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Cedar Vs Balsa
14 replies to this topic
Posted 12 February 2012 - 12:40 PM
I am planning to cut out some flatsided baits today from cedar. Is a noticable difference in the action from balsa to cedar? I thought the cedar would be more durable. Also what kind of belly weight should I use? I was thinking something like a small barrel sinker. Thanks.
Posted 12 February 2012 - 03:42 PM
I build alot of baits out of PVC and the barrel weights work perfectly for my application. The barrel weight I use is around 3/8ths and has a hole big enough for the hook hanger as well. Depending on the size of your bait will utimately depend on the size of the weight for your ballast. My baits range from 3/4 to 1ounce in weight before hooks.
Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:18 AM
Cedar is a traditional wood for flat sided baits and it works well. It's harder than balsa and doesn't require thru-wire build techniques. Does it have a different action? Yes, since it is less buoyant, but you can make a good thumping flat sided bait out of it. I would weigh some similar commercial flatsided wood baits like a Tennessee Tuffy, Rapala, etc, to get an idea of the total weight you should work toward for your bait, and then plan your ballast accordingly. Weigh the blank, the hook hangers, trebles, and the lip together, add .03 oz for finish, and then subtract that from your target weight to get the weight of the ballast you need. A small barrel sinker will work OK, you can also buy integrated ballast weights with the belly hanger molded into them; it doesn't really matter what you use as long as there's enough room in the belly to glue in the ballast.
Posted 13 February 2012 - 02:35 AM
You can also buy a roll of lead wire to use as ballast. It comes in different sizes. I bought some 1/4" diameter to weight larger, deep diving cranks and I think it came from McMaster-Carr. All you have to do is figure out how much ballast is needed, cut off the appropriate amount, drill a hole and glue it in place. I like that the lead wire is in a cylindrical shape. It fits the hole exactly and leaves no unneccesary voids in the ballast hole. But that's just my preference.
Posted 13 February 2012 - 07:48 AM
hi. red cedar is excellent for baits. it accepts sealers and paints well. it also can accept screw eyes and hold.
downfalls its dusty, and sanding can be tricky for even wood finishing.. we use a large dust collection system at all machines. when purchasing lumber end chek your boards for grains.
Posted 14 February 2012 - 04:58 AM
You need to be more exact weighting hardwood baits. There is not alot of plus or minus to play with. However, if you want to make a hardwood bait then cedar is a good wood to start with. Balsa is VERY forgiving to weight. You have a lot of room to play with and still make a good running lure. Bob hit the nail on the head about cedar producing a good thump. All hardwood baits have a more distinct thump compared to a balsa lure. Weighting is one of the few secrets that I keep close to me. You will just have to play and experiment with it. But I will tell you that if you make two baits the same size, one made of wood and one of balsa, that you can just about double the amount of weight used for the wooden bait and that will give you a starting place for the balsa lure. Woodie is right warning you about the grain. Cedar has a grain that will rise when it is wet. That means wet with paint as well as water. The grain is very hard. It is tough to sand. It can cause a wavey looking effect on the lure. Just play with it all. You will quickly develope a favorite. It won't take long.
Edited by Skeeter, 14 February 2012 - 04:59 AM.
Posted 14 February 2012 - 09:24 PM
Yes, like Skeeter says, white cedar tends to have hard and soft grain side by side. If you hand sand it, the hard grain tends to stand out from the soft and it will show through the finish unless you use a very thick undercoating that levels out over the grain differences. I think that may be one reason why a lot of the classic cedar crankbaits like Poe use a thick "build coat" to undercoat their crankbaits. I torched the finish off of a Poe RC3 and the build coat was very flammable, so I had to remove it too (I like to leave the build coat/undercoat on them if possible but this one went up like a house on fire!). It's interesting to see just how rough the underlying wood on some of these baits really is. In a volume production environment, I guess they don't have the luxury of having a guy sit there for half an hour, hand sanding each bait. So a thick build coat saves on labor.
I shy away from cedar because of the grain effects and usually go with bass wood. Skeeter's right again about the ballast required for cedar or bass wood being about half what you might use with 12 lb/cu ft balsa. It can get downright finnaky and you need to break out your digital scale and start measuring ballast in hundreths of an ounce. But it does produce some nice baits.
Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:50 PM
Nah, I ain't gonna rely on how trees reproduce to determine hard vs soft woods. Balsa is SOFT, Cedar is HARD. I'll leave the reproductive categories to the pointy-headed dweebs.
Posted 15 February 2012 - 04:09 PM
Now that's funny.
Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:02 PM
You know what's really funny is that someone thinks cedar is hard. True, it does have grain issues but it is a very commonly used wood for bait making, and it machines very well. Maple and Cherry are a couple of hard, hardwoods that are also used quite often in making gliders. Their density make them a little more difficult to work with but the results are proven.
Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:53 AM
BobP brought out a lot of good points. It is true that many cedar baits have a thick white undercoat. Most of that was done on Poes for the exact reason that he stated. The lures were dipped in white lacquer paint that was mixed thick. LOL... that is why you had the house fire Bob. The best way to strip a Poes is to cut the lip out and then put it in a jar of acetone for a few hours. I am getting ready to do a tutorial with some Poes. You all will get a chance to see how to strip one along with the rough and unproportioned bodies.
Edited by Skeeter, 16 February 2012 - 08:55 AM.
Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:30 PM
Rowhunter, although I haven't seen a photo, I suspect that your head is in fact not pointy. I didn't intend to insult but got a little carried away. As a practical matter, I'm interested in the density of various wood species and the build techniques they require as it relates to ballasting and thru-wiring (or not).
I think there is a general correlation between wood density and hardness but it's not absolute. Whether paulownia is a hardwood or softwood I don't know, but it has a relatively low nominal density and is also fairly hard. White cedar (20 lbs/cu ft), paulownia (18 lbs/cu ft), and bass wood (23 lbs/cu ft) are fairly close in nominal density and I like them for medium to deep lipped crankbaits.