blazt*

Duplicating Plastic Cranks...with Wood?

61 posts in this topic

JMHO, basswood is probably the easiest wood to work...

Well I finally tracked down some basswood blocks at a local woodworking shop, and the price is right.

$2.75 for 1.5 by 1.5 by12".

So I want to get started with that.

Any particular qualities I should be looking for such as tight grain, even grain, etc? Should I bring my digiscale shopping so that I can check density and so they'll think I'm an <_< alien?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I finally tracked down some basswood blocks at a local woodworking shop, and the price is right.

$2.75 for 1.5 by 1.5 by12".

So I want to get started with that.

Any particular qualities I should be looking for such as tight grain, even grain, etc? Should I bring my digiscale shopping so that I can check density and so they'll think I'm an <_< alien?

Well...what I thought was a local shop turns out to be a chain store called Woodcraft.

I walked in and found some 1" thick basswood blocks for $1.25 apiece.

I estimate a half dozen flat sided, or nearly flat sided, 2.75" baits from one block. That puts the cost/lure under a quarter for the wood!

These pieces are about 4.5"x5.5" , IIRC.

I picked up 2 blocks that had straight grain, no knots, and the lightest abberations. The whole pile they had on the shelf looked quite decent.

I have no idea yet what the density of these block is, or the uniformity between blocks density - wise.

Just thought I'd put this up for anyone who is in the same boat as me and wants to get started with carving out wooden baits.

If you want to give it a shot I'd say going to Woodcraft, if you have one, might just be a no-brainer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never worried too much about variation in basswood density because it seems very uniform compared to other species. I build crankbaits to a "target finished weight", so if the wood density varies, I'll adjust the ballast to get a specific finished weight and the baits will still perform similarly. Personally, I don't worry about the cost of wood - or glue, or paint, or Lexan, etc. All that stuff together never costs as much as the quality trebles I put on the bait when I'm finished building it. And that's one of the charms of building your own baits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never worried too much about variation in basswood density because it seems very uniform compared to other species. I build crankbaits to a "target finished weight", so if the wood density varies, I'll adjust the ballast to get a specific finished weight and the baits will still perform similarly. Personally, I don't worry about the cost of wood - or glue, or paint, or Lexan, etc. All that stuff together never costs as much as the quality trebles I put on the bait when I'm finished building it. And that's one of the charms of building your own baits.

Sounds like a good strategy. That would give you more consistent casting perfomance, as well. Normally it wouldn't matter much with the "carpet bombing" lure that a crank usually is, but on windy day my hands like to know just what to expect w/ the cast control down to 1.5 .

I don't spend much on hooks. I get short shank round bend eagle claws on ebay for about 15 cents apiece, and bend them from point to bend so that each point is offset about 35 degrees.

There are 4 advantages to this:

1) With multiple points oriented in multiple directions, one or two of them are very likely to catch.

2) Once a point catches and either you or the fish puts the pressure on, the offset causes the hook to rotate like a drill bit into flesh.

3) An offset point is much less likely to get thrown than a hook with straight points.

4) because bass usually turn straight away or away and slightly down after the strike, the modified point is more likely to catch than a point oriented towards the sky.

I've been testing this for months now under different conditions, refining the degree of offset until I was losing the fewest bass. It works, and it works hard - even when burning a crank and that's usually when you are going to lose / miss a lot of bass.

You don't care how much your hooks cost, but I bet these modified trebles ( with the more open bend ) will lay KVD elites to waste, at least when smoking the bait when the bass will slap at it.

Edited by blazt*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lacking power tools, what would be the best hand tool to remove the waste wood on the corners of a block that I've drawn my outline on?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A knife is quick. A coping saw safe and cheap to buy but slower. A hack saw will do ok. Suggest you try a few till you find one that suits you. Before I used Band saw, i used the knife. A bit wild but very quick. I have also tried the rasp. A bit slow compared to a sharp blade.

Vic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have also just begun my first crank. I started with basswood and used a old bait cut in half for the pattern. In rounding off the top, I have a piece of pvc pipe that I cut in half. I then stuck the sandpaper into the inside of the piece and began to sand. The rigid pipe allows for little error in the curvature. Different baits means different pieces of pipe. So far it all looks square and lined up. Will keep you posted.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have also just begun my first crank. I started with basswood and used a old bait cut in half for the pattern. In rounding off the top, I have a piece of pvc pipe that I cut in half. I then stuck the sandpaper into the inside of the piece and began to sand. The rigid pipe allows for little error in the curvature. Different baits means different pieces of pipe. So far it all looks square and lined up. Will keep you posted.

