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sallystrothers

Not A Lot Of Tutorials On Top Coat Methods

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noticed in the "how-to" section there are not a lot of tutorials for top coating methods. So far I have tried 20 or 30 variations of top coat methods and have not found a consistent method. So far:

D2T is uneven, sometimes thicker in spots and sometimes thinner

Plasticote is too soft

Fiberglass epoxy leaves fish eyes

Generic polyurethane clouds in the water

DN, have not tried

Spray auto clear, have not tried

Etex, have not tried

Is someone up the the challenge of writing a nice tutorial specific to one tutorial of a top coat method?

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You might get someone to write a book on this subject if folks might be willing to put up some coin. From all my searching topcoats there are as many ways to do tops coats as there are many pain relievers at the drug store. It would take a book to cover top coats details. There are many variables to describe any single method of topcoat- your location, temperature, humidity for some coatings, e.g. environment. Sources of materials - not everyone has ready access to all the materials. Then there is personal techniques- mixing, application, curing. Oh yeah then there is costs. My take by searching this site as well as other lure building site ( and following custom rod building sites with top coating threads) is that one should try different methods till they find one that works for them. Kind of like cooking food. Give the same ingredients to 10 cooks and you'll likely get 10 different flavors.

Sure hope someone is willing to try put in the effort to really detail out their favorite method. It will cut into their lure building time for sure. Some guys have likely learned tricks that they would holod to them selfs especially if they sell their lure. Maybe pick one typeof top coating your interested in learning more and someone could put a tutorial together or point to a site that covers it. I personally kick my self in that I spend more time internet searching subjects then practicing and get past the mistakes and learning curve. Just my 2 cents. Take it for what its worth. Maybe some others have a different take and that's what make this craft interesting and challenging.

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Didn't fatfingers do that already? Something about "flawless finish". It's as thorough as anything I think you would need and he's talking about the most common top coat, Etex. Maybe it isn't there anymore.

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You just have not tried the 3 most popular that you described. I use DN but I don't have the time right now to write up everything I know about top coating. DN works good for me but is a pain to store sometimes.

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Until someone proves otherwise, I think the 3 most successful topcoats are: epoxy, moisture cured urethanes like DN S81, and 2 part auto clear coats. There are lots of epoxies that do a beautiful job - D2T included - and endless threads about them here on TU. I second the suggestion to look at the Member Submitted Tutorials for Fatfinger's tutorial on epoxy. I use D2T and S81 and am happy with both. I tend to think one finish epoxy is pretty much the same as the next after it has cured on the lure. The main differences among them revolve around whether they are formulated as finishes and contain solvent (Etex, rod epoxies), or are formulated as glues with no solvent (D2T).

There are different pathways to getting a great epoxy finish. I keep it simple because the more extra steps I use, the more likely I am to screw it up. Measure it accurately. Mix it very well. Brush it on. Rotate the lure. Everything else is just practice and developing a routine that works for you. Different guys could describe in 1000 words exactly what their routine is but it probably wouldn't be very useful.

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noticed in the "how-to" section there are not a lot of tutorials for top coating methods. So far I have tried 20 or 30 variations of top coat methods and have not found a consistent method. So far:

D2T is uneven, sometimes thicker in spots and sometimes thinner

Plasticote is too soft

Fiberglass epoxy leaves fish eyes

Generic polyurethane clouds in the water

DN, have not tried

Spray auto clear, have not tried

Etex, have not tried

Is someone up the the challenge of writing a nice tutorial specific to one tutorial of a top coat method?

Sally,

I think that there are too many variables that only personal trial and error will expose for anyone to write a perfect tutorial for any top coat.

Everyone builds and paints differently, so results will always vary.

For me, what to use boils down to a couple of things.

First, the harder the lure body, the softer the top coat can be. Soft wood must be protected by a hard top coat.

Second, the more buoyant I want the lure, the thinner/lighter I want the top coat to be. A heavy top coat will kill the advantage that a wood like balsa brings to a crank.

Third, I want the easiest top coat whenever possible. I build lures to fish, and I want more time to fish, not build.

I've pretty much settled on a urethane from Target Coatings as my default top coat.

It is easy to dip, dries fast and cures out hard, it's super clear, and holds up for my lures.

It is strictly a personal preference thing.

Dick Nite makes three good alternatives, too.

Lots of other builder use lots of other top coats, and love them.

If I were you, I'd post specific questions about any top coat I was interested in trying, and see what others are willing to share about it.

Knowing myself, I'd probably give it a try first, so I could have some first hand failure experience to share before I asked for advice. I have lots of top coats up on my shelves that I've tried, used, and then discarded when I found something that worked better for my own lure making.

The hard bait forum probably has as many posts on top coats as on any other subject, so there is a ton of information here if you use the search, and type in "top coat".

Of course, you'll never have time to actually build lures or fish if you read them all! ;)

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Sally,

I think that there are too many variables that only personal trial and error will expose for anyone to write a perfect tutorial for any top coat.

Everyone builds and paints differently, so results will always vary.

For me, what to use boils down to a couple of things.

First, the harder the lure body, the softer the top coat can be. Soft wood must be protected by a hard top coat.

Second, the more buoyant I want the lure, the thinner/lighter I want the top coat to be. A heavy top coat will kill the advantage that a wood like balsa brings to a crank.

Third, I want the easiest top coat whenever possible. I build lures to fish, and I want more time to fish, not build.

I've pretty much settled on a urethane from Target Coatings as my default top coat.

It is easy to dip, dries fast and cures out hard, it's super clear, and holds up for my lures.

