Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

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modelmaker87

Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby modelmaker87 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:28 am

Back in the February 2005 issue of the 'snooze' I wrote a couple of pages on the many uses of Johnsons 'Klear' floor polish. Been discussing a new idea, not mine, on RMWeb and yesterday I tried it out. Using Johnsons 'Klear' for gluing track ballast instead of the tried and tested diluted PVA method. All I can say is WOW...!! The result blew my mind.

After setting the ballast out neatly between the sleepers on my test length of track I used the Klear neat straight out of the bottle and deposited it to the ballast with a pipette. Keeping the end of the pipette approximately 4 or 5 mm away from the actual ballast. It soaks in immediately and spreads into the 'stones' superbly, no bubbling or indents (holes) in the ballast, as often occurs when using diluted PVA. Drying time ready for painting was 2 hours and some, it may have dried earlier but I did not return to my test piece until 2 hours plus had past. Compare that with 24 hours with diluted PVA though...!!

I was prepared to spray some weathering colour to the track as per normal but no shine was evident.

Next time I have the job of ballasting track, its Johnsons Klear for me ALL THE WAY - no question. I'll never use PVA again.

Cheers, Tony Sissons

Andy G
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Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby Andy G » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:42 am

Tony,
Thanks for this. Ballasting Slattocks Junction the first time around was a major pain in the rear with ballast floating off where it felt like or as you seem to have previously experienced dimples appearing. We are looking for a much easier method with a better result for the second attempt. What ballast do you use?

Andy

modelmaker87

Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby modelmaker87 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:27 pm

Andy G wrote:Tony,
Thanks for this. Ballasting Slattocks Junction the first time around was a major pain in the rear with ballast floating off where it felt like or as you seem to have previously experienced dimples appearing. We are looking for a much easier method with a better result for the second attempt. What ballast do you use?

Andy



Andy,

Oh yeah, I see we've both been there and got ballasted T shirts. 8-)

I forgot to mention in my initial post how using using Klear speeds up the process. Reasons: The Klear flows much faster into the ballast than PVA. It sucks it up like nobodies business and thus there are less dribbles of liquid per inch, as it were. The other reason is that there are way less dimples; and these dimples I found when I did Charlotte Road really slows up the process and is incredibly annoying, especially after laying the ballast all so neatly.

Yesterday afternoon when I started ballasting my 500mm length of test track, I found the very best method was to put the mouth of the pipette hard on the baseboard - my baseboard was a scrap piece of wood :P about 2 mm away form the edge of the ballast and lightly pressed the pipette bulb so that the liquid moved continuously into the sloped edge of the ballast formation. I did experience a couple of times some dimples but once I figured out how Klear flows and the speed I was pushing the Klear out of the pipette at the right distance all that stopped. Its going to be less than a couple of minutes to establish once you get started. To get the Klear into the centre area between the rails/sleepers, I placed the pipette in the same manner on a single sleeper and did both sides of it. There was residue on the sleeper which I carefull wiped off with a cotton bud. However, at WFRM we weather our track, so any Klear that has dried shiny on a sleeper would be covered with flat paint during the weathering process.

The ballast I used was N scale Woodland scenics stuff. I'm going to use it with weathering powders today, see how Klear works with that. if it goes good I'll post the results. I'll post the results if it goes bad too. :twisted:

Andy, you'll still not enjoy the ballasting process but I for me it will be less of a chore than it used to be, I'm over the moon about it, plus I think at the end of the day the look of the final ballasting project will be nicer to what you have done before.

Cheers, Tony

andrew jukes
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Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby andrew jukes » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:10 pm

Tony

Just wonder how hard the resultant ballast layer is?

I am laying plastic sleepered track on cork, glued with Evostick flooring adhesive, and (experimentally) ballasted one stretch using granite ballast and the traditional dilute PVA with a dropper method. The change for the worse in the sound properties of the track is dramatic. The PVA creates a hard shell and undoes most of the good of the cork and flexible adhesive. Would Johnsons Klear be any better?

At the moment, I'm planning to do most of the ballasting straight onto the flooring adhesive immediately after getting the track in position. Any thin areas/gaps would be tidied up later using Copydex. If Johnsons Klear is more flexible than PVA, that could provide a less fraught way of laying track.

Regards
Andrew

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jim s-w
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Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby jim s-w » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:21 pm

Hi Andrew

I have just followed Tony's lead and done a small test peice. I can echo Tony's findings that its much easier than using PVA. One observation I noticed is that the ballast still changes colour (Carrs Ballast) but that is no worse than PVA anyway. MY test piece after only a few hours is very hard. At least as hard as PVA if not harder.

