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Discussion Starter #1
I was trying my hand at laying ballast last night and it turned out to look pretty good. I presoaked it in rubbing alcohol to break surface tension then applied my glue and walked away. Went back to the layout room to check on how everything went and found waves in the roadbed that are the better part of 15 scale feet. Any idea of what in the world I did incorrectly to cause that to happen?
 

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Waves, 15 feet tall?
Actually, just a couple drops of dish soap in a spray bottle of water will break the surface tension too.
 

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Fifteen feet in HO is 2”. I hope that is the wavelength, not the height. What is under the roadbed? Sounds like something warped when you applied water based glue.

Got a photo?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Scale feet tall. Theyre about the height of a locomotive. I’m wondering if the moisture caused the roadbed to grow in length and buckle. There is a mound behind it that I’m using almost like a stop for the rail equipment so it can’t over run the track so it can’t really grow. When I replace the road bed I’ll probably cut it down 1/8 inch so it can grow a little bit
 

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What's the roadbed, cork? Obviously is got swollen with the water. I'm not experienced with it, but maybe you didn't need the alcohol, and/or the alcohol allowed more moisture to soak into the bed?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think it was a combination of a couple things. I took out the blown out road bed and found the caulk I used to glue it down turned into slime. I bet that the moisture swelled it and the alcohol ate the caulk that held it down. Good thing I only did a couple of feet of ballast last night and also thank god I didn’t try it on my main and it was a track in my service facility yard
 

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The bed appears to be cork veneer on pressed paper. I don't think this wouldn't happen with solid cork.
 

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I prefer using good ole Elmer's white glue thinned
down with water. Use it sparingly on both
the roadbed and the track. The plus side of it's
use is it's water solubility...if you change your
plans...(it will happen)...you can carefully wash
the Elmer's off and go with your new ideas.
I also used the thinned dish soap to break the
surface tension.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It’s cork on extruded polystyrene foam board. I’m gonna use elmers on the rest of what I have to do
 

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I think maybe you got ripped off on the roadbed. I've blasted 100's of feet of track and roadbed using diluted alcohol and diluted matte medium (similar to white glue). Never seen anything like that before.

What strength alcohol did you use? I use 70% store strength diluted 50% with water, for a final strength of 35% (-ish... I'm not too picky about proportions). I'm also pretty careful not to use more of either than I have to. Did you use full 91% strength alcohol?
 

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Never saw that before and I've ballasted hundreds of feet of HO track.

Crazy.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It was probably too much alcohol because the ballast was pretty wet I also didn’t dilute the alcohol either. First time ballasting so I learned a lesson. I re layed the road bed and tacked it all down. Going to wait a week to let it set up real good before I attempt it again.
 

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I only spray the top of the ballast to get it damp, and then I dribble a thin solution of yellow wood glue, couple drops of dish detergent, and water. Just enough that it begins to appear at the hem of the skirt...the bottom of the ballast.
 

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Woo dude! surf's up!

Not sure how this happened.
Jscullans;

Sorry that happened. You might try gluing your cork roadbed down wit contact cement. It's permanent, and water-resistant. You could also paint the cork with either "ballast" gray or "dirt" brown latex house paint, before laying track. I use Luan plywood as roadbed, and paint it brown before laying track. It works very well, even with alcohol and water diluting the white glue.

good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Jscullans;

Sorry that happened. You might try gluing your cork roadbed down wit contact cement. It's permanent, and water-resistant. You could also paint the cork with either "ballast" gray or "dirt" brown latex house paint, before laying track. I use Luan plywood as roadbed, and paint it brown before laying track. It works very well, even with alcohol and water diluting the white glue.

good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
Adhesive caulk is water resistant too. That 's what it was designed to do...
 

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Yeah, the pure alcohol migrated under cork and buckled it up..
In future, white-glue the cork. Add ballast to shape you want. Moisten ballast with water using a spray bottle, pointing it upward allowing mist to descend on it all so as to not disturb its positioning. While still moist, using a mixture of half white glue and water and one drop of liquid soap, draw it into an eye dropper and saturate ballast again with it, doing about 2 feet at a time...
With switch tracks keep all ballast below all crosstie surfaces, do same, but while glue sets up jiggle points back and forth to help prevent glue from cocooning them and the throw rod.
I've done this on plywood subroadbed with no negative results. Perhaps your foam board played a role in the mishap ....M
 

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True but

Adhesive caulk is water resistant too. That 's what it was designed to do...
CTValleyRR;

That's quite true, of course, but the OP thought the caulk had been "turned to slime" by the alcohol, and that slime had, in turn, caused the "waves in the cork roadbed" problem.(true? not true? I don't know.)
My suggestion of using contact cement was based on the idea that he might want to continue using alcohol in his thinned water mix as a surface tension breaker. I have used Weldwood brand liquid contact cement to hold track in place, and alcohol in my own thinned water mix, for a long time, and it works well. I guess I should have said "water with some alcohol in it resistant."

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 
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