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Ballasting and Track Cleaning Tool, Added Pix

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  • Member since
    August 2020
  • 374 posts
Ballasting and Track Cleaning Tool, Added Pix
Posted by Southgate 2 on Thursday, February 18, 2021 5:35 AM

I decided to stop putting it off. The "plywood pacific look had to go. Last night I ballasted or graveled a sizable chunk of the layout, probably 4 1/2 square feet. Almost an HO acre.  It was the area between the turntable and roundhouse, and along my diesel shop. 

Tonight I started to clean up the glue and dust stuck on the railheads. and clear out any ballast that would foul the flanges. After fussing with some tedious methods, I thought I'd try something. I filed a peice of  .062x1 brass bar as follows in the picture: 

   

 

 

The notches ride on top of the rail, the extension is longer than the rail height, but leaning it over the the right degree makes it as shallow or deep as needed.  Since this is in the yard area between the TT and roundhouse, I filled the ballast in burying the ties mostly.

I use the tried and true method of spreading the ballast as close to desired profile as reasonably possible (not worrying about the stray rocks that stayed on top of the rails) , wet it with a little dish soap in water, then liberally soak it with carpenters glue thinned with water just enough to go through a spray bottle.  After the glue has set up pretty hard, take that tool and slide it to and fro, down the track quickly busting up the unwanted ballast between the rails. But it also was cleaing the rail tops! Some touching up with a "ink" eraser is gentler than a bright boy, but still cleaned up what was left. So far so good.

I wanted a way to get some glue crud off the rails in the roundhouse  that managed to get oversprayed in there. But it had to clear the floor between the rails.  So I milled on a Sherline the other end of the brass bar like this:  

 

 

    

Two previous attempts were effectively done with a file, but I botched the spacing of the flangeways, still it's very doable.

Now It can clean the crud off the railheads without scuffing up the painted floor.  

   

 

 

Well, as it turns out, this tool actually can be used for cleaning the track in general, not just ballasting. Being brass, it "gleams" the rails and is faster than wiping rails with solvent cloths, and the long handle keeps the big ol' hands above the layout surface, not knocking adjacent items around. Care must be taken in turnouts because the flangeway part is wider but i'll probably file that to suit.  

Anyone wanting to make one can do so with a good file with sharp square edges.  I could post more pics. I left the tool the full length of the K&S brass bar minus the shaped ends, foot I think.  

 Why all text appears blue after the 1st photo is beyond me. Help? Dan

  • Member since
    October 2020
  • 2,540 posts
Posted by NorthBrit on Thursday, February 18, 2021 5:55 AM

Interesting looking tool, Dan.

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

  • Member since
    October 2013
  • 25 posts
Posted by dew3896 on Thursday, February 18, 2021 8:08 AM

Dan, I agree with David:  Very interesting tool.  Thanks for sharing. 

Some more pics would probably be helpful to others who might want to make their own tool.  Please post them. 

DEW

  • Member since
    August 2020
  • 374 posts
Posted by Southgate 2 on Thursday, February 18, 2021 12:14 PM

Thanks guys. I'll post pictures later, maybe tonight.  Long day ahead.

  • Member since
    December 2015
  • From: Shenandoah Valley
  • 8,484 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, February 18, 2021 5:01 PM

The blue text is because the forum thinks it a http link.  Maybe becaue you added text on the same line as the picture link?

It's not gleaming in the sense used by people who believe in Gleaming, but it is a form of polishing, much like when banks were bit stone building with giant brass doors and brass handles, the handles where people grabbed where shiny brass and the rest was patina.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

  • Member since
    August 2020
  • 374 posts
Posted by Southgate 2 on Thursday, February 18, 2021 11:46 PM

Thanks for that clarification on the gleaming thing, Big Daddy. And you made me realize that adding a couple spaces after the URL BEFORE hitting enter to drop the picture gets the blue out.

Here are a few more pictures of the tool. This shows it with an NMRA gauge for comparison.   

    

It's about a foot long. 

   

That makes it good for reaching into the roundhouse. The roof comes off of the roundhouse, but the the frame stays in place.

   

And the shop building WIP too, with a removable roof...  

   

It helped speed up the work of cleanup of this area, the ballast and gravel around the roundhouse and shop, and down beside the shop and area out of the picture. It took less time to make it than it would have just to clean up this area, and I have a LOT left to do, so I'll be getting the milage out of it, Im sure. 

   

The little regeared & motored slow Hustler loco above was busy checking continuity up and down all the tracks and would let me know if I missed anything. Dan

 

  • Member since
    October 2013
  • 25 posts
Posted by dew3896 on Friday, February 19, 2021 12:53 PM

Thanks for posting the additional pics.

DEW

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