streamdancing

Basic Lure Making Tools...would Be?

39 posts in this topic

Hi folks,

As an long time ago fly tyer, I'm branching out a bit and wanting to try my hand at other aspects of lure making, ie...hardbaits, plastics, spinners etc. While I've still got some of my old tools and gizmos that I'm starting out using for this new and challenging foray into these other fields. I am hoping some of you guys\girls might steer me in the right direction by listing five (5) or so tools you feel are most beneficial in your own lure making endeavors. I, personally find I'd be lost without a rotary tool and while I have a Dremel, I prefer my Black & Decker RXT three speed rotary tool mainly because it's a lot cheaper and seems to not heat up as bad as my Dremel. An addition of a collet that will hold other type bits has really enhanced it's value to me. Also, feeling well heeled at finally receiving my lil SS stipend, I've gone totally off the cliff to purchase a wire bending tool...got tired of all the blood blisters from making not so pretty wire coils etc. with round nosed pliers. Other than a fine toothed craft saw razor blade knives, magifying lamp..that about sums up my lil table top shop...rather meager I mus admit. Would like to have an airbrush...and of course the compressor to make it work would be nice too! So folks...can you tell me you own favorite, not to be without tools and gizmos that make lure making possible for the novice with limited budget? Oh...forgot... a lll vise would be nice...any ideas on which one? Thanks bunches...

Boyd

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My limited arsenal includes a Coping saw, Dremmel, small vise, tin snips (for cutting lexan), heavy duty wire cutters (Bolt cutter style for cutting the SS wire). cordless drill for the ballast holes, a cheap airbrush, and cheap paint brushes for the epoxy. This is my bare minimum, except maybe the drill as this can be done with a dremmel and carving bits. Hope this has helped you and good luck.

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Things I could not live without............

band saw (down size wood, rough cut shapes, cut bib slots)

carving knife ( carve lures)

dremel with tile cutting bit (ballast holes)

1/16 drill bit ( line tie holes)

Router with laminate cutting bit ( cut bibs)

nice to have......................

safety wire pliers (twist wire for line ties and hook hangers) pliers work but...............

belt sander ( smooth edges of bibs and tons of things you would never think of) sandpaper glued on wood block works but...........

Edited by littleriver
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Welcome to the site Boyd.I also started my lure making at a fly tying vise about 30 years ago.When I started making wood lures I found a band saw and a table top belt sander as the most valuable and useful tools to have.You can build just about anything if you have them...Nathan

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I use a scroll saw for cutting out the basic blank shape and the lip slot - a band saw does the same, faster. A Dremel with sanding cylinder and/or a good carving knife does the rounding over. I use Dremel bits to drill hardware and ballast holes. I cut Lexan or circuit board lips with metal snips and refine the shape with the Dremel sanding cylinder. If you want seriously good looking lures, you are going to want to paint them with an airbrush/compressor. Sandpaper and a brush to apply an epoxy topcoat round out the tool set. If you use epoxy topcoats, a home built lure turner quickly becomes a "must have".

Edited by BobP
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Hi Ya,ll...and I mean all of you (Jon boatin, lil river, Nathan, and BobP) for the prompt and most useful info re tools of the trade... thanks! I see now I retired to early....gonna need some moe folding green to get into this game! Really though, from what I'm hearing and also seen from some of ya'lls excellent work...one can accomplish quite a bit with minimal tools. So impressed with you artist types ) who can take a hunk of raw wood and turn it into a piece of art as well as a useable 'fish catching' device....cool....but I'll leave the carving and art work to Lil River and BobP! Me, I'll be able to forgo the expense of carving knives as can't even carve the turkey without the family shuddering in consternation and abject horrow at the butchery...will have to stick to tools that go 'buzzzzzz,..whrrrrrrrrr to gouge, grind and dice my baits...oh well, do have the the rotories! Lil River and Nathan...when ya'll speak of band saws, routers and table top sanders..are these the full size versions or the mini versions.?Have a catalog here, Micro-Mark that has some cool items that I can't even identify...can ID the costs though and they are about as prohibitive as a full size comparable tool. As my ole nerves aren't what they use to be, can see the need for a one of their lil vices...any preferences Jon boatin on type\kind that you use? Guys I agree...need that airbrush and compressor for sure...have already looked into types, makes and models...Iwata seems to be the higher end of the spectrum re costs....is one of that calibre necessary? Mind telling me what you folks do your painting with....gravity or bottle feed, single or double action....needle size etc. Oh...hope I"m not jumping topic rules (yes Nathan I read as was instructed...smiles)...but what kind of paint...oil or water base....need to know as makes a difference with needle sizes right?? Pancake or oiled compressor? Ok, I know, I'm pushing my good luck here...to dern ignorant I am and ya'll have already been most helpful....but...if ya'll get me squared away...want bother ya...well....errrr....for a bit. Really folks...thanks for all the help...gonna be fun when I get all these dodads agoing whippty, whippitywop!!

