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Chick Grit for Ho Scale Ballast?

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Chick Grit for Ho Scale Ballast?
Posted by Hexxoid on Thursday, January 03, 2019 9:11 PM

Hello. 

I've read somewhere else that baby chick grit can be used for HO Scale ballast. I have a 4x12ft EZ- Track layout, and need something cheap to use. You can buy a 7 pound bag on Amazon for $16: https://www.amazon.com/Scratch-Peck-Feeds-Supplement-Ducklings/dp/B014RYWRTQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1546571251&sr=8-3&keywords=chick+grit

How much EZ track could I ballast with a 7lb bag of this stuff? Is there anything else I need to do, or do I just throw it on the track and glue it? 

 

Thanks in advance! SmileBig Smile

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 04, 2019 11:17 AM

If you have EZ Track,  Bachmann?

What do you want to do?  Put a thin layer over what's already molded into the base of the track?

I would think a bag would get you a long ways, because it would be a "thin" layer, like 1 stone deep, if you get what I'm saying.

Others have come up with ways to make the molded-in "ballast" convincing with light painting and weathering.

You say a 4' x 12' layout,  which I'm guessing the size of the benchwork, but, how many feet of track is on the bench work?

I guess you'll have to get a rough estimate on how much chick grit per foot of track.

Mike.

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Posted by Hexxoid on Friday, January 04, 2019 1:50 PM

mbinsewi

If you have EZ Track,  Bachmann?

What do you want to do?  Put a thin layer over what's already molded into the base of the track?

I would think a bag would get you a long ways, because it would be a "thin" layer, like 1 stone deep, if you get what I'm saying.

Others have come up with ways to make the molded-in "ballast" convincing with light painting and weathering.

You say a 4' x 12' layout,  which I'm guessing the size of the benchwork, but, how many feet of track is on the bench work?

I guess you'll have to get a rough estimate on how much chick grit per foot of track.

Mike.

 

Hey, thanks for the response!

My track plan is a double oval with crossover and sidings, so i'd estimate I would have 40- 50 feet of track to ballast (just a rough guestimate). And yes, I'm simply planning to ballast it thin to make it at least better than the cheap-o plastic look it currently has. It's kinda hard to get an estimate to how long it will get me because chick grit weights differently than woodland scenics ballast, because its crushed granite, not crushed & dyed walnut shells. Also, how would I paint & weather the track as mentioned to make it look nice without using ballast? 

Thanks again for the response! SmileBig Smile

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, January 04, 2019 2:06 PM

I use chicken grit to ballast my outdoor track, but that's a whole 'nother scale...

Chicken grit does come in different sizes, not sure it comes anywhere close to fine enough for HO scale. Plus as other have mentioned, you'll be doing it over the cast-in ballast base. I'd argue you want something that's relatively fine or it will be hard to get it stuck to the base.

Is there such a thing as quail or hummingbird grit?

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by Hexxoid on Friday, January 04, 2019 5:13 PM

mlehman

I use chicken grit to ballast my outdoor track, but that's a whole 'nother scale...

Chicken grit does come in different sizes, not sure it comes anywhere close to fine enough for HO scale. Plus as other have mentioned, you'll be doing it over the cast-in ballast base. I'd argue you want something that's relatively fine or it will be hard to get it stuck to the base.

Is there such a thing as quail or hummingbird grit?

 

Thanks for the reply!

I think chick grit comes very close to HO scale ballast, if you look at Loco's 4th comment on this thread (third picture on the comment) you can see a picture comparing the "chic grit" to HO scale track: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/149637.aspx 

By the way, the grit on your G scale looks really good! 

 

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Posted by cowman on Friday, January 04, 2019 6:20 PM

What kind of an area do you live in?  Rural, city, suburbs?

I live in a small rural town and the local hardware store carries chick grit.  Usually you can get whatever amount you need weighed out of a large bag.  

Another product that might work would be bird grit from a pet store,   Think it comes in pound boxes.  Been a long time since I had a parakeet that used it.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, January 04, 2019 6:30 PM

Hexxoid
I think chick grit comes very close to HO scale ballast, if you look at Loco's 4th comment on this thread (third picture on the comment) you can see a picture comparing the "chic grit" to HO scale track: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/149637.aspx

Let's make it easy, Loco wanted us to see the picture then and possibly forever.

Somehow I knew chickens needed grits.  I did not expect to see them in an MR forum  Big Smile

That looks like a big size variation to me.  I suppose you could run it through a screen.  As my empire is only of modest size, I'll just go with commercial ballast.  I bought cinder ballast years ago for my transition layout.  I am still modeling that era and I have enough to fill 3/4 of a gallon ice cream box.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by Hexxoid on Friday, January 04, 2019 7:08 PM

BigDaddy

 

 
Hexxoid
I think chick grit comes very close to HO scale ballast, if you look at Loco's 4th comment on this thread (third picture on the comment) you can see a picture comparing the "chic grit" to HO scale track: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/149637.aspx

 

Let's make it easy, Loco wanted us to see the picture then and possibly forever.

Somehow I knew chickens needed grits.  I did not expect to see them in an MR forum  Big Smile

That looks like a big size variation to me.  I suppose you could run it through a screen.  As my empire is only of modest size, I'll just go with commercial ballast.  I bought cinder ballast years ago for my transition layout.  I am still modeling that era and I have enough to fill 3/4 of a gallon ice cream box.

 

Thank you for the reply!

I didn't mean that picture, I meant the one above it- the greysih looking ballast. 

 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, January 04, 2019 7:19 PM

Hexxoid
I didn't mean that picture, I meant the one above it- the greysih looking ballast. Add Quote to your Post

OK, what I posted above is sand, this is chick grits

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 04, 2019 9:50 PM

That looks too big to me as well.  As Henry says, maybe you can sift the fines out, but the courseness of this looks better suited to "rip-rap" to line a ditch, for erosion control.

