Everyone Should Know this...

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by NCMRailroad, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. NCMRailroad

    NCMRailroad Member

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    Hi All,announce1
    Allow me to pass on some critical information about using varnish. For those that are using styrofoam of any kind to construct thier layout rather it be mountain forms or bench work foam. The point of my thread is this: I was applying polyurathane better known as varnish to my "harbour" for the water effect. It practically melted the styrofoam.
    My suggestion to anyone that wants to use it to make VERY certain that you have a layer of plaster or good quality paint between the varnish and the foam.
    As for my situation, I was able to "dam" the varnish from the troubled location and apply a thin coat of plaster to the area.
    Just a kind word of advice!
    Happy railroading everyone!!!
    NCMRailroad.:thumb:
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

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    Yeah, any solvent-based material will eat the plastic and foam. Your best bet is to switch to a water-based poly. It's more expensive than the solvent-based, but worth the extra cost, as you just found out. :(

    And yes, spreading a layer of plaster is a good idea...:thumb:
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    That is worth repeating. Were there any fumes or smoke coming from the foam?

    Loren
  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    OOooops:thumb:

    I remember a similar event at a rail painting party when everyone found out rather quickly that solvent based paints should NOT be passed around in Styrofoam cups.:rolleyes: :D
  5. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

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    Repeat after me - NAPALM !!!! -yup thats what ya made -lol
  6. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

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    I had a thought. It's probably not practical but could the judicial application of solvent be used to sculpt the foam? Just stay away from open flames, we don't want to napalm the layout. :eek: :eek: :eek: :D :D
  7. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

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    Well, other than the fact that it is difficult to control, it is dangerous. Not only from a fire hazard aspect, but from the fumes. My nostrils still suffer from all the fumes inhaled while using laquer thinner and acitone in our business cleaning up screenprinting screens and circuit boards. And I stopped doing that over five years ago..:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
  8. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

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    I guess that unless you had a good gas mask and wanted to go for the "a volcano erupted all over my layout" look it wouldn't be a good idea. tooth1 tooth1
  9. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Oh by the way.....most surplus gas mask come with filters that are only good for riot control agents....not the stuff that can hurt you or kill you!

    Rick
  10. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Actually, the technique known as "chemical carving" is touted on page 10 of Model Railroader's book "303 Tips for Detailing Model Railroad Scenery and Structures" as a way to detail mountains made of foam. The technique uses acetone to dissolve the foam and water in a spray bottle to control the effects. The results are a foam mountain that looks like it has been eroded through the ages. The book also recommends that there should be plenty of ventilation and no open flames in the area.
  11. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

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    In other words you will die, you just won't be uncomfortable while doing it. sign1
  12. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

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    And I personally know a published author that recommended using brush cleaner as the ultimate hand cleaner. Last I heard, he isn't dead -- yet.
  13. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

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    I agree to the fullest extent - also, it might not only be you that would be affect, even in a well ventilated area, those fumes go somewhere and possibly may linger and lurk. You small fuzzy loved ones may take a hit. Also, That pilot lite on the stove or water burner has been know to rattle a few cages as well... Just a suggestion, I know PETA will be knocking at my door, but it worked for minors. When doing anything like that, Keep a $7 canary handy. It'll usually be the first line of trouble. - lol OK OK OK I DID WRITE THAT - lol
  14. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Here ya go...

    Attached Files:

  15. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

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    When PETA shows up offer to buy them a nice steak dinner. :D :D

    Hey Gary. Any chance of maybe scanning or photographing the rest of that article? It was just a joke at first, but now my curiosity is peaked.
  16. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Any copyright problems if I was to post a photo of the page?
  17. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

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    Hmmmm. I don't really know Gary. I guess it would depend on the publisher. Maybe they have a web site that can access their articles. Who are they and what magazine was it in? If it's an older issue it should be, but then that and $5 will buy you a cup of coffee. :rolleyes: :D
  18. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Hi Gary,

    Yes, I do believe there are copyright issues related to scanning and posting a magazine or book article. I appreciate your interest in sharing the information though. Can you paraphrase the technique?
    Ralph
  19. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Here is a photo of the cover of the book. I don't htink they would have a problem with this, because I am giving a glowing report of it. I think it is a great book, with great tips and expert modeling. It has some really great stuff for New England waterfront scenes. I highly recommend you find a copy and buy it. Tons of worthwhile tips in here.

    The first printing was 1995, third printing was 1999. Authors are Dave Frary and Bob Hayden.

    Essentially, the chemical carving technique goes like this. You rough-carve the foam with knives, files, rasps, whatever. Then you dribble acetone down the surfaces, it will seek its own paths like water does in carving real gullies and such. To control the amount of "carving" that occurs, you keep a spray bottle of water and spray water on the acetone which dilutes it and decreases the carving. The foam will be soft and spongy for a while before it rehardens. While it is still soft, you can use a wirebrush to add additional texturing by mashing it into the foam. They make numerous references to safety with the acetone and the vapors.

    Attached Files:

  20. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    There ya go! :)
    Ralph