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#1 Nemo7


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Posted 12 December 2008 - 11:51 AM

I plan to make a few balsa crankbaits soon, and I have a question about buying balsa.

I want to use through-wire construction for the lures, and I'm going to do it by gluing two halves together.

What size or type of wood would you suggest buying? In other words, should I get a solid block and rip it in half? Or should I get two skinny blocks and glue them together? Or should i get sheets of balsa?

I found online sources that sell "sheets," "blocks," and "sticks."

Sticks are much too small. I can get sheets and blocks in 1/2- or 3/4-inch thick pieces. Those dimension will work. Is there a difference in the grain? And does it matter if the two halves are not from the same original block of wood?

Also, are there any Web sites with reasonable shipping prices on balsa? I've found some that were ridiculous for rather small volumes of lumber.

#2 BobP


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Posted 12 December 2008 - 12:57 PM

What thickness balsa you start with depends on the construction method and type balsa you use in building the bait. Guys who make lots of baits recommend "hard balsa" (12-15 lb/cu ft density). Soft balsa, aka competition balsa, aka regular balsa, is too soft for crankbaits unless you go to extremes to reinforce it inside and out. That takes time and effort but it is more buoyant - if that's your priority.

One building method is to use balsa half as thick as the finished bait, cut out the rough blank (twice), then glue the halves temporarily while you shape and sand the lure. You don't want the wire frame in it while shaping and sanding. I haven't used this method so don't know what kind of temporary adhesive is used.

Another method is to cut the rough blank from balsa as thick as the finished bait, and scribe all around the center line of the bait while the wood is still "square". Shape and sand, then use a razor blade to separate the halves along the centerline you scribed.

Many builders find that hard balsa is stout enough that you can forget thru-wire and just drill holes for the hardware and epoxy it into the bait. Thru-wire is of course more durable, so it's player's choice. So how you build tells you what dimension balsa to buy. I don't own a table saw so don't rip balsa because the source provider always does a neater job than I can do with a scroll or band saw.

#3 Nemo7


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Posted 12 December 2008 - 01:41 PM

Well, I ordered some balsa today to practice with, and just to get me started turning some sketches into actual lures. I didn't request hard balsa, and in fact, I didn't see a place to indicate which density I preferred. My guess, then, is that it won't be as dense as you mentioned.

Next time, once I have a little practice and have experimented a little, I will call the company and ask specifically. Until then, what are some things to do to protect balsa that may not be quite as hard as is preferred?

I'll try to find out the density of what I ordered and let you guys know. Then you'll know exactly what I'm working with.


#4 Nemo7


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Posted 12 December 2008 - 01:50 PM

I called the company. They couldn't tell me the specific density, but they said the dimensions I ordered should be medium to medium-hard. I guess that's open to a bit of interpretation, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

#5 diemai


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Posted 12 December 2008 - 01:52 PM

@ Nemo7

Have you made a search about balsa here on this site ?

I remember somewhere someone had given a link to a balsa supplier not too long time ago , but I forgot , where was in here !

And you do not neccessarely need to separate your balsa bait into halves or make it out of two pieces , there is a third way embedding a wire harness into it :

Mark centerline as BobP described and lure outline on your still rectangular woodblock , maybe also angle and length of diving lip slot .

Now cut out outer lure shape and smoothen to make up for an right angle to the sides .

Use a saw to cut a slot from the belly of lure leading from eye to eye position , also cut lip slot .

Since the lure is never rounded off at this stage , keeping angles is a lot easier .

Now you may work the lure to its final shape , after you would glue in lip and wire harness with two-component glue , after 24 hrs of curing file off the glue remainder flush to the lurebody outline .

I also do these slotting operations on a finished lureblank with a "Dremel" cutting disc or round saw blade , but this requires accurate eyeballing , since their are no planes to refer to anymore !

Recently made a small crankbait that way , though not of balsa , but maybe the pics of it under construction could help ?

Greetz , diemai

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#6 Palmetto Balsa

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 02:51 PM

http://www.tackleund...t=balsa density

This post will help you figure out exactly what the density of you wood is. That way when you try and make the same bait again you will know the variables that went into it.

#7 Vodkaman


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Posted 12 December 2008 - 05:53 PM

I used Bobs method, but instead of gluing, I pinned the two halves together,using 3mm BBQ or satay sticks. after shaping, the two halves simply pull apart. After fitting the ballast and hanger, the two halves are hard glued.


#8 b1gf1sh1



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Posted 13 December 2008 - 08:32 AM

your local hobby shop should have plenty of balsa. planes, boats, cars... you know the drill. i bet you could go to a hobbiests' forum and really pick up some great info on it. at least where to get some. or you can try this site.... Hungates: Balsa Wood ...
they have a nice assortment of semi-bulk packages. lot's of other goodies too, like paint, guns, brushes, etc. maybe e-mail them and see if they know what their wood is. since you didn't say where you got your wood,lol, this might be the same place... or try here... Balsa Scraps -- Specialized Balsa Wood

Edited by b1gf1sh1, 13 December 2008 - 08:37 AM.