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Diluted white glue using alcohol

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Diluted white glue using alcohol
Posted by Medina1128 on Monday, April 18, 2011 8:38 AM

I had read in another thread about making diluted white glue using rubbing alcohol instead of water. When I tried to mix it with the same ratio, 4:1, it turned into a thick goo. I found that mixing it with a  6 or 7:1 ratio it had almost the same consistency as the water mixture. I also found that prewetting the scenery wasn't as important. This mixture flows right into the ground foam, and it dries much quicker.

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Posted by vsmith on Monday, April 18, 2011 10:55 AM

I used a roughly 50% glue-25% water-25% alcohol mixture on my layouts, yes the alcohol really helps capulary action a great deal and it evaporates off quickly leaving just the glue/water mix, drying time is still the same but the glue goes right thru to the base which without the alcohol would take alot longer. Some recommend adding a drop or two of dishwashing liquid as well but to my experience its not really necessary.

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by cacole on Monday, April 18, 2011 10:58 AM

I have been using rubbing alcohol in place of water for several years, even as a pre-spray for ballast, and believe alcohol is better because it evaporates and allows the glue to set up faster. 

What glue were you mixing that caused the alcohol and glue to 'turn into a thick goo."   I use plain white glue (Elmer's or a generic brand) that comes in a gallon jug.

JTG
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Posted by JTG on Monday, April 18, 2011 3:01 PM

Nice to know, guys. I had my first experience gluing ground cover last night, and I wouldn't mind a little improvement. I used a 50/50 mixture of Elmer's white glue and hot water, then dumped in a little 91% isopropyl alcohol. So it was probably close to 98% glue and water to 2% alcohol.

Seems to work OK, but it took a seemingly long time to dry. I may have laid it on a little thick, however. I'm hoping I don't end up with that infamous glue "shine" to my turf.

Do you spray this solution? I dribbled mine on drop by drop. I was afraid the solution would clog my sprayer, and/or the spray would dislodge too much ground foam.

I'll try bumping up the alcohol content tonight. In the solution, that is, not necessarily in me.

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Monday, April 18, 2011 3:10 PM

I use a Woodland Scenics plastic spray bottle.  Don't get too close to the work and it won't move any but the lightest ground cover.  When I am done I just rinse the bottle and spray water through the sprayer until is comes out clear.  It works fine.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 5:47 AM

Medina1128

I had read in another thread about making diluted white glue using rubbing alcohol instead of water. When I tried to mix it with the same ratio, 4:1, it turned into a thick goo. I found that mixing it with a  6 or 7:1 ratio it had almost the same consistency as the water mixture. I also found that prewetting the scenery wasn't as important. This mixture flows right into the ground foam, and it dries much quicker.

Yikes, substituting rubbing alcohol for water?  I am not surprised that it turns into a thick goo.  And a mighty expensive goo at that.

There is no need to add rubbing alcohol to the glue mix.  Water does quite nicely.

What I do is to add 4 parts water (cold, not hot) to 1 part glue (I use matte medium, but whatever, Elmer's Glue is cheaper, I will concede).  Then, I add a few drops of liquid dish detergent to aid in the dispersion of the glue mix into the ballast or ground cover.

But here is the key to success and where the use of rubbing alcohol is important.  Before applying the glue mix, I spray rubbing alcohol over the area to be glued until the area is thoroughly wet.  Using rubbing alcohol in this manner ensures an even spread of the glue mix without upsetting the ballast or ground cover.

Incidentally, the drying time of any diluted glue mix is going to be 48 hours to 72 hours in my experience.

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 7:17 AM

 Water/detergent does not work everywhere. My area has hard water and it has never worked for me. Not even using alcohol for the pre-wetting - the glue/water just puddles. That's when I tried alcohol. It's not an expensive proposition, store brand 70% isopropyl alcohol is well under a buck a bottle. It seems OK as is on ground foam but for ballast it still likes a pre-wetting spray of just alcohol

For ballasting I have an old mustard bottle that has a small tip - Plochmann's brand - which gives nice control over how much glue/alcohol mix comes out. I mixed up maybe half a bottle full and it was enough to glue a lot of ballast down. That plus filling up the sprayer with plain alcohol used less than 1/4 of the bottle of alcohol - I'll need 2, maybe 3 bottlesof alcohol, less than $3.

