Just about to start doing the ballasting on my now pinned down/laid
model railway, I understand from research you need to mix 50/50 of Wood
Glue and water?
Whats the best way to mix this? I dont want to make too much..
How do you measure it correctly etc etc, to make sure the consistancy
I have a dropper to apply the mixture when done, but I was trying to
work out how to measure the correct fluid-ounces etc.
Yup, only a drop or two is needed but it's vital. I have found though that a
mix of 20% PVA to 80% water works quite satisfactorily (using granite
chippings as ballast) - at least for my purposes, and of course it you
change your mind using a wallpaper stripper/scraper it's a lot, lot easier
to get off and return your baseboard to a useable form.
No need to measure if you use a 250ml glass jar: make a mark near the
top for "full", and a mark 1/2 way down for "1/2 full". Make more marks
(evenly spaced) if you want to make variable amounts of the mix. Then
just pour PVA in first, add water, and mix. Stretch clear plastic film
over the mouth of the jar before screwing on the lid, that will help
extend the life of the mix.
You'll be surprised how much glue the ballast soaks up. Basically, you
should add enough glue that the ballast appears to be swimming in it.
Some people spray the dry ballast with rubbing alcohol first, this
should make the glue wick into the ballast better. I've not tried that,
so I can't say.
Have fun.... ;-)
not sure I want to make it up in as large a quantity as that? (250ml)
I have a ballast spreading device where you pour the ballast in the
hopper then run it along the track to spread the ballast on both inside
and outside edges, after which you then apply the glue with a
dropper/or other applicator. I would prefer to do each track / oval /
section as I go along, and do it in small sections, so say I do all the
sidings/outer track first, then the inner or something. What do you use
to mix the solution/water in for a dropper etc? and if a small jar, how
do you get the ratio right, do I need to measure out xx ml of PVA and
xx ml of water then mix it? is it 50/50?
I use an old 250ml PVA bottle that has a dropper lid. Pour half to 2/3 rds
of contents into other container - or use for other things. Add couple of
drops washing liquid, add some water, give good shake. add some more water,
shake etc till bottle almost full.
Using seperate dropper would take ages. Tisnt an exact science, wap plenty
on as Wolf says and don't be suprised if you get through lots of it.
Pour the PVA into the mixing container first, then add water, then stir.
I use a bamboo kitchen skewer, and rinse it under the tap after use.
Anyhow, the proportions aren't critical. If in doubt, add more water, a
more watery solution is better. The mix should be about the consistency
of whole milk, ie, slightly thicker than plain water. Cheap PVA is kinda
watery, so you use less water, the better stuff is quite thick, so you
use more water.
The detergent drops are essential, I should've mentioned them, thanks to
Simon et al for emphasising this.
Use whatever size jar is handy (ie, one that the missus won't miss).
250ml isn't that much. Really. As I said, it's amazing how much mixed
glue it takes. Add enough glue to the ballast that it comes slightly
above the top of the ballast layer.
But if you don't want to make that much at a time, just make the "full"
mark lower down the side of the jar. Or make four marks, at full, 3/4,
1/2, and 1/4. Then make only half a jar at a time. I recommend a glass
jar because it's easy to see how much you've poured into it. If you use
an opaque container, such as a margarine tub, make marks on the
stir-stick. The mix can be poured into a smaller container (the small
yogourt tubs are good for this) for working on the layout.You can store
the mix for quite a long time,e specially if you ue palstic wrap between
the jar and the cap.
I use 20% glue / 80% water - more or less. As others have said, ratio
really isn't that important. I just use an old Elmer's glue bottle
(white PVA glue), add water to an inch or so of glue, shake it up. It
lasts in the bottle until it's used up - in fact, I always keep a small
bottle of it mixed up. I don't bother with the dishwashing liquid - I
use an eyedropper to soak the ballast first with rubbing alcohol - do a
couple of feet, then come back and do the same two feet with the
On Thu, 09 Feb 2012 21:28:07 +0000, Chris King wrote:
Some folks do use wood (white) glue, others use matte medium. Both will
defend their choice to the death :-).
Both work. I just wanted to make you aware that an alternative existed
if you didn't already know. Should you decide to use matte medium, Mod
Podge (Walmart and elsewhere) is the same stuff and a lot cheaper.
Either one is usually mixed 2-4 parts water to one of MM/MP.
Adding a little detergent as suggested is a good idea. I've had better
luck saturating the ballast with rubbing alcohol first and then dribbling
on the MM/MP/WG. Do a couple of inches at a time so the alcohol doesn't
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
When I made an N gauge layout (rather more years ago than I care to
remember) I mixed the fine ballast chips with Cascamite wood glue (about
3 parts ballast to one of adhesive, may even have been weaker, you'll
have to experiment). This is a powdered glue, just add water. When the
ballast has been coaxed into shape, just drop or spray water containing
a drop or two of detergent on to the ballast.
The advantage of this is that the water spray is less likely to disturb
the neat ballast shoulders. The disadvantage is that Cascamite (which
IIRC is a urea/formaldehyde, or resorcinol/formaldehyde glue) is more
expensive than PVA. Not even sure if it's still available, but I'm sure
some powdered wood glue will be.
White Glue (eg your basic Elmers Glue All). Not the *yellow* wood glue.
It is not terribly critical. I bought a gallon of Elmers at an art
supply store (Michael's) and have a pile of old smaller Elmers bottles.
I pour one (little) bottle about 1/2 full and then fill the bottle the
rest of the way with watter. Add a drop or two of dish soap. Close the
cap and shake well. So long as the cap is well closed, it will keep
Don't sweat it. It is not really that critical.
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
No need to be too anal about it. There is no correct recipe.
I would test some hidden sections first to get the hang of it and
check what colour the ballast turns when coated in glue. If you intend
to paint it then that's not too much of a problem.
Add a tiny drop of washing up liquid to help it wet. I also use a
plant sprayer after applying the ballast to damp everything down with
plain water. This is a further aid to wetting and helps stop the top
layer of ballast from floating away.
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