looking for an idea - wire mesh strainers

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by rsn48, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    A friend of mine turned me on to river silt as a base through out the layout, nothing like dirt to represent dirt. Now before I have posts warning me of impending doom using the river silt, a friend of mine has had his on his layout for 6 years now and it is working fine. Yes I not only baked it but froze it for a week as well, yes I ran a magnet over it, and then did a magical chant just to make sure.sign1

    Now here's my request, I'm laying this silt on the layout as a dirt base but the usual kitchen sifters don't quite sift the silt fine enough for N scale, some slightly "larger" pieces affect the look visually. Does anyone have an idea for a "finer" mesh, to sift the river silt yet another time>
  2. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    Most earth i;ve seen comes kinda lumpy but if you dont like lumps a Blender or food processer will eliminate those lumps..Dont tell the wife.
  3. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Use a tea strainer
  4. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

    Beat me to it.

    Check out a kitchen supply store for a wide selection. Also, don't forget window screen material.
  5. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    window screen
  6. DougF

    DougF New Member

    A long time ago I bought a multi layer strainer that has progressivly finer screens as the material drops through it at the aquarium shop. It is used for grading the flake type food to finer material for use in feeding just hatched young up to adult size.

    I have no idea what such a unit would cost now as I have had mine over thirty years.

  7. joesho

    joesho Member

    im in ho,and ive used dirt for my whole layout,works fine!
  8. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    River silt is slightly different than your average dirt out from the woods or back yard. By nature it is already some what fine with no clumping, the colour is uniform and generally lighter in colour than regular dirt.

    I definitely will try the tea strainer and I'll check out the pet store as well.
  9. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    How about a flour sifter? The kind with the pump handle that stirs the flour around to break up clumps. :thumb: :thumb:
  10. Relic

    Relic Member

    Check out the great Canadian Dollar Store, they should have different strainers, yeah for a buck apeace.
  11. trainman4

    trainman4 Member

    Price check on isle four.lol
  12. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    I tried out a tea strainer last night and it worked well. :thumb: I used a flour sifter first but for N scale the results were still too large; the tea strainer took it down a notch. I kept the left over slightly larger sand (silt) as I decided it might work really well as siding ballast, looking distinctively different from the mainline ballast I have purchased. :wave:
  13. woodone

    woodone Member

    Sift your dry dirt into a small jar ( old baby food) then strech some old panty hose over the opening, don't pull it too tight. Pulling too tight will open the mesh wider. Install a rubber band to hold the streched fabric onto the jar. Shake out your dirt, it will be very fine.
    I have done this many times, make good dirt very fine.
  14. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    Woodone, I hadn't thought of old nylon hose, I'll give it a try; sounds like a good idea, but it must take forever to sift the sand; it did with the tea strainer. I would have three levels of silt if I do that: 1) flour sifter 2) tea sifter 3) nylon hose sifter; I would keep all three for use on the layout. I'm kicking my self now for throwing out the siftings when I used the flour sifter, it seems to me the different levels would work well in a "river setting."
  15. woodone

    woodone Member

    Oh yes , you need to sift the dirt through several sizes of screen(panty hose) or what ever. Star with a course sifter then got to a finer one and so on. I use 4 sizes before I go to the panty hose. The panty hose will make very fine dirt, and yes it comes out very slow, but it is very good at making the dirt look very realistic. One thing you might try is silk screen material, it is a cloth they use for making prints. You can get some large opening material, and make up some sifting screens. I have not tried that, but have thought about using that material for screens.
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I have also seen plastic screen sifters at the dollar store - they seem to be a finer mesh than the standard wire mesh ones.


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