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Ballasting Materials and Methods

John is looking at OO gauge and wants to know:

What is the best way to ballast track and points?”

5 Responses to Ballasting Materials and Methods

  • Morgan Bilbosays:

    Best? I honestly don’t know. The most often recommended and used method is Elmer’s White glue. YouTube has nice videos on how to do that. Some spray with a sprayer. Some use a medical dropper. And lot’s of variations. What I hesitate about is the use of water/water based. They start by spreading the ballast. Some use fingers, some 1″ brush, some regular paint brushes. Then spray a water mix with some liquid detergent – I think about 3 drops in a qt bottle of water. And then using a dropper, put a 50/50 mix of Elmers White glue with water. Do not touch while drying. Now what bothers me is all that water. And many tell me that it don’t matter. And that this method is good. The reason I don’t know is that I’ve never tried it and will be watching this thread to learn myself.

  • David Stokessays:

    Water is not really that big an issue, especially when the real scenery work starts. But if it worries you that much, use isopropyl or rubbing alcohol instead of water to break up the surface tension and help the glue soak through the ballast. Also don’t over do the diluted glue.

    You could always paint the roadbed/layout first with old enamel paint that might be lying around – empty all your part can left overs – don’t worry about the colour, its job is to seal the wood of the layout from the water.

  • phil johnsonsays:

    LOL no such thing. I like to pour small piles down the middle and sides. Then use a small wide soft brush to move the ballast along the track. I do 2-3′ at a time. I then go back to check for any bare spots. I THEN USE A 3X5 card to work the angles of the roadbed. I then saturate the ballast with wet water I do 35% denatured alcohol &65% water mix. I’ve found that dish detergents sometimes leaves an unwanted residue on the rails. I then use a 50/50 mix white glue and dribble over the area. I would suggest that you find a system you feel comfortable with or like and stick with it or tweek it to your satisfaction

  • Stevesays:

    i’ve done several ” Briefcase Layouts ” and given that I knew these would be subject to a lot of movement being carried around , I used ” Ballast Magic ” which is basicly a powered glue that you mix with your ballast . And the layouts I did haven’t showed any problems with ballast coming off of the layout , I also used it for doing roadways and rock faces . I find it best to use a dropper for wetting being able to control where the water goes .

  • Marklin edsays:

    I have seen some ballast plastic machine that run over the track. Looks easy.

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