RayburnGuy

Thru-wire And Weighting Balsa

18 posts in this topic

Need your opinion on something guys. Poe's uses what I think is white cedar for their baits and the belly weight is located in such a way that the eye screw that is used for the hook hanger is simply screwed into the cylindrical lead belly weight. The weight is of course epoxied in. I know that a thru wire is the preferred way of rigging balsa, but my question is this. Given the greater circumference (and thus gluing surface) of the lead weight do you think this could be done with balsa without the risk of the hook and belly weight being torn out of the bait? The belly weight on the Poe's bait I dissected was approximately 1/4" in diameter and length and I was thinking this might be a good dimension to start with if that would provide enough surface area and strength for the epoxy/balsa bond. If I'm asking what some may feel is a stupid question please forgive me as I'm still " a babe in the woods" when it comes to lure building.

thanks guys,

Ben

Edited by RayburnGuy

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I've seen lots of custom balsa baits built without thru-wire construction. Some were fine, some fell apart. Where balsa baits usually fail is at the lip and it's usually a case of slapping the bait on the water to clear off weeds. Thru-wiring won't stop that. I think you have to consider the "whole package" and decide what's strong enough. How hard is the balsa? How long and strong are the eye screws? How thick and strong is the undercoating and the topcoating? If the ballast is epoxied in, how much glue surface area is there? I've never had a balsa bait pulled in half by a bass but thru-wiring does give a bait an extra dimension of longitudinal strength that is 'nice to have' if you don't mind the extra work. So to me, it's Player's Choice.

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Given the greater circumference (and thus gluing surface) of the lead weight do you think this could be done with balsa without the risk of the hook and belly weight being torn out of the bait?

Your theory is spot on. A 1/4" dia plug has more than 3/4" of glue surface, so the screw eye would pull out of the lead long before the lead plug would be disturbed.

Dave

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Need your opinion on something guys. Poe's uses what I think is white cedar for their baits and the belly weight is located in such a way that the eye screw that is used for the hook hanger is simply screwed into the cylindrical lead belly weight. The weight is of course epoxied in. I know that a thru wire is the preferred way of rigging balsa, but my question is this. Given the greater circumference (and thus gluing surface) of the lead weight do you think this could be done with balsa without the risk of the hook and belly weight being torn out of the bait? The belly weight on the Poe's bait I dissected was approximately 1/4" in diameter and length and I was thinking this might be a good dimension to start with if that would provide enough surface area and strength for the epoxy/balsa bond. If I'm asking what some may feel is a stupid question please forgive me as I'm still " a babe in the woods" when it comes to lure building.

thanks guys,

Ben

Your theory is spot on. A 1/4" dia plug has more than 3/4" of glue surface, so the screw eye would pull out of the lead long before the lead plug would be disturbed.

Dave

Uh, huh. And if you are going to do that eliminate the screw eye and mold the weight with a piece of wire instead for equal or greater strength of the eye to lead bond and a savings of a few cents per bait with no loss in quality. I know. Sounds like I am working backwards, but why not. Just another approach.

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Thanks for the input everyone. I just hope ya'll don't get tired of my asking so many questions. Right now I'm limited by my lack of woodworking tools (and skills) and just trying to figure out an easy, but effective, way of building a few baits. No doubt that splitting the lure in half, installing a true thru-wire construction and then gluing the two halves together would be the strongest way to build a bait, but until I have some way of accurately cutting a blank in half I'll probably continue down this road. I also realize it would be much simpler to use a harder wood such as basswood, but I really want to try the much livelier balsa. I've got a couple of balsa lure blanks cut out and will try the method I mentioned. Will report back on how it works out as soon as I get a chance to try them out.

thanks again for all the help,

Ben

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Imho thru wire is not needed ona good balsa crank. Buy hard balsa, use 3/4 inch stainless wire hook hangers/line ties, use the same wire in the ballast weight for the belly hanger. Seal the bait properly and a good clear coat the bait will last you for yrs to come. I'm still fishing baits I made over 8yrs ago and those are still holding up just fine.

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Imho thru wire is not needed ona good balsa crank. Buy hard balsa, use 3/4 inch stainless wire hook hangers/line ties, use the same wire in the ballast weight for the belly hanger. Seal the bait properly and a good clear coat the bait will last you for yrs to come. I'm still fishing baits I made over 8yrs ago and those are still holding up just fine.

