Sometimes, you buy the wrong thing. I’ve started doing scenery, and one of the products I’ve bought and really like is a crushed natural stone from Scenic Express for creating dirt areas. What I didn’t like, was the fact that in a feat of not paying attention in the hobby store, was that I bought “Coarse” grade material, instead of “Fine”. This means, that even though the shaker tub looked like it was all fine material, when I started using it, there were some pretty big boulders coming out. Not at all useful for modelling yards in industrial areas, especially in HO scale!
So, what to do, my best guess was that about 80-90% of what was in the container was fine material, and before spending another $18 on a shaker of fine, plus shipping and waiting, I wanted to see if I could filter out the stone myself. Putting my thinking cap on, I realized I still have a huge supply of tulle from chain link fence making experiments and for future fence construction. The tulle material is not super fine, but I thought it might be fine enough to catch the boulder sized material in HO scale and let the useful material through.
Sifting the boulders out of my soil with tulle fabric into a spare container.
And what do you know, the tulle was actually the perfect size to sift what I needed out of it. In about 20 minutes of sifting and separating, I was able to do a couple of passes, and separate out the big stones that were causing me grief in the staging area (I’d been picking the worst ones out by hand!), and now I have effectively fine material. I will need more to do the whole layout, but now I can advance a bunch of scenery where there shouldn’t be giant boulders around but where there should be dirt!
Success! About an 80% full shaker of now fine material (I’d already been using it before sifting), and a corn starch tub of larger rubble.
I’ll hang onto the larger rubble, you never know if someone else I know will want it, or if I ever do a future scene it would be perfect river rock. The moral of the story, read the labels of what you are buying!! I knew I wanted the Scenic Express Stone, I didn’t pay any attention to the grade. At the end of the day, this “mistake” didn’t really cost me anything, but it taught me an important lesson, to remember to pay attention when buying supplies!