Downriver Tackle

What would you want in a clearcoat?

32 posts in this topic

I've been formulating my own clear coatings for lures since 2004 and have learned quite a bit. Since I've joined this site, I learned allot about the possible market. I'm thinking of expanding from just custom painting to selling clear coatings for lures. I need your help as to which way to go with the technology. Which would you prefer? I'm guessing #2. Remember that quality generally isn't the simplest solution.

#1. A UV-curable urethane that is very durable, non-yellowing, and cures in seconds under the UV light. BUT, it requires you to buy a UV lamp that can cost $100+. And there are the health concerns. You can crank out large volumes though.

#2 A REAL virtually NON-yellowing epoxy that is just as durable as anything you've tried, one coat application, 100% solids/solvent-free, and a slow, easy to use cure. Only issue with that is that the mix ratio is around 10:4, so the ease of 1:1 mixing is out the door.

Opinions appreciated. Of course, if I do launch the project, I'll need some ginuea pigs to work out the bugs ;)

Edited by Downriver Tackle

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IMHO any one coat clearcoat would be awesome but hard to believe for musky lures.

A couple of nights ago the bite was just off, late summer heat wave put the fish completely off the bite so we tried a hard agressive troll at over 6mph.

I would be more than impressed if a single coat could withstand a troll at this speed. I have 3 coats of an industrial clear coat and it came out with some pretty good hook rash after that beating

Now if it was that good as a single coat then I could live with the none 1:1 mixing ratio.

There are musky guys here that will tell you all of our wooden lures take a real beating so we always multicoat, so forgive us if we come across sceptical (nothing personal of course)

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IMHO any one coat clearcoat would be awesome but hard to believe for musky lures.

A couple of nights ago the bite was just off, late summer heat wave put the fish completely off the bite so we tried a hard agressive troll at over 6mph.

I would be more than impressed if a single coat could withstand a troll at this speed. I have 3 coats of an industrial clear coat and it came out with some pretty good hook rash after that beating

Now if it was that good as a single coat then I could live with the none 1:1 mixing ratio.

There are musky guys here that will tell you all of our wooden lures take a real beating so we always multicoat, so forgive us if we come across sceptical (nothing personal of course)

For extreme applications like that, you might have to use two coats, definitely no more. I've been trolling for Muskie on the Detroit River with custom Reef Runners for the last 2 months with one coat of clear epoxy, and there's just a few teeth scuffs. Nothing more. and that's battling 40"ers. If you have a lure shape where the hook point is going to ride across the paint, it's hard to not get any marking, but this will definitely not wear through. Hot n Tots are one of the worst for hook wear and I've never had one do more than just scuff the clear.

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Down River,

Do you have any experience with nylonic polomer? And if so, in your opinion how does it stack up against the several recently mentioned clearcoats used for lures, if you would be so kind to share.

Regards

Dan

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Down River,

Do you have any experience with nylonic polomer? And if so, in your opinion how does it stack up against the several recently mentioned clearcoats used for lures, if you would be so kind to share.

Regards

Dan

Never tried it, but have heard of it. The only thing I really know is that it's an additional clear coating on top of a finished surface. For some reason, it's not used for the sole clear coating. I have no idea why, and haven't looked into it enough to understand why it couldn't, if so. VERY interesting though.

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DT,

I think all of us Musky guys would be very interested in a clear coat that tough....I have used all the good ones over the years and have about the same results as far as teeth and hook rash....I would be willing to pay more to get the best....I would love to try it....

Rod

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the largest issue is coating plastics like reef runners or any other. when wooden lure makers need clears the clear must have different features. musky lures or wooden lures absorb water, no matter which way its done.. thru the years we painted thousands of bombers and other plastic baits with very good results from clear acrylics and metal spoons with automotive clear coats. WOOD is a different pickle.. man i hope you come up with a simpler mix.

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I make wooden lures in very small quantities, so I'd vote #2.

If I were a production shop, I'd vote #1.

Question. Why the 10/4 mix?

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Teeth marks are a good thing. All musky guys love to pull out a lure from their box and show their buddies the one that's all chewed up.

If I sold one of my lures and it got all beat up from the fish it caught then I would have a repeat customer, but if I sold a lure and no fish were caught and it was all beat up I would have a very bad reputation.

My point?

Musky guys are ok with hook rash and teeth marks and they always expect trolling will beat up the lures but musky guys get really upset spending $20 - $50 a lure and it is toast without getting a fish.

OK D.T. seems you've got our attention.

I've started using an industrial clear coat recently. 2 coats and so far no teeth nor hooks have made any significant impact on the integrity of this clearcoat, BUT, it has a very short working time (about 20 minutes) so I cannot clear coat more than 2 lures at a time.

What kind of working time is your clearcoat?

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If you could develop a clear with the thickness of Devcon and pot life of flex coat, I will be in line to get some.

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I'd go with #2 as I don't do enough volume to really want to spend an extra 100$ on special lamps and may not have the room for them.

