away the ballast.

 

Randy, I used to use the mustard bottles, but I couldn't see what's inside. I found some of those condiment bottles like the ones found at old time burger joints. They're translucent, making it easy to see the contents/consistency. I've found that water/glue mixtures tend to separate if they set for a while. I drop in a large fishing weight, that acts like a big rattle ball in a can of spraypaint. The bottles with the longer snout work better; they have a smaller hole.

 

Also the price is right.  They can be had for a buck, which probably costs less, really, than the amount of effort it takes to completely clean out a bottle that had a food in it!  Never thought about dropping a big nut in there or something to use as a shaker.

I use the 91%.  I found a small sprayer at the Container Store, something like the spray bottles eye glasses cleaner comes in.  My process is to mist horizontally, with the bottle nozzle pointing paralle to the track.  I find that this rains gently enough to "weigh down" the ballast before spritzing it directly.  The glue goes on.  Lastly, I do another mist pass (you can see the glue soak in, its kinda fun) to really get that glue down in there.

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 1:01 PM

gmpullman

Randy, I have hard water, too, so I make sure I have a few gallons of distilled water (about 90¢ a gal. from the grocery store) it is a must for decaling, ironing, cleaning your airbrush, etc.

Ditto.

Word to the wise: Distilled water only.... Do not buy Spring water or drinking water. It is not the same! (Same with bottled water... You will notice the difference, especially when airbrushing/painting. I try not to iron, unless absolutely necessary.)

I have used with WS Scenic Cement, or diluted white glue. Isopropyl is my pre-wetting agent of choice. Works well, and either mist-spray the isopropyl, or, around turnouts, eye dropper. Always use either an old glue bottle with the twist close tip, or, eye dropper in areas that I need to use "finesse" in.

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

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1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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Posted by Marc_Magnus on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 6:29 PM

Blind Bruce

I realize the necessity of adding detergent to the water that is used to wet the ballast before adhesive is dribbled on. When using a 50-50 mix of water and white glue for the adhesive, is it advisable to add detergent to this as well?

 

I put a topic "Building a small yard in Nscale" where I show my technique to put ballast.

I use white glue diluted 50/50% whith distilled water and a few "puff" of transparent glass cleaner.

My wetting agent is 90% isopropyl alcool diluted whith distilled water around 60% alcool et 40% distilled water.

I mist small area with a pipette but never in de middle of the track to avoid to disturb ballast between ties, capilarity wet everything.

When saturated whith the wetting agent, I put the white glue again whith a pipette and again not between the rail, capilarity drive the glue everywhere.

See pictures in my Topic.

Good luck

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Posted by Brodie on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 8:48 PM

I have found that an alcohol water 1 alch.:2 water solution is well worth it and hardly disturbs the ballest when dripped with a eye droper or sprayed gently.

Then, you don't need the detergent in the white glue mix at all.

I hae also found that Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement is very good for ballast and soaks in well.

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