Re: Car Weights

Richard White

On Sat Jan 17, 2015 12:12 am (PST), Jim Betz wrote
I've used lead sheet, lead shot, car weights (lead), nuts (steel), pennies ... just about anything that is 'heavy'. If I have to shape or cut the weight - I use lead because it is fast and easy. If what I'm using fits the space ... then I'll use just about anything that is heavy. If you use depleted uranium it can recharge the luminescence of the numbers on your watch.

If I need 'cut to fit' I use sheet lead. When doing the underside of a flat car I put a layer of lead shot 'where ever it will fit'. When
adding weight to a leading/trailing truck I cut small pieces of sheet lead and glue it to the underside. When doing hoppers
that have a load I add the weight before the load.
Lead also has the advantage that it can be drilled, cut with scissors or a hobby knife, etc. I don't ever file it (fills up the file immediately) ... but you can scrape it with the back side of your hobby knife and 'wear it down' as needed.

My most common adhesive for all weight jobs is "some form of white glue" (Elmers, Elmers Carpenter, Krystal Klear). I
wouldn't use CA/acc for this work ... ever. First its too expensive and second I hate it and avoid it at all costs. (Yes, there are some jobs where CA is required.)
One of the great advantages of the white glues is that they can be softened with a few drops of water - just in case you need to rework.
Be careful using white glue with lead if you live in a damp climate. It's an acetate and will react with water vapour to form acetic acid (vinegar) which reacts with lead to form lead acetate which has a larger volume than lead oxide or metallic lead. Consequently your weight will increase in volume with potentially disastrous results. I live in Botswana which has a very dry climate and have never had any problem although I have used white glue to stick lead shot etc into cars for years. However modellers in Britain, which has a notoriously damp climate, have had serious problems and seen valuable brass locomotives destroyed due to this cause. 
I would suggest that if you choose to use white glue to add weight to freight cars (it has all the advantages Jim cites) then glue it in a position where it has plenty of space to expand or swell and avoid using it in seriously valuable cars or in brass locomotives. Glueing lead shot or lead sheet underneath the car is the safest bet.
Richard White

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