Tool roundup – Part one

Hi all.

A bit of a long break but now just getting back to normal. I took a couple of days off and drove around the northwestern part of Nevada tracing some of the route of the abandoned Modoc railroad. I have a post coming up about that trip. I also got a little sick and have been out of modeling action for a couple of weeks and only now am I getting back to normal.

In the meantime wanted to post something about tools. I like to make tools and I like to collect tools. Some tools get plenty of use while others not so much. Some tools are purchased and then sit in their boxes for years before I can find a use for them.

Here’s list of recent tool purchases.

  1. Soil sieves
  2. Spray systems and layering spray
  3. Glass work surfaces
  4. Grass testers
  5. Paint jar holder

Soil sieves

As I like to use natural materials as much as possible I needed a way to separate out the various grains that make up mixed soil. I don’t do this in advance – only when I need the material for a project I’m working on.

I searched the internet for a way to filter the soil came across this set of soil sieves. This 6 piece set is made by American Educational (3070-6) and cost around $75 plus shipping – not cheap. I couldn’t find anything cheaper. The set is around 6 inches in diameter – perfect for storing out of the way when not in use.

Set of six sieves provides students in grades 6-12. Metal sieves and plastic base and lid. Each sieve has 6.5″ diameter and 2.5″ height. Set includes bottom pan, lid, and six mesh sizes.
I’ve been able to extract different sized grains from the soil that match a particular texture I’m looking for. One jar of soil can provide a range of different textures and grains using this filtering system.
I used the sieves to filter soil for the diorama.

Spray systems and layering spray

I recently purchased from the UK something called ‘layering spray’. It is made by WWS and is used for adding a second layer of static grass over an existing layer of static grass. I found adding a second layer of grass of a different color or size (6mm on top of 2mm grass for example) really brings a grass layer to life and adds a nice of variety of colors and textures. I’ve since decided to use matt varnish to do the same thing but in the meantime I received this bottle of spray. It was not quite what I ordered as I wanted the version that came in a pressurized spray can. However it turns out that pressurized spray cans cannot be mailed from the UK so they sent me this push spray bottle instead. I doesn’t work very well and the spray is very uneven and doesn’t atomize the liquid in the same way a pressured spray can do.

To properly atomize the liquid in order to provide an even spread of finely sprayed glue I purchased this spray system. It is made by Preval and cost around $12 for two cans and two attached liquid holders. I haven’t yet tried it and actually I now add a second layer by using matte varnish but I’ll post something about this once I have done a few experiments with it.

I’ll decant the liquid into the glass jar and test out it out next weekend. I’m hoping that the spray will provide a solid hold for the second layer of grass.

Second part tomorrow….

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