With all the track that needed to be ballasted I had to find a quicker way to ballast it. I tested many different types of spreaders and the dreaded spoon. I found the answer when I put mustard on my hot dogs. It turns out a condiment bottle holds ballast very well. With a 1/4 inch hole cut in the nozzle on the cap, the medium sized ballast comesout just right. To secure the ballast, I mix up 50/50 water and glue and then added a couple of drops of dish detergent to help the water move around the ballast with out clumping up. The spray bottle that I wet the ballast down with has 70% Isopropyl alcohol by itself.
Click any photos below to enlarge them:
I first run a single pass of ballast down the center of the track. Outside the rails get two passes each to cover the cork roadbed. I take my three fingers and smooth down the center track to push the ballast into place. The track farthest away from you. You will need to use your three fingers to spread the ballast off the ties. For the track closest to you, you will need to take your thumb and run it down the rail to clear the ballast off the ties. Take a stencil brush and tamp down between the rails to get the ballast to lay down between the ties. After all that you knock the handle of the brush on the rails to knock the ballast into place. This will make the ballast jump off of the ties and away from the rails.
Here’s my pyrex dish (not my wife’s) that I use to mix the glue in. I add the white glue to the dish and then add the water to match the amount of the glue. I put a couple of drops of Dawn dish detergent to release the surface tention of the water. I mix it up and then pour the mixture into a plastic cup to make it easier to handle.
I spray down the ballast with isopropyl alcohol so that the glue will flow through all the ballast to lock it into place. I then pour the glue mix out of the cup into an applicator and dribble that over the ballast. Most of the time you can make one pass over the center of the track and two passes on each side.
Ever wonder how far a bottle of ballast will go ?
This shot was not even finished with tamping the ballast into place.