t applying and making wet water & ballasting around turnouts

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by PennCentralFan, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. What are your wet water recipies? I've been using the suggested recipe from Woodland Scenics (1 cup of water and 2 drops of dish washing deterget) and spraying the water in a mist from one of those misters you can buy at K-mart or Target.

    Can you make even wetter water? How do you make it?

    Plus, when I apply the mist it somestimes blows the ballast about and it sometimes goes back on the top of the ties and on the rails. Any advice on that?

    Finally, how do you all ballast around turnouts? The last thing I want is for the scenic cement by Woodlands or a glue-water mix getting into the turnouts and glueing them shut.

    I've read some folks are Just really careful around turnouts. But what does that mean.

    Some dudes have suggested not using glue around the turnouts. Some places I've read has said only ballast the sides and try to keep the glue out.
  2. santafefan

    santafefan New Member

    I recently ballasted my new layout, the way I did my switches was to use Bluetack, (the putty like adhesive that is used for sticking posters on the wall), I gently worked this into positions that blocked any glue runoff from getting on the moving parts, it worked like a dream, all switches functioning perfectly.

  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Some folks don't do their turnouts, you can see this alot in older MRs and RMCs. I very carefully ballast them, making sure that the ballast is well below the points and ties. Tapping the turnout area with the handle of a small screwdriver settles all ballast into the ties and jars loose any that is sitting on top the ties. After wetting the area with my wetting agent (1 drop of dish soap + a splash of rubbing alcohol to a spray bottle of water) I use a plastic compatible oil on the points, the tops of the ties and the rivets that secure them---spread heavily but not so much as to get into the ballast. Then I bond it as normal. When dry the oil is gone but the points are free and ready to go.

    When I spray the wetting agent I aim it over---no directly at, the area I'm doing so that it falls like a rain on the ballast. After a couple spritzs it's wet enough to take more direct shots without moving the ballast.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I make wet water with a drop or two of liquid soap or dishwashing detergent in a bottle of water. I also have a tube of John's Better Wetter which I bought over 30 years ago.
    I often prefer to use denatured alcohol (drug store kind); I thinks it works better.
    I use a hairspray bottle for wetting ballast. It produces a mist rather than a heavy spray.
    I add the glue with an eye-dropper; enough drops to get a puddle in the ballast.

    At turnouts, do not build up the ballast under the points -- any movable bits. Even CNR takes the ballast down to the bottom of the ties at that point.
  5. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Ive been ballasting for the last three days, and its been a learning experience. Luckily I did some research before hand, but so much of it has to be learned by doing. Its been a tedious process but I found the right tools make all the difference. My tools include:

    Ballast (or course)
    Small measuring spoon I use to apply ballast
    1/2 paintrbrush
    Very small artistic paintbrush
    50/50 water and white glue mix with a few drops of detergent.
    Wet watter (spray bottle with water and a few detergent drops)
    Butter knife

    I am using very small ballast so the idea of keeping it all off the rails is impossible, but i do my best to mold it into shape before I spay it. True, it does sometimes blow off when you spray it (I like the hairspray bottle idea) but I just reshape it, wiping off my brush to clear it off all the gunk...then I open the ballast glue by only opening the top half way so I can drop it in a drop at a time. Then just made sure it sucked in the glue good. Preliminary results have been great! The little bits of ballst that remains of the rail and ties I just break loose with a file (if they are stuck at all) then dust buster the little buggers up (after the rest has dried for twelve hours of course)

    Its frustrating...but worth the results!!

    Oh and I had a heart attack when I dropped my ballast glue bottle rigtht on the switch! The switch stuck but I slowly worked it loose and its all running fine....*phew*
  6. santafefan

    santafefan New Member

    After a trip to the chemist to get an eyedropper and found they didnt have any I purchased two syringes, these were great and held a fair amount of glue, just dropped the glue between the tracks and watched it spread through the ballast, quick, easy and dropped it where I wanted it to go.
  7. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    About wet water: I build an HO scale diorama from Woodland scenics and as you mentioned, they suggest (1 cup of water and 2 drops of dish washing detergent).
    For N scale ballast that mixture is not even good enough, I use rubbing alcoohol ( 70 % ) that I apply with an eyedropper. I tried using a syringe , but prefer the eyedropper ( better control on the amount of alcoohol dropped ).
    About ballasting the turnouts, I don't know because I'm not that advanced in my layout. I soldered all the rails and made some ballasting test.

    View attachment 27396

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