blazt*

Duplicating Plastic Cranks...with Wood?

61 posts in this topic

I guess I'm finally ready to do what I've been itching to do for years...get started making wooden cranks. Balsa or basswood, I guess.

I've been doing some searching on different topics - wood choices, ballasting, line tie positioning.

Before the water gets too cold, I'd like to start by cloning a 2.5 KO and I just have to wonder if I would run into trouble by trying to reproduce one onto a wooden platform? Is this sensible? I doubt I really want to copy the internals just the outside geometry, then balance the bait from there. Has anybody actually tried this?

Also, down the road maybe, I might try using the square bill body and converting it into a deep diver.

I don't have a duplicator, refuse to build or buy one, so the baits will be shaped by hand. I might get a countour gauge.

I know these plastic baits have one or more internal chambers, but the shape seems pretty straightforward, with fairly flat sides, even tapering and a lack of compound curves.

I ordered a 1/16 inch plate of polycarbonate yesterday.

I find the wobble produced in water clear or murky, warm or cool.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The internals of that bait won't matter much to your wood bait. It is a very sensible project and good choice for your first wood bait. Just cut a ko body in half to use as the pattern. I think the lip angle is 35-38 degrees and I would start with 1/8oz or just slightly lighter for the ballast weight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you haven't already , check out Gene's tutorial on wood carving in the tutorial section of the home page. Really helped me. Also helps if you have a good carving knife. Making the rough cuts with a saw first really makes the process go much faster as Gene demonstrates. I can not emphasize enough the value of his tutorial.

Once carved the most important thing is............everything. Straight, square, center, position see what I mean . Take your time and mark it check it and check it again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The internals of that bait won't matter much to your wood bait. It is a very sensible project and good choice for your first wood bait. Just cut a ko body in half to use as the pattern. I think the lip angle is 35-38 degrees and I would start with 1/8oz or just slightly lighter for the ballast weight.

The KO I'm working from is 2 7/8" and probably heavier than most...would you still say start with 1/8 oz?

Would a bullet weight work, and if so, should it point fat side down to the belly in the lure?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you haven't already , check out Gene's tutorial on wood carving in the tutorial section of the home page. Really helped me. Also helps if you have a good carving knife. Making the rough cuts with a saw first really makes the process go much faster as Gene demonstrates. I can not emphasize enough the value of his tutorial.

Once carved the most important thing is............everything. Straight, square, center, position see what I mean . Take your time and mark it check it and check it again.

Believe me, I learned this when I started making stencils. 10,000 ways to wind up off center.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would still build the first one with the 1/8oz of ballast. This is a personal preference, I like a lightly weighted shallow running crank. I think the bait has better action and better rebound off of cover. You can use a bullet weight but I would put the point up so more weight in lower in the belly. A wheeled marking guage is very good tool to have on hand for marking the center around the blank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can easily make templates of whatever lure your wanting to copy using a camera and a photo editing program. You will need to take a picture of the side profile and one for the top and bottom. The camera needs to be as square as possible to the lure when taking the photos for obvious reasons. After transferring the pictures to your computer just open them up in your photo editing program and erase all the background leaving nothing but the lure profile. It's a good idea to mark a center line on the top and bottom profile shots at this time. This can be done with most photo software. You will have to make the top and bottom profiles a little longer than the side profile because of the way the bodies are curved. This can be done by measuring or by making a mark on a piece of paper and then rolling the lure along it's body contour and making another mark when you reach the end of the lure. Then just measure the distance between the two marks. When you have the photos cropped and your center lines drawn you can print them out on your printer. Once printed you will need to measure the image to make sure it is the same size as the lure your wanting to duplicate. If it's not then you will need to resize it in your photo program until you have the correct size. Once it's to the right size just glue it to some stiff backing paper and cut it out. Then just trace around the templates onto the wood of your choice. Be sure to mark the templates as to what they are because you'll invariably end up with quite a few of them. This is a lot easier than it sounds. In the time it's taken me to type this reply I could have made a set of templates.

Ben

Edited by RayburnGuy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ben Thank you for the photo template idea.

