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Making Mold Masters?
2 replies to this topic
Posted 04 January 2010 - 01:26 AM
I've been making my own hand carved lures for a few years on and off. I am now to the point where it is consuming me and I love it. I want to move from making wooden baits to molding my own from resin. I thought I would be able to just mold a carved wooden bait, but that has proved very difficult to make a perfect master. It is too much work to keep carving wood, messing it up, and then having to start all over. I was thinking maybe, get a bunch of dense styrofoam to carve? That way, baits can be quickly shaped and detailed, and if you mess it up, no big deal. The reason wood is so difficult is because I'm trying to make multi-segmented swimbaits with integrated hinges for joints. I was wondering how others have gone about this? Or even how big name lure companies go about making prototypes and how they shape their mold masters?
Posted 04 January 2010 - 02:47 AM
To carve a perfect master for the molding process is difficult, even a plain master with no detail. Because it is going to be responsible for the appearance of hundreds or even thousands of your baits in the future, it deserves the time taken to get it absolutely right.
The master, as you rightly stated, does not have to be wood, can be of anything that you can carve and/or shape. If you choose to use wood, pick a timber that is easy to carve, like basswood or jelutong. A google search on "carving woods" will give you more suggestions.
Just because you get the lip crooked, no need to start over. Use some filler or inset another piece of wood. It is OK for the master to look like a patchwork quilt, how it looks is not important, it is how it casts.
You can take the master to an almost finished stage, omitting the really fiddly details that may spoil the master, then make a mold. Then you can work on the cast sub-masters to get your final 'master piece'. This way, if you are not happy, you don't have to start from scratch. You could even continue working on the original master, the mold that you made will be like hitting the save button after typing four pages of text.
I have made sub-masters from Plaster of Paris, mixed with a little Elmers. Plaster of Paris is easy to work with once completely dried out. Sealed with several coats of thinned Elmers and a top coat of thinned epoxy, it makes an acceptable master.
I find that making the mold half way, takes the pressure off a little, allowing you more creative freedom. It also allows you to try out different ideas, such as depth of the details. Once the final lure is cast, painted and top coated, you may find that a lot of detail is lost and you wish you had carved it a little deeper.
I am not a detail carver, but I have made a lot of wierd and wonderful masters, using the above ideas and I am sure more ideas nurtured from experience will be forth comming.
Posted 04 January 2010 - 08:42 AM
resin will allow you to make baits with a lot more detail than wood baits because it is not as brittle but the general shape of your preform will be the same. so if you carve the preform like you would any other swimbait then you can make a mold of the preform. then when you get a bait swimming (no paint or sealer) you can disassemble it and mold your individual sections. this will give you the option of later making baits with different amounts of joints from the same profile.