Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Ballasting (1)

This is what I used to like about this hobby, there's always some challenge at each stage. I would never have thought ballasting track would have been one of them though. Many of you out there will no doubt be asking "what am I playing at". Even though I've been a railway modeller in the past it was so long ago that I am realising I've got to consider myself a complete beginner. Learning again from scratch all over again.

I've been hanging on to a length of kitchen cupboard beading for years thinking it would make an ideal mount for a display. A rummage thought the garage and out it came. Glue some track to it ballast it and way I go. Sounds simple and I suppose it would have been if I'd purchase some nice P4 flexi track. Why do I do things the hard way?

I've also met with my local ScaleFour Group recently and they suggested using balsa wood as a track base. Cork would have been my first choice but apparently balsa is better than cork for acoustic qualities and deadening sound transmission through to baseboard. Not really necessary for this first metre but start as I mean to go on. So a quick purchase of balsa which was glued to the beading board, a metre length of straight track printed from Templot glued to the balsa and away I go.

I took Ian Rice's advice and decided to ballast the track before gluing chairs and rail in place. Quickly realised that without the punch holes or rivets in the sleepers I would loose the position of rail centres. Plan is to lay sleepers in batches and lightly pencil in rail centres onto sleepers as I go along.

First attempt and not happy..... ballast was lightly tamped down and left over night. When excess was tipped off (not brushed nor scraped) I was left with the above mess. Was this too much to do in one go? Was the glue going off? Was the glue not wet enough? Was the glue not thick enough (in depth)? Should I have added a drop of washing-up liquid?

Second attempt and getter better, reduced the quantity of sleepers laid in one go to four so glue will not go off so quickly but it is still not as good as I expected. But the glue should not be going off in such a short time, must be quantity of glue.

That's better... at least I have covered all the paper in this last attempt. This was just by putting a little more glue down, looked to be too much as it was starting to obscure the sleeper positions.

Onwards and upwards ..... just the thick end of a metre to go and I can start glueing chairs and rail.

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