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Ballasting without tears?.on thin sleeper track


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Just bumping this topic as its been so useful. Just about to lay ballast on Windmill End so i've been seeking different views on alternate ballasting methods with Woodlands scenics and Green scenes.

 

Dave

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I've been following this thread with interest and some time ago adopted the method of painting between sleepers with PVA. The method has worked well for me using Exactoscale bases in 4mm but a while back I went "continental" and have been trying to find a method that works with closely-spaced thicker sleepered track... in my case Tillig, both wooden and concrete.

As per Gordon's tests on thicker sleepered track some time ago, neat PVA will "shrink back" and leave a sparse look that will require extra attention. The following seems to work for me.

Using one of those little Metcalfe fine-tip bottles, add neat PVA (in my case Screwfix own-brand) between sleepers, working on about 100-150mm of plain track at a time. I use Green Scenes GS408, but I imagine Woodland Scenics "fine" would display the same characteristics. Using a tea spoon, give the PVA a good covering of ballast and immediately hoover up the excess. Leave alone for an hour, no more, no less. When you come back, you should see that the area covered looks "wet and white" but has not yet begun to shrink back. Add another sparse scattering of ballast and again, immediately hoover up. This time, leave alone overnight and the "shrink-back" effect is much less noticeable. Not perfect, granted, but much better.

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We finished ballasting about 350 feet of O gauge peco 

 

we used woodlands Scenics as we find this does not change colour using pva 

 

we use coarse grade 

 

our method is to fill and shape the ballast dry , then wet copiously with water sprayed from a spray bottle , with a good dollop of washing up liquid added , we find this dries as we progress so we te-wet as we go along 

 

having shaped the ballast and wet it , we apply dilute 1:1 water and cheap pva ( screwfix no nonsense ) again with added washing up liquid 

 

we then saturate the ballast using cheap disposable plastic “ eye “ droppers ( 100 for a few $ from AliExpress ) 

 

This takes about two days to dry , very little or no rework , all we do at points is wedge the switch rails half open 

 

we then weather with airbrush etc 

 

we we typically do the double track ballast shoulder /chess in one go , or sometimes come back and do that separately 

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Amazed to see this subject is still kicking around some five years later...

 

As it happens, I've just finished ballasting around 54' of track for Eastwood Town station. I average around 3' - 4' an hour and tend to do an hour and then go off and do something else. There's probably 18 hours work on these lines, but I still find it the easiest way to get a good result without any rework whatsoever.

 

Of course each to their own and others have other systems, but this one works for me.

 

DSCF9718.jpg.113360df30457d400ea843a13e99e9a3.jpg

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38 minutes ago, Junctionmad said:

We finished ballasting about 350 feet of O gauge peco 

 

we used woodlands Scenics as we find this does not change colour using pva 

 

we use coarse grade 

 

our method is to fill and shape the ballast dry , then wet copiously with water sprayed from a spray bottle , with a good dollop of washing up liquid added , we find this dries as we progress so we te-wet as we go along 

 

having shaped the ballast and wet it , we apply dilute 1:1 water and cheap pva ( screwfix no nonsense ) again with added washing up liquid 

 

we then saturate the ballast using cheap disposable plastic “ eye “ droppers ( 100 for a few $ from AliExpress ) 

 

This takes about two days to dry , very little or no rework , all we do at points is wedge the switch rails half open 

 

we then weather with airbrush etc 

 

we we typically do the double track ballast shoulder /chess in one go , or sometimes come back and do that separately 

 

I seriously doubted the wisdom of saturating my thin ply sleepered track with so much liquid.  Particularly as it was only stuck down with PVA onto Templot paper templates and already fully wired.

 

My main concern was that the liquid would cause the track to shift/distort and/or warp the sleepers.  This damage could have been hidden by the ballast

 

Despite being reassured on the S4Soc Forum, instead I still used Gordon's method, which took much longer I guess, but it worked for me and the gauge remained true.

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1 hour ago, Brassey said:

 

I seriously doubted the wisdom of saturating my thin ply sleepered track with so much liquid.  Particularly as it was only stuck down with PVA onto Templot paper templates and already fully wired.

 

My main concern was that the liquid would cause the track to shift/distort and/or warp the sleepers.  This damage could have been hidden by the ballast

 

Despite being reassured on the S4Soc Forum, instead I still used Gordon's method, which took much longer I guess, but it worked for me and the gauge remained true.

I have used the same method , with my 4mm handbuilt track , which is laid complete with its Templot template still attached and uses ply timbering 

 

I’ve not seen any issue the pva soaks through the paper template anyway 

 

I’ve tried Gordon’s method , personally I find it ONLY works with thin sleepers and will not work reliably with thicker sleepers and the pva will not soak into the higher layers on its own 

 

dave 

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