Sealing Balsa Before Painting?
27 replies to this topic
Posted 24 May 2010 - 02:41 PM
I've been making some new balsa crankbaits and I was wondering what I needed to use to seal the bare balsa before I paint them or even if I need to. I plan on spraying the base coat with createx opaque white. Thanks
Posted 24 May 2010 - 04:48 PM
In my experience you have basically 2 choices; either dip in proportionate several times or like most of the guys seem to do you can mix up some epoxy (Devcon 2 ton usually), thin it with denatured alcohol, then brush on. I find the proportionate dip makes for a nice base to paint on but it doesn't really penetrate into the wood. It just kind of creates a plastic coating, but the nice thing is each coat dries reasonably quick & is relatively cheap compared to Devcon. The thinned Devcon 2 ton is much more durable, actually penetrates a little more but takes longer to dry, & is pricier to use. I think you would be wasting your time to build a balsa bait & not seal it properly before painting but it's your choice!
Just as an aside, the type of paint you use might have some determining effect on how you seal. I use water base paints like Createx & it seems to me that it adheres better to the epoxy sealer than it does to the proportionate sealer. Just my opinion though, there are more experienced guys than me who will hopefully chime in
Edited by pikester, 24 May 2010 - 04:54 PM.
Posted 24 May 2010 - 05:08 PM
Proportionate is easier but not as good IMHO. Once a hook rashes throught the topcoat and plastic then the balsa is exposed and your lure destroyed. I do use proportionate still just cause i have som left but once its gone i will not buy more. Go with Devcon if you care or expect to use the lure a few times.
Posted 24 May 2010 - 05:20 PM
I should have also mentioned that I have heard good things about Minwax Sanding Sealer. I just bought some and have not used it yet but expect good results. Also, with as soft as Balsa is I heard some people using Minwax Wood Hardner as a sealant... It seals the wood but also hardens it. The stuff is used to restore rotting wood and can be had at most home improvement stores.
Posted 24 May 2010 - 08:43 PM
X3 on using epoxy with balsa. It can be One Stop Shopping. Put the bait together with epoxy. Undercoat and strengthen the wood with epoxy thinned with denatured alcohol. Paint it with acrylic paint and then topcoat it with unthinned epoxy. You end up with a very durable crankbait.
Posted 25 May 2010 - 04:09 AM
Any kind of liquid will better penetrate a material if the liquid is thinner. Propionate solution is much thinner than thinned epoxy, so it will go deeper into the material. There are tons of information on this site about the penetration process of propionate solution into light wood, such as balsa, and the ways to achieve this. On the other hand, I think you do not want a through penetration of the wood by a sealing material, because the problems it can create (the solution deep inside the wood will not dry up completely, leaving some solvent inside the lure, which is surely a bad thing). Also, such deep penetrating solution can change the density of the light wood). Anyway, I stopped playing around with the idea of sealing the wood deep inside the lure).
Devcon 2T is a tougher material, and it has the advantage of leveling out the surface, and I'm not saying that you cannot achieve a smooth surface using propionate solution. But epoxy is heavier than water, and you'll need to use it again as a topcoat, which might again change the density of the whole lure. So this is your call. Any sense in what I am saying?
Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:34 AM
I think I'm going to give the thinnned Devcon a try since that is what I'm using as a top coat now on other lures that I'm painting. I just didn't know what to do with the bare balsa and I kinda thought that it needed to be sealed in some way. Thanks for all the help. I'm in the process of trying to copy the old bagleys BB I, II, III and the DB I, II, III. I will try and post some pictures on here when I get one done.
Edited by balsabee, 25 May 2010 - 09:36 AM.
Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:17 AM
Epoxy vs Propionate vs ?? - JMHO, whatever toughens and waterproofs balsa is good and the choice among products falls to the builder, to determine which works with the rest of his build and to his satisfaction. Building durable balsa baits for myself in one reason I started in the hobby. I use thinned Devcon Two Ton or propionate dissolved in acetone and both adhere well and result in a very smooth surface to paint. Which I use on a particular batch depends mostly on whim. With epoxy, application is straightforward but I sometimes need to sand out rough spots that develop over end grain areas and add a second coat of epoxy to get a glass smooth surface that I'm sure is 100% waterproof. Dipping in propionate gets to a ready-to-paint bait (with 7-8 dips) quicker but the dipping process itself is a little more fussy. I don't have any data to indicate which method is more durable. I haven't tried sanding sealers, etc because I'm unsure of their durability and waterproofness. Besides waterproofing for fishing durability, I have an ulterior motive for good undercoating. I use a hair dryer to speed dry acrylic paint and if there are any weak areas, the heat will expand the air in the wood and cause unsightly paint bubbles.
Edited by BobP, 25 May 2010 - 10:18 AM.
Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:26 PM
Not to dispute your knowledge Rofish but one of the balsa cranks I made 2 seasons ago got nearly torn in half by a big pike last fall so it gave me chance to really see what was happening under the surface of my lures so to speak. Although I couldn't peel the proportionate off the wood with my fingernail (which is obviously a good sign) I saw no sign what so ever that the prop had penetrated the wood at all. Perhaps I'm mixing my proportionate too thick? Your thoughts on deep penetration potentially being a bad thing makes a lot of sense, never thought about that.
One of my biggest concerns about using an epoxy sealer is exactly what you mention; the weight factor after putting a coat of sealer on, then maybe 2 more top coats or even 3 if your leveling out a foil bait! I guess a guy would just have to learn by trial & error how to compensate for the added weight when originally building the lure.
Posted 26 May 2010 - 05:48 AM
First let my say BIG HELO to all TU comunity... Im new to this site and still browsing trough Hb forum. I must say im suprised that ,
u guys and girls dont involve Celluloid in discusion. Real old scool wod sealer and in my opinion one of the best sealers that u can get
It have Hardnes, its easy to use, u can use all cind of paints and most seealers. And it have RIGHT FLEXYBILITY and will protect jour wood from penetration and will not aflict boyance to much or not at all
In my country it is most popular sealer. In Japan too among small time crafters.
It is easy to obtain (Most off Table tennis balls ar still made out of Celluloid)
It is easy to make. Disolve some table tennis balls in acetone to get a bit ticker than milk solution .Disolving time is obout 4-5h if u stire it from time to time
Its easy to use. Dip in and hold in until bubles stop to show (aproc 2min), let it dry 20-25 min and dip agen. Reapeet proces 4-5 times
and let it dry 1day to alow all aceton to evaporate and u will have great protection
Now im not saying its the best sealer.. Im not that dum.Try it and maybee u will like it
Sory on my bad English
Edited by Tref, 26 May 2010 - 05:53 AM.
Posted 26 May 2010 - 06:33 AM
1) Here's a simple method for a deep penetration of the wood using propionate solution, if you want to try it. The solution has to have the consistency of milk (more or less). Keep the wooden lure submerged for about 1 week in propionate solution. To do this, you can find many ways. For instance, you can make a coil of wire between the lid of the jar and the lure at the bottom of the jar. Any method is good as long as it keeps the lure submerged. See what happens, and see if you can dry up the lure completely.
2) If you are after big pikes, balsa wood is not the best choice, I think, and I also think that there are others here thinking this way.
3) I make photofinish crankbaits. There are bumps at the surface, due to the fact that the contact glue I use dries up too fast, and the foil has many wrinkles, which I cannot smooth out completely. One coat of thinned Devcon 2T is usually enough to level out the surface, but if it isn't, I would sand the epoxy, thus helping the second layer of thinned epoxy to do its job - perfectly leveling out the surface.
You don't know this, but a similar discussion about celluloid went here some years ago. People do not seem to know what celluloid is, because it was one of the first plastics ever created, and it is no longer in use for many years now, except for table tennis balls perhaps. I remember that combs used to be made out of celluloid at the time when I was a child. Celluloid burns out quickly if fire is put on it. I would also like to try celluloid, but cannot find it anymore. I would like to have the clear variety, not the white or orange one (I have not seen clear table tennis balls yet). Hope you do not live in Romania, as I do ....
Edited by rofish, 26 May 2010 - 06:35 AM.
Posted 26 May 2010 - 11:06 AM
Let me first say I fish for freshwater bass in SoCal, so toothy fish, other than strippers, aren't an issue for me.
I'm impatient, so, when I was repainting some Bagely balsa lures, I used runny crazy glue to seal them, because it dries fast.
After I'd scraped and sanded off all the old paint to bare wood, I held the tip of the crazy glue bottle agains the lure and let the glue run down and around it, until it was covered. After it was dry, maybe 5 minutes later, I put on another coat.