If you don't have access to any PVC pipe then sections cut from pill bottles, metal cans, etc. work equally well. You can find them in an assortment of sizes for shaping different sized radii on your lures.

Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I wound up doing a KVD 2.5 instead of the 2.5 KO I said I was going to copy.

The bass were biting it in 46 degree water (the KVD runs down to at least 7 ft)...didn't want to take a chance on the KO even though it's a great lure.

I figure if they'll bite it at that temp it should be good down to about 40?

Rayburnguy, I got a LOT from the info you gave me but gave up trying to photo the bait after fooling with it for hours, trying to get a decent shot. It wanted to squirm around on me bad and I found it just a little hard to judge where on the nose and tail to square it up. Also the profile wasn't that clear in the printouts I made. About halfway through this I was wishing I had some playdoh to insert the bait into to stabilize it for the shots, but instead I went with a "split" approach: dividing the bait at the center seam, then using each half to create paper templates for the sides.

After this, I quartered the bait by supergluing a piece of heavy sewing thread to the longest point at the nose and then stretching it tightly to the longest point at the tail. This end was tacked in place with superglue also (to form a centerline from nose to tail), and the entire string given a light coat to make it rigid. Once everything dried I used a hobby knife with a curved blade, and rocked it back and forth (rather than slicing right across, which knocked the thread off center) on this centerline to form a good groove from end to end. Once the groove was formed, I removed the string and sliced through the bait carefully, producing quarter sections from each left and right side section. From these, I traced the back and belly profiles onto paper (after supergluing the two back and two belly quarters together to make a full back and full belly) , taking a pic of the profile on paper (much easier to get a square pic vs. actual lure) and resizing the dimensions from there. For some reason, after increasing only the length to fit the curve, the width kind of increased itself. Strange. I had to fiddle with it but eventually got it to fit across the back of the block at the proper length.

Here they are, with the quarters glued into back and belly halfs:

381a0221.jpg

These were good to have around, because once the side profile was cut from the block of basswood, I was able to place one of these pieces (inverted) onto a centerline drawn onto the back or belly to use as a guideline for radius limit lines. A great way to match the curves. Once I drew the limit lines for the radius, made the cuts, and got to sanding it was good to have these pieces to refer to, held side by side against the wooden blank.

A pretty smooth and easy way to go, I thought. Athough a compass, as bobp said, might be better; the plastic halves tend to slip when you are trying to hold them in place.

Here's the fully shaped KVD 2.5 blank, with a Plano divider bill for testing.

The bill is huge, I haven't taken it for a swim yet but I want to see how deep a square bill will go:

381a0220.jpg

After taking the pic, I installed some twisted wire hangers using superglue mixed with the dust from the basswood...within seconds it was solid enough for me to twist the eye sideways without the shaft giving any, so hopefully they will be very strong. Maybe I'll hang the gym weights on the bait one day. Especially since I screwed up and drilled the ballast hole to close to the hanger hole. :oooh: But no way is my first wood blank going to scrap!

How long should I let the superglue cure?

I took me two days, working from late morning to after dark to sort out the photographing, printing, templates, tools - and finally a finished blank! but I feel like I have a good method that works for me ironed out. That was most of the work - shaping the blank was the least demanding.

I am really satisfied with this hybrid method of doing things, I'm already planning on the same process with the next crank I want to copy, a Strike King series 6.

Hopefully that'll be a good winter crank, and not too big. I heard it produces in really cold water.

381a0221.jpg

381a0220.jpg

381a0221.jpg

381a0220.jpg

381a0221.jpg

381a0220.jpg

381a0221.jpg

381a0220.jpg

381a0221.jpg

381a0220.jpg

381a0221.jpg

381a0220.jpg

381a0221.jpg

381a0220.jpg

post-24174-0-91347400-1322685273_thumb.jpg

post-24174-0-06480500-1322686260_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here it is with the hangers in. I wish you could really see the curves all the way down to the nose geometry, it came out almost perfect. Definitely not quite down to the last mil of course, but I was suprised. It's sealed w/ superglue..how much of that do I need anyway? I put just enough down to change the color of the wood uniformly...should I use more? Is it waterproof now?

Hopefully I can get good enough to make one of these an hour...from block to topcoat.

