Author Topic: Paver/Jointing Sand for Ballast and/or Ground Cover...  (Read 1098 times)

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Sumner

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Paver/Jointing Sand for Ballast and/or Ground Cover...
« on: August 20, 2021, 08:10:53 PM »
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I just put up a video on using paver/jointing sand for ballast and/or ground cover.  I've been experimenting some with it for use as ballast with ME Code 55 track and also for ground cover.


It is really cheap as I believe I paid about $20 for 50 lb.. I used it when I laid a floor with pavers in our greenhouse and started thinking it might work on the railroad.  I had a #40 mesh strainer and then got two #60 mesh strainers for about $12 and gave one to Dottie.  The higher the number the smaller the particles at will pass through.  Using the #60 the particles seemed to be very close in size to some commercial N scale ballast I had.  Pick a strainer mesh that gives you the particle size you are after or in some ground cover situations you could use it straight out of the bag.

It has binder with it so put it down and add water and you are done.  No glue needed in the water.  If you sift it the binder goes through with the small particles so if you want to use only the larger particles that remain in the strainer you will probably need to add some glue to hold them in place.

Not sure how thick it will go on and dry and not crack if you are trying to build larger features on the layout, so experiment, but I would think you could use multiple layers if needed.  Also while wet you can push/mold it and then leave it to dry.

I'm interested in how it works for others if anyone else starts using it.  At this point I'm happy with it for ballast and ground cover for my 'western' based layout.  Only problem is I've only found it in brown and gray.  Might try mixing in some of the powdered colors they have for concrete at some point.

Sumner
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rodsup9000

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Re: Paver/Jointing Sand for Ballast and/or Ground Cover...
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2021, 09:18:02 PM »
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  Thanks for the video, but your kind of late to the party, Sumner. Some on this forum has been using it for years.

Rodney

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wvgca

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Re: Paver/Jointing Sand for Ballast and/or Ground Cover...
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2021, 10:14:09 PM »
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paver sand is kinda pricey.... i used sandblasting sand, 50 pounds for eight bucks .. available in different grits [sizes] and hardness....  which kinda relates to colour .

Sumner

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Re: Paver/Jointing Sand for Ballast and/or Ground Cover...
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2021, 12:15:31 PM »
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paver sand is kinda pricey.... i used sandblasting sand, 50 pounds for eight bucks .. available in different grits [sizes] and hardness....  which kinda relates to colour .

Thanks for the sandblasting sand suggestion.  Have used it with my auto hobby.  Just gave the sandblaster away as that era has ended.  I did find it in #30/#60 mesh which looks to be about the same particle size as what I'm using.  It ends up being 2" to 4" in N scale (60/30) from what I can determine.  I did find a black that might be good for my coal mine area.  One thing I do like about the paver/jointing sand is being able to use straight water and not having to come up with some glue/water/other mixture and $20 for 50 lbs. is still darn cheap  compared to the commercial ballast I bought  ;).

Also the magnetic particles in the sand question came up on another forum so thought I'd throw my findings on that out.  I was going to check the sand with a magnetic and forgot but just did. Yes the magnet pulled up very small metal particles out of the sand while the sand was still loose after being sifted. Then I went and tested the hardened ballast on the test track and the ground cover with the magnetic. I scraped it back and forth over the harden sand and couldn't find any evidence of any particles on the magnet. So I'd agree if you left if loose be careful where you use it. Once wetted with water and hardened I'm not sure there is a problem being used as ballast. In the end though we all need to do what we feel comfortable with for our layout.

Sorry about being 'late to the party' but hadn't seen the sand being used before.  I guess at this point it is hard coming up with anything someone else hasn't done before  :)

Sumner
« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 12:17:20 PM by Sumner »
Working in N Scale ---Modeling UP from late 40's to early 70's very loosely......

Under$8.00 Servo turnout Control --- 3D Printed Model RR Objects -- My Home Page

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wvgca

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Re: Paver/Jointing Sand for Ballast and/or Ground Cover...
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2021, 02:40:25 PM »
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don't worry about repeating ideas, it gives the newer users another option to choose from ...

Maletrain

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Re: Paver/Jointing Sand for Ballast and/or Ground Cover...
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2021, 09:59:09 AM »
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Yes, no problems with repeats.  Probably very few here have read all the archives, anyway.

Regarding the magnetic particles in real rocks and abrasives - has anybody found a convenient way to remove them from large quantities of material?  I have thought about running a magnet over a thinned layer, with some plastic wrap on the magnet for easy cleaning.  But, that seems pretty laborious for the amount of ballast we typically use.

nkalanaga

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Re: Paver/Jointing Sand for Ballast and/or Ground Cover...
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2021, 12:18:46 AM »
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I've never tried it, but the sand where I grew up has enough iron particles I'm surprised it's never been mined.

My only idea that might work for large quantities is to get a couple of today's VERY powerful magnets, the large kind, like they use to retrieve stuff from lakes.  Take a piece of 6 inch or so plastic pipe, 3 or 4 feet long, put the magnets on the outside, halfway down, and stand it on end.  Put a funnel in the top, so the sand will pour in a thin stream, down the middle, and pour the sand through.  The iron should be pulled to the side, and stick to the magnets, if the stream isn't so dense it carries the iron with it.

When a good bit piles up, remove the funnel, put the pipe in a pan or bucket, and remove the magnets.

A more elegant design would use a rectangular pipe, wide enough for the entire end of the magnet, and pour the sand in a thin sheet down the center, which would allow more sand, but a less concentrated stream, and give more effective area to catch the iron.

Either way, the iron will never contact the magnets, so there's no problem getting it loose.
N Kalanaga
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