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 is correct?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 glue/water mixture.
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.
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 evaporate.
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 almost indefinatly.
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.
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.