Seeking 56

Wood Swelling, Not Always.

17 posts in this topic

Just for arguments sake.

Here are a couple of pics of a red cedar lumber crankbait I've made. It has hook rash and teeth marks.

I've read here on TU that wood swells up and ruins the lure when it's exposed to water. I don't believe this to be true. This lure has held up for almost a year now in this condition.

This lure has been sealed with Titebond 3 waterproof glue, primed with C-I-L Smart 3 primer and cleared with 3 thin coats of E-tex,

So, what woods should you not use to avoid swelling?

s54

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Edited by seeking 54

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I'm not familiar with red cedar but I'm inclined to think that if it hasn't swollen, water hasn't penetrated into the untreated wood.....yet. I don't know of any wood appropriate for crankbaits that will not absorb water.

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cedars fine. poplar is sketchy. hardwoods have hard time absorbing sealers.. oh ya nice bait

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Thanks George. I didn't get too fancy with that one. Built it late in the season last year and just needed to give it some contrast to try it out.

Here's another one. This one's been to hell and back.

Someone asked me to repair this one but I declined as it wouldn't be cost effective. Other than the battle scars it still runs fine.

s54

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Edited by seeking 54

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Red Cedar is a coniferous tree , .......guess , somewhat similar to the European pinewood , that I'm more familiar to . So it should contain some kinda resin , that can react with sealer or primer coats .

I remember my first glidebaits made almost 20 years ago , .....made of pinewood , the blanks soaked in a 50/50 mix of turpentine and linseed oil for a few days to seal the wood , dríed for a couple of weeks prior to priming .

Some months after having completed the lures , the wood also did swell up , most likely on the thinner tail ends or nose portions to generate cracks in the paint,-and topcoat at those spots , ......even without having swum the lures at all !

Years later once I also had primer adhesion problems on pinewood dipped into ordinary liquid woodsealer , .........just trying to avoid such timbers nowadays .

The way you're describing , it rather sounds to me like an adhesion problem of primer , paint and topcoat to the sealed timber rather than moisture entering the wood causing it to swell thus losing parts of the paint job , .........you're saying that even with all of those damages your lures are still performing fine .

I also have some veteran topwater lures of abache wood , in use for many seasons now , ....hook rashes , stripped off paint and topcoat on some portions , teeth holes , .......all can't harm them , since they've been sealed with the linseedoil method , ...they still float up nicely season after season , not soak up water to sink or even crack up .

Greetz , diemai :yay:

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Red cedar has an oil in it (that may be the reason you have not lost the lure pictured). That is why most lure builders that use cedar use AYC or white cedar as the concentration of oils left in the wood after milling and kiln drying is much lower than red cedar. Eventually the oils work their way to the surface compromising the finish. Nothing wrong with using it as long as you have a system that works with the oils in the wood

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abache..some mahoganys are great for baits.with my humble experiences oaks,hard maples are bad news..you can get beautifull artwork on them but it wont handle test of time. trolling is a way of life here. pulling a bait at 8-10ft per second for miles on end is just extreme. we also deal with large temp changes. from 80 degree water to waters at33 degrees. lots of different values here

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The 3rd pic has a 1/8'' gash on it's belly. I'd be hard pressed to believe that any type of sealer could / would penetrate anywhere near that depth to protect the wood..... but that's another topic.

There is no adhesion problem here, just exposed wood due to the hooks and teeth factor and jointed parts contacting each other.

Sure, the natural oils in the cedar definitely play a factor in the lures not swelling up, has it would naturally repel the water.

I was hoping someone would chime in with pics and show the results of what a swollen lure looks like as a result of improper wood selection, sealing, topcoating, etc and discuss their experience...

s54

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seeking 54 your correct. cedars have open pores. sealers adhere better. noticing the baits posted its evident you have great p;aint bite. . we immerse our bodys sealers will only get in thousanths.its the bite into the pores that makes paints hang onto.

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In my experience, oily woods, like teak, mahogany, and the Malaysian hardwoods like Epe are the least likely to be affected by water intrusion, because their cells are already full of oil.

Redwood and cedar are used for exterior woodwork on houses because they, too, have some kind of oils in them, but not as much, so they are water-resistant and rot-resistant, but not waterproof or rotproof.

I was able to make a wood lure that was very water resistant out of vertical grain douglas fir by using only oil-based sealers, paints, and topcoats for the entire finishing process.

It was a one piece lure, so there were very few vulnerable spots for water to enter, and those were well sealed by the glue that I used to lock in the line tie and hook hangers.

I could never keep water out of jointed wooden lures.

Paint schemes that fail due to water intrusion first show bubbling and delamination.

Eventually, the wood swells, and then shrinks and cracks as it dries.

Wood's cells are shaped like honey combs, with flat sided walls. When wood absorbs water, the walls of the cells are stretched and belly out, forcing them away from the adjacent cells. When the wood dries, the cell walls collapse inward instead of just staying flat, and that's why wood shrinks and cracks once it's been soaked and then dried out.

Kiln drying is a slow process of removing water from wood without collapsing the cell walls. Because it's done slowly, the cell walls retain their flat geometric shape without collapsing.

If it's done too fast, you get what's called case hardening, and the wood cracks. Even properly dried wood may still crack at the ends of the board, unless the end grain is sealed first with some kind of waxy sealer, because end grain has been opened by the act of cutting the board to length.

Short story long, water swollen lures are ugly, and no one wants to show them off! Hahaha

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I gave a bass lure to a friend who trolled it for pike in Canada for a week. The combination of trolling over rocks and many pike bites totally trashed it. There was not a square centimeter of solid finish left on the bait; I just threw it away and gave him another. But it was worth the work to build a bait that caught fish for him for that whole week. I would expect my wood crankbaits to last at least several years fishing for bass here in N.C. I use an epoxy seal coat, acrylic paint, and epoxy or MCU topcoat. They are over-built compared to 95% of the commercial wood bass crankbaits I've fished. But obviously, my "more than good enough" finish for bass baits is "definitely not good enough" for Canadian pike trolling. Nor would I expect one to last as a saltwater bluefish lure. The bottom line is that you have to build them tailored to the fishing environment and target species - whatever they are. And you have to build them tough enough to last for a reasonable time in that environment. "Reasonable time" is open to interpretation.

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excellent thoughts guys. what we do for passion. bob the toothy critters here must be part beaver. teeth will destroy lures. i have seen plastic lures punctured

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@ mark poulson

..........thanks a lot for your expert explanations , Mark :worship: , ......live and learn :yay: !

Cheers , Dieter :yay:

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Blackjack makes a good point about the oil in red cedar. Whether it bleeds through your paint depends on the sealer you use on the bait. If it's impervious to oil you'll be OK. Now what sealer that is, I have no idea! On the rare occasions I use cedar, it's always white cedar.

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I gave up trying to seal wooden baits, except for small balsa baits.

I'm not smart enough to keep the water out.

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Blackjack got it right. Cedar has natural oils in the wood. If the wood is not kiln dried then the oils come to the surface and crack the paint and can even crack the clearcoat. This is what happened to Poes in the 90s. Also, any wood will swell when it gets soaked. So if you don't seal the lure well then the same thing will happen to the paint and clearcoat. You can usually tell this is the cause on a lure because the cracks in the clearcoat will be outward and not inward like if you hit something with it. If you are using water based paints that could be a real problem if the bait was not sealed properly.

Skeeter

Edited by Skeeter

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