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Help With Balsa
4 replies to this topic
Posted 07 November 2009 - 05:03 PM
Hello guys! I am going to make some of my own balsa baits and was wandering what the best sealer to use would be.My main concern is the baits cracking.I would really like to use something that makes the baits hard.I use lacquuer paints and clear with a polyeurethane.Would I have to worry about the baits cracking if I sealed with an epoxy or Dick Nites?Thanks for any help!
Posted 07 November 2009 - 09:11 PM
For the most durable waterproof undercoating, I recommend epoxy. It reinforces and hardens balsa extremely well. I use 30 minute epoxy glue (Devcon Two Ton) but any "30 minute, slow cure epoxy" will probably work for undercoating. Mix the epoxy and then thin it with lacquer thinner until it is fairly thin. That helps it penetrate the surface of the wood. You need to rotate the bait for about an hour to keep it from sagging. Sand the cured epoxy with 400 grit paper to remove its gloss and smooth out any end grain areas that absorbed the epoxy differentially, then give it a second coat if needed. You end up with a very smooth hard bait. Epoxy is chemically inert so any topcoat you favor will work fine with it (including more Devcon Two Ton, unthinned or slightly thinned).
Baits crack when water gets into them. If it does, no finish will withstand the internal pressure of expanding wood. So you want 100% encapsulation of all the wood, including around the lip and hook hangers. That's why Devcon Two Ton is so popular - you can use it to undercoat, to topcoat, and to glue in the lip and hook hangers - and it's waterproof. It's one of the few "do it all" products for bait making.
Posted 09 November 2009 - 10:07 AM
I agree with Bob on the D2T, but I will tell you not all 30 minute epoxies are waterproof.
The 30 minute epoxy 'Extreme Power' sold at Hobby Lobby stores is flat out not WATERPROOF. It will soften if exposed constantly to water. This includes being left on the deck of your boat all day in rainy conditions. Not just when actually fished. In fact it will cure softer than D2T so I would track down the origins of any you try to verify if it is waterproof, or buy a small quantity and try them first if you don't use D2T or Etex. And most if ANY 5-10 minute versions are not waterproof.
Edited by 76gator, 09 November 2009 - 10:08 AM.
Posted 09 November 2009 - 01:24 PM
Yep, I should have been clearer that I was speaking about different things - undercoating vs topcoating. JMHO, undercoating on balsa is to reinforce the wood, keep wood grain from rising, and provide a hard smooth surface on which to paint. If it's waterproof, that's good but should be a moot point because it shouldn't get exposed to water in the normal course of events, because it's protected by a waterproof topcoat. When I use epoxy for undercoating, it's always Devcon because I have it on hand for topcoating and it works well in both roles. I was thinking of different practical scenarios. For instance, you might use a polyurethane topcoat instead of Devcon or ETEX. And Devcon Two Ton is getting harder to find in stores since Walmart stopped stocking it. In that case, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a different brand of slow cure 30 min epoxy and use it for undercoating. I've used Devcon for 7-10 yrs and have come to appreciate its good qualities - it's not finicky, it brushes well, it cures faster than most alternative epoxies, and it levels out great to produce a nice hard topcoat. I order it online in 9 oz bottle sets so I won't run out. But if I did run out .... Plan B
Posted 11 November 2009 - 01:08 AM
Thank you guys thats just what I was hoping you would say. I can buy it at my local hardware store.