Friday, January 29, 2016

Digging Dirt and Dust

Well, last weekend after doing stuff at the club, I went looking for some more supplies for making ballast, as Dave and I had used up the meager supplies of suitable ballast I'd made a while back for sidings. We'd been testing it on some sidings on the HO layout and reckon it's not a bad ballast to use at all - and it's free (always a bonus). Here's a link to the club article where we show a bit of ballasting amongst other things.

Anyway, so this ballast is slightly on the reddish side in colour and very dusty/dirty looking, so I reckon it is perfect for sidings that were ballasted quite a while ago. So more of this ballast will be required in the future, lots more.

So it off to my secret source - the bush. So it was off down Kremzow Rd near the club and to the very end of it and beyond. Right up until the road became a T intersection and I turned right onto Winn Rd, in the bush. I wont give away my exact location, but here is a photo of the sight which would then be found on the right hand side of the road. The red arrow points to where there is a gully that collects the runoff from the hillside and all the dirt and gravel as well. This pools in the gully and the water then runs off under the road and downhill further. If you wanted to find the spot, the photo is actually a pretty close rendition of what you'd see in Street View on Google Earth or Maps.

So I grabbed a 20 litre bucket and my small gardening trowel and a few sieves and into the gully I went. My spot is easy to find as it is not far from the road and is where all the gravel is.

The sieves were just so I could screen a handful of gravel to make sure it matched a sample I had with me from last time as I sort of wasn't 100% certain this was my source of this particular gravel - I have a few different gravels and sources. Once verified, I shoveled in about 15 litres of gravel and then hoofed it back uphill to the car and back to the club where I dropped it off to await next time.

Wednesday this week turned out to be "next time". So I spread myself out on the long workbench outside the club rooms and got myself sorted out ready for a dirty job. I had 2 and 4 litre  ice-cream containers, a pile of new Chinese food containers, all my sieves, a marker pen and my cup of coffee. I'll get to the marker pen later.

So you always start with the biggest sieve and work down. So I got the big rectangular one which I think is for frying Dim Sims and strained a couple of litres of gravel. So the raw material is on the far left, the leftovers that didn't go though on the left and the next pile in the middle.

So the left overs go into a container or two for use sometime in the future. You then repeat this process using the next strainer/sieve size down and so on. In the end I went through about 4 cups of coffee and seven or eight litres of raw gravel. I ended up with 7 grades of gravel. The 6 pictured below and the large stuff from that first Dim Sim sieve.

So from left to right, you have Dust, Z scale Ballast, N scale Ballast, HO scale Ballast, and a couple of larger sizes for scenery purposes. The Dust will make for great dirt roads I reckon.

And here is the HO Ballast in action.

See ya later fellas.

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