Painless Ballast

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by spitfire, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Do you hate scraping stray pieces of ballast off the insides of your track as much as I do? Well, I have found a solution to this problem and it works perfectly.

    Most articles say to place the ballast, wet it down with "wet" water or alcohol and then spray with a mixture of white glue/water and a detergent.

    Here's a better way. Instead of spraying or brushing the glue, which invariably gets on the ties and rails use an eye dropper.

    The slight surface tension in the glue mix causes it to pool between the ties, where it stays. If you put a little too much glue it creeps over to the next space, but not up onto the ties or rails.

    Then you simply sprinkle the ballast all over the area. It will only stick where the glue is, and any stray bits can be brushed or vaccuumed away once the glue is dry.

    Try it! You'll love it!


    Attached Files:

  2. Anachron

    Anachron Member

    Thats a great tip! :thumb:
    but wouldnt it take hours to ballast some track that way?

    btw I need to get one of those eye dropper's :)
  3. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    I think the extra time it takes is made up for by the time you don't have to spend picking out all those stray bits that get glued to the flangeways. Personally, I HATE doing that!!

    Another cool thing is that this method is so precise, you can use it on turnouts too.

    :D Val
  4. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  5. Anachron

    Anachron Member

    well putting som nice ballast to those awfully exposing turnouts wouldnt hurt :)
  6. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    A Patently Good Idea!!!

    Nice Work Val!:) Great Idea!:thumb:

    Robber Barron Patent #39712 has been issued to this process!!:D :D :D :thumb:
  7. Blake

    Blake Member

    Also Val, put electrical tape on the bottom of the point section of your switches with the sticky side up. Put the edges on either side of the throw bar. Turn the switch upside right and dump ballast in there. Tamp it down with your finger then flip it upside down and shake the loose ballast out. Now you don't have to worry about getting glue in your points but they still look ballasted.

    1/2 of model railroading is just smoke and mirrors.
  8. absnut

    absnut Member

    Val, I use a variation of your method which seems to work well for me: I put my ballast where I want it "dry". Then, using a 1:1 mix of white glue and water, with a few drops of liquid dish detergent, I apply the water/glue/detergent mix with a medicine dropper.
  9. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    That's a good tip Val. I will be sure to try it.
  10. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Re: A Patently Good Idea!!!

    Excellent Vic. You can all send the royalty cheques care of the Gauge! LOL!!!

  11. Another item to use mabye a baby's bogger sucker upper lol them blue things that u stick in there nose.
  12. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Great one, Val!

    But what about if I don't mind removing the stray ballast? :D
  13. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Thanks for sharing this Val. Many ways to install ballast, this adds one more useful tip to the repertoire.

    Personally, i used to lay the ballast and spray (upwards) a fine mist of rubbing alcohol to drizzle down and wet the ballast without disturbing it. Then use an eye dropper or dental type syringe to carefully lay down white glue/alc mix without too much that floats the ballast and sticks to the inside of the rails. What little does i scrape off after, and yes it is annoying. Don't get that much ballast inside the rails this way, but have to be very carefull with the spray not to mess up the dry ballast.

    Will try your way next time. Spreading ballast when wet is very hard, but your way is sprinkling, not spreading with a 'spatula', makes a lot of difference and should result in far less spreading work.

    Thanks again. Ain't this forum and it's tipsters great?
  14. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    Some use an empty white glue bottle as their applicator instead of the eye dropper. They say you can work faster that way. I have used the eye dropper method - only way I've done it - but I think I am going to try the other method.
  15. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    An alternate to using an eye dropper is an ink syringe from an ink-jet refill kit. I've got two kinds, one looks like a small accordion and the other type looks like a medical syringe with a dull needle. Works great, holds more, but a bit trickier to control.


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