pikester

Balsa Cushioning?

14 posts in this topic

Hey fellas, I like to challenge myself by building through-wire balsa baits for pike & big walleye once in a while & am starting another one tonight. My question is what do you guys use for a working platform when doing your 2 piece balsa baits? I use 2 pieces of 3/8" balsa lightly glue-tacked together, then cut, shaped, & sanded. Then I carefully split the pieces apart then do my wire, weighting, rattles, etc. The problem is that I usually just set my halves down on the table so I can do all the insetting & hollowing for all my hardware (with die grinder) the when I'm done & ready to glue everything back together, I inevitably have all kinds of little indents & pits in the finish surface of the wood which of course means I have to spend another half hour filling & sanding again to get a silky smooth finish like before :angry:

I tried using a towel underneath but then I still ended up with marking on the surfaces. Thought about trying styrofoam or hard foam of some kind but I thought I would ask some experienced lure builders here first, save myself some more hassle maybe! Thanks, John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just taking a shot in the dark here, but after shaping the bait and splitting the two halves couldn't you apply a sealer or wood hardener to the outside of them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say mark your two pieces first with the profile of your lure. Then do your channels for through wire. That way you cant cut out the profile after the wire channels are made. The length and width would not change to much through the rounding out process. Just my 2 cents, I have not made many balsa cranks, but I have used two pieces of wood like you have.

One other way you could do it, is to mark the centerline of your blank, make a cut, round it out, then slide your wire harness in with epoxy. That way you can just fill the cut. I am sure there are some more experienced members who might have some more tricks, but this is just what comes to mind.

I have actually seen on hgtv a way to get dents out of wood, although I have never tried it. The show I saw had someone put a drop of water ion the dent, then when the wood swells the dent comes back up.

Edited by atrophius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

If I want to protect a surface whilst working on it I use a non slip matting like the one in the link. Its cheap enough and comes in rolls. It also helps to grip the work piece. I would think you could get this stuff in most hardwear/household stores.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/images/full/n21cx.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the ideas fellas, I did end up dunking the halves in hardener first then I found a chunk of styrofoam house wrap which worked all right but the non-skid shelf foam might be better. So far so good ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of what I make is balsa thru-wire. After cutting my lure blanks, the first thing I do is install my harness. Next, while the blank is still square, I cut my lip slot and drill my ballast holes, after which I epoxy my ballast in place. Then, I shape my lure, seal it, and finish from there. After sanding, my lures are held by hemostats.

I have never considered doing these steps in any other order.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of what I make is balsa thru-wire. After cutting my lure blanks, the first thing I do is install my harness. Next, while the blank is still square, I cut my lip slot and drill my ballast holes, after which I epoxy my ballast in place. Then, I shape my lure, seal it, and finish from there. After sanding, my lures are held by hemostats.

I have never considered doing these steps in any other order.

Interesting, I thought about doing it that way but couldn't wrap my head around how to get all that sanding done having to work around all the hook loops, line tie, etc. I guess I just don't have much patience lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, I thought about doing it that way but couldn't wrap my head around how to get all that sanding done having to work around all the hook loops, line tie, etc. I guess I just don't have much patience lol

Pikester,

I ran into the same problems as you did (lack of patience, maybe some laziness ? :)

Now, I am sure you would like to shape and sand a blank without having to bother about wire eyes, wouldn't you?

So here's how I do it in the case of a through wire blank.

1) This will be a very small crankbait, only 4 cm in length (about 1 1/2 "), to which I will put only one treble hook. If there are 2 trebles, or even 3, the process should be the same.

Here are the 2 halves. The wood is almost as light as balsa.

http://s84.photobucket.com/albums/k5/rofish_2006/?action=view&current=throughwire01.jpg&newest=1

2) The through wire

http://s84.photobucket.com/albums/k5/rofish_2006/?action=view&current=throughwire01.jpg&newest=1

3) Keeping the wire sandwiched, I put the blank in a small vise, and press the 2 halves together. Channels from the wire will form in the 2 halves

http://s84.photobucket.com/albums/k5/rofish_2006/?action=view&current=throughwire03.jpg&newest=1

4) To better see the channels, I mark them with a pen, then I enlarge the channels using a milling (I guess) to be used on a rotary power tool, Dremel type. Too much fuss about installing the power tool, so I get quicker results if I use the small tool by hand

http://s84.photobucket.com/albums/k5/rofish_2006/?action=view&current=throughwire04.jpg&newest=1

5) Keeping the 2 halves together in the vise, I drill 2 holes, with a diameter slightly smaller than the diameter of a toothpick. After inserting the toothpicks, the blank will look like this

http://s84.photobucket.com/albums/k5/rofish_2006/?action=view&current=throughwire04.jpg&newest=1

6) I cut the toothpicks flush with the wood, take the 2 halves apart, and the toothpicks will remain in one half (it may also be the case that each half has that piece of toothpick in it). I round off the edge of the toothpick at the top, by sanding a little bit, so that when I put the halves together the toothpick is somehow selfcentered into the opposite holes. Here you can see that one of the holes is a little bit too close to the channel for the wire, but I checked it out, and everything fits well.

http://s84.photobucket.com/albums/k5/rofish_2006/?action=view&current=throughwire06.jpg&newest=1

Next I have to cut the lipslot and make a hole for the lead, either horizontally or vertically. Being so small, this crankbait requires just a small amount of weight.