Now if the viscosity is such that you don't end up with drip marks and bubbles... and there is a smaller scale lamp that can get it done then #1. I don't have the luxury of a separate shop area and work from my garage so I am subject to interruptions and airborne contaminants from time to time. So the faster cure rate would be great.

Beyond that it might boil down to on going costs. Which would be cheaper for use? Which would you end up with the most waste for small batches of lures. Are they dips, brushed, sprayed? I like the ease of brushing on D2T but have tried some spray which has much more cleanup and limits when I can spray.

So we are looking at the baits and we haven't quite decided which way to go ...

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I see guys going either way on your question depending on whether they make baits in large runs for sale or they do only small batches as a hobby. I'd add one other consideration: cost. If it's better, people are happy to pay more, but usually not hugely more.

My preferences (as a hobby builder):

  • No solvent content is better, but I want longer brush time than Devcon 2T's 5 minutes.
  • 12 hrs max to cure to a "handle-able" hardness. I don't want to have to spin it for hours and hours.
  • It must level well.
  • 10/4 mix? Hmm - OK, I'll have to use syringes. I can do that.

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Here's my wish list for a top coat:

  1. self leveling
  2. long working time
  3. low viscosity to not trap bubbles
  4. thin enough to use as sealer too with CPES like properties when used with wood
  5. non yellowing (some UV inhabitant is needed I expect)
  6. crystal clear
  7. has to be waterproof
  8. golf ball kind of abrasion & impact resistance be enough for me.
  9. 8 would also mean the epoxy does have some flexibility to it, not brittle
  10. will not cost a bomb

I'm still searching :?:?

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D.T- I think you would be on a winner here, and I can only go along with all these posts. There is an amazing amount of interest/frustration, you may have noticed the first 4 threads on 'Hard Baits' are related to topcoats, so it appears to be on everyone's mind.

I think there is probably a line though, between durability and presentation, and I would err to the usability/ toughness side, although I can appreciate the requirements of builder/sellers wanting a bit of both, with good looks thrown in. A good glossy, clear finish is relatively easy, compared to the real world of rocks, gravel and teeth.

Maybe we should all be weaned off, nice sparkling gloss coats, and onto matte, that would solve half the problems, but then matte is never as hard as gloss is it !! I'm confused. pete

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DT

I make small quanitys of bass baits and would be interested in option #2

thanks and keep us informed

Todd

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the largest issue is coating plastics like reef runners or any other. when wooden lure makers need clears the clear must have different features. musky lures or wooden lures absorb water, no matter which way its done.. thru the years we painted thousands of bombers and other plastic baits with very good results from clear acrylics and metal spoons with automotive clear coats. WOOD is a different pickle.. man i hope you come up with a simpler mix.

Actually, I went the epoxy route for myself because a big part of my business is painting Rapala Originals for handliners here on the Detroit River. A handliner digging a balsa original into the rocks, then ripping it out with 50# wire was a huge hurdle to overcome with durability. Along with the 10# walleye and 40-50" ski's ;). I had a muskie bite a #9 Shad Rap right in half last fall and the clear didn't tear. It broke clean with the wood. Generally, on balsa, it can take complete tooth penetration and only leave a pinhole in the coating. The hard cranks and spoons fell right in place. It's a good system for almost any type of lure. All this depends on what you use under it also for primer and color. I use all Createx AutoAir paints, including base coat sealer. All heat cured.

All that being said, I'm taking the same part A base I formulated and using a curing agent that is non-yellowing. I was using a standard curing agent for years with very little yellowing, but this is supposedly UV resistant comparable to high end urethanes. There's still some work to be done as far as pricing packaging and getting some feedback on the lures I have out for prototypes, but I expect no issues on the durability. I haven't seen any on the lures I've used. Price will definitely be cheaper than the UV Urethane and not too expensive at all. I will still be a few months if it happens, if not mid-next year. I want to make sure nearly all of the bugs are worked out. I will sell no clear before it's time. Plus, I want to get it out on my lures first. :P LOL

To answer other questions:

It will flow and level like glass.

Full gloss

Not water white/clear, but very close

Cure times should be: 10 minute dwell-time before applying, 20-30 minute working time, 2-3 hours of turning, dry to touch in 12 hours. Full cure in 24 hours. I generally let them cure overnight, then throw them in a drying cabinet @ 120F for 15 minutes, then they're ready to ship. You are able to pull them off the turner after about 2.5 hours and hang them to finish air curing.

The UV curable would definitely be further down the road. That's still just a concept.

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Do you have any experience with nylonic polomer? And if so, in your opinion how does it stack up against the several recently mentioned clearcoats used for lures, if you would be so kind to share.

Regards

Dan

I considered using this on my boat and whist it is 100% waterproof other solvents do attack it, any petroleum based products will make the surface turn cloudy.

