Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Buffalo NY

    Ballast adhesive: what is the best recipe?

    I had a problem with my 1st layout 15 years ago with either the 'wet water' and/or the diluted white glue mixtures 'tarnishing' the rails (a non-intentional weathered look). I would like to avoid this from happening again.

    1. What is the preferred ratio for ballast adhesive? 50/50 white glue & water or something else?
    2. How about "matte medium instead of white glue?
    3. For 'wet water', would a 90 or 99% isopropyl alcohol bet a better 'buy' than the 'watered' down common 70% found anywhere?

    This is N scale Peco code 55 if that matters.

  2. #2
    Use an eyedropper and 70 percent alcohol to wet the ballast, then another eyedropper with 50/50 white glue and water to well-tailored ballast. Work about a meter at a time. You will have very neat ballast in N or HO or On3, whatever. Matt medium is relatively expensive by the quart, white glue is ridiculously inexpensive by the gallon.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Wishing I was at MP 35 on the Moffat...
    Blog Entries
    I use Elmer's white glue. I have a big 32 oz bottle that has lasted me for years.

    I mix it roughly 50/50 with water, a squirt of dish soap and 70% alcohol to kill surface tension.
    I haven't tried to find 91% alky in Germany yet.

    I thoroughly wet the ballast with straight 70% alky from amisting trigger spray bottle, then dribble on the glue mix from an emptied Elmer's bottle. The twist action top makes it easy to regulate the flow.

    I dribble it on until I see the mix starting to puddle below the ROW. It looks milky now, but dries transparent and solid as a rock. You can gently use a toothpick to remove stray ballast from the web of the rails, and atop the ties, but after that, don't touch it!

    Defy Gravity--Ship Rio Grande
    My Rail Images Album
    My Trainboard Albums
    "What you run to in your time of need has become your god" --Anonymous

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    That's like asking the best recipe for apple pie....everyone will have a different one that they like. But the 50/50 glue/water mix is probably the most common. I'd avoid the 99% alchohol..........that's usually used as a paint stripper and could have some nasty side effects. The alcohol level isn't really a factor anyway, it's the wetting ability. I haven't fpound alcohol to be a "better" wetting agent that plain old wet water in terms of application success, although it does evaporate a little faster. The key is getting enough of whatever you use on to WET the ballast, not just get it damp.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Los Angeles
    Blog Entries
    Mod Podge matte medium diluted with water 50:50 works best. White glue can get brittle over time and come undone. Matte medium is slightly flexible.
    Metro Red LineUnder the streets of Los AngelesCheck out my N scale layout blog!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Wild and Wonderful West Virginia
    Blog Entries
    I've used both a 33/33/33 combination of Matte medium, Water and 70% Alcohol and a 25% Alcohol(70%) / 25% Water / 50% Matte Medium mixture with little to no difference in results, it works for me.

    I still find the Matte Medium to be too shiny, I would love to find a Flat "Flatte" Medium... I'd buy that by the gallon.
    Pat M.
    Carolina, Chicopee & Central Illinois
    "The Chicopee Road"

    E-Passes now available, let's trade!

Similar Threads

  1. Adhesive question, help please!
    By nscaleman in forum N Scale
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: March 1st, 2011, 03:57 PM
  2. YMSP recipe of success
    By John Barnhill in forum Narrow Gauge & Tourist Railroads
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: July 3rd, 2009, 06:35 PM
  3. My Recipe for Locomotives - What's Yours
    By Willyboy in forum N Scale
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: August 16th, 2008, 10:34 AM
  4. ACC Adhesive Going Bad
    By Flash Blackman in forum The Inspection Pit
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: April 3rd, 2004, 12:16 PM
  5. Best Adhesive?
    By Chuck in forum The Inspection Pit
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: November 24th, 2002, 08:24 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts