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Using white Elmers glue.

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  • Member since
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  • From: Sturgis South Dakota
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Using white Elmers glue.
Posted by froggy on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 1:57 PM
I am ready to lay some road bed and I borrowed some sand from my local cement plant. How do you go about using the elmers and pouring the sand? Do I dillute it and mix the sand with it or do I pour the glue and pour sand on it?
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Posted by Railphotog on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 2:16 PM

Dilute the glue 50-50 with water.   Wet the ballast first with a spray bottle full of water and a drop or two of dish detergent.  Apply the glue/water mixture to the wetted ballast.  The soap breaks the surface tension and allows the glue/water to soak completely in.  I've used an older glue bottle to apply the glue.

 

 

Bob Boudreau

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Posted by modelmaker51 on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 2:35 PM

1. Glue or nail track in place

2. Pour ballast and spread it out with a brush

3. Wet ballast with "wet" water, add a few drops (half a teaspoon) to a spray bottle of water, mist the ballast by spraying over the ballast and let it fall like rain and you will be less likely to disturb the ballast, soak it good.

4. Apply glue mixture as previous poster described. Let dry overnight.

5. Clean railhead with bright boy or 600 grit emery paper. Vacuum well.

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 2:41 PM
And don't forget your dentist's pick - use it to dislodge any ballast adhered to the inside of the rail.  I add a drop or two of detergent to the dilluted Elmer's as well.
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Posted by TrainManTy on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 3:03 PM

 froggy wrote:
I borrowed some sand from my local cement plant.

You borrowed it? Are you planning on giving it back?Whistling [:-^] Sorry, couldn't resist.

The way I apply dirt and ballast and everything is called the "Bonded Ballast" method. You get it looking like you want, then you spray "wet water" (water with a few drops of dish soap added) on it and get it nice and wet, and finally apply a mix of 1 part water and 1 part white glue, using a pipette. I use a turkey baster, which is a lot bigger and faster to use.

Hope this helps! 

Tyler

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Posted by froggy on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 4:23 PM
Alot of great ideas, thanks alot.I am still putting down the road bed. I layed the track first and now finishing up.I took the sand after hours,LOL.
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, June 12, 2008 7:21 AM

I don't spray anything on my layout.  It just makes a mess.  A sprayer is a poor method of targeting stuff for ballasting or scenery work.

Instead, I use a pipette.  Basically, this is a cheap eyedropper that you can get at craft stores or hobby shops.  My LHS carries them.  Put your wet-water solution in the pipette, and drip it directly on the ballast.  I use straight-from-the-bottle isopropyl alcohol.  Yes, it would be more efficient to dilute it down, but the stuff is like two dollars a quart.  It's not worth the effort to thin it.

I've got a gallon jug of off-brand white glue from HD or Lowes.  I take an old small Elmers container, add about 1/3 glue, and fill the rest with water.  The small Elmers containers (with the orange tops) are good for dripping the thinned glue into the wet ballast.

DO NOT BALLAST UNDER THE MOVING PARTS OF YOUR TURNOUTS!

Depending on how much wet-water you use, and how much you thin your glue, and how much glue you use, and what the temperature and humidity are in your layout room, it could take 2-3 days for the ballast to fully harden up.  Most of the time, overnight should do, but don't be surprised if it takes a lot longer.

Finally, after the glue is dry and you've cleaned up all the bits of ballast that ended up on top of the ties, clean the rails thoroughly before you run trains, and take a vacuum cleaner with a small nozzle to the tracks to pick up any loose pieces.  Your trains will thank you.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by jacon12 on Thursday, June 12, 2008 7:44 AM

Like Mr. B, I strongly dislike spraying/misting with a bottle... though I do it sometimes if the job really does require it.  I also like alcohol has a prewetting agent, I use the cheap 50% stuff you find at 'dollar' type stores.  I prefer using an old bottle of cheap white glue, mixed 50/50 with water, it dribbles out just the right amount and I don't have to keep filling an eyedropper. For ballasting track, I've recently started brushing a very small amount of diluted white glue on the slopes of the roadbed first to give a little 'tooth' for those first grains of ballast to grab.  It helps to keep the ballast from going places you don't want it to go.

Jarrell 

 

 froggy wrote:
I am ready to lay some road bed and I borrowed some sand from my local cement plant. How do you go about using the elmers and pouring the sand? Do I dillute it and mix the sand with it or do I pour the glue and pour sand on it?

 HO Scale DCC Modeler of 1950, give or take 30 years.
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Posted by jackn2mpu on Thursday, June 12, 2008 7:44 AM
 MisterBeasley wrote:

I don't spray anything on my layout.  It just makes a mess.  A sprayer is a poor method of targeting stuff for ballasting or scenery work.