I agree with Benton, I have several of his cranks and build mine the same way. I do build using both technics but prefer to epoxy the belly weight and wires in. It seems to be up to the builders preference. I dont think there is a right or wrong way. I epoxy my belly weight first then paint and top coat. Then cut the lip slot and epoxy in the lip and wires, followed by the final top coat(including the lip) IMO this makes the bait look cleaner, no paint or epoxy buildup around the wires!!!!

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When I first started building lures, I found an outfit that sold weighted hook hangers in different sizes, and I used them. They worked great.

I would predrill my hanger hole, coat the inside with crazy glue to penetrate into the wood around the hole, and then epoxy in the weighted hook hanger.

I never had an issue with that method.

But the outfit went out of business, so I started playing around with making sst twist wires and screw eyes work instead, and they do.

I think we all tend to lose sight of the fact that in almost all our fishing scenarios, the lure is the strongest component between the fish and the reel. Like Bob said, my crank failures have invariably when the bill hits something, and cracks. Or a cheap treble or spit ring opens up on a good fish.

I fish cranks on anything from 10lb fluoro to 17lb mono, and none of the actual crank parts will fail before any of those lines break.

A while back, a company came out with split rings that fail on purpose at a certain rated pull strength, so that, in a pinch, the angler could just pull hard enough to get the ring to release from the lure, and only lose the ring and treble. The manuf. recommended using a ring rated at 2lbs below the line you were using, but I found that I had to go to 4lbs below. Otherwise, the line still broke, usually at the palomar knot, but other times at a fray or weak spot. If you fish cranks, you're going to have frays and weak spots, due to the cove you're fishing around.

I went back to my "golden retriever', a cheap extendable pole lure retriever that works.

All this is to say you can never make a lure bulletproof.

Hopefully, you'll fish it long enough for it to wear out before you break it or lose it, but I've seldom had that happen. :lol:

Do some tests of you hardware anchoring methods, using the weighted bucket method that Vodkaman uses, and you'll put you mind at ease.

Edited by mark poulson

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Do some tests of you hardware anchoring methods, using the weighted bucket method that Vodkaman uses, and you'll put you mind at ease.

I was going to mention the bucket thing, but you beat me to it. Here is a link: http://www.tackleunderground.com/community/topic/16110-balsa-filler-wire-and-assembly-questions/page__p__122166__hl__bucket__fromsearch__1#entry122166 Read it all, as I mention barrel twist in a later post. This proved to be a much more effective twist than a regular twist. In the pull test, the regular twist pulled out of its resin setting. I cannot remember the fail load, but it was high enough not to be concerned about, but the barrel twist did beat it convincingly.

Dave

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If you want to use screw eyes as the rear hanger, I have seen some people use a harder wood dowel to pre-rig the screw eyes. Then they drill out the rear end and push the assembled dowel into the rear. The harder wood in the dowel makes it less likely to pull the screw eye out of the wood, and then more surface area is being epoxied to hold the rear hanger. Not sure if a twisted wire hook hanger wouldn't do about the same thing.

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Try buying your wood 1/2 as thick as your intended lure thickness. Route your grove into two pieces of this thin wood then glue those routed sides together. Used to be a great video on TU on how to do this, but I can't find it now. They still use screw eyes on musky lures. Musky Glenn

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I use this method when I'm making a wood lure, whether it's balsa or pine or poplar.

You can shape the lure, cut your lip slot, and predrill you hardware and ballast holes, soak the lure in sealer, and then run your screweyes in and back out, to cut threads in the wood.

Then put a drop of runny crazy glue into the hole. It will wick down and coat the threads in the wood.

Last, brush the thicker gap filling crazy glue onto the threads of the screweye, and run it back in, and the crazy glue will coat the threads again that were already cut in the wood.

I use the brush on crazy glue that comes in a bottle with it's own brush, and run the eye of the screweye down tight to the body, so the extra crazy glue that doesn't go into the hole itself forms around the base of the eye, and keeps it from turning.

Regular crazy glue is very runny, and really absorbs into the wood fibers, locking them and making the strong and waterproof.

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A lot of build "technique" derives from circumstance - what wood, what hardware, what tools you have. When I started building cranks I bought a big box of balsa and discovered that "competition balsa" was not called that because it was good for crankbaits, but because it's a very light (and weak) balsa meant for building model airplanes. 6 or 8 lbs/cu ft density. I'm still kicking myself and I'm still building some cranks from that balsa by using multiple reinforcement to get a durable crankbait (split and epoxied body, epoxy undercoat, epoxy topcoat). Not something many commercial builders would want to put up with - but man, those cranks are lively :D I use them or give them to friends, who have no basis to gripe about how long a freebie lasts. In fact, they last as well as most commercial balsa cranks I've fished if they aren't abused by "weed slapping".