                           --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 Medina1128 on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 8:03 AM

cacole

I have been using rubbing alcohol in place of water for several years, even as a pre-spray for ballast, and believe alcohol is better because it evaporates and allows the glue to set up faster. 

What glue were you mixing that caused the alcohol and glue to 'turn into a thick goo."   I use plain white glue (Elmer's or a generic brand) that comes in a gallon jug.

I use Elmer's in the gallon  jug. Once I got the ratio right, it was nice and thin, and flowed like nobody's business.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 3:16 PM

Medina1128

 cacole:

I have been using rubbing alcohol in place of water for several years, even as a pre-spray for ballast, and believe alcohol is better because it evaporates and allows the glue to set up faster. 

What glue were you mixing that caused the alcohol and glue to 'turn into a thick goo."   I use plain white glue (Elmer's or a generic brand) that comes in a gallon jug.

 

I use Elmer's in the gallon  jug. Once I got the ratio right, it was nice and thin, and flowed like nobody's business.

So, what was the "right" ratio?

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Posted by Medina1128 on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 7:29 PM

7 parts alcohol (70% isopropyl):1 part white glue

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 6:19 AM

Medina1128

7 parts alcohol (70% isopropyl):1 part white glue

LOL

That has to be one expensive glue mix. 

Next time, try a 4:1 water to glue mix with a few drops of liquid dish detergent added in, and pre-wet the area to be glued with rubbing alcohol.  Just try it in a small area as a test and see if you are not happy with the results.

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 6:48 AM

 I don't get the 'expensive' part - 70% rubbing alcohol is CHEAP. And the overall whole thing will be a fraction of the price of matte medium. A quart od matte medium, is like $20 at Michael's. So not worth it, you can buy gallons of glue for that and there is no noticeable difference.

 And I repeat, the soapy water method simply does not work in all areas. Funny how in the past year or so the scenery articles in MR have switched from the soapy water to using alcohol.

                           --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 Robby on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 8:00 AM

I have to agree with Mr. Smith on this one.  I buy quarts of 70% at Wal-Mart or Target for about $1.50 each and mix it 50% with water in a gallon jug.  This goes into a hairspray pump bottle for pre-wetting ballast and ground cover and then also mixed half and half in Elmer's small bottles and dribbled / poured over everything.  That would give you a 50-25-25 mix of Elmer's to water to alcohol.  Usually spread it out before bed and it's hard but still damp to the touch after work the next day.  Completely cured out in two days but I have been known to speed thing along with carefully placed fan-style heaters on a weekend during a building blitz.

Tried the detergent and water mix which worked almost as well, probably just as good for most cases.  I use a Highball ballast of N and HO scale limestone and had some cases where the finer N scale ballast didn't wet out "good enough" before I poured on the glue which makes it roll up into visible lines along the roadbed.  The alcohol mix has never resulted in this so I just use it all the time.

 

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 8:35 AM

rrinker

 I don't get the 'expensive' part - 70% rubbing alcohol is CHEAP. And the overall whole thing will be a fraction of the price of matte medium. A quart od matte medium, is like $20 at Michael's. So not worth it, you can buy gallons of glue for that and there is no noticeable difference.

 And I repeat, the soapy water method simply does not work in all areas. Funny how in the past year or so the scenery articles in MR have switched from the soapy water to using alcohol.

                           --Randy

 

Rubbing alcohol may or may not be cheap, but water is cheaper.

As far as matte medium goes, forget about Michael's and paying $20 per quart, you can buy a gallon of matte medium for around $30 at places like Mister Art and Dick Blick, often with Free Shipping.

Rich

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Posted by gandydancer19 on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 9:17 AM

I have also used white glue diluted with alcohol. 

However, I would recommend using all you mixed within a couple of days. 

If left much longer, it will turn semi-transparent in the bottle and will dry glossy instead of flat when used again.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 3:49 PM

richhotrain

As far as matte medium goes, forget about Michael's and paying $20 per quart, you can buy a gallon of matte medium for around $30 at places like Mister Art and Dick Blick, often with Free Shipping.

Rich

That might be okay if there happens to be a Blick store near you.  And when I looked at the Blick website, a gallon of matte medium at the 30% off list price was $61.60.