It is strictly a personal preference thing.

Dick Nite makes three good alternatives, too.

Lots of other builder use lots of other top coats, and love them.

If I were you, I'd post specific questions about any top coat I was interested in trying, and see what others are willing to share about it.

Knowing myself, I'd probably give it a try first, so I could have some first hand failure experience to share before I asked for advice. I have lots of top coats up on my shelves that I've tried, used, and then discarded when I found something that worked better for my own lure making.

The hard bait forum probably has as many posts on top coats as on any other subject, so there is a ton of information here if you use the search, and type in "top coat".

Of course, you'll never have time to actually build lures or fish if you read them all! ;)

When i first joined the site i spent hours fishing through the first 100 pages of topics reading what seemed like every other one....there is a wealth of information here, especially on topcoats. I did come across one pretty nice detailed E-tex tutorial on another site.

http://striped-bass.com/striper-fishing/index.php/articles/lure-building/54-mr-pogies-epoxy-plug-finishing-applying-envirotex

Mark- how does your finish hold up to toothy fish like pike, muskie? (i see you are from the west coast, so you might not have too many toothy fish?)

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Red Skullz,

I haven't fished for toothy critters.

Another SoCal builder from TU makes PVC swimbaits for the salt, and he changed from Target to another top coat because he had problems. But he was using the same int. urethane, the SC9000, that I use trouble-free for bass.

I've made some jointed swimbaits for the salt for a friend, and I used their exterior urethane, EM9300. It is not super clear, like the SC9000, but it is much stronger.

The exterior urethane is so strong that I have to put a dip coat of the interior urethane over the paint to keep it from being crackled by the exterior.

Personally, I think the PVC is the key to lure survival with toothy critters. if the teeth can't penetrate the lure body, the finish will hold up much better.

If I were making pike/muskie lures, I'd use the PVC, which is hard enough that Al Lindner couldn't dent it when he bit one of my lures, and I'd put two dips of the SC and one of the EM exterior at the end over my Createx paint scheme.

I think the hard, waterproof PVC makes that paint scheme/top coat combination almost indestructible.

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Red Skullz,

I haven't fished for toothy critters.

Another SoCal builder from TU makes PVC swimbaits for the salt, and he changed from Target to another top coat because he had problems. But he was using the same int. urethane, the SC9000, that I use trouble-free for bass.

I've made some jointed swimbaits for the salt for a friend, and I used their exterior urethane, EM9300. It is not super clear, like the SC9000, but it is much stronger.

The exterior urethane is so strong that I have to put a dip coat of the interior urethane over the paint to keep it from being crackled by the exterior.

Personally, I think the PVC is the key to lure survival with toothy critters. if the teeth can't penetrate the lure body, the finish will hold up much better.

If I were making pike/muskie lures, I'd use the PVC, which is hard enough that Al Lindner couldn't dent it when he bit one of my lures, and I'd put two dips of the SC and one of the EM exterior at the end over my Createx paint scheme.

I think the hard, waterproof PVC makes that paint scheme/top coat combination almost indestructible.

Thanks for all the info mark! Right now i only repaint lures like rapala's and mostly other hard plastic baits.(some of the rapalas are balsa of course) I'll look into the target finishes for sure, as i want my finishes to be as durable as possible.

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Hey Mark- so you do a few dip coats with the SC9000 and it's good to go? You just hang those or do you still rotate them? How bad's the smell?

Sam,

I dip and hang over a piece of newspaper. Redip in 2 hours, or 1 hour if I use the hairdryer to speed up the drying. Three dips total typically for any bait.

There is no odor that I'm aware of. I do my bait building and painting in my garage with the big door open, weather permitting, but I would dip them in the house, no worries.

After all dips are done and dry, I hit the baits one more time with the hairdryer, and then let the cure for two days, still hanging from my bench rack, or just lying on the bench somewhere. I don't let two dipped baits touch each other until they've cured out, or they will stick together.

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When i first joined the site i spent hours fishing through the first 100 pages of topics reading what seemed like every other one....there is a wealth of information here, especially on topcoats. I did come across one pretty nice detailed E-tex tutorial on another site.

http://striped-bass.com/striper-fishing/index.php/articles/lure-building/54-mr-pogies-epoxy-plug-finishing-applying-envirotex

Mark- how does your finish hold up to toothy fish like pike, muskie? (i see you are from the west coast, so you might not have too many toothy fish?)

Yeah, I have seen this tutorial also. It is pretty much on the money, however you don't need to use a lighter. A hotair gun on its lowest setting for 3 or 4 minutes works well.

Benji

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Sam,

I dip and hang over a piece of newspaper. Redip in 2 hours, or 1 hour if I use the hairdryer to speed up the drying. Three dips total typically for any bait.

There is no odor that I'm aware of. I do my bait building and painting in my garage with the big door open, weather permitting, but I would dip them in the house, no worries.

After all dips are done and dry, I hit the baits one more time with the hairdryer, and then let the cure for two days, still hanging from my bench rack, or just lying on the bench somewhere. I don't let two dipped baits touch each other until they've cured out, or they will stick together.

Hey mark,

Does the sc9000 have similar issues with storage like that of DN? I recently moved back to Indiana and the humidity is crazy high, so I've been having terrible micro-bubbling using the DN (I think its drying to fast... it seems to be dry to touch in an hour). Plus, just storing DN (even when using bloxygen) seems to not be enough to prevent slow curing. I'm just starting to hunt around for a replacement clear and recall you mentioning the sc9000 a few times.

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