I thru-wire from the line tie to the tail hanger only. The belly hanger is a one piece ballast/belly hanger epoxied into the bait. I've never had one pull out. Splitting a competition balsa body is about as easy as cutting bread - as long as you have a line to guide you when you split it. Just after you cut out the bait blank, use a compass to mark a center line nose to tail on the back and belly of the bait. Don't "erase" the line while shaping and sanding the body. Then work along the line with a single edge razor blade to split the body. Takes about a minute and it's surprisingly easy to be accurate if you never remove the blade from the wood while you're doing it. When you rejoin the halves and put in the belly ballast/hanger, it enjoys full epoxy linkage to the balsa surrounding it AND a connection to the whole body via the epoxy "backbone" you created when you epoxied the halves together. This works well for me but if I had harder balsa in the 14-18 lbs/cu ft range, I'd never bother with thru-wire and I'd never worry.

Edited by BobP

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Bob,

I've never laminated balsa, so I'm looking to your experience to guide me.

Have you tried gorilla glue for laminating? I've done it a lot with pine, but never with balsa.

Thanks in advance.

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Mark, I still use 5 min epoxy. Gorilla certainly should be strong enough but I'm also trying to build a backbone in the bait and I'm uncertain if Gorilla is best for that. I'm after something analogous to the polycarbonate insert that Bomber glues into some of their shallow balsa baits. I don't clamp the sides of the bait to get the thinnest possible glue margin between halves - I just lightly squeeze them together so there's a decently thick epoxy film remaining inside. To be honest, Gorilla glue sort of scares me! Black stuff bubbling out of the bait. Needing to dampen the halves before joining them. :eek:

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Mark, I still use 5 min epoxy. Gorilla certainly should be strong enough but I'm also trying to build a backbone in the bait and I'm uncertain if Gorilla is best for that. I'm after something analogous to the polycarbonate insert that Bomber glues into some of their shallow balsa baits. I don't clamp the sides of the bait to get the thinnest possible glue margin between halves - I just lightly squeeze them together so there's a decently thick epoxy film remaining inside. To be honest, Gorilla glue sort of scares me! Black stuff bubbling out of the bait. Needing to dampen the halves before joining them. :eek:

I know it looks weird, and it's a bear to get off you hands unless you use acetone right away, but it does work. I never thought about the water that I dampen the wood with when I apply it. I can see that might be an issue, adding additional water that could come back to bite when the lure is sealed, although I haven't had any trouble so far. Maybe that's because it takes me so long to make a lure. :lol: Seriously, I make my laminated pine blanks up in bulk, and make up a couple of lures at a time, so the water probably has a chance to dissipate.

But the epoxy backbone does make sense. I may give that a try, but I'll use D2T. I've had some water intrusion issues with 5 minute Devcon, when I used it for my twist wire installions.

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Thanks for all the help guys. You've all given me a lot to think about and I really appreciate it. I guess what I need to do now is build a few lures and see how they work for me. Hopefully there won't be too many failures before getting a few to work properly. Thanks for all the help in getting me started.

Ben

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Thanks for the input everyone. I just hope ya'll don't get tired of my asking so many questions. Right now I'm limited by my lack of woodworking tools (and skills) and just trying to figure out an easy, but effective, way of building a few baits. No doubt that splitting the lure in half, installing a true thru-wire construction and then gluing the two halves together would be the strongest way to build a bait, but until I have some way of accurately cutting a blank in half I'll probably continue down this road. I also realize it would be much simpler to use a harder wood such as basswood, but I really want to try the much livelier balsa. I've got a couple of balsa lure blanks cut out and will try the method I mentioned. Will report back on how it works out as soon as I get a chance to try them out.

thanks again for all the help,

Ben

RB , .......don't know , if you already know these videos but this looks like a very easy way to build balsa baits .

I would just cut the lipslot at first , when the balsa stock is still in square , ........but these Finnish style lips are most likely somewhat curved , so no straight lipslot required , anyway .

Please check out part 1 and 2 :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjmefnZ13YQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPIwwO2qrpM&feature=related

good luck , Dieter :yay:

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