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Consistencey Question

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Hey Guys, I have a couple of questions that needs a little more understanding. My first baits I did ok, I checked them out and they float upright and straight. So thats a good thing since I didnt weight them. My two new baits, I weighted with a 1-16th ouce Mojo weight I cut in half with a pair of Snub Noses. I dont know if they run straight however as of yet. The last posts worried me on the wood and its floating side. I guess I got lucky! My problems as I move forward to make more true running baits is working on the consistencey and sizing of each lure and making each side CLOSE to the other. I have heard you guys mention calipers, but I have never picked one up, let alone know how to use one. I am handy but any info on this or tips would be appreciated. I did some looking on the past postings and maybe I didnt look far enough, but I am after pointers on using calipers and keeping a central axis on the baits. Again my baits seem to be close to the eye from side to side, but I truly have no way of knowing how close I am from one side to the other. Also my 5 baits I carved, They are all different in just about every aspect. I used 1 1/2 inch by 2 inch balsa and carved my baits out of that, starting at about 5 inches in length and trimming them down to a good 3 1/2 to 4 inch length. I also noticed most of you guys are using the sandwich style of thinner woods, so you can keep a flat side consistent on each sides. WAHT ARE YOU USING TO LAMINATE THE WOODS TOGETHER? I have been trying to get a more ROUNDER lure, but I also do file down a flat side on the lures. I also could easily see me making an error on mounting lets say the lip for a true "Central Axis or Balance". What tips can you guys offer to making a true center balanced lure, OR making sure your following a straight line? I have also been making deep divers with the elongated lip, so Im sure the placement has to be accurate to ensure a good action and a straight running bait. I hope I illustrated my questions well enough, but any info you guys could offer would be appreciated. Thanks COdy

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Cody,

I am having a little problem with the amount of weight that you are using in the bait. From the way I read your post you actually have a 1/32 oz. weight in your bait. That just seems awfully light to me. But, hey, if the bait sits right and the tip of the lip is under the water so that the bait starts to dig as soon as you turn the crank then you may be ok. I have posted on this site the way that I weight lures. You might want to look it up. You can glue two pieces of wood side by side with Devcon 5 min. epoxy. Put some on the wook and take a flat stick or something and spread the epoxy down the wood and get it good and thin. You don't wat a buch of epoxy oozing out of the edges. Its just messy. Then put the two pices together and either press it or clamp it together for a few minutes and it will bind them together forever. If you are using a lathe to turn perfectly round baits then you might want calipers. If you are making crankbaits like a Bagleys or Poes, then learn to use your eyes. You will never get round baits perfect the way that guys like us have to do it. It will never happen so don't beat yourself up over it. Time and practice will get you good and your lures looking consistant. Really take your time and do them as best as you can. You will learn your own tricks and shorcuts and you will find that soon enough you will be satisfied with your work. As far as ballance of crankbaits, you want to make sure that the belly weight is centered. That is the most critical. Next, you should be able to turn the bait upside down and sight down the lure from the tail to the nose. If the back hook hanger, belly hook hanger and the wire for your lip line tie are all in a straight line, then you are about as close as you are going to get for ballance. Round baits with straight bodies are hard to find. You will usually find that the tails are crooked. This is where most bait makers fail. Straight bodies are what it takes. Like I have said, you would't shoot an archery tournament with crooked arrows, so why would you try to consitantly hit a rock pile in 15 ft. of water with crooked crankbaits? It took me more than a year to learn to do it well. I still have problems, and make mistakes. It is part of the game. But now I can turn out 4 straight bodies in the time it use to take me to do 1. Take your time, be patient, and most of all THINK. :?:

Skeeter

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Skeeter, Thats an AWESOME reply, I learnt some new stuff. I put my first weights in the bodies of my next 2 lures which are drying as we speak from the primer. Will start painting them this week. I was really afraid to put more than enough, or even too much weight in the lure. I guess as I said IM STILL LEARNING. Again, by eye... they seem to be pretty good, I guess I was after trying to figure out a more PERFECT WAY to do it. ???And yes the deep divers that I am making are that like a Poes. As a matter of fact I traced an outline of one and carved away.... funny thing is, its not even close in resemblance, so thats a good thing since Im not breaking any copyright laws! LOL! From my eye, I did ok, It seems to pretty darn close, just wondering about the calipers thing. No I dont use a lathe to turn my baits so I wont beat myself up over that one then. I think when Im done with the lures I'll take em to the Post Office and get a weight on the lures when finished. I think when Im Done I might be able to judge a little bit better on the amount of weight to put in the next batch! Thanks again for the help. NOW, someone give me a step be step on how to show my picture here on this post. I tried and tried.... I cant get it. Cody

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OOPS nevermind!