HTH

Jim

davebooth

Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby davebooth » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:32 am

Andy G wrote:Tony,
Thanks for this. Ballasting Slattocks Junction the first time around was a major pain in the rear with ballast floating off where it felt like or as you seem to have previously experienced dimples appearing. We are looking for a much easier method with a better result for the second attempt. What ballast do you use?

Andy


OOOOH! :evil:
Guess who on Tuesday finished ballasting a new length of trackwork on 'Bowton's Yard :mrgreen:

TEZBEDZ
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:36 pm

Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby TEZBEDZ » Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:34 pm

I look forward to trying this on Llanfyllin, track on the first two boards is almost complete I have a crossover an a turnout to build to finish it.

I am still not 100% convinced as to carry on track laying or to concentrate on developing the first two boards; the complete layout is going to use 4 in no 4ft x 2ft boards (+ some additional bolt on front scenic sections) and I can only erect 2 at a time in the shed.

Thanks for your research in this important area

Terry
Regards

Terry

modelmaker87

Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby modelmaker87 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:32 pm

andrew jukes wrote:Tony

Just wonder how hard the resultant ballast layer is?

I am laying plastic sleepered track on cork, glued with Evostick flooring adhesive, and (experimentally) ballasted one stretch using granite ballast and the traditional dilute PVA with a dropper method. The change for the worse in the sound properties of the track is dramatic. The PVA creates a hard shell and undoes most of the good of the cork and flexible adhesive. Would Johnsons Klear be any better?

At the moment, I'm planning to do most of the ballasting straight onto the flooring adhesive immediately after getting the track in position. Any thin areas/gaps would be tidied up later using Copydex. If Johnsons Klear is more flexible than PVA, that could provide a less fraught way of laying track.

Regards
Andrew


Hi Andrew,

Sorry I have not responded to your question sooner. Just checked my test piece and there is no change today (48 hours plus) since I laid the ballast and soaked it with Klear. Its rock hard for sure.

I note Jim SW mentioned some discolouring. Mine hasn't discoloured, it darkened a little with the water, but that is all. If Jim means that his test discoloured like when diluted PVA is used - you know when the ballast turns that slight greenish colour - then I would put that down to the ballast manufacturer. Over the years I have used all sorts of ballast and I think that Woodland scenics is about the best, probably the most expensive too. For me discolouration does not present a problem because I like to weather the track bed like the prototype. If you are not into weathered road bed then I would go with a very light coloured ballast so that when the liquid is applied the darker colour is still acceptable.

That said, I have seen another advantage from my view point. Using diluted PVA as the ballast adhesive, when one runs a finger, mistakenly, along the ballast, which can happen often when track cleaning, a few ballast 'stones' will pull away from the track bed by the finger. Because I weather the ballast this tends to leave a minute white spot where the pulled ballast 'stone' once was. Not always noticeable but eventually there is a bit of maintenance that has to be done to paint in these small spots where ballast has lifted. With Klear that problem is 100% eliminated.

I'm sure you have seen that pink insulation material that is used for home insulation...? I can not personally vouch for its sound deadening qualities as I have never used it for a layout myself but its used a lot over here and is a very popular choice for trackbed. The way it works or is supposed to work is that regardless of the actual ballast adhesive used, the pink insulation has a coating on it that does not allow the adhesive to sink through, this is both sides, unlike cork or even wood does. Ergo the thickness of the insulation still provides some cushion effect with a hard coating of ballast material and track above it and a similar hard surface under the bottom surface of it. So the properties of material has not been changed by soaking it with an adhesive. The original properties of this insulation material not only keeps heat or air conditioned cooled air in, it is also a sound deadening material as it is used between sheet rock in hotel and apartment walls.

Its worth a good look. I'm planning a layout here - if I ever build it - and I will use this material as a sub base over the wooden top which will make up my baseboard in the usual way. This material will be laid as a substitute for the old method of laying cork strips for my roadbed.

HTH

Cheers, Tony

modelmaker87

Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby modelmaker87 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:46 pm

modelmaker87 wrote:[Oh yeah, I see we've both been there and got ballasted T shirts. 8-)

I'm going to use it with weathering powders today, see how Klear works with that. if it goes good I'll post the results. I'll post the results if it goes bad too. :twisted:

Cheers, Tony



Guys,

I tried a whole variety of weathering applications using Klear as my carrier medium. Its not really any different than using alcohol or Windex - Windolene in the UK....? I would say that my solutions and mixes ran slower than both alcohol and Windex. This is an advantage when I want to control some natural running streaks, as its better to let the weather streaks run by themselves with gravity instead of a paint brush or other applicator. But that is about the only advantage I see. It will be useful for some weather patterns though.

