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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just a quick query -

I have seen suggested, the use of Meths as opposed to water and a drop of washing up liquid to dilute PVA for setting ballast. So - this morning, duty bound, off I went with the Missus (she wanted a new Mobile Phone - Got a Blackberry - Nah! I'm not Jealous that I have another 6 months in contract - at all!! - I digress!!). Went to Wilkos and bought a bottle of meths. Went home, bunged some into some PVA and produced... Well! ... What could only be described as PURPLE SNOT!! Threw it away and went back to water and WU liquid.

What happened?
 

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QUOTE (Doddsy @ 11 Mar 2009, 18:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Just a quick query -

I have seen suggested, the use of Meths as opposed to water and a drop of washing up liquid to dilute PVA for setting ballast. So - this morning, duty bound, off I went with the Missus (she wanted a new Mobile Phone - Got a Blackberry - Nah! I'm not Jealous that I have another 6 months in contract - at all!! - I digress!!). Went to Wilkos and bought a bottle of meths. Went home, bunged some into some PVA and produced... Well! ... What could only be described as PURPLE SNOT!! Threw it away and went back to water and WU liquid.

What happened?

Hi Doddsy,

The mix of PVA/meths/water works fine ... how old is the PVA i'm tempted to ask as it can go off and not mix well .... i usually mix up a batch in a jar well for a ballast/glueing session mixed thoroughly no reason why it wont work and flow a lot better, if ballasting get the ballast in place and soak with meths sprayed over then the glue mix and soak again with meths .... i tried this method after Richard posted it and found it to be the best way of easing a laborious job on our layouts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
QUOTE (upnick @ 11 Mar 2009, 18:27) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>how old is the PVA

Hi UpNick

The PVA and Meths were bought this morning and when mixed, produced a sticky gunge (Purple Snot). It was flowing nowhere


Cheers

Ian
 

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Hi Ian,

The mix i use is third of water/PVA/meths no idea why it didnt work for you
 

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QUOTE (poliss @ 11 Mar 2009, 19:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>What exactly is the meths used for in this concoction?

Hi Poliss,

The meths works as a flow agent helping the glue mix to wick down to the board, using Copydex is better as it is a latex based glue of course and doesnt dry rockhard the same as PVA .... mind it is more expensive thought i had found a decent buy with it after being quoted £8.00 a litre on the phone when i got there it was £14.99 wasnt best pleased when i reached the shop and left without it .......... still searching for a good price for it.
 

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Has anyone tried anything else without the dye. such as IPA or lighter fluid? I wouldn't recommend spraying it with an aerosol though. That would increase the flammability by umm, lots. :)
Copydex seems to be very expensive nowadays. Remember using it all the time at skool.
 

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*** I just finished ballasting my test track layout with exactly the mixture as I recommended in earlier posts. Methylated spirits, PVA and water.

did you use some water as well as the Meths?? The need to do that was clear in my explanation. pour meths and water into glue and stir well... it mixes and blends well and there is no "snot" problem with any reasonable quality PVA glue I have ever tried.

The ratios aren't critical but you can use less glue - about half as much... as I did this time - I actually used the extra glue as I am aware modellers seem hell bent on a heavy glue proportion so I wanted to try it to see if there was any issue - there wasn't, as the meths made the flow excellent even with much more glue than I usually include in the mix.

The ratio I used this time was very approximately 25% PVA and the balance about half each meths and water.

Used a mister (ex window sleaner spray bottle) to spray on neat meths to wet the ballast
spread the glue using a syrings with no needle in it
re-sprayed the ballast with meths after applying glue.

Re Methylated spirits: The colour disappears when using it for ballast... but you can use any alcohol.

Poliss, lighter fluid is not alcohol and is very volatile - you should not use it. There is no issue spraying meths - to make the point for you that there is no issue with spraying meths, its less dangerous or flammable than some household kitchen / bathroom aerosols.

I also smoke in the same room as I was ballasting in - no explosion yet :) :).

Richard
 

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Paul Hamilton aka &quot;Lancashire Fusilier&quot;
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QUOTE (Doddsy @ 12 Mar 2009, 02:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>... What could only be described as PURPLE SNOT!!
What happened?



That made me laugh. Purple snot indeed! I can't stop giggling. Gee, I bet you weren't expecting that hey? Imagine the language coming out of you house today!
 

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After reading Richards post last week re. using Meths, I gave it a go on a sample piece of track layed on cork.
I used "Chucks" 'N' gauge Light grey ballast and using Richards formula with about half the amount of PVA it worked great.
There was no shine on the ballast when dry, and it dried fairly fast, a very pleasing natural result.
Spottydog
 

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Hi Upnick,

I also searched hi and lo, far and wide, locally and internet for Copydex. Few suppliers, all expensive.
Craft shops and hardware shops all stock it but only in very small sizes. The only place I was able to
find larger size - 500ml - was, believe it or not, Homebase! Price......£8, so the £14.99 for a litre you found was
the best price so far. If you find a better supplier, let me know. Happy hunting!
 

