glue/water mix...

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by NCMRailroad, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. NCMRailroad

    NCMRailroad Member

    Hi all,
    It has come time to do the ballast laying on the tracks. I don't mean to drum up business for TOYS R US but a few weeks ago, I found out that the sand box sand they sell in 75 Ibs. Bags is non magnetic and looks pretty good for ballasting and is (no pun) dirt cheap ($5.00) compaired to "other" ballasting material available on the market.
    All said, I am wondering if someone might have a better idea about the glue/water mix that would be ideal for bonding fine sand as apposed to medium ballast.
    I mixed up some of the glue/water mix and in doing so, made it purposely thinner than usual so it would soak into the sand. This theory prooved me right but I found I was using alot more than I think I should have. :rolleyes:
    Any Suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Hi, NCM, did you first spray the ballast with wet water( water and detergent mix) so the glue would soak in better? Usually if you do that, you should use less glue.
    P.S., I use playbox sand from the hardware store.

  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    It sounds as if the sand is a viable alternative to commercially available ballast products. Make sure that you have all of the ballast in place where you want it, before spraying with wet water. An efective way to remove stray ballast from the tie tops, after you have tidied-up as much as possible with a soft brush, is to lay the handle of the brush across the rail tops. Then, grasping the brush lightly by the metal ferrule, move it slowly along the track, while tapping the handle rapidly with your free hand. Any stray ballast will be "magically" removed.
    When using the "wet" water, use enough to penetrate completely through to whatever is supporting the ballast: this is very important, as the glue mixture will only penetrate as deeply as has been pre-wetted. If you skimp on the wetting process, you'll end up with a hardened crust on top of the ballast, bonded to not much of anything, with loose ballast underneath.
    As for the glue/water mixture, 40/60, 50/50, or 60/40 will all work, but don't use less than 40% glue: the water is merely a vehicle to carry the glue wherever you've prewetted, and will do so easily, even when the glue-to-water ratio is quite high. Just remember that the water will all evaporate eventually, and when it does, you want sufficient glue left behind to hold everything firmly in place.

  4. NCMRailroad

    NCMRailroad Member

    I thought i would take a minute and tell you how I spread my glue/water on to the ballast.
    I have a old ELMERS White Glue bottle that has a small hole inwhich the glue comes out of at a faster rate than that of a eye dropper.
    I am wondering.. how wet would the sand I mentioned I was using have to be pre-soaked with "wet water" prior to applying the glue/water medium?
    Kind rgd's,
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    The glue/water mix won't penetrate the sand (or ballast) where it hasn't been pre-wetted, using "wet" water, so I'd think that you'd need to see water appearing at the bottom of the ballast slope alongside the track. When you apply the glue mixture, it should also penetrate through to the very bottom of the sand, and will eventually collect alongside the roadbed, too.
    In the photo below, both "wet" water and glue/water mixture collected in the ditches along both sides of the track when the ballast was glued down. I applied the rip-rap (broken bits of plaster), medium ballast (as fill between the pieces of rip-rap), cinders, and the fine track ballast all at the same time, tidied it up a bit, then sprayed it with "wet" water, and applied the glue mixture. I sprinkled ground foam along the ditches to help soak up some of the excess glue afterwards, but this area still took more than a week to dry.

    Because of all the seepage that occurs, make sure that your scenery base is leakproof, or spread some newspapers on the floor, to catch the drips. No need to ask why I suggest this. ;)


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