Ballasting tips from Dave

Dave sent in the link to his new video on ballasting.

As usual, it’s worth watching.

Now use the ebay cheat sheet to find one for yourself!

44 Responses to Ballasting tips from Dave

  1. Martin Wood says:

    I have been using one of these ballasting tools for 2 years..I bought it via Ebay from Turkey! I find it 1st class and works just as the video shows. Still not got my head around ballasting the points though. Any tips?
    The video was an excellant promotion..I do recommend one.

  2. Ian says:

    just about to do my track so this was a great tip

  3. Adrian Brown says:


    I have bought one of these and intend to get on with it soon.

    One queation – can you give some help with ballasting points. I am worried about getting the odd grain of ballast between blades and other moving bits.



  4. Dennis says:

    Being an o gauge hobbiest I think I’ll stick with Lionel Fast Track. But I most certainly did enjoy the demo.

  5. david says:

    when ballasting points I just put far less on and make sure the point levers are free, but as said a little awkward

  6. Dan says:

    I am still in the initial lay out phase so will not be ballasting for a while.
    How does this thing work on curves?
    Do you just tip ii on the following edge?

  7. Don Ellsworth says:

    Regarding ballasting the points as raised above, I ballast as shown in the video up to the points. Then, before applying the sealant I use a tiny vacuum to remove ballast from the slide mechanism and the points. Using a small brush like the one in Dae video I gently move ballast up to the moving parts, then apply the sealant. I’m sure there are better techniques, but this works for me.

  8. John Gicking says:

    I tried e-bay to find the ballasting thing and can not find it. Can you please advise where I can get one? I might not have been using the right name for the item. I called it a ballasting jig. I enjoy your tips and articles.
    Thank you

  9. Brian says:

    Hi Dave
    Great tips but I am also wary of ballasting points – does anyone have any good tips to ensure good electrical contact and not to seize up the switch blades



  10. Robert says:

    Hey dave
    Great vid those gadgets are good aren’t they
    One thing I find useful as well as the meths is
    Making the water you spray on first soapy, it
    Should release any surface tension and hop the
    Glue to spread evenly.

    I too have trouble with points so if anyone has
    Any ideas I’m keen to find out.

  11. john turnbull says:

    A very neat solution to a vexing problem, particularly over points.

  12. Take a look nat the real thing sometime, as far as switches go – there isn’t an over abundance of ballast in the switches for the reason that rocks get caught. Just use a very low hint of ballast and you should be alright!

  13. david says:

    For anyone unable to find the Ballaster gadget..on e bay no.310347137811 supplier is the same as the one I have but mine came from Turkey . this one is cheaper by £1

  14. david says:

    the answer for Dan is , works just the same on curves , there are 2 slots under the ballaster that lets it ride on the rails .

  15. Dirck Hecking says:

    I will give her a go on my shovel-ready project in HO, Thank you

  16. Martin says:

    Item number: 140609140892 on Ebay UK is £10:20 plus £2:49 delivery
    jut copper cheaper than Peter spares

  17. alan says:

    I saw this gadjet on a video on the internet and made my own from sheet polystyrene it works like charm and saves oodels of time thanks for the video

  18. Mike says:

    Does anyone know of an n gauge version for HOe?

  19. Julie says:

    Do you know anything about cork ballist

  20. Luke Kelly says:

    What grass do you use

  21. Jose Cavassa Berisso says:

    ¿ Does there exist any tool for ballasting G gauge track ?

    Thanks and Best Regards

  22. Albert Weir says:

    Hi Dave
    thats vid came in the nic of time i have just vought one of those gadjets and now i know what to do ill be spending all day on my track
    thanks again

  23. Dennis says:

    Great! I have got to find one of those things.

  24. Nathan says:

    Do they make that tool for Lionel tracks?