Until then,

Wishing ya'll Happy Holidays...and safe ones,

Boyd

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I didn't see a bad item listed, but they all assume you are ready to "make kindling". I would suggest some good layout tools. Nothing worse than trying to guess where the center of something is, or how long to make this slot or how deep do I drill. Musky Glenn

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Glenn makes a good point about the layout tools. I would be lost without a compass. The kind used to draw circles. Not the kind to find your way out of the woods. I use it to draw a circumference line around the blanks while the sides are still flat. This assures me that ballast and hook hanger holes are drilled in the center of the lure. They can also be used for laying out reference points on opposite sides of the lure for such things as painting kill spots and eyes.

Ben

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Hello Ben and Glenn,

Lol...re 'making kindling'...but you're both right. I'm so far behind the learning curve here...even the very rudimentary applies. I would never have thought of a compass for accomplishing what I now see as a first step in getting off to a good start...those previous guys were just trying to be kind and inclusive by promoting me to their high grade of compentency as to avoid suggesting what they knew to be the obvious..."this sucker needs to be held back a couple of years"...ha! Ok, got it...a compass it is...heck, I could have used one of those a long time ago...rather than trying to measure points with my lil dog-eared plastic ruler..no wonder my 3D eyes are always gollywomposed....looking like a bait on horse steroids 8O ! Thank you both...

Boyd

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Nobody here at TU will try to hold you back Boyd. Trust me. When I first started I wasn't even as far along as you are with your fly tying knowledge. I was a complete newbie as far as bait building goes. Only with the freely given help I received from the many, many folks here at TU was I able to start building lures that catch fish.

None of us know what your present skill level is or how comfortable you are with using different tools and we may make suggestions that seem a little advanced to you, but we're only trying to help. For instance Nathan mentioned a band saw. While it is possible to build baits without one it is definitely easier, faster and more precise to cut out lure blanks with one. It is also the only way I know of to cut lip slots perfectly every time. I bought one for a little over $100 at Lowe's and now wouldn't be without it. While I wouldn't suggest buying a cheaper model if I was doing custom mill work it serves my purpose. Pay close attention to the way it's set up and you will be just fine.

As far as what tools you absolutely have to have there are folks who have been building baits for years with little more than a pocket knife, a paint brush and some epoxy. It's all about how far you want to get into this obsession of ours and how good you are with the tools that you do have. A lot of answers to your questions can be found by using the search function. There is enough reading material to keep you busy for at least the rest of the year. There are numerous pages of discussions on airbrushes, stencils, paints, carving knives, Dremel accessories, top coats, wire through construction, types of lure building materials, different wire twists, ballasting material and placement, diving lips and the list goes on and on.

By doing a little research you will be able to ask specific questions and we can then give you more specific answers. When somebody asks something like "What's the best airbrush" a lot of that is going to depend on each individuals preference. If there were only one "best" of everything then we'd all be using the same thing and a lot of companies would be going out of business.