So far I have been just free handing my lures but some of the shapes coming out I would like to duplicate. I know templates will be the way to go when I am ready. Now I have an easy template maker thanks to your imput . Sounds more accurate than trying to trace on a piece of paper. Thank you.

By the way, made my first super glue hanger lure. Happy with the result am I. Easier to get the glue in the hole than I thought it was going to be and really strong. I liked it. Thanks again.

Vic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ben Thank you for the photo template idea.

So far I have been just free handing my lures but some of the shapes coming out I would like to duplicate. I know templates will be the way to go when I am ready. Now I have an easy template maker thanks to your imput . Sounds more accurate than trying to trace on a piece of paper. Thank you.

By the way, made my first super glue hanger lure. Happy with the result am I. Easier to get the glue in the hole than I thought it was going to be and really strong. I liked it. Thanks again.

Vic

My pleasure Vic. Glad the super glue is working for you. Just passing the knowledge along as I learned about it from Mark right here at TU.

I think you'll like making templates with the photo editing software. Once you get the hang of it it's really pretty simple. And by sizing the images with the photo software all the aspect ratios stay the same. Another thing I like about doing it this way is if you want to use a certain body shape in a larger or smaller bait all you have to do is re-size the image. Just be sure to keep a copy of the cropped image on your computer for future use. If you run into any problems just holler and I'll try to help.

Ben

Edited by RayburnGuy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You will have to make the top and bottom profiles a little longer than the side profile because of the way the bodies are curved.... This can be done by measuring or by making a mark on a piece of paper and then rolling the lure along it's body contour and making another mark when you reach the end of the lure. Then just measure the distance between the two marks....

Ben

Actually it doesn't sound too hard. And that's a real good idea, I may just try that. It took me a minute to digest what you where saying about making the lengthwise profile longer - you mean the distance will measure out longer than straight nose to tail measurements because of the curvature, right?

But I had a thought - what if you could roll the bait onto an inkpad, getting is wet with ink, transferring the profile onto some trasparent trace paper directly from the lure. Then, unless this is a stupid idea and I failed to realize whatever fatal mistake I am missing, cut out your template(s) and glue them straight to the bait? The belly hanger might have to be ground off to make the ink profile, although on my KOs the hanger is attached to a removable plug.

The disadvantage vs. your idea is you can't autocenter the dimensions, but you wouldn't have to worry about being off square with your pics.

You definitely sound like a man of experience...I want to know just what you think of this. Feel free to shoot it down if needed, anybody!

Your way probably sounds a little less error prone, because I can visualize the paper crumpling underneath the lure, destroying transfer accuracy as you go. Maybe you could put the paper on a sponge first, or roll the bait onto some of that el cheapo craft foam, which I already know is very soft and pliable. It would compress during the transfer, hopefully allowing a complete profile all the way to the tight curve running down the shoulder. Dead easy to cut accurately vs. paper. Or press the paper / foam onto the lure carefully rather than lure onto paper.

Edited by blazt*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the length of the top and bottom profile will measure a bit longer than the straight distance from nose to tail because of the curvature of the body on those top and bottom profiles.

Making sure the bait is shot square when taking the photo isn't like aligning machinery where measurements are taken in thousandths of an inch, but you don't want to take it at a 45 degree angle either.

Marking a centerline on the top and bottom template in the photo software makes it much easier to align the template. I always mark a centerline on my lure blanks before shaping. This gives me a way of aligning hook hangers, diving lips and the templates. Not sure how you would do that the way you described it. And it seems it would make a helluva mess rolling a lure in ink and trying to transfer it to a sheet of paper. And your not guaranteed of getting it perfectly square when trying to roll a curved surface onto something either.

You might be able to make it work. If so more power to you. I think I'll stick to cutting out templates as described above.

Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are lots of ways to get it done and Ben's is one of the best. Eventually, you'll get down to rounding over edges by hand and that's where things can begin to get out of kilter. Baits have compound curves that are very hard to eyeball. To maintain control over the shape, I use a good compass to run limit lines down the length of the bait along the edges - along both sides of the top, the shoulders, lower sides, and belly. They tell me where to cut a facet along each of the 4 edges of the bait. I use a Dremel sanding drum to cut the facets, then blend the facet edges into the rest of the bait. Typically, I set the compass so it is 1/2 the distance from the side of the bait to the center line for the back and belly, and double that for the sides.

