Why Didn’t I Think Of This Earlier – DIY Sawdust

2 Intermediate 2 Comments

Creating SawdustIf you’re creating a railway that feature a wood yard or forest you’ll love this tip.

I’m a recent Thrifty Thursday tip I covered how to create authentic tree stumps for railway embankments.  At the time I mentioned using Yellow scatter to recreate the sawdust around the felled trees. Since then I’ve been experimenting to find a more realistic sawdust and wood chipping effect.

Why Didn’t I Think Of This Before

Having spent ages testing different scatter materials, coffee granules and other materials I’ve now find the ideal material and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner, hopefully it’ll save you some time.

Simply grab some twigs and a scalpel blade and scrape the twigs. Collect the scrapings and that’s your sawdust.

It’s literally that simple.

I scratch off the bark layer first as this is too dark for my preferences but the inner wood produces just perfect miniature chipping and saw dust.

As said elsewhere, I’m working in N Gauge so I use a sharp scalpel in short swipes that produces the results to a scale I want, for larger sizes use a bigger knife – a craft or Stanley knife – and increase the length of the cut to increase the scrape size.

The results look great and best of all it’s free!

I’d love to see you results if you use this or have an alternative technique.


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  1. Job Hoogendoorn - February 22, 2017

    Why not use real sawdust? A few cuts with a circular saw through a restpiece of MDF (the thicker the better) give a wonderful result…;-)

    • Job, thanks. Sawdust can work however it’s then the internal colour of the wood and lacks the darker colour of tree bark which I feel adds to the overall look. Also, when I tried this, the real sawdust was fractionally too big for scale sawdust – although it works great as ballast – could work for OO or HO though.

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