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I have never done any ballasting before and I ordered some 00 ballast from Hattons but haven't used any yet, however I came across a thing called pumice stone in IKEA  (used for propagating plants apparently) and saw it could be used as ballast.

 

The difficulty is a lot of the product is too large to be realistic as 00 gauge ballast so therefore needs to be sieved. I have already used the kitchen flour sieve but am wondering if there is any other type of sieve that might allow for a slightly larger (but realistic) fall through as the amount of stuff getting through the flour sieve is not great but it measures up well against the Hattons product for 00 scale.

 

Is it the case that some people have used a mixture of 0 and 00 ballast on 00 gauge layouts and if so in what proportions?

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00 ballast is generally too large, so if I were mixing I would mix 00 and N gauge ballast, not 0 and 00. I wouldn't worry too much about proportions, up to 50/50 will be fine.

 

Be careful with ballast as some products can turn a green colour when used with PVA. I'm using Woodland Scenics products and had no problem.

 

I'll see if I can dig out some pics later.

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Pumice stone  (which is volcanic lava cooled in seawater) tends to be quite fragile. Be careful when handling, or you could end up with dust.

If you've quite a bit of ballasting to do, then otherwise have a look around Wilkinson's or similar to see if there are any larger ones in stock. IIRC, main-line ballast is between 37.5 mm and 50 mm on the prototype, so less than 1mm max.

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OK, found some pics.

 

This is ballast (source unknown) that has reacted with PVA and gone green.

 

IMG_4085.jpg.10c49a4431530d508e597211368bc4b2.jpg

 

Some Woodland Scenics product in 00, which is probably on the large size.

 

IMG_5122.jpg.1e22c8a421b2fcd86fdb0af47b1bb709.jpg

 

.....and a mix of N and 00....

 

As this is a current shot, I suspect it is now probably 75/25 in favour of N gauge as the old 00 ballast was used up.

 

DSCF0148.jpg.6be8350663141d956b4c21940c922736.jpg

 

.....which looks OK from a viewing distance. None of these have been weathered, nor had the cess added as they are from an earlier version of my layout that never made it.....;)

 

IMG_0427-1.jpg.a2ffda8a04e2fa9bf1a079b19820903b.jpg

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Great stuff, I obviously did not recall the mixed gauge sizes correctly, hard to know what people consider a large layout but it looks like an awful lot of ballast will be needed hence the interest in bulk supplies of the material.

 

The sieve I have used so far is giving me roughly the same size as the Hattons 00 size ballast which will include some finer stuff given how small the flour sieve holes are, am I being too greedy in trying to extract more material from the IKEA bags as I am getting about only 25% of usable material from those.

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Posted (edited)

You'll be amazed just how far ballast will go as you can hoover up all the excess by using an old handkerchief or a piece of fine mesh cotton over the end of the vacuum hose. Just insert the material into the hose to form a 'pocket' and you'll be able to recover ballast that isn't used. I'm currently ballasting, so your question came at a good time. I probably only lose 10% of what I use.

 

A 32oz ballast tub is £12.75 and will last for ages.

 

http://www.kernowmodelrailcentre.com/p/13351/B1394-Woodland-Scenics-Medium-Ballast-Grey-Blend-32oz-shaker

Edited by gordon s

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1 hour ago, MOH said:

am I being too greedy in trying to extract more material from the IKEA bags as I am getting about only 25% of usable material from those.

 

Pestle and mortar for that which does not go through at the first pass?

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5 minutes ago, JimFin said:

 

Pestle and mortar for that which does not go through at the first pass?

 

That's the idea, not being a rockologist/geologist I don't know which stones are crushable. From personal experience commercial ballast from various sources seems OK, and of course it's superb for coal for tenders/mineral wagons/MGR's etc.

 

Mike.

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50 minutes ago, Siberian Snooper said:

Some people use Chinchilla dust from pet shops for ballasting in 4mm.

 

 

 

Can't use that nowadays, crushing chinchillas is frowned upon in these enlightened times!

 

Mike.

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Sorry about the delay in responding, I also had some domestic advice regarding trying the pestle and mortar idea and might give it a go, nothing to lose on it anyway, thanks.

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