That might be dreamin' though.

Thanks everybody for pitching in...I was grateful to have so many ideas to pull from and so much interesting reading.

I look forward to a long career of making wood baits. Should have done this sooner, but you know how that goes.

381a0222.jpg

381a0222.jpg

381a0222.jpg

381a0222.jpg

381a0222.jpg

381a0222.jpg

381a0222.jpg

381a0222.jpg

post-24174-0-17349700-1322689425_thumb.jpg

Edited by blazt*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have also just begun my first crank. I started with basswood and used a old bait cut in half for the pattern. In rounding off the top, I have a piece of pvc pipe that I cut in half. I then stuck the sandpaper into the inside of the piece and began to sand. The rigid pipe allows for little error in the curvature. Different baits means different pieces of pipe. So far it all looks square and lined up. Will keep you posted.

Sounds good. I wonder if you could mold something for complex curves, or just use the inside radius of a plastic bait with sandpaper glued in for more complex curves. On the inside of that KVD there is a lot of molded crap you'd have to cut away first though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have learned that flat sided baits are the easiest for me right now but.................................

I intend to experiment with a contour tool to help with complex curves. It will be very tedious but time is what I got the most of.

There's probably an easier way to make rounded cranks, I just haven't found out how........ yet.

I have to keep in mind that the baits that I make are "Hand Crafted" and they are not going to look like a made by a machine. Every one will be a bit different then the last.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first crank looked alot like yours. I made it 5 months ago. The bill I feel is too long. The bill length, angle and line tie position will most likely produce a bait that tends to roll out. I think we all want to produce a deep diver first time out. Go look at tackle warehouse deep divers and the first thing you will notice is the angle of the bill is or almost horizontal with the bait and all the line ties are on the bill. This will be true no matter the shape of bill. Your lure will swim with angle and line tie position. The bill will need to shorter. Look and the shallower diving baits 4 foot range and you will have an idea of the length that will work for this line tie and bill angle. The bill on the lure your coping is probably the perfect length.

Vic

Edited by littleriver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the intent, and applaud the good instruction given in this thread, but has anyone besides BobP noticed that a long detailed thread showing how to copy a Chinese-manufactured production lure in wood on a website dedicated to making custom tackle, (it is Tackle Underground, after all) is more than a little ironic?

I'm just sayin'...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with littleriver; I think the lip is too long and the bait will be uncontrollable. I've tried longer lips on baits with the line tie in the nose, thinking that I'd just start long and trim it down gradually to get the right length. Somehow, that just never seems to work out for me. If you want a bait to dive more than 4-5 ft, IMO you need to get the line tie out on the surface of the lip instead of in the nose, and use less lip angle.

Lure-Prof is right about the irony but on the other hand I think the absolute best way to start out building crankbaits is to copy successful designs. They are successful because they were developed by professionals and they actually catch fish. That's no mean feat. I don't fear that a wood copy of a RC2.5 will be "too close for comfort" to a plastic RC2.5. In the first place, nobody will ever get the copy exact. And because it's from wood, the bait will behave very differently. But at least you will have eliminated some of the design pitfalls that you know nothing about and will otherwise have to learn through bitter experience. Build it, fish it, and start modifying the design over several generations and that will teach you a lot about crankbaits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the intent, and applaud the good instruction given in this thread, but has anyone besides BobP noticed that a long detailed thread showing how to copy a Chinese-manufactured production lure in wood on a website dedicated to making custom tackle, (it is Tackle Underground, after all) is more than a little ironic?

I'm just sayin'...

I don't see why you felt the need to post this. Who dedicated TU to custom tackle...yourself?

Here is what TU is about and who it is for:

Tackleunderground.com is an online community of fishing tackle enthusiasts and makers brought together from the world over. Tackleunderground.com boasts the planets largest group of minds and talent in the industry from weekend hobbyists to full time manufacturers in one place.

What we do

Tackleunderground.com allows you to create, exhibit & discuss techniques related to fishing tackle production and improving it's effective use. Our community encompasses a wide range of skill-sets from the weekend warrior modifying an existing bait on up to scratch-built tackle & full scale manufacturing.

Now, I don't see the word "custom" at all, or the implication that TU is "dedicated" to custom tackle making.

Even the faintest irony is completely lost on me.

