Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A little bit of recycling

I was given a Weber Kettle Barbeque just before Christmas last year and when I was cleaning it out after the first use I noticed something interesting.

The ash from the coal briquettes was a nice light tan colour, now that has some potential I thought.

So out with a fine sieve and after sieving out the clinker I was left with something that could be useful as soil on the layout. I had an old 300um (.3mm) sieve from the laboratory I used to work in but I have seen reasonably fine sieves in the kitchen equipment section of shops. The ash didn't need any crushing I just sieved it as is.

I applied it to some areas around the Cassilis turntable where I wasn't happy with the soil colour. I used the Long Life Self Shining Floor Polish (actually a clear acrylic coating) as usual to glue it in place and the colour came out darker once dry but still acceptable. The soil has been down now since earlier in the year without any apparent negative effect given the unknown chemical nature of the ash.

Here is a photo of the result:

So now, who has a kettle barbeque?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mowing grass, beaten to the punch

I have been going to do a post on 'mowing' static grass for a while but Rod Kelly has beaten me to it in his latest blog post. Great minds think alike  ;-)

A couple of years ago I tried to 'mow' the static grass with an old hair trimmer that my daughter who has a hairdressing salon no longer used. It worked OK but didn't keep its charge for long, the rechargeable batteries being at the end of their life.

Recently while going through some things that my other daughter had left here when she moved out, I found a lint shaver (used for shaving those small balls of lint from clothing).

Of course I knew that this was a potential replacement as long as it could cut the static grass.

It works really well, runs on a couple of AA batteries and is also cheap to buy, I can't give you a price but I know that I have seen them in Woolworths.

The static grass when applied is all the same height and uniformly spread which looks wrong. To glue the grass I use Long Life Self Shining Floor Polish (actually a clear acrylic coating) applied to the soil surface immediately before applying the static grass. This only gives a slight bonding and the grass can be knocked over or removed by rubbing. I then use the lint shaver which tends to remove the grass from the soil if the blade is run along the surface of the soil or trims the grass to length if held above the surface. I follow this up with another spray of the Long Life Self Shining Floor Polish (available at Woolworths and Bunnings) but this time I add about 10% methylated spirits to help wet the surface and grass so that the acrylic doesn't just attach itself to the tops of the grass in little droplets.

Here are a few photos of mown grass. You can see where the grass has been removed and also trimmed in height for a much more realistic effect.