For using on the EZ track, your ballast needs to be smaller than the space from the plastic road bed, and the top of the ties.

A story, last summer i picked up a new bag (50 lbs) of Oil Dry for my garage.  I opened up the bag, and immediately said "wow! this could be sifted and used as ballast!".  The wife was there, she rolled her eyes, laughed, and said " It figures, everything you look at has modeling potential!"

More info, maybe paint/weather your track and ties first, lots of You Tube stuff out there on how to do it, to make it look more real, then do the ballast.

You'll probably go through more product than originally thought, because you'll do all this after the track is layed, and you probably won't want the ballast on the sides, to follow the same  sharp slope as the EZ Track plastic base.

It seems like this 7 lb bag is a lot more expensive than the feed mill/CO-OP variety that is mentioned in the link you refer to, maybe look around.

Mike.

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, January 05, 2019 1:27 AM

Hexxoid
I think chick grit comes very close to HO scale ballast...

Some of it may. I checked the stuff I use outside, which is at this website:

https://www.tccmaterials.com/cherry-stone/poultry-grit/

The stuff in the pic is their #2, which is listed as 3/16" average size. They only have one size smaller, which is the #1 at 1/16" average. That's about 6" diameter in HO, so rather much larger than really suitable for HO IMO. YMMV

Hexxoid
By the way, the grit on your G scale looks really good!

Thanks, but keep in mind that it's closer to scale in 1:22.3 (at about 3" diameter) than what you're proposing in HO.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, January 05, 2019 11:39 AM

 Might get a couple of bags of that to put in my car and truck in case it snows... Maybe a 1 ton bag (NOT!)

Seems a bit large for HO and smaller scales. The smallest might be OK for S and O. In many old books and articles is was a recommended item to use for ballast, as the more modern stuff we have available today just wasn't around. Sort of like how dying batches of sawdust to use as grass and so forth was been more or less superceded with ground foam. The old ways are viable, but the new stuff is more in scale and looks better. I remember saving fine sawdust from the table saw in coffee cans and they dying it with fabric dyes. Big mess, but then I had cans of green sawdust. I used it on one layout, still had tons left over which eventually got tossed (not tons in weight, but many 5 pound coffee cans full, even after I covered the layout in 'grass'). Next layout after that I used ground foam and never looked back.

 If you really want to save money, you can always take the chick grit and pound it down to even smaller sizes and use a fine seive to sort the particles fromt he dust to get the size you want. If you have the time on your hands, anyway. Otherwise - the scale size ballast isn't THAT expensive.

                              --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 Hexxoid on Saturday, January 05, 2019 5:44 PM

Wow! Thanks for all the replies!

Based on the replies, it seems it's too coarse, so i'll probably not use this stuff.
However, a different route, will certain types of sand work? Preferably a thin & dry sand to dust a thin layer on the E-Z track to make it look halfway- realistic, and then glue it down. If I could use sand, what type? And If I can't, are there any other alternatives to the woodland scenics ballast? I really wish I could afford to ballast my whole layout with Arizona Rock & Mineral ballast- it looks so dang good. 

Thanks again! Big SmileSmile

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, January 05, 2019 9:56 PM

One alternative would to be to NOT use the EZtrack, and use flex track, and your own road bed, such as cork, and do this the conventional method for laying and ballasting track work. But I assume you have invested in the EZ track, and that's what your commited to.

As far as sand, your going to have to look around your local area and see whats out there, simple as that.  Try big box stores, local redi-mix plants, local landscape/garden places like Steins, and local landscape contractors, local gravel pits.  A bucket full will go a LONG ways.  And with the sources that were in the origanal sources in the older thread you posted.

I thought the sand in the tubular sand bags looked good.  One bag would do a LOT of track.

And yea, the Arizona stuff is good.

Mike.

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Posted by robert sylvester on Thursday, January 10, 2019 1:15 PM

Huh? I've seen chicken grit, cat litter, of course the usual ballast stuff in bags. As I have mentioned before I use real rock, that is the street dust you see mainly at intersections, ground street dust, it's the perfect scale. I gather it is coffee cans, bring it home, even when I travel.

Run it through a strainer and a magnet to colloect iron stuff so it does not interfere with my engines. I sift it through various sizes of strainers, usually the smallest is about right for HO. 

 101-2393.jpg

I can use it for road construction,

101-2479.jpg

ground cover, gravel roads and ballast for my track.

101-2469.jpg

Here's the deal-it's cheap-free-off the street; just shift it and put it down.

101-2533.jpg I I I have even been known to use it on the roofs of my flat buildings. It did not cost me a thing, jus the time to gather it up off the street and clean it.

One of those natural products.

Robert Sylvester

Newberry-Columbia Line, SC

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Posted by robert sylvester on Thursday, January 10, 2019 1:19 PM

Huh? I've seen chicken grit, cat litter, of course the usual ballast stuff in bags. As I have mentioned before I use real rock, that is the street dust you see mainly at intersections, ground street dust, it's the perfect scale. I gather it is coffee cans, bring it home, even when I travel.

Run it through a strainer and a magnet to colloect iron stuff so it does not interfere with my engines. I sift it through various sizes of strainers, usually the smallest is about right for HO. 

 101-2393.jpg

I can use it for road construction,

101-2479.jpg

ground cover, gravel roads and ballast for my track.

101-2469.jpg

Here's the deal-it's cheap-free-off the street; just sift it and put it down.

101-2533.jpg I I I have even been known to use it on the roofs of my flat buildings. It did not cost me a thing, jus the time to gather it up off the street and clean it.

One of those natural products.

Robert Sylvester

Newberry-Columbia Line, SC

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