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Glue Recommendations

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  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: Newmarket, ON Canada
  • 333 posts
Glue Recommendations
Posted by Aralai on Monday, November 15, 2021 2:48 PM

I did search looking for this topic, but didn't really find anything specific.

What kind of all purpose glue do you use/recommend for scenery? I use latex caulk to glue down my foam roadbed and track, and obviously Styrene cement for structures etc.

I'm looking to glue in wood and/or plastic fences, some styrofoam to styrofoam and styrene to styrofoam for curbs, roads etc.

Do you all just use white or carpenter's glue, or silicone or??

TIA

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, November 15, 2021 5:15 PM

Styrene to foam I use caulk. But I cover all foam with plaster cloth first, real cheap online from many sources. The other scenery is glues with varius mixtures of white glue. 2 water to 1 white glue for turf and stuff, thicker for static grass.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, November 15, 2021 6:04 PM

Aralai
Do you all just use white or carpenter's glue, or silicone or??

For scenery (ballast, ground-cover, etc.) I use ordinary white glue, thinned with water....

I usually add glue to the bottle (next to the jug of glue) about 1/3, then fill it with water (if you have especially hard water, use distilled water instead, available in gallon jugs at most supermarkets...I cleaned-out the collection bucket on my dehumidifier, and use the collected water both for thinning white glue, and for applying decals).  After adding the water, I shake the mixture vigourously (and do so every time I plan to use it), then fill the small dropper-type bottle (blue cap) with the diluted glue.

The sprayer, labelled "wet water", is suitable water, as mentioned above, with a few drops of liquid dish detergent added.  This makes the water less viscous, allowing the water (and the diluted glue, when it's applied) to easily penetrate through the scenic material (ground foam, ballast, real dirt, etc.).

To add ground cover of almost any type, apply it dry, spreading it as necessary.  Once it looks the way you want it, the sprayer (hopefully one which will put out a very fine spray) is used to thoroughly wet the material...in most cases, I've found that it's best to initially spray upwards, letting the droplets fall onto the scenic material.  Once they've been dampened, you can then spray more directly (otherwise, the direct spray may simply blow-away the scenic material).


To create scenery that will stand the test of time, it's preferable that enough water is applied that it will penetrate completely down through the scenic material - this will insure that when the diluted glue is applied, it too will penetrate right to the solid base.

Here's some wetted scenic material...

...and the application of the diluted glue...

...and what looks like the "fine mess I've gotten myself into again"....

...turns out just fine, Ollie...

 

The area shown below was an exercise in ballasting, but due to the depth of the rip-rap (broken pieces of patching plaster), I had to apply some wide aluminum insulators' tape on the fascia, to keep everything in place until the glue set.  That happened about a week later.

Ballasting is a somewhat different procedure than scenic material, so I'm including my method for ballasting track - it's not the only way to do it, but I've found it to give good results, both in appearance and durability....

I keep seeing comments about people dreading having to ballast their tracks, or, from people who've tried and not had success, and about what a crummy task it is. What follows is my procedure for ballasting - there are other methods that work as well, but this one uses readily-available and cheap tools and materials.  And it works!
The choice of ballast is up to you - I use both Woodland Scenics Fine Ballast , and real rock ballast, too, on my HO scale layout, but there are many other brands and sizes available, and plenty of colours. If you use natural materials, like sand, dirt, or decomposed rock, it's best to use a magnet to remove any magnetic inclusions that might possibly damage the motors in your locos.
 
To ballast your track, I find that a small paper cup (such as those kitchen or bathroom Dixie cups) gives you great control over where the ballast goes. I usually move the cup along the centre of the track, tapping it as I go, to keep the ballast flowing. Less than you need is better than too much, although a soft 1/2" brush is useful for pushing around the excess or levelling what's in place. Don’t use the brush to brush the ballast around, especially the WS ballast, as it’s very light and will fly all over the place.  Instead, lay the brush almost parallel to the ground and drag the ballast along.  Then go back and do both roadbed shoulders in turn. Use the brush to level and re-arrange things as required, making sure to keep the ballast away from the throwbar area and the flangeways of the guardrails. To remove stray ballast from the tie tops, lightly grasp the metal ferrule of the brush between the thumb and forefingers of one hand, laying the handle across the rail tops, then, as you move the brush along the tracks, lightly and rapidly tap the brush handle with the fingers of your free hand. The stray ballast will "magically" bounce off the ties and into place between them.
If you're also ballasting turnouts, make sure to keep the level of the ballast below the tops of the ties, and don't place any ballast between the ties surrounding the throw bar. To avoid gluing the points to the ties, place two drops of plastic-compatible oil atop each tie over which the point rails move, one next to each point rail, then flip the points back-and-forth several times to spread the oil. Parking the points in mid-throw will also help to ensure that they don't get glued to the stock rails, either.  If necessary, use strip styrene to keep them in place.
You can mist the contoured ballast using either water and alcohol, or water with a few drops of dish detergent added. Either should work, although I prefer the detergent, as it's cheaper and works just as well.  I generally do fairly long sections of track at the same time, and the alcohol may evapourate too quickly to be effective over a longer period of time (I save my alcohol - not the denatured kind - for a nice drink after I've completed the ballasting.)  Use a sprayer that will allow you to spray a fine mist. To avoid having the force of the spray dislodge loose ballast all over the landscape, aim the first few spritzes upward, letting the droplets fall like rain. Once the surface has been dampened, you'll be able to spray it directly. Make sure to thoroughly wet the ballast right down to the base. Not doing so is probably the main reason that many people have trouble getting a decent-looking and durable ballasting job. To apply the glue/water mixture (white glue works just as well as matte medium and is way cheaper, especially if you buy it by the gallon. Those who claim that white glue dries shiny are not using sufficient wetting agent. The proportions should be about 50/50 water/glue, although a little heavier on the water will still work well). To apply the glue mixture, don't ruin a perfectly good spray bottle (and while doing so cover your rails and anything else nearby in glue, too): instead, use a dropper. An eyedropper will work, but a plastic squeeze bottle with a small nozzle will be much faster. Simply move along the track, as quickly as necessary, allowing the glue mixture to drip onto the ballast (or ties - you won't see it once it dries). You should be able to see it being drawn into the ballast due to the wetting agent. I usually do the area between the rails first, then the sides in turn. The glue mixture will spread throughout the ballast and down to the roadbed, so make sure to apply enough to allow this to occur. The result will be ballast bonded solidly in place, yet with the appearance of loose, individual pieces.
Where I have scenic areas adjacent to, but below the level of the track, I also apply the basic ground cover, which also helps to soak up the excess glue that spreads out from the ballast line.  If you're applying ballast (or ground cover) to steeply sloped areas, use a suitable-width brush to apply undiluted white glue to the slope before applying the ballast or ground foam, which will help to hold everything in place while you apply the wetting agent and the dilute white glue (these steps help to bond the top layers of material to those in contact with the unthinned glue, and also help to draw that glue up into the top layers).
Depending on how deep your ballast and adjacent scenery is, the glue may take several days to dry.  Don't touch it while it's still wet (you'll make a mess) and wait until it's dry before cleaning the rails - I used a mildly-abrasive block intended for polishing electrical contacts.

