duck1968

Cleaning old plugs?

23 posts in this topic

I inherited a few tackle boxes from my grandfather they were in his cellar for 20+ years and most of the plugs are covered in a white waxy film. What is the best/safest way to clean them?

Thanks Brian

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Most of the time that is caused by the plastic degrading and once it starts you are probally not going to stop it. Liquid car wax and a soft brush will remove the residue. Sudsy ammonia will remove it also. However, it will remove some finishes if left to soak to long. Test to see before giving any plug an extended bath in the sudsy ammonia. Most of the time you can dip them in the sudsy ammonia a couple of times and the bulk of it will come off. After cleaning keep the plugs away from heat and sun light. If you plan on keeping them in the best possibly condition. Post a pic if you can.

Edited by KcDano

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Are you trying to retain any value they might have? Or just have some nice looking old plugs to look at? If you're not interested in their value, you might try cleaning them one of the ways KC suggested, then sanding them with some very fine sand paper and hitting them with a topcoat. Might stop the process of the plastic degrading or oxidizing if that's what's happening.

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Doesn't seem possible that plastic plugs would now be "old". I remember when they were the newest thing! Sucks getting older.

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It beats the big dirt nap alternative though! Here is a shocker for you mark there are plastic heddon plugs from the 70's in certain color patterns(kch) that have fetched over $2000.

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Man, that's incredible! I gave away some rubber lures from the '50s to a friend who collects stuff. Probably worth a fortune. I still have some rubber worms I bought at Thrifty's in the '50s. I just can't remember where I put them! CRS! :lol:

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I have seen some of the old Creme new in package bring a few dollars. I can remember when the collectors wanted nothing to do with anything plastic. They now have an appreciation for the post 40's tackle.

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The only thing that is fifty years old and not worth squat is my aching body!

Your lures probably hold an appreciating value. How about some pics.

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If you watch Antiques Roadshow they always tell folks not to clean things up too much beyond a good dusting. I wonder if the same holds true with this situation. You may want to check that out with collectors. You may take a lure worth $1000 and turn it into a $100 bait.

www.novalures.com

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I've heard lots of ways to clean crankbaits. Toothpaste, soaking in Oxyclean, and scrubbing with a Mr Clean Magic Eraser pad all work. The Magic Erasers work great to remove stubborn stains like mildew. First step is to remove the trebles and throw them away if they show any rust and you intend fishing the lures. Obviously, I'm not a collector! To me, if it won't catch fish, it's trash.

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Man I love old lures but some of the plastic (hard baits) really "Chalk Up" bad and the 2 that I have found to be the worst are L&S Mirror Lures and Bomber Lures especially the Model A's .. gotta be the plastic they are useing as for example all of the Heddon I have from way back when are in great shape.

After cleaning them what would you coat them with to preserve them ??

I am really poor at applying a finsh to anything so I need all the help I can get.

I know us older guys ....................... forgot what I was going to say ?? Oh Well ..

Thanx

JSC

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I'd spray a couple coats of DNLC clear on them, but that's me. Most aren't set up to spray it. As long as you're sure there's absolutely NO dust or oil on them you could do a really think coat of Devcon 2T on them........If you're not fishing them a thin coat will work fine but only if the surface is perfectly clean beforehand.

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Some of the creek chub early plastics are bad as well. You might slow the return by clearing but from what i have seen it will continue to migrate through the finish and sometimes it cause the finish to blister. I just wax them with car wax, if you recoat the lure the value as a collector item is diminished considerably.

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Here's a sample from one of the boxes.

P1011594.jpg

The musky jitterbug was one of the worst. I cleaned it with some glass cleaner and a magic eraser.

Thanks Brian

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Hi Brian,

I am not a collector either but judgung frm those photos you have some lovely old lures in pretty good condition. I would do some reasearch on collectible lures, you never know might be able to get yourself a new boat with the profits if you find the right buyers!

Simon

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Thanx for the advice guys.

I think the Safest way for me to go is to use the car wax after cleaning since I am not that good with paint (powder painting is a different story) ... This leads me to the idea that I might should clean the whole bunch of old stuff I have ... It will take more than 1 rainy day to do that.

Brian I can see a couple of "Golden Oldies" in that pix.

Again Thanx Guys and I hope I can help Yall some time.

JSC

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The heddon punkinseed in crappie and the pikie in silver flitter are the better plugs in that group, money wise.

Edited by KcDano

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Windex, toothbrush and a dry paper towel to buff with will clean up 99% of it. After that I put them in a box with all my other lures and have never had a problem with it coming back.

It seems like Bombers L&M's and a few others will either get it or not. When you find an old box they will either all have the problem or none will have it. I think it is a reaction with something else in the box they are stored in. My grandfathers box had the problem and I thought it had something to do with saltwater plugs being stored with them or oxidized lead but I bet there is a better explanation of what causes it.

I am sure the answer is out in the Google world.

The value of any of them as a collectible would be about $5 max if they were clearcoated. About the same value of a plug that is epoxied into a shadow box.

Edited by Palmetto Balsa

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One cause i have heard is that bar of soap stored in the box. I have had metal boxes that only 1 or 2 suffered and like you say I found others that all were affected. I do think there might be exposure to something that brings it on or speeds up the process.

Most of the old plastic plugs were made of Tenite aka cellulose acetate-butyrate In the event anyone wants to google for a cause the oxidation

Edited by KcDano

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Try using denture tablets polident etc. I use generic tablets in a olive jar on lures I find beach combing and it cleans them up pretty well.

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those heddon pumpkinseeds look sweet!

How do they fish/how is their action?

Perhaps the white is caused by outgassing of something else in the tacklebox? Maybe soft plastics? Just an idea.

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I bought a tackle box at a yard sale very cheap and it contained some old hula poppers and flatfish that had a waxy coating.I dropped a couple of generic polident denture cleaning tablets in a olive jar containg the lures and let it set several days then wiped the lures off, I repeated the process and the waxy coating was gone.I don't know if it will work on your lures,but last week I caught a 4 lb bass on one of the reclaimed hula poppers with a new skirt tied on it.

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Plastic plugs will do well with the kids of cleaning suggested, and it looks as though you are on your way. Treat your lure boxes (and any literature insde) kindly also, as they will usually double the worth of collectible lures--such as the baby bass Deep Wee-R, top right in your photo, not to mention your Jitterbug & box. When cleaning most older wood lures, it is best to avoid using water, particularly if there is a bit of paint cracking or checking: A bit of linseed oil on a rag with a light touch will help those.

Hey Mark, plastic lures have been around many years! Heddon introduced their "Spook" lures, named thus because of the see-through aspects of their finishes utilizing the clear plastic of the lure body, in 1933, much as some companies use "ghost" finishes today.

And it doesn't need to be ancient to be collectible either, as there are many "modern collectibles" made in the 70's and 1980's--Just becasue it semms as though you graduated high school yesterday...well...do the math, you'll get the picture:lol:.

Dean

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