Showing posts with label scenery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scenery. Show all posts

Friday, August 7, 2015

Sand Ground Cover or Ballast

Yesterday after getting home from a ops session, I found a amazon package at the door with the coffee grinder I had order. Why a coffee grinder you ask.

I have been looking for a way to duplicate sand in N scale that I was happy with.

I am try to recreate this 1957 T&P Texarkana yard scene for my Bonham yard

I ran across this tip while internet searching (I found others too) and want to give this a try.

Late yesterday and today I have been experimenting.

First a word of caution this technique creates a "fine powder" and play havoc with your sinus, so use a good filtered mask. I am finally getting better today after not using a mask yesterday.

Materials :

  • Coffee grinder (Black & Decker CBG100S Smartgrind Coffee Grinder, Stainless Steel)
  • Tree leaves for your choice (cotton wood and catalpa what I had on hand)
  • Kitchen wire strainers
  • Reusable coffee strainer basket
  • various size food / laundry container  
Blenders were also used instead of a coffee grinder in other articles I found,

I start with collecting leave from the yard (about 2/3 of a tall kitchen trashcan liner) and hand crushing them into a small laundry container. Yesterday a did a small batch of about 1/3 of the laundry container and today about 3/4 full.

Next was to place small batches (1/3 cup) of crush leaves into the coffee grinder, followed mfg instruction here as this was best result for me also.

I pulse the grinder 10 times and then a 10 second continuous grind. Mfg recommend usage was a max 30 second continuous grind.

I strained this thru 1st of 2 kitchen strainers 3-4" diameter strainer.

Initial results after complete today batch of leaves, many batches thru grinder and first strainer

I reprocess the course material on the right above, back thru the grinder and strainer

Next step, I strained the material thru a small 1.5-2" kitchen strainer into the reusable coffee filter/strainer.

 After processing thru the reusable coffee filter/strainer. I was left with three grades of material results

Course grade (about 1 or 1-1/2 Tablespoon)

Medium grade (about 3-4 oz)

Fine grade (about 20 oz)


First pass thru grinder and strainer I believe would be good for HO Scale, but the additional filtering thru smaller strainers yielded a better product for N scale in my opinion.

I like to find a strainer between the small kitchen (about .030" openings) and the reusable coffee filter, this I believe would create a better distinction between the course and medium grades.

Time wise, I spend about just under 2 hrs today and 1 hour yesterday. Quantities above are all  estimates, forgot to weight empty containers before processing.

Color is not where I would like it, but I think that will take some leaves of yellow and/or red.


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Little progress on the layout

It's been a month since my last post not much done as far as the layout goes. Life and moving my hobby workbench into the train room has been the main activity, but today.

I had a visit from my friend Richard for a little one-on-one clinic on ballasting and some scenery advice. I am pretty good at bench-work, track laying and electrical but went it comes to scenery, I suck. Richard has a great N scale layout and has offer some help. Here a couple of photos of my ballasting test today.

After Richard left, I check in with the CEO and got the rest of the day for working on the layout. I am going to starting scenery with the staging area and the end loop into staging.

Little sculptamold along one side of staging

For the end loop I need to build up the area outside the loop, here is a before shot

Added some more ceiling tiles and shaped the area

Got couple more areas to add ceiling tile and shape, then add more sculptamold.

More to come, thanks for following along.