Hopefully we can get back to talking shop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with littleriver; I think the lip is too long and the bait will be uncontrollable. I've tried longer lips on baits with the line tie in the nose, thinking that I'd just start long and trim it down gradually to get the right length. Somehow, that just never seems to work out for me. If you want a bait to dive more than 4-5 ft, IMO you need to get the line tie out on the surface of the lip instead of in the nose, and use less lip angle.

The KVD 2.5 runs 7 ft, at least, out of the box. I have confirmed this on the water with 150' casts and 10 lb, .012" line. My understanding of lure design elements is halfway well rounded these days, but not real sharp - and I'm not sure what gives this square bill the ability to get so deep. I suspect it has something to do with the steep angles on the sides of the bill, which give the bill a narrower profile. There is also a spine molded on the underside of the bill that flows seamlessly into the body as it widens. I wonder if the twin ballast (one large steel ball just rear of the front hanger, one smaller ball just to the front.) maybe works with the bill to achieve a better dive angle?

Have you tried using the plastic dividers for testing? The ones I used (Plano) have ridges molded in them that allow the bill to stay in the slot without shifting and without glue on a moderate retrieve. On a faster retrieve they would probably flex downward, making the test moot, but they are nice and easy to trim on the water even with small scissors.

I just wanted to see if I could get an extra foot or two of depth. I realize even that is a long shot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where a lure is made is irrelevant. We all copy someone here, except maybe JRHopkins.

It takes just as much skill to copy a lure from Peru as one from the US.

Stick to what TU is about, which is making and sharing.

Everything I know about luremaking, limited as it may be, I learned here, from generous people sharing what they've learned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blazt, i use the bill I will be fishing with for testing . Once I have the bait water sealed i put a tin piece of masking tape on end of bill and in install in slot. This holds well enough for testing. I also sometimes employ a temporary extended line lie that may be bent to variety of positions until a good position is found. I credit Vodkaman for this fantastic prototyping idea. My very first crank with the long bill and steep angle bill was able to swim after bending my line tie down onto the bill. On the bill as bob suggests. Many of my first baits were more learning than success.

I know literally nothing of the bait your copying or how deep it will dive. But I am developing an idea of what makes any bait dive and act the way it does. Ballast effects buoyancy and both ballast and buoyancy have influence on depth and action. So does line tie position, lure shape,lure weight, weight distribution bill angle, bill length, bill width and bill shape. Basically it can get very complicated very quick. I commend for trying to get more depth. Trying a new mod often leads to dissapointment but try and try again and finally success. My intention is to hopefully save you a couple of those tries and fast track you to success. The reason we do not see commercial baits with steep bill angles and long bills with line ties on nose is simple; they usually do not work. The buoyancy (lift) of the bait with line tie on nose coupled with long steep angled bill(drag) will nose over too far and swim out of control. There is a balance that must be achieved for proper swimming action between the two like a seasaw. Put too much force on either end of this delicate balance and no wobble. For such a large bill on a short bait with this angle, it would take so much ballast at rear of bait to balance and this would not make for a good swimmer even if it did work.

I wish you well with your build and I hope your swimming this bait soon.

Vic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blazt,

I have used Plano dividers for bill, but mostly on shallow divers. I switched to Lexan because it is thinner and more rigid, and I've found that it deflects better off rock and doesn't wear like the Plano bills.

Now I use Plano dividers just for prototyping, and not for my finished lures.

For deep diving cranks, I move the line tie down onto the bill about half way, like Ben's deep diver in his gallery.

I lucked out, and his bill design works perfectly for my deep divers.

But making a prototype with multiple line tie connections in different locations on the bill, like Vodkaman does, will help you achieve the best location for your lure.

I float test my cranks to ballast them, and want them to hang nose down, so they begin diving immediately on the start of the retrieve. I find the best way to find that angle is to put a deep diving DT16 Rapala, or any lure that similar in design to what I've made, in the float tank, and duplicate that angle with my test ballast.

I think you'll find that adding your ballast between the front hook hanger and the bill, and as close to the belly of the lure as possible, will help keep your lure stable on the retrieve. Adding ballast behind the front hanger seems to dampen a lure's action for me, and to make it hang more horizontal. I find that more horizontal makes it dive more slowly and more shallow.

If I need a lot of ballast, I'll add it in two smaller portions to keep the weight down low.

On the other side, raising the position of the ballast toward the middle of the bait and away from the belly can make the bait more unstable, and help it "hunt", but achieving that action with ballast position is a real pain in the neck, at least for me.

You've got a lot of work, and fun, ahead of you.

