Author Topic: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale  (Read 738 times)

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videobruce

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Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« on: May 06, 2022, 10:14:23 AM »
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This isn't another how to ballast track thread, but just what do you guys feel is the best mixture of adhesive/glue and water detergent and/or Isopropyl Alcohol?

Most of the White Glue mixtures are 50/50, that and water thou I have seen 1 part glue & four parts water which seems kinda thin. And either a few drops of IPA or liquid dishwater detergent.

I've also read of IPA and water mixture spraying separately from the glue mixture or a combo of 1:1:1 (or similar) parts glue, water & IPA as a one step mixture which seems easier.

What do you guys think??
« Last Edit: May 06, 2022, 10:16:16 AM by videobruce »

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2022, 10:16:29 AM »
+1
I like less glue to water. Maybe 2:1 or 3:1.

It's easier for it to settle into the ballast and you can always add more.

That said, this is almost always being used on grout based ballast which already has some binding properties.

videobruce

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2022, 10:23:20 AM »
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2:1 with 2 being the water?
How can one tell if the ballast is "grout based"?  I never heard of that before.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2022, 10:34:01 AM »
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2:1 with 2 being the water?
How can one tell if the ballast is "grout based"?  I never heard of that before.

Ah, sorry, yes, much more water than glue.

And here's my treatise on using grout: https://conrail1285.com/n-scale-ballast-using-sanded-grout/

davefoxx

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2022, 12:16:27 PM »
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I use approximately a 2:1 water to glue ratio here, i.e., I fill the bottle up to the one-third level with white glue and then the rest (2/3rds) of the bottle with water.

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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2022, 02:49:34 PM »
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I use approximately a 2:1 water to glue ratio here, i.e., I fill the bottle up to the one-third level with white glue and then the rest (2/3rds) of the bottle with water.

DFF


OOh, also, don't forget to leave a little room to shake it.

And I typically do the water first and the glue second. Not sure it helps with mixing it, but it doesn't hurt.

mu26aeh

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2022, 04:04:49 PM »
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A good ratio I follow is Ballast Magic :D


robert3985

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2022, 04:16:40 AM »
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I used to use Liquitex Matte Medium for my ballast cement...mixed with water and a couple of drops of Dawn Detergent....but, that started giving me intermittent white residue (a LOT of white residue) even when I used brand-new bottles of it. 

So, I changed to Elmer's Glue-All (white glue) for a while, but didn't like the sheen.

Now I'm using a 2:1 mix of Mod-Podge Matte using distilled water and a couple of drops of Dawn Detergent. That's 2 parts water, 1 part Mod-Podge.

After the glue mixture has set for a while, the Mod-Podge will settle to the bottom, so I use my Badger battery paint mixer to mix it up again before using.

Of course, I spray my ballast with an atomizer full of distilled water and a couple of drops of Dawn, thoroughly soaking the ballast with "wet-water" before applying my glue mixture with a big eyedropper. 

This works really well for me with one caveat...my ballast darkens quite a bit with this combination and I'm using my stash of Highball Real Rock Ballast...so I mix it up a few shades lighter when it's dry.  This compensates for it becoming dark after it's glued down.  For my Cinder Ballast...I don't care.

I like the flat finish with no fugly white residue and that Mod Podge Flat is easily found at several different art/hobby shops.

Although some guys like the alcohol...my combination works really well for me so I don't see any need to change over...and distilled water is a helluva lot cheaper than rubbing alcohol and smells much better when working with it.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore


« Last Edit: May 11, 2022, 12:27:39 AM by robert3985 »

fire5506

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2022, 03:43:19 PM »
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Is that 3 parts Mod-Podge to 1 part water?




Richard Webster
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robert3985

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2022, 12:24:24 AM »
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Is that 3 parts Mod-Podge to 1 part water?

Richard Webster

@fire5506 Actually (after looking at my bottles of glue mixture) it is two parts distilled water to one part Mod-Podge Matte...for a total of 3 parts.  It's been a while since I mixed it up...I corrected my original post.


Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: May 11, 2022, 12:28:14 AM by robert3985 »

fire5506

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2022, 04:12:38 PM »
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Bob,

  Thank you.

Richard Webster
Richard looking at MP 242 when working for the FEC Rwy. Retired now.

NMRA member Sunshine region

JeffB

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2022, 08:10:52 AM »
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Not N scale but HOn30...

Matte Medium diluted 3:1 with water.  Add a few generous drops of dish soap.  Shake vigorously, then add a few ounces of 91% IPA and shake again.  It's important not to add the IPA until after the water and some dish soap.

Let the mixture sit for a week or two.  The solids in the MM will settle out.  Carefully decant the whiteish liquid into another container, avoid agitating the solids while you do this.  Toss the white sludge left over.

That last step will eliminate having a white residue after the MM mix dries.  This tip was given to me my scenery guru Dave Frary.

I have a few containers standing by so it's ready whenever the mood to work on scenery strikes.

What I've always liked about using MM...  First, if you don't drown natural sand or soil that you're trying to glue down, it doesn't significantly darken the material.  It looks "dry" once the MM mix dries.  Second...  If you find you don't like what you've done, soak the effected area with IPA, wait a minute or two, and you can pretty easily scrape up the scenic materials and have a fresh pallet to work with after.  I did this with the sand I used as ballast on my HOn30 modules.  After ballasting about 1/3rd of the track with sand, I didn't like what I'd done, so I soaked it with IPA and carefully scraped it all away and was able to return it to clean track, ready for a different treatment.

The thing about MM is you don't need a lot of it to hold whatever your gluing...  A little bit of it, even thinned 3:1+ IPA, is plenty. 

I also exclusively use 91% IPA as a wetting agent...  Zero surface tension, even with the most powdery natural materials (like sand or clay sifted through women's stocking material).

JB

robert3985

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2022, 04:03:10 PM »
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Not N scale but HOn30...

Matte Medium diluted 3:1 with water.  Add a few generous drops of dish soap.  Shake vigorously, then add a few ounces of 91% IPA and shake again.  It's important not to add the IPA until after the water and some dish soap.

Let the mixture sit for a week or two.  The solids in the MM will settle out.  Carefully decant the whiteish liquid into another container, avoid agitating the solids while you do this.  Toss the white sludge left over.

That last step will eliminate having a white residue after the MM mix dries.  This tip was given to me my scenery guru Dave Frary.

I have a few containers standing by so it's ready whenever the mood to work on scenery strikes.

What I've always liked about using MM...  First, if you don't drown natural sand or soil that you're trying to glue down, it doesn't significantly darken the material.  It looks "dry" once the MM mix dries.  Second...  If you find you don't like what you've done, soak the effected area with IPA, wait a minute or two, and you can pretty easily scrape up the scenic materials and have a fresh pallet to work with after.  I did this with the sand I used as ballast on my HOn30 modules.  After ballasting about 1/3rd of the track with sand, I didn't like what I'd done, so I soaked it with IPA and carefully scraped it all away and was able to return it to clean track, ready for a different treatment.

The thing about MM is you don't need a lot of it to hold whatever your gluing...  A little bit of it, even thinned 3:1+ IPA, is plenty. 

I also exclusively use 91% IPA as a wetting agent...  Zero surface tension, even with the most powdery natural materials (like sand or clay sifted through women's stocking material).

JB

You don't pre-soak your ballast/scenery cover with a wetting agent? Putting this brew directly on dry ballast doesn't make for ANY "floatage"???

Just askin'....

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

JeffB

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Re: Best formula for ballast glue/adhesive for N scale
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2022, 05:18:22 PM »
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You don't pre-soak your ballast/scenery cover with a wetting agent? Putting this brew directly on dry ballast doesn't make for ANY "floatage"???

Just askin'....

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

I do...  91% IPA, always.  See the last sentence in my original post.

JB