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Hi Bass,

I will preface this reply by saying that I am a complete novice to crank-bait building and all that I have learned has come from skeeter, chip, others here, the search tool, and hours working in my garage under a single 60 watt light bulb in 15 degree temperatures. Beyond that, being the spaz for details that I am, I have come up with a couple of things that MAY prove helpful to you.

I am also interested in developing baits that are as consistent from one to the next as possible. I will warn you that once you begin the process of trying to produce consistently sized/shaped baits you will spend a enormous amount of "extra" time shaving wood here and there to get even sizes. I sincerely doubt this will add up to "more fish" but I enjoy this type of thing. I also like to make round baits and I have noted that many others build mostly flat-sided baits. The flat sides will of course eliminate much of the potential for variance from one bait to the next and in all reality look as good or better than any others anyway. That being said.....

First I do use calipers that measure in millimeters which I believe are an invaluable tool. I check each of the baits for total length, width, and thickness with this device. I bought mine at an auto-parts shop for five bucks. Next I built from a piece of cardboard (Lexan could be used as an alternative if you wanna get serious) a pattern that allows me to check the shape of the belly on the bait and the back. I have pictures of this but don't know how to post them in the thread, sorry. I would be happy to send a pic to your email address.

Start with a small piece of cardboard, maybe 4 inches by 6 inches. Take your prototype bait and lay it on its side along one margin of the cardboard and trace very carefully the belly of the bait. You then cut this section of cardboard out with a sharp knife. On the opposite size of the cardboard, do the same thing for the margin of the back on the bait. Within the cut-outs, mark where the body starts and the body ends. Now you have a pattern on one piece of cardboard for both the belly and back of the bait. When you cut your bait out of wood, lay the belly on the pattern and see where it is off, do the same for the back. As you shape the bait, rounding the corners and such (I like to use a flat wood file) check that you are not changing too dramatically the belly and back slopes with the pattern. If it changes too much, shave off where necessary to get it back in-line and keeep going. You will find with the pattern "check" that it is very easy to vary from one bait to the next while shaping the back and belly margins.

Combining the pattern with the caliper tool checking length, width, and thickness and looking down the bait at all angles as skeeter wrote above, you can get very close to repeating the size and shape of each bait.

I hope some of this was useful to you. Have fun!!

Jed

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Riverman, very easy to understand and makes sense. I think I will move in that direction at a later time. Im gonna see how these baits I made work out and run on the water and try to keep it the same with that. But as I said Im learning and having a flat out BLAST making these lures. Its not work its a lot of fun! AND it keeps me outta trouble! LOL thanks for the tips. Cody

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Cody,

I will preface this by saying I'm a mad scientist when it comes to perfection. It takes a lot of hours for me to carve a lure I'm happy with, tank test, adjust, etc. I use a caliper that measures in millimeters and I use a handy tool called a carpenter's contour gauge. Both can generally be purchased at a hardware store. I think I bought my caliper at sears for around 5 bucks and the carpenter's tool ran me 7 bucks at ace hardware. Since I believe it's best to carve an exact replica of a popular bait and then start over and carve modifications or wrinkles into the design using new wood, calipers and contour gauges are important to me.

I use the sandwich method for two reasons: first, it is for later plastic production purposes to cut a corner and for what is called "glass matteing", something I've picked up on the web that will help keep my plastic molds straight. Second, I like to have a hollowed out wooden bait because in my view, the less wood the less variance (these are for bass NOT sharks! :lol: ). Once I have two equal sides, it's actually pretty easy to use a router to carve out the inside, or use the contour gauge and do it by hand (takes longer). I even go so far as to carve lil notches just like you'd see in a clear plastic bait for the possibility of hook hangers as well as a point where the bait is primarily joined. This should significantly decrease the amount of effort and time I have to use to go from wood to plastic. Then I coat my lure inside and out with the devcon or whatever you prefer. I also design inserts with ballast and through-wire designs so that when I finally get a design I like, I can reproduce it quickly and easily and spend my time assembling and painting. My intentions are to develop a through wire that I can quickly bend out, slip on an egg shaped texas rig sinker and glue it in place, then install the entire thing into my hollowed out baits, thereby speeding up the tank testing phase as far as different ballast weight goes. My wooden baits are the closest thing I can come to plastic without being plastic. I was imagining the whole fiberglass concept of how you would build your own boat when I developed my methods. My basswood baits have unique rattles and a pretty cool sound depending upon the type of material you use as a rattle. I've grown fond of routing out circles into the inside of my baits just barely bigger than a ball bearing about the size of a pencil's eraser diameter and when sandwiched together, the bearing makes a nice tick-tick sound with each wiggle of my bait. I've been using plain old superglue to put mine together. It could be some special kind I'll have to check, it's in my father's shop and he installs glass and plexiglas. I just goop it on around the points on one side of the bait and the corresponding holes on the other side and stick together. Then I spread a fine line around the line where the baits join, sand with fine grit, re-coat with devcon, etc etc. Until it looks perfect to me.

