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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I purchased several pounds of real ground up Granite HO Sized ballast from a vender at a train show down here in Myrtle Beach SC. I finally got my layout to where it was time to apply the ballast. I noticed while using a tool that had been magnetized somehow it had little iron shavings stuck to the end, I thought they may have been from my track so I stuck it down in the bag and the same thing happened again. I called the gentleman that sold it to me and he explained the process they go thru before bagging the ballast up, lots of big magnets used to remove any iron. He said no one had ever mentioned it before. My question to the gentleman of this forum would you guys use it and assume the matt medium will cause any steel particles to stick to the ballast or would you just dump this batch and move on to another brand? Thanks Bill
 

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I would use it after running a magnet through each small batch you prepare. Any micro particles left over will be captured and held by the ballast cement.
 

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To do what MichaelE suggested you will need a strong magnet. If you don’t already have one, those small magnetic stud finders will work. They are inexpensive and very powerful.
 

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Non-ferrous/non-magnetic model ballast

Crushed walnut shells are non ferrous. Why risk it?
So is rock, like Highball, and Arizona rock & mineral, brands of model ballast. And they don't float out of position as easily as walnut shell.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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So is rock, like Highball, and Arizona rock & mineral, brands of model ballast. And they don't float out of position as easily as walnut shell.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
Walnut shells don't float, either, if you pre-wet them with diluted isopropyl alcohol.
 

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FYI - Granite is NOT your friend.

Granite, like any other stone, may contain veins of naturally occurring radioactive elements like uranium, thorium, and their radioactive decay products. ... If present, uranium, thorium or radium will decay into radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that may cause lung cancer.

The younger you are when exposed to Radon, the more dangerous it is. It has a cumulative effect on you body.

Please think of your children and grand children. Radon detectors are relatively cheap. You can pick the up at Home Depot or Menard's.

I have one in my basement where my layout is. I also have a Radon mitigation system that operates 24/7. My average daily reading is .47 well below what the US Government considers "risky".

If you are interested, I have attached a link to the monitor I have.

https://www.amazon.com/Corentium-Detector-Airthings-223-Lightweight/dp/B00H2VOSP8/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?ie=UTF8&aaxitk=B55rgsV8EyLWm-hMeVCurA&hsa_cr_id=8321456160801&ref_=sb_s_sparkle
 

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My ballast glows in the dark. No lighting needed.
 

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I have been thinking, when I ballast, I would use Buck's Ballast. Hard to beat real rock.
 

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I have been thinking, when I ballast, I would use Buck's Ballast. Hard to beat real rock.
So I guess you didn't read the rest of the posts in this thread, where several people commented about some of the issues with using real rock, and some of the products that many of us feel,work better...
 

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I use sandblasting sand, a smaller version of real rock .... no problems to date, and a 55 pound bag was less than ten bucks ...
 

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I use screenings, also known as Moon Dust. It is fine gravel mainly used as a base for brick pavers. I use window screen for O gauge, and a sifter for HO. These are O gauge cars with ballast loads. I've never had any issues with any ferrous or non ferrous metals.

MOW loads 07 19 14 004.JPG

002.JPG

004.JPG
 

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Like the color, looks very real! How did you color the loads?
That is the natural color of the stone. The first one is gray stone, the second is a mixture of the red and gray, which I have seen in the past on real rail lines, and the third is red. I get it from a local building supply house. I have used actual ballast that I crushed in the past. Most supply houses sell material that is local to the area, and would be used in many cases by railroads in that area. I have seen three or more different colors on the same line; even different colors added on top of depleted areas.
 
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