    Thanks, Nathan

  25. Dave B says:

    This is my first time chiming in here. Here is my tip for ballasting. Take a large mouth drink bottle (16~20oz ). First remove the cap make two grooves at track width in the top of the cap. Then make/drill 1 hole in the middle, inside of rail grooves, and two holes, one on each out side of rail groove. Put cap back on bottle. Cut bottle in about half and with the top half you have a track ballaster tool. May need to experiment with hole size so to control volume. Dont overfill since there is no way to stop flow. can be made to any scale needed.

  26. Matthew K says:

    I did what Dave B said but I left the bottom on the bottle and all I do is use a funnel to fill it then just turn it cap side up when done.

  27. Marion says:

    Thanks, Dave! I had seen the ballasting tool, but wasn’t sure about it, so I put it off. Since I have not yet begun my layout, this is a great tip, and one I shall use.

  28. Marion says:

    To Don, George and Dave: I like you tips, as well, and will find them useful, I’m sure. My husband would perhaps prefer the drink bottle method, while I might like to try the tool. Thanks, y’all…..from Mississippi

  29. Where can I buy one of these tools for the ballast ?

  30. MIKE says:


  31. Mike says:

    I have to get me one of those, My layout is N scale, but that makes it look easy

  32. Lawrence says:

    I have one on the way now, nice to know it works so well. Can’t wait to get started

  33. Paul, Brisbane. Australia. says:

    Thanks Dave, Love the accent! I also bought one of those gadgets from a firm in Turkey. They are ok, But I like many others have trouble with points. To the extent that I just shy away from ballasting them at all. Any ideas?

  34. Byron Lusher says:

    Another great little video Dave. Thank you for taking the time to share all the neat stuff you’ve tried. Sometimes I avoid doing stuff on my layout fearing I’ll mess up, but watching you do things makes it easier to get in there and start swinging away at the job. I wish you didn’t live half a world away cause it would be cool to watch you working in person.

  35. Garry Keffert says:

    I like your web side very much, but running Z gauge on 10 sqm it does not help me very much. Do you have any advice on how to service Z engines like MTL and AZL. I am ok on Marklin as I have been running these for decades.

    Thanks for any advice

  36. John says:

    GREAT video as per normal Dave and PLEASE keep making them because you come across so natural and your enthusiasm is very apparent! Loving that regional accent too!!!

    All the best. JohnE

  37. David Tuson says:

    Thanks for the great video Dave. I read another tip the other day where the track was wetted before spreading the ballast.
    I am in the process of a major track laying operation so will be using your method just as soon as I can either find a ballasting jig (here in NZ) or make one myself.

  38. John Simmons says:

    Does this work on EZ tracks? I have seen ballast added but I don’t know how they did it.

  39. Peter says:

    just started ballasting for the first time this was most helpful I may make up a box.
    Thank you for taking the time to share this.

  40. thomas says:

    I have a dumb question!!!!!!!!! what are the points you all are talking about. I like the bottle idea. great ideas Tom

  41. Ron says:

    If your concern is getting ballast in the points, just get a couple shades of gray paint ( water base) that match your ballast and paint the critical areas of concern.
    Practice on a scrap piece of your underlay material. Paint a thin layer of one color, and then use the dry-brush method with the other color to create the texture by dabbing the tip of the brush on the first layer of paint.

  42. Michael says:

    I mix a liitle washing up liquid with the initial water spray. This really helps the PVA/water mix to spread evenly. For points I use an old fashioned salt cellar, the type with a glass bottle and a plastic top. If the ballast does not flow through the spout, either cut it at 45 degrees or drill it out a bit bigger. Still a messy and fiddly job, but I find this helps.

  43. George Reid says:

    R.E. BALLAST POINTS: Place tape (black electrical to blend under ties) under the switch sticky side up. The just a single layer of ballast will give the appearance of a seamless gravel transition.

  44. Dave says:

    I saw it as well on the inter web! I just ordered one from Turkey, delivery is 3 weeks so order early before you want to use it. Ballasting is my least favorite task….this thing looks amazing.

    As far as points. I think I will still do them by hand. No rocks in mine, pain in butt to get out.

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