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Richard, I am an ex-pharmaceutical worker professionally trained in the use of Ethanol, Methanol, IPA Alcohol, 3A Alcohol, Dichloromethane, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Acetone, Chloroform and more in industrial quantities of 100s of litres at a time. I've read the COSHH from cover to cover. I've had many, many hours of safety training in using these volitile chemicals. Have you?
 

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QUOTE (stationmaster @ 13 Mar 2009, 20:04) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Upnick,

I also searched hi and lo, far and wide, locally and internet for Copydex. Few suppliers, all expensive.
Craft shops and hardware shops all stock it but only in very small sizes. The only place I was able to
find larger size - 500ml - was, believe it or not, Homebase! Price......£8, so the £14.99 for a litre you found was
the best price so far. If you find a better supplier, let me know. Happy hunting!


Hi Stationmaster,

Many thanks for looking out for Copydex ....... maybe i will go back for the Litre size at £14.99 let you know if i find it at a better price
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Richard,

Oooops! - Silly me! I seem to have forgotten the water stage.


As I still have some PVA/Water mix left, I will put some meths in that and see what happens.

Perhaps someone here is chemically astute enough to explain, in layman's terms, what went on though! I, for one, would be interested to know.

Cheers

Ian
 

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QUOTE (Doddsy @ 14 Mar 2009, 06:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Richard,

Oooops! - Silly me! I seem to have forgotten the water stage.


As I still have some PVA/Water mix left, I will put some meths in that and see what happens.

Perhaps someone here is chemically astute enough to explain, in layman's terms, what went on though! I, for one, would be interested to know.

Cheers

Ian

This isnt a chemical explination but the PVA acted like fat when it hits water it solidified
 

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***Hello Poliss, yes I am appropriately qualified to stock and store them in bulk and dispense them via my business to appropriate consumers and am totally aware of their characteristics and limited dangers.

Your post reads impressively but most workers in the storage areas at the BP refinery and distribution centre only a mile from my office have the same sort qualifications. It is not rocket science.

To be honest I see no relevance in your comment.... and given what you claim, it makes me wonder why you would even think of suggesting something like lighter fluid which is an extremely volatile liquid of far greater danger and not chemically compatible with PVA glue in the first place!

I have a very good working knowledge of most chemicals I use and where I am unsure I can very easily reference all the data I need via my suppliers info - or if at all concerned via the several university based chemists I have as clients.

I have used meths in the manner discussed and many other chemicals in many circumstances in absolute safety with no problem for a very long time. There is absolutely no overt danger in using mehtylated spirits in the way I do and recommend others to do it. It can and does work better than traditional ballastng methods and has clear advantages as well as being totally safe.

When I discuss anything I talk real world issues and real world use... I always do as I say and say as I do, and never simply spout unfounded theory.

I certainly stand behind the statement that some household chemicals in spray form are far more personally dangerous than plain IPA or methylated spirits!

Regards

Richard
 

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Upnick - drop into a carpet seller and see if they have some water based carpet glue - that is also usually a liquid latex adhesive, and is far cheaper - here in AU anyway... Alternately, simply buy latex instead of copydex - sold as latex it doesn't carry the "brand name premium".

alternately, look for "matt medium" - it also may be cheaper... and stays a little flexible. This is really what the woodland scenics glue is.

BTW, if you dilute PVA a little more than the overly strong mix most modellers use, its not too hard when set anyway. It only needs to stop the ballast moving, and that takes very little, especially with the super wicking job the meths and water lets it do!

Richard
 

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The fact that you say it dries without a shine makes this a very interesting idea for my layout, which I'm building as a preserved line that has just been reballasted. So this would avoid having to paint with a matt varnish/laquer.
Question tho' would it work with white spirit? (I'm not chemically qualified
) as I already have some of that
 

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***No, white spirit won't work - it is a distillate - excellent for thinning enamel paint but not glue :)

Methylated spirits or isopropyl alcohol only.

Meths or alcohol gives the dual benefit of rapid evaporation and matt finish, plus the excellent wetting abilit of the alcohol. don't use more than 25% glue by volume - preferably less, and stir well as you mix the glue + water then alcohol.

Richard
 

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Is this a "Mickey Finn"?, surely the smell generated by Methylated Spirits would be a real put off.
Reason for the high price of methylated spirits is to prevent people from buying as a substitute for alcohol spirits.
 
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