Instead, I use a pipette.  Basically, this is a cheap eyedropper that you can get at craft stores or hobby shops.  My LHS carries them.  Put your wet-water solution in the pipette, and drip it directly on the ballast.  I use straight-from-the-bottle isopropyl alcohol.  Yes, it would be more efficient to dilute it down, but the stuff is like two dollars a quart.  It's not worth the effort to thin it.

I've got a gallon jug of off-brand white glue from HD or Lowes.  I take an old small Elmers container, add about 1/3 glue, and fill the rest with water.  The small Elmers containers (with the orange tops) are good for dripping the thinned glue into the wet ballast.

Mr.B:

I'd been using the wet water method for a while and decided, after reading responses to a thread I started here about isopropyl alcohol to go that way instead. I mixed up a fresh batch of Elmer's white glue (gallon jug from Ace Hardware - HD didn't have anything bigger than the squeeze bottles, but I digress) and water. Shook it up quite thoroughly. Applied the 70% IPA to the ground foam on the layout and then dribbled on the glue/water mix with a rubber ear syringe. Got less than what I would consider ideal flow (compared to the old wet water method) of the adhesive mix. Do I need to add a wetting agent (liquid soap) to the glue mix?

I haven't checked if it's dry yet as I only did this yesterday and the humidity around here has been atrocious so I'm expecting a longer wait for drying than normal. 

de N2MPU Jack

Proud NRA Life Member and supporter of the 2nd. Amendment

God, guns, and rock and roll!

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, June 12, 2008 8:40 AM

I don't use a wetting agent in the glue itself.  If you get good glue flow, then you don't need it.

I haven't done a scientific, controlled test, but my guess is that using isopropyl alcohol as a wetting agent will allow the glue to dry much faster.  My long drying times in my earlier ballasting experiences were recorded when using dish-soap-in-water as a wetting agent.  Alcohol evaporates much more readily, so at least that component will dry much faster.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Thursday, June 12, 2008 8:54 AM
I wet the ballast with alcohol dripped from an old glue bottle. This is followed by a 50/50 white glue-water mix dripped on from another glue bottle. I let it dry overnight then go back and remove the pieces that could interfere with any trains.

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Posted by cowman on Thursday, June 12, 2008 9:17 AM

Plenty of good gluing advice, but, since you are using real sand, not from a hobby packet, don't forget to go over it with a magnet, just in case there is any metalic "stuff" in it, that you don't want in your locos.  Do this before you glue it down.  Same goes for any "natural" products you might use.  If you  have a store with farm supplies a cow magnet is small and powerful.  Retrieving magnets should work fine also.

Good luck,

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, June 12, 2008 9:33 AM
 cowman wrote:

 If you  have a store with farm supplies a cow magnet is small and powerful. 

OK, I'll admit it.  I was born in Brooklyn, New York, in the shadow of skyscrapers and surrounded by asphalt as far as the eye could see.

What is a cow magnet?

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by Arjay1969 on Thursday, June 12, 2008 10:50 AM
 MisterBeasley wrote:
 cowman wrote:

 If you  have a store with farm supplies a cow magnet is small and powerful. 

OK, I'll admit it.  I was born in Brooklyn, New York, in the shadow of skyscrapers and surrounded by asphalt as far as the eye could see.

What is a cow magnet?

It's a magnet that is designed to be swallowed by a cow in order to keep any metal bits that said cow might have swallowed from causing a lot of damage to the digestive system.

http://www.magnetsource.com/Solutions_Pages/cowmags.html 

I hadn't heard of them either until a member of the local club brought one to the club so we could remove metal bits from sand. Smile [:)]

Robert Beaty

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, June 12, 2008 11:21 AM

To avoid having ballast stuck to the sides of the rail or on the tie-tops, after you've applied the dry ballast (I use a paper cup to apply the ballast, squeezing and tapping it as I move it along the track), use a soft 1/2" brush to smooth it out between the ties and along the shoulders of the roadbed.  When you've got it arranged to your satisfaction, flip the brush around, and lightly grasp it by the ferrule, laying the handle across the top of the rails.  Using your free hand, rapidly tap the handle lightly as you move the brush along the track - the errant ballast on the tops of the ties will "magically" disappear, bouncing into the area between the ties.  If you have an area where the track is on a fairly steep "fill", paint the slope with undiluted white glue before applying the ballast or cinder sub-ballast.  When you spray with the wet water, the glue will be drawn up into the ballast.  When applying ballast around turnouts, keep the level below the tops of the ties, especially in the area where the points move.  Don't apply any ballast in the space where the tie-bar is - paint the roadbed grimy black here, as most prototype turnouts are quite greasy in this area.  After the dry ballast has been levelled, and you've used the brush "trick" to clean the ties of ballast, but before applying the "wet" water, apply some LaBelle plastic compatible oil to the tie tops over which the points move, then flip them back and forth several times to spread the oil.  Park the points in mid-throw before applying the glue mixture - this will further help in avoiding having them stuck in place.