I think you'll enjoy a wood RC1.5. JMHO, they run better than the originals if you get the ballast correct. I like to use a digital scale to weigh the blanks, hardware, and estimated finish weights (.02 oz in this case) as I build the crankbait. You then subtract the total from a target finished weight to give you the exact ballast amount you'll need.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple things I forgot to mention. When you print a copy of the lure your duplicating it's advisable to print one copy leaving the lip and hook hangers in the photo. The other copy is of course the one which will be cut out for the template. By printing out an extra copy with the hook hangers and diving lip this can then be used to locate those components on the lure blank your working with. To get the lip angle I just align a straight edge along the edge of the lip and draw a pencil line that extends out past the boundaries of the image. I then line up the side profile template with the printed image and transfer the lip alignment marks onto the template. This mark can then be transferred onto the wood while your marking the outline for the side profile. Marks for hook hangers can be done the same way.

When making copies of lures for these purposes I designate a folder on my computer for each different profile which contains a full image of the bait with diving lip and hangers left intact. I'll also include a copy of the top, bottom and side profiles for making the templates. When the actual building begins I'll print out a copy of the full image and use this printout to mark needed info on. Things like ballast weight, hook sizes, ballast location and etc. can all be kept for future reference.

Ben

Edited by RayburnGuy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What would be the best way to install the bullet weights? If I were to drill a hole starting at the top of the bait, stopping just shy of the belly (say 3/16" inch) to create a countersink, would the ballast be positioned too high? Or would 3/16" be too weak to support the front hook with a fish on? Or maybe I should just find another way. I could just drill the ballast hole in the belly, with a tiny shaft leading to this ballast hole starting at the top of the bait. Another tiny hole right next to that one 1/4" deep next to the small drilled out shaft for the end of a U-bent wire to seat in, like the wire doodad in a spring loaded float. And a little groove that allows the bend to lie flush between the two holes . That way I wouldn't have to split the bait...I want to avoid that. The cheating man's wire form.

I'm thinking out loud big time I'm just coming up with this crap as I type. Please excuse.

I like the idea of using these. I have lots of extras from the multipacks that I buy, and they are probably 1/8 - 3/16oz. I have a couple sizes I don't use. I need to go put one on the digiscale. Also the hole should work for a hook hanger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there an fairly decent wood to use between now and the time I can locate / obtain something more suitable? Something fairly common such as pine or what have you? I'd like to go ahead and crank out some baits now, and when I make a fatal mistake wasting the cheap stuff would be so much better than a good chunk of basswood.

There is a place nearby that has various types of small scrap wood for sale, or I may hit Home Depot, etc.

I'm not sure if I want to do cedar or not, as I've heard it chips and splinters.

Thanks to rayburnguy (for the excellent tutorial grade write up - I'll probably make good use of it), bobp and everybody else that pitched in. I plan to throw all of your ideas into the lake soon. He he.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You want to drill the ballast port in the belly portion of the bait. I think a 1/4 hole would do nicely for 1/8oz weight, unless you use tungsten. Then a 3/16 hole would be a better size. I use cotter pins for belly hangers and those work very well. On the wood to use, my advice is balsa wood. I think it makes the best shallow water cranks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer other woods but if you're looking for something to buy at the local home center, I'd recommend white cedar. It has the lowest density of the home center woods used for structural stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer other woods but if you're looking for something to buy at the local home center, I'd recommend white cedar. It has the lowest density of the home center woods used for structural stuff.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't white cedar what was used to build the old Poe's baits?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

White cedar is used for Poe's baits or at least the old ones. A craft store will usually have selection of balsa wood, good place to search for

just a small supply.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, sounds like I might need to pick up some white cedar just for something to piddle with on a small batch of cranks - but is this wood prone to allowing oil to bleed through the paint? I've heard red cedar can sometimes do this. If so, would sealing with CA glue eliminate any potential problems?

I got my sheet of PC today...really looking forward to getting started.

Hopefully the bass will still be shallow by the time I track down some balsa or basswood.

