Source for scale Coal

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#1
I dropped by my hobby shop today and picked up a bag of Woodland Scenics 'Mine Run Coal'. The bag is described as "9 cu. in. (147.5 cu.cm.)" and cost me $3.99

On the way back home I stopped at Michaels and found a bag of "Coarse Black Sand". This was a 2lb bag and cost me $3.00

Hard to compare the two but the sand was about five times the quantity of the 'coal'.

The Woodland Scenics Mine Run Coal is described as 'finer then their lump coal'. Looking at it under my Illuminated Stand Magnifier .. it looks like .. charcoal ..

The Black Sand looks to me like Coal.

These two photos were taken at approximately the same distance. The WS coal is at least 50% dust.


Zooming in ..


As I said, I examined the materials under my Illuminated Stand Magnifier (with scale) ... nifty little device ..


Just for reference .. here is an American penny. The scale is numbered in mm from 0 to 10. The small marks are .1 mm


So. Here are my feeble attempts to take a photo through the magnifier.


If you take away the dust from the Woodland Scenics coal then the charcoal looking lumps run between .5 and 1.5 mm. The sand averages about 1mm x 1-1.5mm

My opinion is that the Michaels sand looks much much more like coal then the Woodland Scenics product. In size it (sand) scales about 3-6" ..

My estimate is that I paid around $.44 an ounce for the Woodland Scenics Mine Run Coal and about $.07 an ounce for the Michaels sand .. that looks better.
 
#2
Check out sand blasting grit. The auto parts store I work at sells a 50 pound bag of medium grit for $10.36. We sell medium grit but it is available in other grits from other sources. sell or share what you don't use with your friends.
 
#3
WS charges a lot for convenience. Run a strong magnet through the sand to eliminate bits that could get into electric motors. Sometimes there's a lot of ferrous material, sometimes there is none, depending on the source of the material.

It does look remarkably like coal, which ought to be the faintest bit shiny.
 
#4
WS charges a lot for convenience. Run a strong magnet through the sand to eliminate bits that could get into electric motors. Sometimes there's a lot of ferrous material, sometimes there is none, depending on the source of the material.

It does look remarkably like coal, which ought to be the faintest bit shiny.
good point. I'll try and pick up a magnet .. curious to see how much if any ferrous material is in the sand.
 
#5
I just use fines from abandoned athracite coal breakers, for free, then sift though it to get the larger pieces out with some custom screeners
 
#8
I purchased a 50# bag of sand blasting material called black beauty and it wasn't to bad for only $15. I noticed there is some stuff in the mix that isn't black at all but if you pick it out the rest looks good. I'll post a photo later (as I'm at work now). I'm still looking for other stuff as it's not 100% because of the little glass like stuff mixed in it but not bad at all.
I like the stuff Ed has here from Michaels.
Dave
 
#9
The sand blasting grit I refered to earlier is "Black Beauty". Sand blasting grit is actually processed coal ash from coal burning power plants. That is why you may find other bits and pieces mixed in. Black Beauty has their processing/packing plants located next to coal generating plants around the country.
 
#10
I added the 'coal' to the coal shed. It is darker then the photo shows as you are getting reflected light from the lamps I used to take the photo.



I will be painting a HO guy with shovel shortly and put him to work.
 
#12
Here you go. Dropped a bar magnet into the 'coal' and swirled it all around. The photo with me holding the magnet is it turned up with the part that was in the 'coal' showing. Absolutely no magnetic material at all! Cool beans. :)

 
#14
Here in PA we have coal fired power plants. The tracks where the coal moves is littered with real coal. A few whacks with a hammer and the coal chunks are scale. Sorry west coast guys.
 
#16
I always wondered if that black sand that Michaels sells will work for coal. In the car restoration hobby, I have plenty of access to Black Beauty. But we dont have much coal up here in MN so I have never actually seen it up close. Thus I dont have any reference to judge upon.
 





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