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Ballast glue formula?

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  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, June 07, 2018 9:13 PM

Thanks again everyone for all your input.

Dave

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Posted by drgwcs on Thursday, June 07, 2018 10:53 PM

There have been some comments about Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement. The last layout I did was several years ago and I used a white glue mix etc and hated it. This one I am using the Scenic cement and I love it. I think the key is to use a sprayer that uses a fine spray. With that it doesn't need a wetting agent. I had one that didnt spray as fine and had issues. Went back to the other one even though it had a drip.

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Posted by bearman on Friday, June 08, 2018 3:56 AM

Dave, another reason for that problem with your layout ballast is a corollary to DrWayne's observation, someone may have attempted to ballast too long a length of track.  I generally don't do more than 12 inches at a time.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, June 08, 2018 4:50 AM

bearman
Dave, another reason for that problem with your layout ballast is a corollary to DrWayne's observation, someone may have attempted to ballast too long a length of track.  I generally don't do more than 12 inches at a time.

OK, that's definitely something to consider. It would certainly be easier to focus on how much glue you have put down if you are only doing 12" at a time as opposed to three feet.

Thanks

Dave

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Posted by bearman on Friday, June 08, 2018 5:05 AM

Ballasting is boring, so I approach it as an excercise in zen.  Put on some music, have a beverage at hand, make sure the wetting agent, grooming implements and the glue are right there and go for it.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by bearman on Friday, June 08, 2018 9:03 AM

drgwcs

I think the key is to use a sprayer that uses a fine spray. With that it doesn't need a wetting agent.  

I have never heard of anyone who didn't use a wetting agent and didn't have problems.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Friday, June 08, 2018 10:12 AM

Dave,

Ballasting isn't difficult. If you follow the good advice given here by Wayne and others, it should be pretty straight ahead.

I would have the club designate a couple of interested parties as the ballasters and only let them do the ballasting. While not difficult, it is a skill and definately takes some practice. Having a couple members develop and refine those skills might yield better results than trying to set the standards and have random members applying them with varying degrees of success.

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, June 08, 2018 12:33 PM

I think that the most involved part of ballasting is the grooming.  Spreading it along the track is easy, as is the misting/pre-wetting, and the glue application goes as quickly as you can move along the track.
I did this area, from around where the camera was placed to the beginning of the bridge, as one job....

...although it was spread over a couple of days, partly because of the grooming and partly because of the need to contain the depth of ballast and sub-ballast/fill needed here...

Prior to that, this area (photographed with the camera in about the same place as the first photo, but turned around) up to the turnouts in the distance, was done in one session, started one evening and finished by about 4:30 the following morning. The distance is just over 10'...

For this area, across the aisle from the previous photo, the ballast was spread and groomed in about the same sort of time period.  The ballasting stretched from a couple feet behind the camera to beyond the glue jugs in the distance...

...and include a portion of this track near the backdrop, an interchange with another railroad...

(the rest of it will remain unballasted, as it will be hidden by a view block, with the remainder of it in my workshop, accessed through a hole in the wall).  Total length of this stretch is about 11' of double track, plus the interchange and part of an industrial spur.  The next evening, I applied the wetting agent and glue in about an hour and a half. 
I'm not sure if a club layout has the luxury of doing part of the job one day, and finishing it at a later occasion.  I often ballast turnouts separate from the tracks to which they're connected, and since they require a bit more care than just plain track, you'll want people working on them who are capable of such care.

Wayne

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Posted by bearman on Friday, June 08, 2018 1:17 PM

I dont know, DrWayne, seems an awfully long length of track to wet and glue in one foul swoop.  I would not tackle anything that long.  On the other hand I agree with your observation regarding turnout ballasting.  Do them separately and more deliberately.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by azrail on Friday, June 08, 2018 2:47 PM

I find an oral syringe (the type used to give babies/pets medicine) works better than an eye dropper, which can leave "craters" in your ballast.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, June 08, 2018 10:57 PM

doctorwayne
you'll want people working on them who are capable of such care.

Hi Wayne:

I think most people would agree that the people who work on any aspect of the layout have to be capable of exercising care, regardless of the work involved. Therein lies the conundrum for those of us who choose to manage the club. Henk and I agreed to try to run the club for the benefit of all the members. One of our stated goals when we ran for office was to teach people how to do things that they didn't have any experience with, and teach them to do it well.

We have compromised that goal a bit already by only having a couple of members laying track. We have justified that decision by saying that proper track installation is so crucial to the performance of the layout that we are not willing to let members go at it willy nilly. The same is not quite so true of ballast installation. Yes, turnouts have to be treated with great care, but our (the Executive's) position is that general track ballasting is where we can get a bunch of members involved. Same with scenery. Those of us in charge, i.e. the President and the Vice President/foreman of construction (who happens to be me) will have to play a very active roll in helping people learn how to do the tasks, and in monitering their progress. We will have to constantly look over peoples' shoulders. As far as I'm concerned, that's exactly what I agreed to when I put my name forward to be the club V.P. Some work will not be up to standards. So what? We will take the person who's work does not meet the club requirements and teach them how to do it again properly.

Dave

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, June 09, 2018 1:00 AM

Dave, it's my opinion that the two best bang-for-your-buck tasks in model railroading are painting the rails and ballasting.
A lot of folks seem to feel that this is boring work and many of them put it off to "do later".  Once you know the tricks of getting those jobs done, you simply need to just do it!  It's not a race...if you work at your own pace, and quit when you've had enough for a session, it won't overwhelm you, and when you see how much it improves the appearance and realism, you'll be encouraged to carry on.

I have only 55' or 60' of mainline left to ballast, with a little over half of that needing the plaster-on-screen landforms to be added alongside the track - just haven't had time to do that yet.

Wayne

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Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, June 09, 2018 10:22 PM

hon30critter
We will have to constantly look over peoples' shoulders

WARNING, WARNING, DANGE, DANGER!!
Two nights before our annual show, all that remained to do on our new portable layout was about three hours of ballasting, touch up some of the scenery, and placement of people and vehicles for various mini scenes.
Unasked, a member who had previously been disinterested in helping, decided to be helpful and do the ballasting.
It required 17 man hours, to remove the very well glued down excess ballast between the rails. (Code 100).Bang HeadBang Head
While I applaud your attitude to include all club members, please DO keep a VERY close eye on things, Dave.
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, June 09, 2018 10:50 PM

It required 17 man hours, to remove the very well glued down excess ballast between the rails.

Yep! Been there already with our portable layout. In fact, we may be well past the 17 hour mark and we still can't get trains to stay on the track in the yard.

please DO keep a VERY close eye on things, Dave.

I plan on only allowing people to do one part of the task at a time and only over short distances. In other words, don't apply any glue until we have a look at how well the ballast has been distributed. Do apply the ballast over short lengths until I agree that you have the process down pat.

We have about 330' of mainline and about 290' of secondary track to ballast. That is a lot of track to ask just one or two people to do.

Overall, we have not had too many issues with people charging ahead blindly and creating problems. The less experienced guys are asking what they can do next and so far they have been following instructions pretty well. We have only had to adjust about four feet of track where it wasn't as straight as it should have been, and even that probably wouldn't have caused any problems if we had left it alone. There was a tendency to be a little skimpy with the glue when we first started laying cork, but it didn't take long to correct that. One set of track feeders got installed backwards, but the buzzer let us know as soon as they tried to apply power.

Dave

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