ballast ?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by fran1942, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. fran1942

    fran1942 Member

    Does anyone have any suggestions for ballast ?
    Rather than buying it from the model shop, surely there is all sorts of everyday materials that could be used instead for much cheaper.
    Any ideas anyone ?
    Thanks for the help.
  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    screened sand or sand blasting material, i use screened sand .
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I used play box sand from the local hardware store,$5.00 for 50#, and sift it.
  4. ejen34

    ejen34 Member

    Used coffee grounds :thumb:
  5. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    As grewsome said, play sand gets you the most bang for the buck!!:thumb: :D
  6. R. MARTIN

    R. MARTIN Member

    What type of HO railroading are you into Fran? Rural? Urban? Makes a big difference in the ballast quality.
  7. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    Run a magnet through the sand after you sift it to make sure ferrous materials do not get into your engines motors.
    Just a thought.
  8. jasbourre

    jasbourre Member

    You know those green or gray flower blocks you find at flower shops or the dollar store they work great, and will you are there they also sell many colours of sand you can use.

    This is from Drew's lawout
    "I use a bunch of different stuff for ground cover…A lot of it is natural…sifted dirt, ground up leaves, small twigs…I also use broken up bits of plaster that I paint to look like loose rock, & lately, I’ve started mixing wood ash with sifted dirt, & using that for ballast…I use bailing twine (jute) to make tall grass, & of coarse, there’s plenty of Woodland Scenics ground foam in there, too"

    Pictures of his ground cover can be found at

    hope this helps don't forget about the flower dept at Walmarts also, or other craft stores.

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