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Net Man

Want To Compare Notes On Making Balsa Baits

9 posts in this topic

Net Man    10

Hope everyone had a great Thanks Giving.

I wanted to compare some notes on building a balsa crankbait.

This is how I go about doing it:

>I cut out the body and put the 2 halves together with pins. I sand the edges to fine tune the shape. I put a harness in the bait and glue the halves together. Let the glue dry for a day.

>I cut the slot for the bill while the sides are flat. Than I start shaping the body to the desired shape.

>I drill a hole in the bottom between the bill slot and the hook hanger and add the weight.

>I insert the bill and coat the bait with D2T to seal it up.

>I test the bait to make sure it will swim true.

>If the bait has a good test than I start the painting process

What do you guys do that I don't or what do I do the you don't. I am still learning and always looking for a better and easier way to do this. This is where we learn and grow as bait builders so give your thoughts please.

Thank you

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BobP    805

That's pretty much how I do mine, with minor variations. I shape and sand the bait before I cut it in half with a single edge razor blade on a center line scribed with a compass after cutting out the bait. I glue it up with 5 min epoxy, so minimal wait time afterward. The lip gets mounted with D2T after I paint the bait. Some custom builders (e.g., D-bait) use copper wire for the wire frame, I think because it's much easier and quicker to shape. I use soft temper stainless 'safety wire' .040" for the same reason. Easy to bend accurately, no problem with corrosion, and it's a little stronger than copper. It performs great. Since I don't mount the lip before painting, I insert a "false lip" cut from Lexan or circuit board in the lip slot while painting. It serves as a 'handle' to grab with locking forceps while painting. A little masking tape over it if required to get a friction fit, and a hole drilled in it so I can hang the bait up between color shots. The false lip also keeps paint out of the lip slot so you aren't gluing the lip onto latex paint.

Edited by BobP

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A-Mac    51

I take my balsa plank and cut it in half.

Then glue the 2 halves together with super glue gel (lightly but zig zag it throughout the entire plank)

I then trace my stencil/s for lures on the plank.

I cut out the lures from the planks (this keeps every lure halve perfectly symmetrical to the one it will be glued too)

I take a razor and pop apart the lure (this is very easy to do since you should have put the glue on lightly).

I then insert my wire and carve out the area for my weight (insert weight).

Glue the lure thoroughly back together and clamp for a few minutes (super glue only takes a few minutes and it really digs into the wood for a solid glue).

I then cut the slot for the lip while the lure is still square.

proceed to sand the lure.

spray 3m adhesive on the lure and cover each side separately with foil. (trim access foil before doing the next side)

apply a light clear coat

paint

insert lip

final clear w/ d2t

The benefit of gluing 2 halves of a plank together is that the densities of each half of wood will be similar. No 2 planks are the same. I ruined about 15 lures one time by gluing 2 separate planks together. I think only 1 worked out of the bunch. I'd say this is my biggest tip.

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Net Man    10

Guys,

This is very cool. I did not know if I was on the right track. I will make about 6 baits at a time and from time to time I get some that will not run at all. But I know that I am on the right track and just need keep working on it. Thanks for the imput.

I have been using .031" wire. Is this to small? I do make a thru harness but is that nessary? What is the easiest way to put a line tie in the bill for a deep diver? Scud_1.jpg

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benton B    18

I'm a little different in that I do not do a full wire harness. I cut the lip slot first then cut out the bait. Mark the center and drill a weight port, hook hanger, and line tie. I carve and sand the bait to shape, then install the hardware including the lip. 2 coats of super glue and 1 coat of epoxy for sealing. Then tape off the lip for primer and paint.

I make my own hangers and line ties from twisted ss wire or brass cotter pins.

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Vodkaman    887

Net Man, From what I remember from doing pull tests on 0.031 wire, the loop starts to distort to an oval shape at around 10Lbs. Of course that does not mean that a 10Lb fish is your limit unless you try to lift it out of the water, then you would probably break your rod. If you are using musky gear, then a thicker wire will be more suitable.

If I had to put a figure on it, Anything less than density 0.2gm/cm3 requires a through wire harness. So this means anything less than the denser balsas. If you buy model shop balsa, this will almost certainly need through wire. The wood that I use is minimum 0.25gm/cm3 and I am very comfortable with twisted wire eyes, similar to balsa, called albesia, grown locally here in Indonesia. Cut a test piece and perform a pull test of your own, to be sure. Door frame - string - lure - string - bucket, slowly fill with measured litres of water. 1 litre weighs 2.2Lb.

Dave

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IslandBass    0

I have made one by gluing two halves together, but my last few baits were made from blocks. As a result of the block being thick enough, there was no need to glue two halves together. The shape of the bait was made from the block.

I did use a through wire frame also, and I think I used .031" wire, that would be used in making inline spinner wire shafts.

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baitmaker2    0

I never use the through wire technique. I use twisted stainless wire for the rear hook hanger and stainless cotter pins inserted into lead egg sinkers as a belly weight. I glue both the rear hook hanger and the belly weight in with devcon 2t epoxy. After letting the epoxy cure I finish sand the blank and apply a sealer. I then prime and paint. Glue lip in place with devcon 2t. let cure and then apply my clear coat. To me a through wire is additional work that doesn't add any pluses to my baits.

If I am making a shallow diver or a deeper diver I always put my line tie in my lip and never in the body of the bait.

I have been using this technique for almost 20 years and have never had a hook hanger, lip or a belly weight pull out. I have taken catfish over 35 pounds, stripers up to 27 pounds, largemouth bass up to 9 pounds and smallmouth up to 6 pounds and countless 20 pound plus white perch on my baits throughout the years and have not had one fail nor has anyone who has used any of my baits had one to fail from the hardware, clear coats yes but not hardware.. I also purchase most of my balsa from a hobby store and choose my wood more from grain patterns and absence of knots than I do with density.

I have actually conducted tests using different amounts of sand in a 5 gallon bucket to determine the pressure it takes to pull one of my hook hangers or belly weights out and the split ring always give way before my hardware fails.

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