And now I can shape and sand the blank much easier than if I had glued the wire before shaping. The 2 pieces of toothpicks will keep the 2 halves together in the same position. After sanding, you can glue the wire between the 2 halves, and go on from here, without having to worry about having sanded the wire as well.

For big crankbaits, you could just adapt the idea (more toothpicks ? :) )

I tried to attach images, but it didn't work for me, so I had to upload images on photobucket first.

Edited by rofish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see, thanks for the tutorial Rofish! I actually do a very similar process (including using the same die grinder bit!), except for using the toothpicks as locator dowels, I like that! Still kinda leaves me with the same predicament though, after shaping & sanding the bodies I have to spit them in half & lay them down to install the hook harness, lead, rattles, etc. I realise that with smaller lures like you describe it's easy enough just to let the hardware half rest in your hand to do everything, then glue it but most of my balsa bait are 6"-9" long & include 1 to 1&1/2 oz of weight as well as a long harness, & a couple rattles so that's not an option. I guess that is the point where I'm stumbling. I just have to be careful I guess to keep my work area clean of things that can divot my surfaces, as well as doing a coat or two of sealer to firm it up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, I thought about doing it that way but couldn't wrap my head around how to get all that sanding done having to work around all the hook loops, line tie, etc. I guess I just don't have much patience lol

I would not have the patience to do it your way or Rofish's method...

"how to get all that sanding done having to work around all the hook loops, line etc"

There is a line tie, and there are two hook hangers barely protruding from the lure. There is no etc. The ballast is glued inside the bait. There is not really any sanding around any of it, mostly sanding up to them, and is the least time consuming aspect of the whole bait building process. Not only that, but I can glue my halves together in a small woodworking vice, five lures at a time, and would not be able to do that if they were already sanded, without distorting the lure bodies. It is not nearly so problematic as you have imagined. If it were so, I would have found another method several years ago!

Edited by Lure--Prof

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would not have the patience to do it your way or Rofish's method...

"how to get all that sanding done having to work around all the hook loops, line etc"

There is a line tie, and there are two hook hangers barely protruding from the lure. There is no etc. The ballast is glued inside the bait. There is not really any sanding around any of it, mostly sanding up to them, and is the least time consuming aspect of the whole bait building process. Not only that, but I can glue my halves together in a small woodworking vice, five lures at a time, and would not be able to do that if they were already sanded, without distorting the lure bodies. It is not nearly so problematic as you have imagined. If it were so, I would have found another method several years ago!

By etc I meant that sometimes I incorporate a metal tail fin & possibly a vertical fin of some sorts, I just didn't feel like elaborating at the time, sorry. When you take into account a line tie, two or even 3 hook hangers ( on the 9"), plus a tail & dorsal fin, that is a lot to sand around. None the less, you have convinced me to give it a try, will attempt it on my next one, thanks.

Edited by pikester

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By etc I meant that sometimes I incorporate a metal tail fin & possibly a vertical fin of some sorts, I just didn't feel like elaborating at the time, sorry. When you take into account a line tie, two or even 3 hook hangers ( on the 9"), plus a tail & dorsal fin, that is a lot to sand around. None the less, you have convinced me to give it a try, will attempt it on my next one, thanks.

I will say that most of my larger lures (over 5 inches) are not balsa, but harder woods where I am more likely to simply cut a channel into the bait in which to glue my harness, but I still do that before shaping.

I was just going by the bait in your avatar, but even when I build muskie and striper baits, I never find it a problem. By all means do whatever you're most comfortable with, but for the sake of first time thru-wire balsa lure builders who may be influenced by this thread, I felt a responsibility to share what experience has shown me to be the easiest, most straightforward method of building thru-wires. I think you'll find it easier than you think!

:yay:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say that most of my larger lures (over 5 inches) are not balsa, but harder woods where I am more likely to simply cut a channel into the bait in which to glue my harness, but I still do that before shaping.

I was just going by the bait in your avatar, but even when I build muskie and striper baits, I never find it a problem. By all means do whatever you're most comfortable with, but for the sake of first time thru-wire balsa lure builders who may be influenced by this thread, I felt a responsibility to share what experience has shown me to be the easiest, most straightforward method of building thru-wires. I think you'll find it easier than you think!

:yay:

I hear what you're saying, thanks I will give it a go! BTW, just as a point of interest, the crank in my avatar is a 4" from red cedar :P

Edited by pikester

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now