My best advice would be to start with what you consider to be the necessities and try building a bait that interests you. That's what I did with the first lure I built and as luck would have it that bait has the best action of anything I've built yet. The lip was a little out of square and was really a little too long for the size bait. When one thing was out of alignment there would be something else wrong in another place that compensated for it. So far it's the only bait I've managed to build that had a true hunting action. I've since purchased a sander, a drill press and a band saw and have yet to duplicate that first bait. So having a bunch of high dollar power tools may not always be the only way to go.

Sometimes you just gotta grab a root and grunt. Good luck.

Ben

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Yep, different guys, different tools. Everyone develops their own style of building as they go along. You start out, hit a problem and then get a tool or think of a procedure (or ask for help here on TU) to overcome the problem. An idea that most guys eventually get: good crankbaits are all about symmetry so you want to do as much layout and measuring as you can to keep them straight. Yes, marking up a 2" bait blank with a ruler and compass is a PITA. The only thing worse is eyeballing it and ending up with a lopsided bait that's worthless. I didn't understand this when I started out but now think of my compass, ruler, notebook, and digital scale as essential tools.

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Ben...

Believe me when I say that comment about 'being held back' was in total jest...I like poking fun at myself...that way I beat others to the task (smiles). The TU folks have been nothing but extraordiary polite , cordial and helpful. I might also note that not only are some very professional lure designers and builders, but I'm impressed with the writing skillls of ya'll folks as well....especially you after reading this last note...excellent job of detailing an overall view of the site and the hobby of lure building...you must have been an editor, author or both in your other life...really! As for as my level of expertise, I'm hopefully a bit more adept that I make out....have always worked with my hands in various artistic capacities..ie..flytying, pottery, some taxidermy as a teenager...minored in art in college. Presenty I have most of the tools that were mentioned, band saw is my brothers, lee melting pot, DO It molds...albeit just got those things, I have mold making experience from my pottery days..poured acrylic amial tracks and cast them to make medalions back in the hippe days of the 60s. So I'm not totally in the dark as I profess maybe. That said...I don't have any experience with these silicone and new resin mediums...and some of the molding I want to do (cast the ABT umbrella rig with it's intricate adjustable head inside and out...is going to be a real challenge...probably the same as with the Waddle Bat. I do apoligize for not doing as you've tactfully suggested...do my studying of the post already here rather than beat the same horse to death....admit to taking a short cut by trying to get it outta you guys. In my defence, only found this site a few days ago and still learning how to navigate and use the systerm correctly...I certainly know a bit more about molding and lures than I do computers...ok...know hardly anyting about puters...!! Anyway...thanks again for taking all that time to wirte that last post, and again I marvel at the patience and honest and sincere approach that TU members reflect in trying to aid another hobbist....actually amazing...and I promise not to abuse this generosity in the future...will do my reading and studying to avoid unnecessay redunction (is that a word?) and site clutter. Thanks again my friend for your efforts in my behalf!!

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Well said BobP...but did you have to mention that digital scale...just watched a tutorial on molding and casting and realized if used some of the products might need one of those babies too...sheese. Had not even thought of using one in the context of weighing, balancing in crank bait applicatiions. Nearly have to be a dern engineer to go fishing these days...Ha :oooh: ! Of course I learned a long time ago a lopsided popping bug didn't catch fish...and worse illicited abject ridicule from my fishing pard...not really..he was getting free flies and poppers so tried to cheer me on to avoid losing out on the gravy train. Good point also made from both you and Ben about different strokes for differnt folks...one fella with a pocket knive can achive more than another with alll the latest gizmos...but geeze....I like looking at all those gadgets! Thanks for the help my friend.

Boyd

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Boyd, I really can't add too much to the list of things to get. The list is already a mile long and you've only scratched the surface. As far as airbrushes, like Ben said, there isn't a best, only opinions of what the best could be. I myself picked up an inexpensive brush for as little as $40 and it works great for my needs. I use an Exacto knife for carving my baits out once they're sized. I've gone that route since I have more control and the "real" carving knives are and can be alittle pricey once you start looking around. Anyway, just stay the course and don't let a setback stop you from fulfilling the goal of building your own crankbaits. I have a wall of shame in my shop, just like everyone else on TU. Good luck with all that you do.