Regards Charlie

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My biggest problem with epoxy such as Devcon 2-ton and E-Tex is that their leveling properties cause them to thin-out in the places which are frequently the highest wear points on many lures, making them simply unsuitable for lures with any kinds of edges, especially at the front of the bait.. To get a suitable amount of epoxy on the edge around the cup of one of my poppers requires imagination, work intensive technique and a lot of luck. Epoxies will also level out over any carved details such as gills, rendering those details smoothed over, unable to be felt. On many crankbaits, the epoxy will thin out on the nose area of the bait leaving micro-thin coverage compared to the sides of the lure (while thinking how to best get the epoxy off of the lip)...I've scotch-brited through to the paint in this area many times, while prepping for a second coat. Older styles of dished-mouth lures such as Bass-Orenos, or the Vee cuts mouths of Darters (still very popular among many inshore saltwater anglers) are well nigh impossible to protect with epoxy. Muskie lures often have edges unfriendly to epoxy.

By contrast, Moisture-cure urethanes such as Dicknite's topcoat, do not have these problems. I do very few lures compared to a lot of makers, but this urethane well for me. I think most guys who do a pretty good volumes, have moved in the direction of urethanes, whether they're spraying automotive clear coat types, or industrial clears, or dipping them (or brushing them, which works well for me).

Having said the above, I'll say I've had some E-tex'ed (Etex almost never cracks due to its flexibility) crankbaits that have been used hard and done very well over a few years. And when someone says crankbaits, and the first thing you think of is off-shore ledges and grass edges, Devcon-2-ton may serve you very well; as compared to strafing heavy shoreline cover, where it isn't flexible enough not to crack when aggressively banging this stuff as fast as you can cast, and where if you hit a laydown or shoreline rock hard one in 25 casts, you're going to beat your lure to death.

So if you can find, or mix, and market a clear of any kind which is user-friendly, tough enough, hard enough, flexible enough, compatible with most paints, or easily made so, stores well, can be applied bubble free with airbursh, or paintbrush, is long lived in temperature extremes while maintaining its UV stability and clarity, and generally sticks like stink on crap, or even score pretty highly in those categories and more, you will have accomplished mucho grande, and we'll all be standing in line.

My preference would be for #1. In the grand scheme of my luremaking, and fishing life, a hundred dollars for a curing light would be a minimal investment to accomplish such a lofty goal, and would pay for itself quickly with superior lure protection. I mean you have to keep it in perspective: How much is gasoline now, how much are bass boats, back-country skiffs, walleye boats, rods, reels, 4 Lucky Craft lures, tow vehicles, rainsuits, line, one-of-a-kind swimbaits, etc.

...not to mention the time you spend thinking about this stuff, as it enhances your quality of life...

my :twocents:

Dean

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Dean, I looked at a random link the other day on UV cured epoxy and it was selling for $42 per 30 ML double syringe. That's 21X the cost of Devcon 2 T. Maybe it was an anomaly, but sheesh! It has to be cost effective to be a rational choice.

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You're right about edges and epoxy. I found that it's in technique to cure that. You probably can't do it with D2T because it cures too quickly. What I do when I'm painting Thin Fins or poppers, is to paint the entire lure(s), really taking time to wet out the edges, then wait until the epoxy is set up and almost too thick to brush and hit the edges again with a heavier than normal coat. It works about 90% of the time. If I don't want to cover over 3D fins and such, I do the opposite. I hit those areas first when the eopxy is thin. Do all those areas on the lure(s), then come back and hit the rest of the body when the epoxy is a little thicker and take care not to go over that area again.

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Dean, I looked at a random link the other day on UV cured epoxy and it was selling for $42 per 30 ML double syringe. That's 21X the cost of Devcon 2 T. Maybe it was an anomaly, but sheesh! It has to be cost effective to be a rational choice.

I completely agree! Downriver Tackle said that the curing light was for a UV curable urethane, with the intimatingthat the high cost part of it would only be incurred initially because of the light's price. After all he was talking about bringing out a marketable product.

Downriver Tackle, I've used Devcon2-Ton (which cures quicker than it used to), and Enviroxe Lite which of course is a very slow cureand have tried the techniques (and many others) you mentioned on Oreno's and Darters and deep cupped poppers, and a 90% perfect coating rate is pretty much wishful thinking with those lures and those two epoxies. And given that any void in an epoxy coating is going to lead to eventual coating failure, thin spots are an accident waiting to happen; all of which lead me to Dicknite's moisture cure urethane, which has none of those application execution and durability problems, and in my simple enough building system, is very user friendly. And I have no small amount of experience in trying to make those two epoxies work for me.

Note to Bob: I know of several people who are faithful Dicknite's users, who seldom post here anymore, due in no small part I think because their clearcoat is no longer an issue.

Dean :yay:

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I looked into UV cured epoxies some time ago and the cheapest light of a proper size and quality I could find was $1000. The other problem with UV lights is it is not good for them to be turned off which leads to other problems related to UV exposure. If you leave the light on all the time you are reducing its life and increasing the liklihood of exposure. One company told me their product would set up in 15 mins with standard UV lights from the hardware store..........tried it, didn't work.

What I would want is something that I can dip the lures into and hang them to dry. I get sick of having to mix epoxy, it is time consuming and a mess. The clear also needs be very safe, dry water clear, rock hard, low odor, and not too thin. I would prefer it go on about as thick as etex and dry in about 2 hours. Price would of course have to be competitive.

RM

Edited by RiverMan

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