Do you guys have a preference for one of these woods in particular when water temps are below 55 F?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm thinking out loud big time I'm just coming up with this crap as I type. Please excuse.

I like the idea of using these. I have lots of extras from the multipacks that I buy, and they are probably 1/8 - 3/16oz. I have a couple sizes I don't use. I need to go put one on the digiscale. Also the hole should work for a hook hanger.

Well, upon reading this again I see that last part is about as clear as mud.

So...by saying "I like the idea of using these", I mean bullet weights.

And by saying "...the hole should work for a hook hanger" I mean the hole in the center of the weight.

I'm not sure if there's going to be a way to get a cotter pin in there, sounds like an idea though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I pick wood depending on the type of lure I'm building and how I want it to perform. For fat shallow square lip baits, balsa is best because it has lots of buoyancy that helps the lure navigate through shallow cover. For most other baits, I use either basswood or paulownia. Basswood is easy to hand shape, durable, and thumps hard with the right lip. White cedar is on average slightly more buoyant than basswood, so it's a good substitute. Red cedar contains red oil that will leach through most finishes. You don't have the same problem with white cedar.

JMHO, it takes time to learn to shape/sand a specific type of wood, how to finish it, and how to ballast different crankbaits made of it. I recommend choosing a wood and sticking with it for awhile until you feel confident in building with it. Jumping willy-nilly among various woods just makes it hard to build crankbaits that perform well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jumping willy-nilly among various woods just makes it hard to build crankbaits that perform well.

I guess I can't argue. I'll go ahead and wait until I find the wood I really want. Called about 5 places the other day looking for white cedar, but nobody had it.

Is basswood going to be easier to work than the cedar?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My experience is only a few months old. With that said, basswood is easier to carve in my opinion. No grain to fight while carving and is not as brittle and splinters easy while carving if your not careful. This means nothing to you until you actually have the knife in your hands with a piece of wood in front of you. I have tried cedar, balsa, oak, basswood and pine. I like basswood but it is very dense. BobP is exactly right on both counts. The wood used depends on desired bait and as a beginner it is best to pick something and stick with until you learn more. For me this wood is pine. Go to home depot or lowes and find the lightest , whitest, prettiest ( no knots ) pine 2x4 you can. Then proceed cutting it up as Gene describes. That is a lot of lures for $2.50 for a 8ft'er. Pine is teaching me carve. The wood has grain but is forgiving should you make a mistake. It is not as light as basla but much stronger and this is a good thing when you do not know what your doing. It does not smell as good as cedar but big chunks will not splinter off on you. Not as easy to carve as basswood but lighter, cheaper and nearly as tough. For the money, pine is a great buy and teacher in my opinion.

I know you want to duplicate a lure but I have found it is ten times harder duplicating a lure than to just carve your own. Until your carving skills are improved, just carve some of your own designs close to the one your wanting to make. It is fun and you will be free to just carve and not under the gun to make something specific. You might even like the lure you create better. I just draw them out on the blocks of wood following Gene's tutorial. Much fun.

Best of luck !

Vic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JMHO, basswood is probably the easiest wood to work. It has no grain effect and it sands butter smooth. It's slightly heavier than white cedar. When I started using balsa, I found it so soft that I tended to over-work the wood and take too much material off the blank. You have to work balsa with more control and restraint but if you build many shallow crankbaits, you will eventually want to master it. White cedar is generally available in home centers in 3/4" planks. It's sometimes hard to find a piece that's really straight grained. I liked cedar OK but when sanded by hand, it tends to develop striations due to soft grain wood being interleaved with hard grain wood. Yes, Poe's and Stanford cranks are (were?) made with cedar and it's still a popular wood due to its buoyancy. But if you look at the commercial cedar baits, most of them employ a thick "build coat" on the raw wood to hide uneven grain effects - and very few garage builders know how or want to do that.

As far as copying designs - you'll never make a wood RC1.5 that behaves like a plastic RC1.5. That's not a bad thing - I think a balsa 1.5 runs rings around the original plastic bait. But copying a good original is the fastest way I know to begin building baits that perform well and catch fish. A good original is a design that works: good body shape, good lip shape and angle, good ballast position, etc. Copy vs unique design just depends on your motivation for making crankbaits.

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