pikester

Wood hardener tips?

8 posts in this topic

Finally found some PC-Petrifier at one of the local hardware stores which is the first single component hardener of any kind I've ever seen for sale in my part of Canada:yeah:!

Since I have no experience with this type of product, what is considered the best method of application in regards to getting good penetration, smooth finish, & efficient usage (@ $9.00/8oz can't waste!) ? Also, I realise that I will have to prime before painting so is it a good idea to put a coat of Polyacrylic, etc. to create a smooth base to paint on or will the hardener create a smooth, paintable surface?

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Pikester,

I'm assuming all hardeners share certain characteristics, like penetrating, but, since they're made by different companies, they're bound to differ, so my experiences with Minwax Wood Hardener might not apply to your product.

In general, the longer you soak the bait on the initial dipping, the deeper the hardener will penetrate, and the longer it will take the solvent to evaporate. Once you've dipped it, the wood is sealed, so another dipping is a waste, in my opinion. All it will do is soften the surface layer, since it has the same solvent as the first dipping.

Minwax uses acetone, I think. At least, that's what the cleanup tip says to use.

I test the wood to see if the solvent is completely gone after 24 hours by hitting it with a hair dryer on high for a minute. If there is still active solvent in the lure, it will bubble out of the end grain. Then I let it hang for another 24 hours, and heat test it again.

I dip my wood lures ten seconds. I tried longer, and it took forever for the solvent to leave the wood. Your product may absorb at a different rate, so you'll have to experiment.

The hardener locks the wood grain, but isn't smooth. Sand as smooth as you can before you dip, and then sand again after the hardener has cured. It penetrates the wood cells, so sanding won't make it fail.

I dip in the polyacrylic a couple of times, and the wet sand with 400 grit to try to smooth the lure completely. If it still has imperfections, you can dip it again, but it's always best to sand it as smooth as possible even before you apply the hardener.

And I wet sand after I spray on a few coats of rattle can white primer.

I've stopped trying to get my lures perfectly smooth. By the time I get the finished paint on them, and then two or three layers of topcoat, they are fine.

Imperfections aren't that noticeable, and those are what separates hand made lures from mass production stuff.

Edited by mark poulson

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Thanks Mark, your info is pretty much what I was looking for. As far as the dipping goes, how exactly do you do that; just wearing a glove & forcing the lure under a container filled with hardener or dropping the blank into a bottle of hardener, screwing a lid on then flipping the bottle back & forth a few times?

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For smaller baits that I can totally immerse, I put them the bottle of hardener, shake it up, let them float up and rest on one side for a while, and then turn them over with the other side up.

It's only for ten seconds a side, since the hardener I use is runny and soaks in really fast. Hardwoods don't absorb it as quickly, so I dip a little longer with them.

For larger baits, I hold one end, dip the other, then reverse the bait. I usually have all the ballast holes, eye recesses, and screw eye hole drilled before I dip, so I can put a screw eye part way into the part I dip first to hold the bait while I dip the second half. I use a paper clip through the screw eye to hold the lure for the second half of the dipping, and for hanging to dry. After an hour or so, I'll take the screw eye out and move it, so the hole it was in can dry, too.

I have begun making through holes at the bait's eyes, for a rattle, so I open a paper clip to 90 degrees, and stick that through the 1/4" rattle hole to hang the lure while it dries completely. The hardener has already penetrated, so handling it doesn't mess it up, like it would a top coat.

I open out a part of the newspaper and spread it beneath where I'm hanging the baits. When the top page gets covered enough with dried hardener, or top coat, I just throw it way and have another page ready for more.

Gloves are a good idea. That stuff sticks to skin really well.

Hope this helps.

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$9.00 for 8 ounces? Ouch!! Just my opinion, but I would try propionate if I were you. I wish I had tried it a lot sooner. It penetrates and seals the wood, and after a few dips it will make your baits very smooth and it is very easy to sand. It costs about $25.00 for a bag, and it is enough to make probably 2 gallons of bait dip if not more. The nice thing about it is if your clear coat and paint are penetrated, it will still protect the wood underneath.

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Balsa Butcher,

I'm sure propionate has it's good qualities, too, but I haven't had any experience with it, other than the time I tried to use a plastic salsa cup to hold some acetone, and it disloved the bottom of the cup, and left a plastic circle on the piece of wood where I had it sitting. The circle's still there, two years later, so it must work, too.

It may be the cat's meow. I just haven't actually used propionate, so I don't know how well it penetrates.

But the wood hardeners are designed to penetrate, so that's why I use them.

I first heard about the Minwax Wood Hardener from my painter, who uses it all the time on exterior wood that has begun to rot. He removes the punky part, paints the rest of the affected wood with the Minwax Hardener, and then bondo's over that, to restore the wood's surface.

His company is one of the premier painting companies in Los Angeles, and he researches everything he uses, since he has to stand behind his work. People in mansions in Bel Aire don't want to hear about why the paint job failed after a year.

So I let him do my research, and then I use what he uses.

I've soaked wood in hardener, and it has penetrated almost all the way through a 3/4" thick piece of pine in 24 hours.

The reason I don't soak lures that long is it takes a week for something with that much hardener in it to cure enough to paint.

And it's not really necessary.

Soaking soft wood, like pine, for 10 seconds or so, and harder wood, like poplar or fir, for 20-30 seconds, seems to let the wood soak up enough hardener to make it hard and waterproof. Hard enough to hold up to the actions of joints banging against each other, and the occasional encounter with rocks. And that's all I need.

Plus it's easy to use. Premixed, and stores well in a glass salsa or pasta jar. If it starts to thicken, due to loss of solvent, I just add some acetone, and it's ready to go again.

So, for me, $9 (I actually pay more here in Calif.) is a small price to pay for something that is proven and easy.

Now, in the interest of total honesty, I seldom make wood baits any more. I just made a 9" glider out of paulowinia (thank you Gene), just to see how that type of wood worked, and that's the first wood bait I've made in a year.

Ever since I've found AZEK PVC decking, I've stopped using wood. I don't make small cranks, or small poppers, so I can afford the small loss of buoyancy with PVC (it's as buoyant as poplar) for the hardness and total waterproofness (is that a word?) the comes with PVC.

Shaping and making lure bodies is easy for me, but painting is really hard for me, so I hated it when my wood baits would swell from water intrusion.

With AZEK decking, it doesn't happen any more.

Edited by mark poulson

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Excellent info as always Mark, thanks! Balsa butcher thanks for mentioning proportionate but I have used it for a few batches & not been impressed with the penetration for hardwood. It does seem to work alright on balsa baits though. Maybe I just need to thin the prop. more for hardwood?

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Mark and Pikester, I never even thought about any other wood when I posted this, isn't balsa the only thing used for bait building?:lol: I guess I am narrow minded, and should have said I have no clue how propionate works on other woods, as I have never tried it on anything other than balsa. My name is balsa butcher, you know.:teef: One of these days I want to try the AZEK for a bait, I am familiar with that product, but never considered it for a bait material. But guys, propionate really is a great product for balsa wood baits!

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