CRANKNTN

Bill Slots

15 posts in this topic

I think I have just about everything figured out on this making your own bait stuff. The only questions I have pertain to the bill slots. How do you guys replicate the exact same slot from one bait to the next? What is the most proven way to cut a bill slot? I will probably buy blanks as opposed to carving my own. I have seen the blanks at Lurecraft with the slots already cut, but the body styles are limited. I really need to learn to cut my own. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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I use sty RA fOAM!!! Dam I wish I could spell... Anyway.. I use that foam that comes in most boxes when you buy a big ticket item like a TV or Kitchen Aid Heavy Duty Mixer... I push the back of the bait in the foam and make it level then I go to the band saw and cut away.. Works great for me.. Hope this helps..

The Rookie

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If you're buying a bunch of similar lure blanks, you can make a jig to hold the blanks and cut the slots.

Because they are already shaped, it's a little more difficult. Take your time, play around until you get something that will hold the lure solidly and square to the blade, and at the angle you want, and then you can do lots of baits and they'll come out the same.

Plan on screwing up a couple until you get it right, unless you're really good or really lucky.

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On pre-formed baits, I bend a piece of acetate around the nose of the bait to mark a symetrical lip slot and cut it with a Dremel cutoff blade. I usually make the slots large enough to provide adjustment room and use Rod Bond paste epoxy that will fill any void without leaking out. This inexactness is one reason I tend to avoid pre-formed bodies! Cutting the slot while the blank is still "square" and before rounding is the most accurate method. BTW, I've bought preforms with slots ready-cut that were more skewed than I could do freehand, so it was a lesson learned. The smaller the bait, the rounder the bait, the less accurate they tend to be in my experience. Of several popular online sources, the best ones I've seen came from Jann's Netcraft.

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I'll second Mark. How about a jig made specially for the type, model and size of lure you will be making? Of course, jigs work best (and are much easier to make) when you build the lure from scratch, cutting the slot while the block of wood is still square or rectangular. As for the materials used to build jigs, I go with scrap wood, as it does not take much. You can design your jig to fit on a miter saw, or else on a crosscut bed on the table saw. Pat

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If you wrap the blank in cellophane, or a baggie, you can make a form fitting jig jaw by using Bondo to mold to the contours of the blank, no matter what shape. The problem is getting it aligned after that so the bill slot is square to the bait's axis.

When mixing bondo, remember that the more hardener you add, the darker red it gets, and the faster it sets, the weaker it becomes.

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Like Bob said, the most builders simply cut the lip while the stock is still square, that is, before the body is shaped. Then you can mark some cut lines on the lure for your slot, and use a band saw or a scroll saw, which you check religiously to be sure that the blade is dead perpindicular to the bait. The form-fitting jig is good too of course, particularly for production.

Dean

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Marking the lip line on a 3D object is a problem. One solution is to press the body into a block of soft clay. With a sharp knife, cut a chamfer representing the lip position and angle. Cure or bake the clay for a permanent marking jig.

I cut the lip slot in preformed bodies with a dremel. To get the slot square, I hold the body squarely in front of my face, so you are looking in the direction of the lip or 'end on' the lip. The dremel wheel will be seen as a horizontal line. By using this method, it is easy to see if you are cutting square.

WEAR SAFETY GLASSES!!! The problem with this method is that your eyes are in the debris path of the cutter. The debris is not the problem as it comes out the side, but if the cutter fails, you could be struck. You should be wearing SAFETY GLASSES every time you pick up the dremel anyway.

Be aware that when cutting slots with a dremel, the wheel will tend to bind and jerk the bait out of your grip, or even worse, pull your grip into the wheel. You must anticipate this possibility and hold the body in such a way to eliminate this danger. A good stance, firm grip and let the tool do the cutting, do not force the cut.

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I think I would cheat if I could... Build a jig to lay a plug or lure body in with a pin to fit it over and run it through the table saw. If you need to, you could swap the wood blade to a cutting wheel for going through composites.

Jig1.jpg

The jig with alignment pin shown.

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Yup, Haz is the king of jigs, but don't give Bruce too much credit; Look at his avatar. What we call a head in a block of cheese, He calls research into "alignment pins"

:)

Craig

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I was brainstorming at work today and here's what I came up with. After I ruin a couple dozen baits and finally get my slot where I want it, I take some scrap plywood and build a box about 2 to 3 times the size of my bait. Having noticed how Devcon peals right off aluminum foil, I line the inside of my box with aluminum foil. I then fill my box completely full of Devcon. After wrapping my bait with aluminum foil, I submerge my bait in the Devcon bath. I'm thinking after the Devcon cures a bit, I can disassemble my box leaving my bait in a perfect block of Devcon. With any luck, I can cut the block and the bait in half and have a perfect jig for my bait. That is, if I can retrieve my bait without destroying my mold. With the Devcon being clear, I can glue my bait back together, insert it back into the mold and mark the holes for my ballast and screw eyes, and also the bill slot. The reason I thought of the Devcon is it will be durable enough to use for a while. The only thing that worries me is removing my bait after I cut the block in half. Hopefully with the bait wrapped in the layer of foil, it will pop right out. I know the bait will have to be perfectly centered in the box for it to work. If not, the whole thing's a bust! But then Bruce's idea is alot less work and should work equally as well.

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A table saw works great because you can cut the slot at any angle - slight angle for shallow running and more extreme angle for deep divers. Like others have already said, cut while the stock is still flat on the bottom and sandwich your bait piece between 2 pieces of scrap wood for a clean cut with no splintering. Also, the thickness of the blade will cause a perfectly uniform cut every time. Then, you just have to find a Lexan thickness that matches your saw blade thickness and you're good to go!

-Don

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But then Bruce's idea is alot less work and should work equally as well.

The best thing about being the TU Tutorial Manager is I have read most of the tutorials at least two or three times, so I have have studied form only the best. Pete (aka: hazmail) is one of the masters I've studied, but the alignment pin is my idea for keeping the jig a constant fixture. Could have picked it up from Eddy the fix-it guy as a kid or General Electrics Aerospace Propulsion lab as a slightly older kid, I just hope it helps.

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