atrophius

Balsa and swimbaits...

11 posts in this topic

I am new here and have done a search on balsa swimbaits. I saw a couple threads that mentioned both keywords, but none that discussed its strength for it. My questions is, is balsa structurally strong enough to hold the twisted wire eyelets?

I have gone through a number of attempted baits while trying to get one that swims! (a lot of trial and error on hinges) So I switched to balsa from poplar because the time to make a lure is considerably lower using balsa. Any suggestions are most appreciated.

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Given the size and species that swimbaits target, likely no.

-But-

You can through wire, so that the stress in on the wire, or use a harder dowel of another type of wood.

The issue is the bond the wires make the the balsa fibers. the more contact, the better, as the wire wont break, nor will the epoxy. It's the bond between epoxy and superficial wood fibers...

Clemmy

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while type of material can make a difference and hinges are important, I believe your problem with the bait not swimming is probally related to line tie location, the shape of the bait, the position of the balast or maybe all three. At least this is what I see most of the time.

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Swimbaits are not the easiest bait to start off with. But now that you have already built a few, why not post pics and see if someone can help you fix them. Nothing to lose except more time, but experience will be the reward.

Balsa is available in different densities. You need the denser, heavier version if your twisted eyes are to have any chance of holding. Steer clear of balsa for model aircraft, it is way too light and will require through wiring.

If you are not sure of the strength, do what John did and set up a pull test. I use a bucket of water as the load rather than scales. one litre of water weighs 1Kg, so it is easy to find the load weight.

Dave

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Thanks, vodka and J. I think that is the balsa i bought. it comes apart so easy. I could run a knife through it grainwise. The gill plate even broke off while trying to fit the ballast in one of them. I will try and upload some pics this evening. I have a couple that are clear coated for water testing.

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I carve most of my designs out of balsa first.. then get a general idea how they will work in the test tank.. if I see their is potential then I take it apart and mold it.. once its molded you can do lots more testing or trial and error.. plus you dont have to do all the carving work again.. if you screw up a molded part drilling holes etc.. you can just mold it again.. plus you will find you can get different action and different designs out of the same body style..

my newest swimbait I call the moonshiner.. I have made crankbaits out of it. topwater walk the dog baits.. 2 part swimbaits and 3 part and even 4.. so never get down if it fails from the beginning.. just keep messing with it.. :yay: Some of my best baits that I use alot now were duds when I first started... I went back to them later when I learned something new and fix the problem with simple line tie placement or weight..

Good Luck and I wish success with your new baits.

The Rookie

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I see what ya mean Rookie. The swimming action of the lure I made not working, is mostly do to the balsa I think. I noticed the middle section was so bouyant, that it would impinge the top of the 1st and middle section. I tried adding weight to the middle section, but I think I had to add so much that it dampered any swimming. Very valid point though about molding. I could always mold this one and play more with it.

I do think this one has potential, its just that the balsa is stringy where I drilled my hinge holes and its hard to get it all out for free swinging eyelets.

What are some other dense woods that people use for swimbaits? I think I should try a wood that is more forgiving of a drill hole or cut. Plus the bouyancy of balsa is almost to hard to overcome for a slow sinker/surface level lure without putting a lip on it from what I have seen.

How is the density/bouyancy of the plastics used?

I am at work now, but will load the pictures later.

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I do not think that the lead added to the balsa was the cause of the problem. By adding lots of lead, all you did was increase the average density to the same level as a heavier wood and they swim fine.

Also, the bait will swim best if it is submerged and not breaking the surface. I am not saying that a body touching the surface will not swim, but the water needs to be flowing over/around the nose to create the action.

I noticed when testing cranks in a swimming pool, that if the bait got too close to the bottom, the action was totally killed. It is this phenomenom in reverse, that I am thinking about in this case.

A heavier wood or a molded plastic is an all round better choice. All I am suggesting is that by pushing the work you have already completed, you have a chance to learn. We only learn from failures, not successes.

The specific gravity (sg water = 1.00) of featherlite plastic (trade name) is 0.67 so any wood of similar density would be a good choice. If you go too heavy with the wood, you lose the flexibility of adding enough ballast to control stability.

Dave

Edited by Vodkaman

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Well, my camera battery is dead, and I cant find the charger. Figures. I am going to play with it more and post it when I can. Thanks for all the input.

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