Jerry

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I can't help you with pouring resin baits or making molds, but there are plenty of folks here at TU who are masters of the art. And I wasn't trying to discourage you from asking questions. Just making you aware of the vast wealth of info stored in the archives. I spend a good bit of time on the computer and have never run across another site with so much information about every aspect of building lures.

Good luck and keep us informed of your progress or if you need any assistance.

Ben

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Will do Ben....and I'm sure I'll be hollering for ya'll fellas quite often...Boyd

Oh...thanks Jerry...that helps my feelers a bunch to know one doesn't have to hock the farm to get a serviceable airbrush...thinking on the lines of a full shop size compressor from harbor freight...because if forego doing some real work on my lil cabin as in repalcing the siding..gonna be carving baits under this big ole white oak tree in the back yard :drool: !

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Boyd, I am referring to full size tools. But you'll have to get your hands dirty and find what works for you. Most everything I have has come from craigslist. Usually, I can find a better quality second hand tool for less than a cheap new tool that way. Picked up a real nice older sears router for 20 bucks just last week to replace the harbor freight model I have been using. The sears is one speed (wide open) but has less vibration and quieter than the cheap variable speed harbor freight model. Cuts better too.

Vic

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The vise that I use is a small 6 or 8" I think. I got it at lowe's for about 25 dollars if I remember correctly. It's not a must have but it sure makes drilling ballast holes easier. I also use it to clamp the blanks in while they are still flat and cut the slot lip (the jaws make an excellent straight edge).

I still use the search function a ton (I've only been here a year), and it's still very useful.

Most important thing is use what works best for YOU, and have fun.

Welcome to your new addiction.

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Vic...

Great buy...I'll have to try Craig's list...tis my sisters favorite place as well. Always have been a bit shy of routers at least in hand held mode, but with a table think I could manage. Do you have to get a lot of varied bits or will a few do? I think someone mentioned laminate bits? Also I need to get a few more dremel or equivalent type carbide cutter bits as been using them to reconfigure the Do-It molds to change hook placement slots and add ball swivel line tie area and other mods ( putting spinner blades off the belly of the ultra minnow etc). Want to try double eyed SS wire across the radius to add a double spinner blade arrangement. Seems someone, maybe you, mentioned a tile cutting bit...would that cut aluminum? Anyway, Vic, thanks re the Craig's list tip...sounds good!

Boyd

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Hey Jon Boatin...ok...got a Lowes in this lil town so will check it out...thanks. I suppose I'll have to put something between my 'masterpiece} if clamping once shaped...maybe some of this closecelled foam I already have...hmmmmmm...will see. Boyd

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Lil River..nix my last query about laminate bits..see where you've already told me they are used for cutting/shaping lexan for lips...I need to quit gluping coffee all nite and read more carefully...senile is as senile does! And you are right Jon Boatin...tis an addictin..but a fun one! Boyd

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Boyd,

A table top Bandsaw and sander will work just fine.Micro Mark has some neat stuff but they are pricey.Sears and Delta make some pretty good table top tools at a reasonable price...Nathan

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Thanks Nathan...thought the same about Micro-Mark....I've got use of my Bro's band saw at the moment...so will focus on the sander...have many other uses for that item anyway! Boyd

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Boyd, I use a belt sander flipped upside down and clamped in my vice to help shape lures. I bought my sander at a flea market by my house. In my experience, Flea markets and garage sales are a good place to find cheap tools.

If the foam you have doesn't work to protect you lures from you vice jaws, try a computer mouse pad. It will protect the wood from the metal jaws and the no slip rubber backing will keep the lure from shifting.

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Greetings Matt M...

Great idea...my sister loves those things...garage sales and flea markets, not belt sanders I don't think! I'll have to start tagging along with her. Neat idea re using mouse pad....beats my half inch excercise foam mat hands down...thanks Matt! Oh, for us visually challenged, has anyone any experience with Optivision maginfication head bands? Seems to me they may not be much better than the peepers I now have...but was interested in the led lighting attachment dealie put out by another company but fits optivision head bands. Boyd

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