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Formula For Weighing Balsa Crankbaits
6 replies to this topic
Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:06 AM
I have made some balsa cranks and love the action but they seem like they float way to much. When I top reeling they rise up pretty quick! I have been adding 4..5 grams of lead to a small 2" lure. After top coat and paints the lures weigh about 10 grams. Has anybody tested a piece of balsa to find out exactly how much weight it takes to sink. Like 2 grams. of balsa requires X amount of lead. I was going to get a 2 gram lure, weight without top coat. Then coat it and attatch weight until it just barely floated which would tell me exactly how much lead to add per gram of balsa. If anyone knows it would save me a ton of time. Thanks, Rob
Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:55 AM
Every piece of wood is different, including balsa, so you're probably better off with a system to determine how much ballast weight each crank of a particular "identical" batch will need, and use that for those lures.
I only use balsa when I want a really buoyant lure, because it's buoyancy really makes lures lively, and is what sets it apart from other woods and materials.
If you want a lure that sinks, there are lots of other woods that are easier to work and denser, so they require less ballast. Pine, fir, and poplar come to mind as woods that are readily available, and heavier than balsa, but still workable and buoyant enough for lures.
I've found that any lure needs buoyancy, so I can add ballast to the belly and still have it sit upright, even on suspending or sinking lures.
Whenever I make a new lure, I add the hardware and hooks, and then float test it to determine how much ballast I need to get it to sit like I want it to sit in the water.
I add split shot or egg sinkers to the tines of the trebles until the lure looks right.
On cranks, I ignore the weight of my Createx/urethane paint and topcoat.
On swimbaits, I figure the whole paint/top coat scheme weighs 2-3 grams, and allow for that in the ballasting.
Once I've determined how much a particular bait needs, I use that as a guide for the rest of that shape and size I make. But only as a guide. I've made batches of six swimbaits, all hand shaped, and they vary by as much as three grams in their weight before hardware, so each one has to be float tested to determine how much ballast it needs.
And I'm using PVC, which is uniform in density. Wood varies more.
The only truly consistent lure bodies are injection molded plastic, and even they can have slight variations.
I've made peace with that, and actually enjoy the part of the process where I determine the ballast each lure needs.
Sorry to be long winded, but you asked, and this is how I do it.
Edited by mark poulson, 22 November 2011 - 10:58 AM.
Posted 22 November 2011 - 02:23 PM
Rob, High buoyancy is exactly why shallow crankbaits are made from balsa. It makes for very lively action and allows the bait to be fished through snarly wood cover without being snagged. I like to shoot for a blend of buoyancy and castability and I look to popular commercial baits to give me direction. One of the premier commercial baits of this type is the Zoom WEC E1. It's exactly 2" long and weighs 1/2 ounce with short shank #4 trebles. I like to throw a bait that's a little lighter and more lively, .40 to .45 oz, so clone an E1 and ballast mine accordingly - which turns out to be 4.25 g of ballast with the light balsa bodies I make. To figure required ballast, I weigh the body and all the hardware, add .025 oz for finish, and subtract the total from the desired target weight to get the amount of ballast needed. You can hit a target weight + or - .01 oz reliably using that method. If you are building a unique fat balsa bait, this method is not as exact because your body is probably shaped somewhat differently. In that case, a float test is really the only way to be precise. But based on my experience and likes/dislikes, I think you are close to where I'd want a 2" balsa bait to be with 4.5 g of ballast.
I agree with Mark that If you want a slow floating bait, there's little reason to build it from balsa. I'd choose a wood (basswood or white cedar come to mind) that is naturally more dense and durable, and will require less ballast. But you'll still need a float test. You did one on your bait - you just waited too late in the build process!
Posted 22 November 2011 - 02:40 PM
Thanks guys for the help. I like the action of the cranks, but when they stop they rise to quick. So I think I will just up the belly weight to 5 grams and see what happens. Rob
Posted 22 November 2011 - 07:30 PM
it looks like your looking for your cranks to supend or rise very slowly? just ajust the weight till the back of the lure just sits above the waterline and then subtract afew grams for your finish and the wood you will remove when drilling for the weights should get you what you want
Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:24 PM
I'm with Bob. If your trying to build slow rising cranks then it would be much easier to build them out of wood that doesn't have the buoyancy of balsa. And you wouldn't have to add so much ballast. You can run out of room to install everything real quick in a hand made bait. And if you add enough ballast to make a balsa lure a slow floater then you've killed some of the action that makes balsa such a great wood for cranks in the first place. Just my
Posted 23 November 2011 - 09:53 AM
Thanks all for the help. I will try the basswood, on my next baits. I seem to catch a lot of fish when I jerk the lure and let it rise. But mine are shootin up pretty quick. And don't look right. Rob