I waited another 5 minutes+- until the glue was dry.
Then I wet sanded it, and started painting.
I used Nu Lustre 55 epoxy, one coat, as a top coat, and they have held up fine for three years.
I do T my belly trebles, so they don't put any hook rash on the lures.
Or I use Triple grips, which seem to do less damage to the finish.
Edited by mark poulson, 26 May 2010 - 11:09 AM.
Posted 26 May 2010 - 12:15 PM
Mark, I thought about trying CA but, besides the cost, I had visions of balsa baits stuck permanently to my fingers. Then my fingers wouldn't fit in various orifices where they are needed
Posted 26 May 2010 - 02:23 PM
I seal balsa with epoxy, but do not dilute it, as I find epoxies gain plenty of tooth without thinning. I used E-tex for several years almost exclusively because of its impact resistance as opposed to epoxies like Devcon 2-ton which have a greater tendency to crack upon impact. Lately i've been experimenting with different epoxies, including Bob Smith's Finish Coat, which can be found privately labeled by many hobby stores. It has a very slow cure time, not unlike E-tex, so it must be rotated, but cures a bit firmer quicker. It cures very clear, and bubbles release from it easily; and it has a much longer pot life than 2-ton enabling the user to seal several lures from a single mixing. I buy mine at Hobbytown, and have seen it privately labled in various catalogs too. Regardless of the store brand names, the one I'm using is always sub-labled as "Finish Cure". It can also be applied thinner than 2-Ton. I've been pleased so far with the results using it as a seal coat.
Some of his other epoxies are also sub-labled as "Quick-Cure", "Mid Cure" , and "Slow Cure". The "Mid Cure" is a good bonding glue, curing faster than 2-Ton, but slower than 5-minute. No doubt, the Finish-Cure is the slowest-curing of the bunch.
I also like the strength that epoxies give balsa. CA glue really penetrates balsa and adds a lot of strength, but at the price of some buoyancy, and grain-raising. Epoxy does a better job of sealing the surface airtight than does CA.
There are a lot of epoxies on the market with different properties, and many of them are better than Devcon 2-Ton for particular applications. While I think 2-Ton is perfect for gluing in ballast, I prefer U-40's Rod Bond for gluing thru-wired bodies together, because it will flex without cracking.
Posted 26 May 2010 - 02:42 PM
I wish I had thought of that before.....
The good new was, after I finally got my finger out, I didn't have to worry about nose hairs on that side for a month.
Seriously, I don't do that many balsa repaints, so I don't worry about the cost. Zap crazy glue, in the larger bottles, goes a long way.
I always hold the bait by a forceps attached to the belly or tail hanger. Now I do, that is.....
Posted 26 May 2010 - 06:42 PM
Use a food serving glove or plastic baggie around your hand to spread the CA and a little goes a long way... I like to use CA when I am in a hurry but is does cost a bit more than other methods... I use the knock off CA from any hobby store that goes for about $5 per bottle (think its an oz)... I could probably get about 10 cranks outta that with 1 coat each.
Posted 26 May 2010 - 10:49 PM
I like 1 coat of CA followed by a coat of epoxy for a smooth surface to paint. I've been using this method on balsa cranks for 5yrs now and have no complaints.
Posted 27 May 2010 - 03:10 PM
Yes, I've done that, and that method is a keeper also...it makes for a strong bait. One of my personal go-to shallow cranks that I did like that a few years ago, is always on a rod!
Dean Feb. 2010 011.jpg 16.26KB 62 downloads
Posted 27 May 2010 - 04:33 PM
Thanks for the pointers on proportionate, I may try the long dip idea! As far as balsa not being the best material for pike, you are absolutely right. Thing is the action you get from a balsa bait (even big ones like I make) is uncomparable to any type of hardwood. I have several Rapalas in my box which even though chewed to a pulp will still outfish anything else I can throw! My fishing buddy has a Super Shad Rap which is missing the back 1/3 of it's body & almost no paint to speak of & that thing still gets the biggest pike for him
Posted 29 May 2010 - 09:27 PM
I agree about the action you get from balsa pikester: and the thing is, you'll be able to build the toughest balsa baits around, much more so than anything available commercially, with the tips here. You can toughen balsa up a bunch with the CA glue, etc, and still retain that great action. Good luck!