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Skeeter

Balsa, Sealing, and Clearcoats

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OK fellas, here is some more stuff from Ol Skeet on balsa, sealing, and clearcoats. We have been buzzing on the site about sealing balsa. Seems I caused a lot of anxiety in folks about balsa flexing and that using Devcon to seal and stiffen the wood first was the way to go. Well, today I went fishing and took a new prototype lure to the water to test it along with some other lures that I clearcoated with Urathane clear. I learned a lot. Now I?m going to share it with ya.

In another post I told yall about a bait that I made had the clearcoat crack. The clearcoat was Devcon. I have never in three years of using Devcon had a clearcoat crack. I just plain freaked. When I pressed on the bait with my fingers the entire lure was spongy feeling, especially where the crack was. I could actually pinch the lure and leave indentions in the lure clearcoat and all. I am sure I could have totally rearranged the shape of the bait completely if I had squeezed it in my fist. It was my thinking that a 4 1/2lb. Bass that I had caught earlier hit the lure so hard that it caused the balsa to flex and the clearcoat to crack. Then Cody had mentioned that maybe water got to the wood from it not being clearcoated completely and caused the wood to expand cracking the clearcoat. Then Hughesy said that Bagley used a very thick white primer on their lures and never did seal the balsa before the primer went on. Their comments put a big question mark in my head. I took some bare balsa bodies that I made and squeezed them. Even though I could feel some flex, they did not flex near as much as the one that failed on me. Both round and flat bodies seemed pretty stiff to me. So then I thought that maybe I had a bad piece of balsa. Well it seems that Cody had the correct answer. Somewhere in that bait, I had to have missed a spot.

Today while testing my prototype lure the clearcoat chipped. The clearcoat was a Urathane clear. Another baitmaker put me on to the stuff. You can shoot it through an airbrush. I did several baits with it and put 6 coats on each of them. Dude it was just too easy and the baits looked gorgeous. BlackJack had metioned Duracryl (which is the PPG equivalent) and said it was no good. Dave Reeves mentioned that he had baits coated with this type of stuff that chipped when they hit the rocks. Well, they were right. The stuff chips, plain and simple. I threw the prototype through all kinds of junk with no problems. But, when it came to rocks, it fell apart. My prototype had a small chip in it that I did not notice. I kept fishing the lure. The chip was in the clearcoat no more than 15 minutes before I noticed it. I kept checking the lure every so often to see how the Urathane was holding up. But once I did see the chip, I cussed a lot. Then I pinched the lure. It compressed and left a permanent dent in the lure. It was like pressing a stiff sponge. The balsa was lightly coated with polyurethane before painting and clearcoating. Even though balsa supposedly does not absorb water like other woods, I can promise you that it will absorb enough to make the wood very pliable. Once water got to the balsa through the chip in the finish, it spread throughout the entire wooden body. There was not a place on the body that would not dent by pinching even though the water got in at one spot that was the size of a large pin hole. It may not have soaked to the core, but it spread throughout the entire surface of the body quickly.

Conclusions:

1. Urathane clear sucks.

2. Balsa does absorb water. It needs to be sealed.

3. From now on all of my baits will be epoxy clearcoated. Hail Devcon.

Skeeter

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Skeeter, Skeeter, Skeeter-

I had a hard time thinking this was you writing this post. The man that has preeched Devcon to me. Well, all is not lost!!! At least now you know and the curiosity is gone. Thanks for the post. Your trials and errors have educated us all.

Tally

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I wonder if there is a clear version of a material similar to the quality spray bed-liner products. As far a spray product, I believe it would be the most resilient finish one can get. However, there is a clear gravel guard the can be directly applied over color, it is utilize on the lower sections of auto bodies that are prone to rock chips and it is a bear to sand off. I haven't tried this on any of the vintage baits as of yet. However, as time goes on, I would like to eventually construct some of the balsa baits like so many of you here have done and I will try this gravel guard as opposed to epoxy. Using a brush to apply the final finish after spray application of the colors seems a bit backward to me and I am sure there is a better way, hopefully!! As far as the Urethane chipping it is dependent upon what it is applied over, many of these products do not adhere well to basecoats different than what they were designed for, but again, urethane will not with stand the rigors epoxy will!!

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Day-in and day-out, with the current state of coating technology, you can't beat an epoxy clear coat for durability, whether it is Devcon 2-ton, Flex-coat, Crystal-sheen etc., nothing you can shoot thus far compares with durability, sheen, and depth--a quick scan of the lure-making industry tells me that, from the high volume commercial manufacturers, to the the guy over-building lures to his personal standard because of a lifetime of lure failures, which when you boil it all down, is the reason most of us are here sharing knowledge on this site. Of course, we all keeping an eye out for the next better THING, which is part and parcel of discriminating lure builders...

Dean

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Sealing and coating seemes to be the newer ending story. So I?d like to contribute too. :twisted: I get great results using two-component epoxy (Araldite Professional) on hardwood like beech and other kinds of wood. No news to anyone - well, try preheating the lure before sealing with epoxy (50 degrees celsius). Then you apply epoxy and put it into the owen at around 50 degrees celsius. The wood absorbes the epoxy and sometimes you find that a second coating is necessary before painting. Preheating is needed to avoid airbubbles coming from the wood when speeding up the hardening in the owen. When the wood absorbes the epoxy it creates a very hard surface, I suppose this might work with balsawood. Anyone tried this? When using this process with Araldite you create a much harder coating/sealing than if you let the Araldite harden in roomtemperature.

Jann

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Thanks for the info Skeeter, it's good to see some science put to lure making rather than "use it because I say so".

I have only tried Devcon and Flex Coat and found the Devcon much more to my liking...harder finish and it goes on thicker.

Jed

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Tally,

Son, ya got to try things, or else nothing will be learned.

Dave,

DEVCON!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jann,

Too much work.

Jed,

You're welcome. Even though I have been guilty of using: "Because I say so."

Skeeter

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Skeeter...obviously my flexcoat post was tongue in cheek. Know I am preaching at somebody else's choir on that one. As to the science...at least FC is UV stable :)

Will try to dig out some of my devcon baits and shoot pics of them next to FC baits of same age. Pretty obvious when seen that way. Have done a couple dozen with devcon, all with same problems.

FC is not for everyone...takes a long time to cure, requires a dryer / turner, little more $$$. Just don't like my baits sinking, peeling, or turning black. Bottom line...use what works for you.

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Dave,

You're just not living right. I have 3yr. old Devcon baits that still look perfect. Even after banging the bottom of High Rock and laying on the deck in the summer sun for the day.

Skeeter

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