Cheers, Tony





run my weather streaks but at the end of the day I don't think Klear is superior and unless I want to

seanmcs
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Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby seanmcs » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:23 am

I have been trying Brian's (C & L ) method to lay the new Timber Tracks sleepers first, on some closed cell foam rubber, then the ballast carefully, then to spray with water, then to drop diluted rubber based carpet glue. Till I got a really fine spray, the ballast blew about. Next the drops of diluted glue seemed too heavy and also knocked the wet ballast about. Finally, I have the impression that the ballast, when it dried, had swollen, so was above the 0.8 mm sleepers, as well as lumpy with bare spots. Looks like a bunch of blind navvies had laid it!

So am planning to try again with 1.5 mm sleepers, and an even finer dropper. Using C & L ballast which is fruit stones ground.

When using the Johnson's Klear, do you dilute it? Does it dry to shiny like PT? Does the pink material being used as a track base, have a trade name, or composition explanation, please?

Thanks. Sean in Sydney

Andy G
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:25 pm

Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby Andy G » Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:37 pm

Sean,
I can't answer all of your questions but the equivalent of the pink material over here is blue and called Styrofoam. I was going to use some left over Knauf insulation boards (the stuff coated with aluminium foil on each side) as the basis for some boards until I realised that whilst overall boards were flat close up the surface wasn't good enough to take track, i.e. creases and bumps that wouldn't affect its original intended purpose but would make track laying impossible. The Styrofoam on the other hand is completely flat and I have laid track on it though several years later I have got no further.

Andy

TEZBEDZ
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Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby TEZBEDZ » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:34 pm

I noticed from RMWEB that people were saying that Klear is being discontinued, There was loads in ASDA today but it was £2.50 each
Regards

Terry

DavidM
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Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby DavidM » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:53 am

Johnson's Klear doesn't appear to be available in Australia, but this morning I managed to find something called Pascoe's Long Life Self Shining Floor Polish made by a chemical manufacturer in Perth, WA.

http://www.pascoes.com.au/products.php?which=27&level=7

It's available from Woolworth's supermarkets, $4.99 for 500mL, also available in 1L, 5L and 15L sizes from Bunnings. On the packaging it says it It is especially formulated to give your floor a protective high gloss finish - but says nothing about using it for ballasting trackwork ;)

The website includes access to some product safety data - which doesn't give much away as far it's composition but it does seem fairly benign stuff and is water based.

It is a opalescent liquid akin to thinned milk and seems to have good surfactant properties - on a brief trial it was absorbed well into ballast and has dried hard in about an hour - I can't brush it off. Interestingly, there is no colour change, nor any glossy sheen. I also applied some with a brush to a matt painted wagon, expecting it to dry with a gloss finish, but it has left a whitish matt residue. Perhaps it needs to be sprayed to achieve the gloss finish.

I'm not sure if this quite the same as Johnson's Klear - but seems to have done the trick anyway as far as setting ballast. Next I will see if it's any good on the floor. :D

David Murrell
Sydney

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby Rod Cameron » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:20 pm

I did a demo yesterday at an RMWeb event in Taunton and the Klear method of ballasting worked just fine, although it did darken the light grey granite ballast I was using quite significantly - whether it will lighten up again as it cures totally I don't know but will check.

Klear is being rebranded as 'Pledge multi-purpose floor polish' or something and the formula has also changed to get rid of the smell that Klear has. The new one is also cloudy. May or may not be an issue for ballasting but that would be an issue for glazing and weathering.
Rod

modelmaker87

Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby modelmaker87 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:29 pm

Rod Cameron wrote:I did a demo yesterday at an RMWeb event in Taunton and the Klear method of ballasting worked just fine, although it did darken the light grey granite ballast I was using quite significantly - whether it will lighten up again as it cures totally I don't know but will check.

Klear is being rebranded as 'Pledge multi-purpose floor polish' or something and the formula has also changed to get rid of the smell that Klear has. The new one is also cloudy. May or may not be an issue for ballasting but that would be an issue for glazing and weathering.



Rod,

The cloudiness is the BIG thing I'm bothered about. Over here the new and improved bottle has both Pledge and Future on the label. For how long no idea. The bottle is see through and the product does not appear to be cloudy. I'm wondering if perhaps Europeab rulings force Johnson's to limit or remove a particular chemical or substance in the original Klear. Perhaps it has been made cloudy on purpose to meet the demands of the cotton wool brigade so someone doesn't drink it thinking it is water. A royal pain, isn't it.

I'm pursuing this or a perfectly good substitute.

Cheers, Tony

Cheers, Tony

Andy G
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:25 pm

Re: Ballasting track - Johnsons Klear

Postby Andy G » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:12 pm

As I've reported on rmweb I've bought a bottle of each to test, primarily for ballasting. Neither have particularly altered the colour of the ballast (Woodland Scenics buff) but the new is not particularly good at sticking it into place, the old is fine as others have reported.

Andy


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