Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Alchemy

n. A medieval chemical philosophy having as its asserted aims the transmutation of base metals into gold, the discovery of the panacea.

I want to be an alchemist model railroader. That means taking base metals (stuff I can obtain for little or no cost) and turning that "stuff" into model railroading gold (or at least maybe silver or bronze).

It's because I'm cheap.

Here's tonight's attempt at alchemy. Take varying parts of plain old foam rubber:


In an old blender, bought a few years ago at a yard sale for $5, grind that foam up, while adding acrylic paint, purchased on sale at a craft store for less than a buck a bottle (be sure to add some water as well, so the blender can really work on that foam):


After draining the remaining fluid (you can use it in the next batch!), spread the soaking wet ground foam out on newspaper to dry:


(This stuff is already dried out.)

Now, if you were an alchemist with vision, you gathered up a bunch of likely-looking weeds to use for tree armatures last fall. These were harvested real close to the old Highway 10 bridge across the Staples Sub near Lincoln:


Remove the seed heads and replace with a healthy dollop of this (snapped up for 25 cents at a yard sale):


And you will wind up with this:


Another view:


I estimate the trees end up costing me somewhere in the neighborhood of a dime. They sure aren't supertrees, but they are a lot cheaper too. And the best part is, I get to pretend like I have made "something from very little".

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