Stickman Baits

Balsa for 2" to 3" crankbaits

12 posts in this topic

I'm a newbie to making baits, I havn't found if there's a certain type and/or cut favorable to making a great balsa crankbait. While I'm on this topic is there a certain direction that the wood grain should run in relationship to the bill angle ?? would it be favorable to make the bait in halves with the wood grain angled 45 to 90 degrees to each other???:huh:

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My baits are made in halves but carved as a whole. I like the grain running straight front to back and I have seen others that mention carving it with the grain top to bottom.
I prefer to work with a light to medium density balsa, 8-15 lb/ft cu.
A lot of the strength in balsa baits is achieved by the way you seal your bait.

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I have made baits with grain running front to back, and top to bottom and have not found any difference. I get my balsa from Hobby Lobby, and seal the bait with ca glue. ( a great tip I got from another member here, thanks Dean) Just get yourself some balsa and go to cuttin' and try different ways of cuttin', but most of all, have fun. This bait making thing is probably the most addictive thing you have gotten yourself into. Like others have said, welcome to the maddness!

David

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I like a medium grade balsa; most of the slightly stiffer balsa boards I find in Hobby shops like Hobbytown suit me fine. I prefer the grain running up and down, so I buy the width that suits my lure length. I cut halves to pattern, place harness in the middle, and glue together with urethane-type glue, after which I cut, drill, weight, and carve.

Dean

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Any balsa will work but harder balsa is easier to shape accurately and makes a more durable bait. It's awfully easy to sand a soft balsa bait into a toothpick. Plus you have to take herioc measures to reinforce and toughen it up to be durable. Whatever hardness, it is usually best to split balsa baits and use a through-wire frame for the hardware. The glue (I use 5 min epoxy) you use to rejoin the halves also serves to reinforce the bait.

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The grain direction question arose because of problems encountered with drilling long holes, were it is favourable to drill through the layers of grain rather than along.

This problem will go away if you adopt a split body arrangement as described above by Palmetto and Dean. With balsa, a through wired hook hanger is generally accepted as the way to go.

No real advantage will be gained by the 45 deg layering, though it is good engineering practice. Most of the strength comes from the final finish coat (of your choice!).

Enjoy.

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You can buy clear kiln dried pine, already milled to 1/2", at most lumber yards.
You can cut out the blank halves, glue them together with double stick tape or hot glue to shape them, and then pull them apart for thru wires and weighting. You can reverse the grain when you glue them up to assure the lure is weighted symetrically, or as close as is possible.
Pine is strong, easy to work, and finishes well, and you can seal it with crazy glue, or any other sealer.
Plus, I'm betting it's cheaper than Balsa. And it smells great when you're working it.

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Mark,
I've made a lot of lures with pine, but for my crankbaits, I prefer the buoyancy of balsa.

Dean

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Dean,
I'm just curious. Does the extra buoyancy of balsa give a better action, or is it just that the lure backs up better when you hit a branch or rock?

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Mark, re your question to Dean: Yes and Yes. There's a big density range for balsa, harder being heavier. I often substitute paulownia, which is very hard but only 18 lbs/cu ft (same as the hardest balsa). Mainly just because I have some paulownia and the only balsa I have is very light stuff. Another advantage of very light woods is the crankbait tends to splash down more softly than a plastic or hardwood bait when thrown by "Joe Average" fisherman (that's me!). IMO, that can be an advantage when fishing shallow shore cover. You can't catch'em if you scare the beejeezus out of them.

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Bob,
I have some 8/4 sugar pine left over from a job that's really light. It's not as light as the hobby balsa I used to fool around with as a kid, but it's light enough that even 6" glide baits need to be seriously weighted to cast well.
I just thought that, since you say stronger balsa is heavier, and you need to put a hard sealer on the soft stuff to make it durable, sugar pine like mine might be an option that save time. And you don't have to through wire it if you don't want to, because it's stronger than even the heavier balsa.

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Thanks for your help with this question and the hundreds of others that you've already answered. Thanks a million Vern

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