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what to use for ballast

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what to use for ballast
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 7:09 AM
I am new to this and started a layout (10x5 ft). I am looking for some advice.
I have laid most of the roadbed down and have started to glue some of the track to the bed. I have purchesed a set of Kato Amtrack super liners to use to test the track. my plan is to gently roll them over the section of track to check for problems. if i find none then i will ballast the track in place. Does this have any sound reasoning? Instead of buying ballast from the hobby shop or on line, is there any thing that could be bought at home depot to use for ballast. I was thinking of mixing sand used for motor with some black grout to darken it. Any thoughts,....
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what to use for ballast
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 7:09 AM
I am new to this and started a layout (10x5 ft). I am looking for some advice.
I have laid most of the roadbed down and have started to glue some of the track to the bed. I have purchesed a set of Kato Amtrack super liners to use to test the track. my plan is to gently roll them over the section of track to check for problems. if i find none then i will ballast the track in place. Does this have any sound reasoning? Instead of buying ballast from the hobby shop or on line, is there any thing that could be bought at home depot to use for ballast. I was thinking of mixing sand used for motor with some black grout to darken it. Any thoughts,....
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 7:48 AM
You can use anything you want for ballast as long as it's nonconductive and nonmagnetic. I use lots of sandbox sand mixed with woodland scenics lt. gray ballast or black scenic sand from hobbylobby. After it's dry you can still color it with acrylic washes or use an airbrush.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 7:48 AM
You can use anything you want for ballast as long as it's nonconductive and nonmagnetic. I use lots of sandbox sand mixed with woodland scenics lt. gray ballast or black scenic sand from hobbylobby. After it's dry you can still color it with acrylic washes or use an airbrush.
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  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 8:04 AM
If you live near an actual rail line sometimes you find little piles of the sand they use in the locomotives. (Be careful around tracks obviously). It is a very fine and pure sand, better than sandbox sand. But it tends to be very light colored.
Dave Nelson
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  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 8:04 AM
If you live near an actual rail line sometimes you find little piles of the sand they use in the locomotives. (Be careful around tracks obviously). It is a very fine and pure sand, better than sandbox sand. But it tends to be very light colored.
Dave Nelson
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 8:30 AM
If I were you I would wait to ballast the track until the layout is done. You will end up getting all kinds of "junk" in it durring the scenery construction not to mention the point at which your scenery meets the track.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 8:30 AM
If I were you I would wait to ballast the track until the layout is done. You will end up getting all kinds of "junk" in it durring the scenery construction not to mention the point at which your scenery meets the track.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 9:05 AM
Quote "It is a very fine and pure sand, better than sandbox sand." How often have you ever seen nice clean and pure ballast on a railroad? And how is it better than sandbox sand, is it chemically better, does it taste better? Is it the cost, a 50 pound bag of Quickcrete playsand cost $3? FRED
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 9:05 AM
Quote "It is a very fine and pure sand, better than sandbox sand." How often have you ever seen nice clean and pure ballast on a railroad? And how is it better than sandbox sand, is it chemically better, does it taste better? Is it the cost, a 50 pound bag of Quickcrete playsand cost $3? FRED
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 9:06 AM
another question.... I have a tunnel i am attempting to build. have the base done, laid the roadbed and track. Should the track be ballasted in the tunnel, before i cover it?
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 9:06 AM
another question.... I have a tunnel i am attempting to build. have the base done, laid the roadbed and track. Should the track be ballasted in the tunnel, before i cover it?
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 9:32 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by pfroment

another question.... I have a tunnel i am attempting to build. have the base done, laid the roadbed and track. Should the track be ballasted in the tunnel, before i cover it?
I'd ballast only the part of the track that will be visible after the tunnel is covered, but I'd do it before you cover the tunnel.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 9:32 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by pfroment

another question.... I have a tunnel i am attempting to build. have the base done, laid the roadbed and track. Should the track be ballasted in the tunnel, before i cover it?
I'd ballast only the part of the track that will be visible after the tunnel is covered, but I'd do it before you cover the tunnel.
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Posted by cacole on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 8:23 PM
Sand will magnify the sound of your train on the rails, so I would advise against using sand. A cheap ballast that I have used in the past is Cat's Pride cat litter that can be purchased at Wal-mart or Safeway. Cat's Pride comes in a plastic jug and is basically just Kaolin clay, so it does not swell up when moistened like other brands. Cat's Pride is made by Oil-Dri Corporation, and can also be used to soak up oil spills, which is their main business. I spread dry litter with a small paint brush, moisten it with a rubbing alcohol sprayer, pour on a 50/50 white glue/water mix, and then spray more rubbing alcohol. It gives you a gray colored ballast.
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Posted by cacole on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 8:23 PM
Sand will magnify the sound of your train on the rails, so I would advise against using sand. A cheap ballast that I have used in the past is Cat's Pride cat litter that can be purchased at Wal-mart or Safeway. Cat's Pride comes in a plastic jug and is basically just Kaolin clay, so it does not swell up when moistened like other brands. Cat's Pride is made by Oil-Dri Corporation, and can also be used to soak up oil spills, which is their main business. I spread dry litter with a small paint brush, moisten it with a rubbing alcohol sprayer, pour on a 50/50 white glue/water mix, and then spray more rubbing alcohol. It gives you a gray colored ballast.
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  • From: Culpeper, Va
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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 9:11 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by cacole

A cheap ballast that I have used in the past is Cat's Pride cat litter that can be purchased at Wal-mart or Safeway. Cat's Pride comes in a plastic jug


Does it attract cats? There are two of them in my house and I'd sure hate it if they found a "new" litter box.[:D][:D][:D][:D]
Enjoy
Paul
If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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  • From: Culpeper, Va
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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 9:11 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by cacole

A cheap ballast that I have used in the past is Cat's Pride cat litter that can be purchased at Wal-mart or Safeway. Cat's Pride comes in a plastic jug


Does it attract cats? There are two of them in my house and I'd sure hate it if they found a "new" litter box.[:D][:D][:D][:D]
Enjoy
Paul
If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
  • Member since
    April 2003
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 11, 2003 7:26 AM
That cat litter is aprox 6" to 12" scale bolders in HO. You ballast with that or crush it up?
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 11, 2003 7:26 AM
That cat litter is aprox 6" to 12" scale bolders in HO. You ballast with that or crush it up?
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 11, 2003 9:03 AM
Someplace on one of these forums, someone mentioned parakeet gravel. So I tried it. Cheap easy to use. Two drawbacks
1) the color, I will someday have to match it to the rest of my ballast
2) there are some "big chunks" that occasionally pop out of the box, you need to sift these out as they are way to big for ballast, but do make nice stones maybe someplace else on the layout.
And so far my layout has not been attacked by any maurading parakeets[:D]
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 11, 2003 9:03 AM
Someplace on one of these forums, someone mentioned parakeet gravel. So I tried it. Cheap easy to use. Two drawbacks
1) the color, I will someday have to match it to the rest of my ballast
2) there are some "big chunks" that occasionally pop out of the box, you need to sift these out as they are way to big for ballast, but do make nice stones maybe someplace else on the layout.
And so far my layout has not been attacked by any maurading parakeets[:D]
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 11, 2003 4:27 PM
What color is this parakeet sand?
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 11, 2003 4:27 PM
What color is this parakeet sand?
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 11, 2003 4:34 PM
Parakeet sand is almost clear with a yellowish white cast.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 11, 2003 4:34 PM
Parakeet sand is almost clear with a yellowish white cast.

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