another ballast question

J

jack s

Registered
29 Apr 2016
4
69
nyc
I am in the process of building a new outdoor layout. The small decomposed rock is no longer available at home depot. As I live on long island no quarries are available. Has anyone ever used aquarium rocks as ballast??
 
Martino

Martino

Kit bashing, The UK narrow gauge, The GWR, Aviatio
Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

Registered
30 Sep 2017
732
76
Ormond Beach, Fl
found this at local Hardware store that deals is farm animal products comes in 2 sizes and is about $1.30 a pound
grit.JPG
grit use.JPG
 
GAP

GAP

G Scale Trains, HO Trains
I am in the process of building a new outdoor layout. The small decomposed rock is no longer available at home depot. As I live on long island no quarries are available. Has anyone ever used aquarium rocks as ballast??
Do you have landscape supply businesses on Long Island, have a look at them for decorative gravels.
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,184
Tamworth, Staffs.
Quite expensive!
I would have thought you could get it for a poultry amount? :tmi:

Hat, coat, door.. ;)
(I could make a suggestion, but shipping 'grit' from the UK to USA, has to be a very silly idea?)
 
GAP

GAP

G Scale Trains, HO Trains
Quite expensive!
I would have thought you could get it for a poultry amount? :tmi:

Hat, coat, door.. ;)
(I could make a suggestion, but shipping 'grit' from the UK to USA, has to be a very silly idea?)
In Australia we can by stuff called "cracker dust" which when sieved to remove the fines leaves a rough gravel which is just like ballast.
I am experimenting with using outdoor PVA to hold it in place and so far through rain heat and cold it has held together very well.
Another one that is available is washed river gravel again sieve it.
My local landscape supply mob let me buy it in 20L buckets for a few gold coins.
 
P

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
5,081
57
Royston
I use the fine grit which driveway pavoirs are fixed with. It really locks together well, and if I'm lucky, free
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,541
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Try grit that is used to brush between the gaps of block paving if you can get it. Tends to be smaller size 2-4mm which is as near as you can get to scale size.
 
P

Paradise

Registered
28 Jan 2010
994
My local landscape supply mob let me buy it in 20L buckets for a few gold coins.
Where did you get the gold sovereigns? Did find them down the back of nanna's couch? :happy:
 
C

Castor

Registered
11 Feb 2020
2
74
United Kingdom
I am in the process of building a new outdoor layout. The small decomposed rock is no longer available at home depot. As I live on long island no quarries are available. Has anyone ever used aquarium rocks as ballast??
If you are in the UK, you might check out AWBS as they have a gravel which I thought, albeit with a cursory inspection, would be ideal for Fn3. When I wanted to check they were still locked down but surely must be up and running now. It is very small and it has sharp edges. Sorry I don't know the exact specification. I am minded to try it with a bonding agent. My builder recommend Vuba (see their video). I am slightly nervous as I recognise you have to fasten your tack down, ballast to the exact shape you want it for the rest of your life, then spray on the bonding goop.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,541
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
If you are in the UK, you might check out AWBS as they have a gravel which I thought, albeit with a cursory inspection, would be ideal for Fn3. When I wanted to check they were still locked down but surely must be up and running now. It is very small and it has sharp edges. Sorry I don't know the exact specification. I am minded to try it with a bonding agent. My builder recommend Vuba (see their video). I am slightly nervous as I recognise you have to fasten your tack down, ballast to the exact shape you want it for the rest of your life, then spray on the bonding goop.
Looked at their site, smallest appeared to be 8mm far too big. Unless you found 2-4mm which is perfect for scale.
 
tgood

tgood

Registered
12 Mar 2018
210
76
USA
I am in the process of building a new outdoor layout. The small decomposed rock is no longer available at home depot. As I live on long island no quarries are available. Has anyone ever used aquarium rocks as ballast??
You might want to try a concrete recycling business. Here in Nebraska USA concrete is crushed for underlayment under roads and the interstate system. It come in 3 grades fine, medium and course. I lay it in at about 4inches with an underlayment of 2 inch rigid foam insulation. 6 inches total. With a strip of lath wire at the 2 inch mark. I use the fine grade and lay it in dry because it tends to bind together when it gets wet. The fine stuff has Portland in it as dust. I lay the track on top followed with a brushing of poultry grit mixed with Portland and spray with a water bottle. To keep the ballast in place I line the sides with discarded cardboard that decomposes into the soil. No weeds and no heaving in Nebraska winters.
Note: don't lay in the recycled concrete, wet mixed with Portland, as you want drainage. Works for me :)
John Tgood

