Friday, August 10, 2007

To ballast before or after ...

We had made a visit to the local model railroad club a couple of days ago. A discussion came up on how best to lay the ballast ... before or after ground cover was placed. This has gotten me thinking on which will work best for us. I can see the points given for doing it after groundcover as it will all the ballast to flow more naturally and appear above the ground cover like it is if I go to the tracks right now and look. But the piece that concerns me as I look at the layout and where I am working on ballast right now. And that is the ballast that gets flicked allover the layout as I work on placing the ballast and manicuring it. Granted some of this probably won’t be as bad when I improve my spread and my technique but I can still see pieces of ballast finding its way all over the ground cover that I put into place. I will have to try both techniques to find the one that fits our situation better. I really cannot say one is better than the other for me unless I try both. As I finish up I think I have found the most important tool when laying ballast. No it is not a brush or a ballast spreader but this tool is just as valuable if not more. That is patience. Ballasting is a time consuming and sometimes monotonous project. I have found it is best to look at it in very small sections instead of the whole as that vision can be very daunting. Unfortunately there are no secret techniques and no magic wand that will make it all be done quickly. But if you chip away at it soon larger pieces will be seen complete and the whole will become smaller in time.

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