I use "wet" water from a sprayer to wet the ballast, as I almost always apply the lineside scenery at the same time as the ballast.   Depending on the site, this can extend some distance from the track.  One of the most common mistakes when ballasting is to apply too little "wet" water - it has to penetrate right down to the roadbed or scenery base in order for the glue mixture to be drawn in completely.  Too little results in the glue staying in the upper layer of ballast, forming a hard crust which isn't securely fastened in place.  The first time that you need to vacuum your track area (trust me, the need will eventually arise) you'll be left with the need to re-ballast, too. Shock [:O]  Because some of my track is on fills of rip-rap and cinders, the amount of water and glue needed can result in drying times of up to a week - there's always pleny of other stuff to do while you wait.  Here's a few pictures:

Ballast atop cinders atop coarse rock atop rip-rap - over 1/2" deep in spots:

Another area with the same layering treatment - the field to the left was a lake of glue for a few days Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]

Ballast atop cork on the mainline in the foreground, with cinders, dirt and weeds directly atop the plywood sub-roadbed for the industrial sidings:

Mainline atop cork, with a small amount of rock and cinder fill beneather the ballast:

Ballasted track atop plywood, with cinders, then weeds spread along the edges, to give the illusion of a slightly built-up roadbed - all of the track and ground cover is at the same level, with only the "water" area actually being lower:

Wayne 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, June 12, 2008 12:26 PM
 Arjay1969 wrote:

It's a magnet that is designed to be swallowed by a cow in order to keep any metal bits that said cow might have swallowed from causing a lot of damage to the digestive system.

Thanks.  All I could think of was something a bull would use to attract members of the opposite sex, like a "babe magnet," only for cows.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by trainfan1221 on Thursday, June 12, 2008 6:21 PM
I use it for a number of things, including ballasting.   I agree that it's better using alcohol than dish detergent, that never quite worked for me.
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Posted by cowman on Thursday, June 12, 2008 9:30 PM

Figured that a cow magnet would raise some eyebrows. Arjay1969 wrote it was to be swollowed by the cow, actually there is a tool to place it (or pills) back in the throat, behind the tongue, so that it HAS to be swollowed, they don't do it willingly I can assure you.  With chopped feed, sometimes a piece of wire, nail in a board or other metal is in the field, picked up by the chopper and mixed right into the feed, so that when the cow eats, the pieces go in along with the rest of the mouthfull.  I have heard of cows with an affinity for metal objects and eat them willingly, thankfully I have never had one.  The pieces of metal can poke through the stomach lining and into the heart, END OF COW.  The magnet holds the piece flat so that it can't tip and poke through until the stomach acids have a chance to destroy it, aluminum nails, etc. aren't attracted, sorry cow.  I have lost a cow to a chopped nail (put in a magnet, but it was too late, infection won) and I have put in quite a few when the cows started acting up and saved them, problem is you have to be there when it starts irritating them.  There are several types, I use the more expensive, epoxy coated ones, as they last longer in the stomach.  Also, I find it easier to wipe off the metal filings that I pick up.  Just goes to show that stuff from all walks of life are useful in this hobby.

Gotta turn in, morning milking time coming fast.

Have fun,

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Posted by jxtrrx on Saturday, June 14, 2008 8:08 AM

DoctorWayne-

I've been avoiding ballsting because it's so tedious, but after seeing your photos, I've gotts DO IT!  Beautiful, beautiful work!  Thanks for the inspiration.

-Jack My shareware model railroad inventory software: http://www.yardofficesoftware.com My layout photos: http://s8.photobucket.com/albums/a33/jxtrrx/JacksLayout/
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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, June 14, 2008 11:01 AM

Thanks for the kind words, Jack.  Painting rail and ballasting can both be tedious jobs, but, appearance-wise, there's not much else that can give you so much "bang for your buck".  Painting rail is one of those jobs that doesn't require you to commit a large block of time to it - if you've got 15 minutes, paint a turnout or 10' or 15' of track.  It can be a good way to unwind after work, requiring little mental or physical effort.   I used PollyScale paint, to avoid the fumes of the solvent-type paints which I generally prefer, and applied it with a stiff 1/4" brush, eliminating the chore of cleaning the airbrush for such a short task.  This also avoids overspray and paint dust on the track and layout.

Ballasting can also be done in short segments of available time, although generally longer than 15 minutes. Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]  It's best to choose the area, then take it right through to completion.  I did mine by area, such as the industrial track in a town, (or even just that track on one side of the main) or from one mainline turnout to the next.  I found that the job was pretty enjoyable, and often worked far beyond what had been my original intention.  I think that the correct approach is to start small, and don't work on it to the point that it becomes tedious.  You may be surprised by how easy and enjoyable it can be.

Wayne 

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Posted by jxtrrx on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 10:10 AM
Good tips, Doc.  I'm gonna get it going!
-Jack My shareware model railroad inventory software: http://www.yardofficesoftware.com My layout photos: http://s8.photobucket.com/albums/a33/jxtrrx/JacksLayout/

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