Initially I tried to carve entire baits out of wood. This proved to be very difficult by hand. I suspect if you had two contour gauges and a caliper you could get fascinatingly close by hand. One time I used one contour gauge and went around the bait I wished to copy at small intervals determined by using my caliper. In other words, a whole lot of measurements, numbers, and headaches. I think I was trying to find an application for the 3 years of calculus I had to take in high school and college :lol: . Anyhow, my trials and tribulations may help you get the brain juices flowing. Good luck and let me know how you make out.

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I'm curious soupysayso,

Why go to all the trouble of hollowing out a wooden bait? Is this so that you can then mold equal halves and glue them together? I understand the convenience of using a through wire in a mold but this could much easier be done with expandable foams and featherlite couldn't it? Also, how do you seperate a wooden prototype bait into two equal pieces? Just curious, thank you.

jed

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Cody...Skeeters right when it comes to baits...the big key is practice,practice,and a little more practice....I didn't see where you mentioned you drew a center line down your baits...That can be a big help when your first getting started keeping your baits straight,and making sure your taking equal amounts off each side.Also,always cut your lip slot when your wood is still square,this will keep your slot straight....Nathan

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Jed,

I'll answer the last question first. When I lay out my patterns, I use the tools I've mentioned to determine centerlines and what not. I draw a centerline for all my faces. My "height" face has a center dot, with an "addition" sign and an "x" on it. My first cut is to cut my block of wood in half length wise. I use the caliper and contour gauge to be sure both are equal. As I work through I continually go back and forth using those two tools to ensure both are equal. If you're having problems getting equal blocks from which to start cutting out contours of baits, try taking sand paper and a piece of double strength glass. Put a few small drops of water on the glass and lay the sandpaper down, sanding side facing up, cut your sandpaper so it's a bit longer than the piece of glass. Lay the glass down with sides of sandpaper folded under the glass. This ensures your sanding plane is flat and even. Take your two blocks and sand the inside faces and continually measure with caliper or contour gauge until they're identical. If you don't start with two identical pieces, you can never be sure your two pieces are having the same work done to them in later phases. I'm obsessive about having two equal pieces. Otherwise, none of your work is true and nothing is centered and you'll be doing more mods at the end of the process than I will using my method, in my opinion. Before I ever sandwich the two halves together, I give it the ultimate test of dropping them in my sink full of water to see if both have the same float characteristics. I let both sides dry thoroughly, and assemble. This way, mods can be made from the inside as well as outside and the outsides are the EXACT same, within less than a 1/4 of a millimeter.

I hollow out my wooden baits for this reason, primarily. I also do it for the inserts and to perfect them as much as possible prior to pouring any plastic. I'm hesitant about plastic making :rolleyes: , looks messy and inconsistent. I'm also going a different direction with plastic. I have plans in front of me that supposedly can get me to a homemade form of injection plastic pouring. I'm trying to cut corners and skip steps is the simple answer.

There are other reasons I hollow out each side of my wooden baits, they are a heck of a lot easier to duplicate later and I take out variance caused by the basic nature of wood. You might want to try the ball bearing holder I mentioned to cody, put a little less than your standard ballast into your wooden bait, hollow it out so that the sides aren't super thin but there's some air inside when you seal it. Put the ball bearing in the tail section and listen to the sound. One of my designs that I mentioned earlier rides nose towards the surface on purpose. Every time it wiggles I get the tick tick sound. When it's in water, it sounds like a little shad flicking on the surface. It's something different, a different sound than rattles on plastic.

When I started, I wanted to go straight to plastic. That's where I came up with the idea of doing it like you would make your own fiberglass canoe or how most bass boats are made, with the sandwiched wood notion.

I want to play around with something that the Japanese are perfecting with the weights that slide on a wire. I'm not to the plastic pouring phase yet, in fact, don't really want to get there right now, I'm having way too much fun playing with internal characteristics. My next project is going to play with magnets and sliding rails. I'm going to try to include an image from one of the Japanese baits I saw to give you a better idea what I'm thinking with the hollow wood. I tried to be concise but it didn't work out, oh well :lol: .