Wayne

  • Member since
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  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Monday, November 15, 2021 6:13 PM

I use wood glue for everything.  I know, I know, I can't be a very good or fussy modeler, and I won't argue the point.  But, I need the wood glue anyway, and if it works reasonably well for scenery, and for ballast, why not?

Diluted and with a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent added to help it to penetrate.  Add two small, clean, pebbles to the mix so that you can get the solution back up to snuff when you go to spray or dribble after a week or 20.

My world:

The real world:

 

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  • From: Newmarket, ON Canada
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Posted by Aralai on Monday, November 15, 2021 6:25 PM

Awesome. I really appreciate you folks taking the time to give me details - it makes a huge difference rather than learning the hard way!

I'll be updating my build thread with progress...

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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, November 15, 2021 9:54 PM

I use diluted Elmer's Glue-All (white glue) for almost everything.

I did some experimentation last year. I found Elmer's has less shine than Mod Podge Matte, but more shine than Matte Medium.

For the cost difference, and good results I get, I am sticking with Elmer's Glue-All.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 11:57 AM

I do not use a sprayer.  I have tried them and found they spray all over, wetting more area than I intend to cement in place.  Instead, I use a pipette, which is a cheap eyedropper made of a single piece of plastic.  This gives me precise control over what gets wet and what does not.

I also generally don't use wet water.  I use straight isopropyl alcohol.  You don't need much.  It also helps your ballast dry overnight instead of taking 3 days.  Given the amount I use, a drug store size bottle last me years.

There's a craft store product called Aileen's Tacky Glue.  It goes on white and dries clear.  It's an adhesive and does not interact with plastics or much of anything else.  It is good for planting trees or road signs, and also for fastening figures to your layout.  It's particularly convenient because it doesn't really harden, and even figures glued down by their 1:87 feet can be easily removed without damage, even many months later.

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

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Posted by kasskaboose on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 4:10 PM

There really isn't an all-purpose glue for scenery.  For plastic, I use testors in the red/white tube; foam to foam I use liquid nails.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 5:24 PM

I asked this question in another thread and have yet to get a reply so I'll ask it here. What adhesive should be used for ABS plastic. I saw a video that used a black adhesive. I'm wondering if either of the below would be suitable? I need the strongest bond possible. 

Amazon.com: J-B Weld 8237 PlasticWeld Plastic Repair Epoxy Putty - 2 oz. : Automotive

Amazon.com: Aleene's 33260 Ultimate Multi-Surface Adhesive, 1.5 oz. : Arts, Crafts & Sewing

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 10:46 AM

John-NYBW
I asked this question in another thread and have yet to get a reply so I'll ask it here. What adhesive should be used for ABS plastic.

There are ahesives specifically made for ABS (usually for plumbing applications).  A quick search came up with THIS, but I'm sure that there are others.

Wayne

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Posted by NVSRR on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 11:07 AM

Plastruct makes an ABS specific adhesive. 
shane

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 11:09 AM

MisterBeasley
I do not use a sprayer. I have tried them and found they spray all over, wetting more area than I intend to cement in place.

If you're landscaping only small areas, I agree that a sprayer may be overkill.  I'm usually doing scenic work or ballasting on a somewhat larger area, whether it's ground cover or track ballasting. 

Likewise, I guess, for alcohol rather than wet water.  I don't care for the smell of alcohol (other than the drinking kind), but for doing large areas and particularly ones where the scenic material is deep, the alcohol would be evapourated by the time I get to it.  If I'm ballasting track it's usually in 15' or 20' batches, often double track and turnouts, too.  There are many areas on my layout where the ballast is deep due to the terrain surrounding the track.   Some of those areas will take a week to fully harden, but there's so much other stuff to be done that drying time is of no concern. 
I often add trackside scenery when ballasting, too, as there's usually lots of excess water and diluted white glue as run-off...no point in letting it go to waste.

Wayne

  • Member since
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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, November 20, 2021 10:41 PM

Whatever adhesive you use, make sure it is compatible with the material you are gluing.  As an example, some calks will react with foamboard.

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