I plan on experimenting with crushing lava rock as I inherited a pile from a neighbor. I've experimented with a 4 inch steel pipe a foot long with a 3 inch square pipe welded shut at one end. The stuff crushes quite eastly and I feel it will add character to the layout.
:mad: Just time consuming
 
Last edited:
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
4,053
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Somehow it seems that everyone forgot the OP lives on Long Island he stated his issue is his location in the first post.... not the UK or the open plains of Nebraska.

There's about 10 suppliers under a google search of "gravel supply in long island" .... I'm sure you can get something there.

One thing not mentioned in the responses is in the USA this stuff is often called "fines" and also the term "quarter minus" will get you in the size range you want.

Hope this helps the OP.

Greg
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,541
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Most that I have seen use ballast that I consider to be way too big for scale size, back in the Ruschbahn days we managed to source some suitable correct coloured stuff from a Company in Essex that made roofing felt. In pic 2 you can see my use if some of the unused stuff from the Ruschbahn. sadly I never did find out where Andy sourced it exactly and searches have borne little fruit. Bear in mind that this stuff is sieved 2-4mm so many of the alternatives just do not look (to me) like a scale ballast. A friend and regular operator of my line living in Luton is building a new 32mm garden railway (well not all can get it right) and was asking about Ballast. He sourced some Chicken Grit that again was a little oversized and had too much sea shell in it. But I persevered and found this stuff, is as it says on the tin just Flint grit. I ordered just 1 bag from Amazon at sub £11 for 25kg and decided that if it was no good could it be used for Bonzai mix.

Well size wise it has come up trumps, a little too much round stuff for my linking but it is better than anything else I have been able to source since Andy’s stuff. Here is a picture of the bag and a little on the track as a tester. I will mix it with some Wicks Black Cement Powder to tone it down some before putting it down, glued with extarnal PVA mixed 50/50 with water and a dab of washing up liquid. Very pleased at last.
45BCCDF5-8C4F-49D0-945C-86983491018E.jpeg
E0F931BB-C7FF-4378-97C1-F95EB6D67343.jpeg
 
tgood

tgood

Registered
12 Mar 2018
210
76
USA
Most that I have seen use ballast that I consider to be way too big for scale size, back in the Ruschbahn days we managed to source some suitable correct coloured stuff from a Company in Essex that made roofing felt. In pic 2 you can see my use if some of the unused stuff from the Ruschbahn. sadly I never did find out where Andy sourced it exactly and searches have borne little fruit. Bear in mind that this stuff is sieved 2-4mm so many of the alternatives just do not look (to me) like a scale ballast. A friend and regular operator of my line living in Luton is building a new 32mm garden railway (well not all can get it right) and was asking about Ballast. He sourced some Chicken Grit that again was a little oversized and had too much sea shell in it. But I persevered and found this stuff, is as it says on the tin just Flint grit. I ordered just 1 bag from Amazon at sub £11 for 25kg and decided that if it was no good could it be used for Bonzai mix.

Well size wise it has come up trumps, a little too much round stuff for my linking but it is better than anything else I have been able to source since Andy’s stuff. Here is a picture of the bag and a little on the track as a tester. I will mix it with some Wicks Black Cement Powder to tone it down some before putting it down, glued with extarnal PVA mixed 50/50 with water and a dab of washing up liquid. Very pleased at last.
View attachment 267195 View attachment 267196
My experiment with crushed lava rock is turning out quite well and I found that it crushes quite easly.
You can limit the crushing from course to very fine according to your patience. Will post some pictures in near future.
Tgood
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,541
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Made a start on the great ballast tidy up today, removed much of the broken up Post Crete on the curve and smashed this up as much as possible. This was so that I could pass it through my Bonsai Sifters to get matching sizes to mix in with the concrete colour. 1st lot drying now, but will be having a second does of glue tomorrow.