Enjoy, and good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blazt,

One of the first mission statements that Jerry used for this site was "all custom, all the time". While Tackle Underground may have expanded its scope beyond that statement, at its core, TU, and the well from which all this has sprung is the spirit of Underground, the collective effort of imaginative individual tackle craftsmen going beyond the mass-produced built-to maximize-profit products which the Commercial Tackle Industry gives us.

So to answer your question, no, the custom tackle thing was not my idea, but was the mission that supplied fuel to the original tackle innovators of this site to get it to where we are today, approaching a 10th anniversary of solid tackle building innovation and information; Tackle Underground, where, as our long-suffering site administrator Jerry Goodwin pronounced, as mission, "Custom Tackle Has No Limits".

I hope you can see now why a thread that began with the idea of copying a commercial product struck me as ironic. Without the battle flag of custom tackle, there would not be this site upon which this thread could be posted!

Dean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took the first blank out for a swim a couple days after shaping it and it swam ok (I trimmed the bill some), very much like the original but it does need some refinement. It has more thump, whick I like, but the side to side swing was a bit choppy and abrupt. This is probably just because I stuffed the two ballast weights in the belly halfway, with half hanging out. I was pretty much just trying to get the buoyancy down (moderately slow rise, so that it will grind bottom on a slow retrieve). I would guesstimate it ran about 6 ft on a shorter (90 ft maybe) cast because at the end of the retrieve it was about 4.5 ft down. I have two more waiting on hardware and when I drill them out I'll be more careful to get good ballast ports, so that the weights are well into the belly.

The first one I swam was a little too big, with sides that were flatter than the master bait but otherwise the shape was an 85% match, but blank #2 is almost dead on in every way. So hopefully it will be fully awesome once it's ready to go...can't wait to teach it to swim.

Mark P,

I couldn't believe you started talking about hunting action relates to how deep the belly weights are positioned- I've been wondering about that for a while since it seems like it would destabilize the center of gravity- why do find tuning it that way is a pain? Do have a preffered method? Anybody? The only time I had a bait wind up a hunter was a batch of Luhr Jensen Brush Babies...happy accident...I cut the "brush cams" off the sides and they started hunting like crazy.I was thinking maybe put the egg weights I'm using on a toothpick and use that to slide them in and out for easy adjustment while testing.

Also I too have thought about an adjustable line tie for prototyping but couldn't see anything in my mind that wouldn't be too fat and have too much resistance in the water...do have a link or some pics for that by any chance?

Next question: If I wanted to convert the 2.5 body to a deep diver, with a big lip running almost straight out, what adjustments would I probably be looking at to get the same action?

For those that haven't heard, these KVDs are made to hunt of of the box.

The 2011 Classic was won with a KVD 1.5 .

I only had one each - a 1.5 and a 2.5 - but despite the cold water they wouldn't even breathe on the 1.5, even though the one I had hunted a lot more than the big one.

Edited by blazt*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

blazt,

I don't have a formula for making a crank that hunts. After playing around for a while, I gave up.

I'm sure there are other ways to achieve the same thing, but I haven't found them.

I would look long and hard at the brush baby you altered that hunts.

I'm guessing that the side "cams" on the brush baby helps to stabilize the lure on the retrieve. Maybe the ratio of the size of the lure, width of the lure, and the size and width of the bill will give you a starting point.

I've made cranks that overpowered their bills, and swam in big, slow circles. I corrected that with suspend dots between the bill and the belly hook. I was too lazy to try and play with the wieghts to get it to hunt, but that told me that the ratio of bill size to lure is important, and altering that may lead to a hunting action, too.

I've achieved a hunting action by burning a long, thin shallow crankbait, too. Long body, small bill, hmm.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got it to hunt a bit (nothing impressive) before I started messing with the bill. Should have left it alone, because when I cut a bit off and rounded the corners it stopped hunting and didn't swim as well - back to the choppy swim. It was a pretty square looking square bill before my "improvements" and I'm starting to think square bills really should be square. But the stock bill has a rounded profile. I'm going to yank the bill and start again if needed. I wound up with 3/16 oz of ballast stuffed into the belly.

I put one of the finished baits in the gallery (crappy cell phone pic!) :

http://www.tackleunderground.com/community/gallery/image/9488-kvd-25-clone-basswood/

Will it swim the same if I just put a big deep diver bill on there with the line tie on the bill or would I have to make adjustments?

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