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Thoughts on 'Klear' for ballasting and permanency


Captain Kernow

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Having used Johnsons 'Klear' (original formula) for fixing virtually all of the ballast on Callow Lane, I've been having mild doubts about it's suitability in the long term to hold everything in place.

 

Whenever I've done any work in the vicinity of any ballast, I've often found bits of ballast coming loose, and the overall impression I've got is that the body of ballast is slightly brittle and fragile.

 

I'm keen that I don't get ballast coming loose for a pastime, when the layout starts to get moved around to and from shows, so I've taken the plunge and am currently about half-way through depositing diluted PVA (together with the obligatory drop of washing up liquid) on all the sections ballasted with 'Klear'.

 

The bits that have dried out from yesterday already seem firmer, so I'm happy at the moment that this is the right way to go. The good thing is that with the ballast already held in place by the 'Klear', the depositing of dilute PVA doesn't displace any of it!

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Guest jim s-w

Posted

Hi Tim

 

New street has done 2 shows so far with no sign of ballast coming loose. I don't know the milage it has done so far in the back of the van but I can add another 500 next weekend! I'll let you know if any comes loose

 

Cheers

 

Jim

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For those worried about the pH balance of using dilute PVA and the increased tarnishing of rail surfaces an expensive but quality alternative is Woodland Scenics 'scenic cement'. I used it neat with a few drops of screen wash added - and as long as the ballast is well sprayed with 'wet' water before droppering I didn't suffer any displacement :)

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  • RMweb Gold

I was sceptical about the use of 'Clear' in ballasting and I'm glad you've now added the pva mix Tim.Your trackwork looks superb and you don't want it ruined before an exhibition.I used Green Scene ballast and a 50/50 mix on mine and was very pleased although I don't have an exhibition layout. ;)

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I am planning on using this method to fix the ballest on my new layout. However I may consider adding the PVA mix over the top of the Klear floor polish.

 

Isn't the woodland scenics cement just a diluted form of PVA anyway? Or does it have some magic ingredients in it?

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The Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement is very similar to pre-diluted PVA but I remember an article in MRJ I think - it's closer to pH neutral so doesn't cause funny tarnishing effects.

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  • RMweb Gold
For those worried about the pH balance of using dilute PVA and the increased tarnishing of rail surfaces

I was never any good at chemistry at school, and that's too long ago to worry about now anyway.

 

In any case, I've just finished applying the dilute PVA to the rest of the trackbed!...

 

In case of any ill effects whilst it goes off overnight, I think I'll just pop off now and oil the tops of the rails...

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  • RMweb Gold
In case of any ill effects whilst it goes off overnight, I think I'll just pop off now and oil the tops of the rails...

Right, done that now, applied a bit of Peco 'Superlube' on the steel railheads. No prospect of any trains running for a while, I've found it a fairly effective way to keep rust at bay.

 

Going back to the issue of the chemical constituency of PVA, although this has no doubt been well known to eminent scientists for some time, it is only recently (and via RMWeb), that I've become aware of this issue. I suspect that 'the vapours' from PVA might have been responsible for some heavy and repeat tarnishing of some N/S rail on the old DRAG TT1 test track.

 

I've used PVA around N/S track on my own layouts, however, and have never had any tarnishing problems.

 

Similarly, there was a six inch length of track on Callow Lane that got ballasted with dilute PVA, before I remembered that I could use 'Klear', and that hasn't suffered from any particular tarnishing or rusting attributable to PVA over the last few weeks since it was done, either.

 

Are there certain types of PVA that are more prone to this kind of problem? I always use the usual Evostick stuff in the dark green bottles. And if you dilute the stuff, would that not lessen the problem anyway?

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Diluting it may reduce the tarnishing effect, but I guess it depends upon exactly what mechanism causes it in the first place! I've used artists Matte Medium in the past to secure ballast - it's not cheap but I was really happy with the effect.

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  • RMweb Gold

[quote name+

=Pugsley' date='30 August 2010 - 10:33 ]

Diluting it may reduce the tarnishing effect, but I guess it depends upon exactly what mechanism causes it in the first place! I've used artists Matte Medium in the past to secure ballast - it's not cheap but I was really happy with the effect.

Interesting and a useful tip as well. One of the attractions of PVA for me is the slight flexibility it has compared with Klear...

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Guest jim s-w

Posted

:lol: :lol:

Be sure you do that, matey! ;)

 

Hi Tim

 

Well - another 500 miles in the back of a van and no loose ballast to report.

 

HTH

 

Jim

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  • RMweb Gold

Hi Tim

 

Well - another 500 miles in the back of a van and no loose ballast to report.

 

HTH

 

Jim

Excellent - can we have another report in, say, 1,000 miles please? ;) :P

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Hi Tim,

 

If it's worth my mentioning it, I used dilute acrylic matt varnish on Auchinraith and it's still going strong after 3 years, 2 of which on the expo circuit.

 

HTH,

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If it's worth my mentioning it, I used dilute acrylic matt varnish on Auchinraith and it's still going strong after 3 years, 2 of which on the expo circuit.

 

But that's EM - P4 ballast is quite different... ;)

 

Incidently, with the change of the formula for Kleer, could discussions about it be a dead end? There may be a lot of worth in investing things like acrylic varnishes and readily available glues now.

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