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Soupysayso

the japanese technique for building lures with a slider (used by Daiwa, Shimano, Zeal, Lucky Craft, Yo Zuri, Cultiva, Zip Baits and others) is exclusively used on plastic lures in Japan, as far as i know. And these companies go to great lenths to provide the scientific background behind these creations. Unless you have a scientific lab and electronic tools to measure the shifting balance at different angles the lure is pulled, different water pressures, different speeds and in the same taking in calculation the overall weight of the lure and the changes caused by the wiggle, it seems like an awful difficult task to me. Don't forget also, the lures using this technique are used here by people who want additional friction on the chassis on which the weight is moving, because they believe the fishing conditions are such, that a very fast shifting balance as the one offered by for exemple a rattling chamber filled with small balls ( where you have practically closed to zero friction when the balls move from one end to the other ) is not the best, therefore they want slower weight shifting (so , at this point, add into your equation the friction on the axis please ).

Above all this, you should consider as well the magnetic force being applied in case you decide to use a magnet instead of a simple sliding weight on that axis, and what you have is simply rocket science. And overall this, having to worry about all the details about how to fit all this into a wooden belly, in case you are not using plastic, and if you are using plastic how to find the most balance firendly shape and fit all of the above into it...this is not lure building anymore, if you ask me.

i have fished sliders and personally i found no difference comparing to the simple rattle chamber lures. maybe others can tell the difference, i couldn't. besides, i haven' t acquired the degree of perfection as to ask for slower shifting balances because i can really tell the difference between the two...

this reminds me of the talk about people using carbon rods vs. people using fiber rods, the later ones asking specifically for fiber rods because, having such fast reflexes, with a carbon rod they can feel the fish and set the hook too fast and too early therefore pulling the lure out right from between the 2nd and 3rd premolar on the upper jaw of the predator, and using a fiber rod, they would get a few 1/...... of a second delay in setting the hook and making a good set. personally, i don't have such fast reflexes, and i am very happy because of that.

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Thanks for the explanation Soupysayso. Each of us finds joy in some part of the lure making process, for you it is in the "details". You made me realize too that I am not as much the spaz I thought I was for perfection, lol.

I respect your lure-building process, you have certainly done your homework, and reading different routes to the same ending (a cool lure) is how we learn. I will add though that some of the variation you strive to eliminate is exactly what I find most appealing. Wood is alive, and feeling a lure take shape in your hands is where the fun is at for me. By removing the wood from the center of the lure, you're removing the very "heart" of the critter.....in my humble opinion.

The measurements I make while building a lure are done to provide predictability, not certainty. If I were so serious as to want the wall thickness of my lures to be within .001mm, I would take out a bank loan, purchase machined molds, and begin plastic injection molding.

Why fool with wood? Sounds like you would very much enjoy the results from molds as they provide repeatability and precision, right down to the fingerprint you left on the prototype. I like them too for production, but for just "good ole traditional lure building fun", wood is impossible to beat.

Thank you for the exchange and best regards,

Jed

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:lol: See what happens when I can't fish? My brain gets spinning and I create things to do in spare time. Maybe I should just go get a second job or increase my client load.

Anyhow, radu, I completely understand that the Japanese put a lot of time, money, and research into their designs. Heck, I just want to play around because one never knows when they will stumble upon something. I am not trying to put down the Japanese tackle makers in anyway, in fact, I respect them to the utmost because they are always pushing the envelope in design and creativity, by necessity it seems. Maybe they're just good at catching fisherman, whereby more of us should pay attention to what they're doing if we plan to sell our own lures.

For me, I like to try to emulate a bait first. For example, I would buy a Japanese lure, take it apart, see what makes it tick, and see if I can repeat it, yes using wood. That's the fun in it for me. Then let's say I come up with a great design later that I think will generate interest. I could always add some fancy deal like this into the design and it might catch fisherman as much as fish, what the heck, ya know?

I don't wish to use magnets in the typical sense, rather use the fact that magnets repel each other to my advantage....never allowing a sliding weight in a jerkbait to come to rest, at least in theory. If it works I'm a genius, if it doesn't, I've wasted about another month and fishing season is that much closer! That's where I stand I guess. Radu, I appreciate the honestly about the Japanese industry, I'm learning more about it everytime I read one of your posts. Jed, one of these days when I have enough finished baits, I'd love to swap some with ya. I've gotta master the airbrush first though. By the way, what river does the Riverman roam?

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Would be happy to exchange lures with you as well Soupysayso. I am about where you are with the paint, much to learn.

And to answer your question, I live in Northeastern Oregon and make my living working with rivers. Beyond that I spend any free time I can chasing salmon and steelhead on a long list of rivers near my home. Tomorrow is one of those days, will be backing some plugs down the river for steelhead at first light.

Best Regards,

Jed

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