JTG
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Posted by JTG on Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:02 AM

As long as we're on the topic, and since I'm in the middle of my first experience with gluing down ground foam, I have to ask: Is it normal for the process to discolor the ground foam, or at least make it darker in color?

That seems to be the case for me. Just wondering if that's typical. Again, I'm using about 9.5 parts white glue/water with .5 parts alcohol.

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Posted by Medina1128 on Thursday, April 21, 2011 1:29 PM

It's pretty much a common occurrence that materials you glue down with diluted glue for them to darken when the glue dries. I use the spice shaker bottles to mix Woodland Scenics ballast (I use light gray) with sand from the sand tubes you can buy at Walmart. Make sure to run a magnet through any dirt or sand. You'd be surprised at the amount of metal that you'll find. Also, bake it in the oven to kill any "critters" in it. 

JTG
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Posted by JTG on Thursday, April 21, 2011 2:24 PM

Thanks for the reply, Marlon. I thought that was the case, but it's reassuring to know I'm not screwing up somehow!

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:28 PM

JTG

Thanks for the reply, Marlon. I thought that was the case, but it's reassuring to know I'm not screwing up somehow!

 
I've never noticed that with either ballast or ground foam, so it may be due to the alcohol.
The only alcohol I use is the drinkable kind, often after an enjoyable session of ballasting or doing scenery work.
 
Wayne
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Posted by Lastspikemike on Sunday, May 2, 2021 9:48 AM

Alcohols are polar molecules. Water is dipolar. Detergents have both polar and non polar which is how they magically allow water to dissolve grease.

Adding a bit of alcohol to the water you add to thin down white glue  works in the same way as adding a bit of detergent. The detergent works better but the alcohol dries faster. 

Alcohols also have less surface tension than pure water. It's the surface tension which slows down the water wicking into the ballast or scenic products you're trying to glue down. Detergents also reduce surface tension when dissolved in water. That's what a surfactant does.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, May 2, 2021 9:59 AM

After seeing HO ballast that looked like it was encased in glue, I did some experiments on the ratio of "glue" to water.

 

I used matte medium and good quality tap water.  I pre-wet the ballast with alcohol, and then applied the mix with an eyedropper at the edge.

 

I found six parts water to one part medium would work.  Mixes with a higher amount of water did not bond the ballast very well--it would break up upon touching.  

 

I wanted to thin the glue as much as possible, but still have it bond the ballast.

 

I did NOT try the experiment with white glue.  

 

 

Ed

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, May 2, 2021 10:05 AM

7j43k

After seeing HO ballast that looked like it was encased in glue, I did some experiments on the ratio of "glue" to water. 

I used matte medium and good quality tap water.  I pre-wet the ballast with alcohol, and then applied the mix with an eyedropper at the edge. 

I found six parts water to one part medium would work.  Mixes with a higher amount of water did not bond the ballast very well--it would break up upon touching.   

I wanted to thin the glue as much as possible, but still have it bond the ballast. 

I did NOT try the experiment with white glue.   

Ed 

Interesting experiment, Ed. 

When I first used matte medium way back in 2004, my LHS guys told me to dilute with water 2:1, water to matte medium. Matte medium is expensive, so I began to experiment and found that a 4:1 ratio works just fine. So, now, it looks like as much dilution as 6:1 will work.  Good to know.

Rich

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, May 2, 2021 11:10 AM

Rich,

If I was a person who found that 6:1 ratio encouraging, I'd STILL try it out first, on a little pile of ballast.  Just to be sure. 

Which is what I did:  I made several piles, and did each with a different ratio (3:1, 6:1, 9:1, 12:1).  After letting them thoroughly dry, I first did a visual inspection--all looked "non-gluey".  I tapped each pile with my finger, and the 9 and 12 fell apart.  The others didn't.

So I used 6:1 on my module.  It's done fine, so far, even though the module is usually sideways and bumped around a bit.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, May 2, 2021 11:13 AM

7j43k

Rich,

If I was a person who found that 6:1 ratio encouraging, I'd STILL try it out first, on a little pile of ballast.  Just to be sure. 

Nope, I'm going on your word, Ed. Smile, Wink & Grin

Rich

Alton Junction

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