martbaz

Woods?

59 posts in this topic

Haha, Mark. I think you meant density! Anyway, thanks for the help. I will try to call some of my local lumber yards first and see if they can help me.

Ray; I checked out that link and noticed that they were offering a sample. I was thinking of ordering, but it doesn't give any info on the measurements. Anybody try this before and have an idea of how much they send? I am mostly worried about the thickness. I don't think it would be very useful to get a 1/2 inch board.

Mart; Man, that looks good for your first one! I hope my first one is half that good.

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The samples are too small to build a crank out of. Think they're only about 1" or 1 1/2" square by 3/4" or 1" thick. It doesn't cost anything to order the samples though. They even pick up the shipping charges. The samples are marked as to the different types of material so you can get an idea of what you'll be ordering should you decide to.

Ben

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Someone needs to re-title this thread. As always here, the minute someone talks of wood, the Azek topic pops up. I'll ask this, If the ultimate goal is a shaped piece of plastic, why wouldn't you make a mold and pour plastic resin? If you really like sanding plastic there will be plenty of prep to get it ready for paint. For the record, I have made lures from Azek and other plastic building material scraps. I have also made copies from resin with microballoons. The resin has a great benefit over wood in the simple fact that intricate detail can be replicated simply by pouring, the same cannot be said for the other materials, as you would still have to carve any detail. Both plastics are water resistant, but properly sealed wood can last a long time. Wood density for various types of lures cannot be duplicated simply by weighting, or ballasting. A large Musky glider is usually made from a hardwood such as Maple or Birch, then weighted to achieve the desired action in the water. A lightweight plastic similar to Balsa or Basswood would never match the action in this case. Then there is this, take a look in your great grandfathers tackle box if you are so lucky. Check out that old wooden Heddon flaptail lure from the 30's, then look at the plastic one from the 50's. Honestly, which one are you going to put in your box???

Plastic is plastic, Wood is good

Douglas

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Douglas,

You're right, of course, wood is a great material for baits, and is probably one of the oldest used.

And I do seem to chime in about AZEK a lot.

But I am a carpenter, and wood is in my blood, so to speak.

There is no better material for lively crankbaits than balsa, in my opinion.

I enjoy making lures, but I enjoy fishing them more.

I started out just trying to reproduce a borrowed Pupfish that I broke. I didn't want to build lures, just replace the one I'd broken. And wood was a natural way to go for me, since I had all the woodworking tools and skills needed to make a replacement.

I didn't want to get into mold making and resin casting, since I knew I could shape and carve something very close to the broken lure out of wood. There was no need to learn a whole new process.

I found I had a knack for making those surface gliders, and it was easy and fun.

I started out using wood, and oil-based paints, and gradually moved up to air brushing water based paints to try and duplicate some of the great work I saw here on TU.

That brought the whole issue of sealing the wood to the forefront for me, especially when I began making jointed swimbaits.

My gliders and swimbaits worked, and caught fish, and pretty soon the guys in my club were bugging me to make them some, too.

I began selling baits, and I stood behind whatever I sold, including repairing damaged lures.

So finding a way to seal wooden swimbaits so that the finish didn't eventually fail was a never ending saga for me.

And, since time is money, I looked for how to do things faster and more efficiently.

The process I had for building wooden lures had a lot of drying time involved. I would shape a lure, seal it, let it dry, add hardware and ballast, seal it again, let it dry again for another day, paint it, top coat it and turn that epoxied lure for another two days, and before I knew it a week had passed.

Even though I made them in batches of six, it was still a time consuming process.

When I was turned on to AZEK decking by another TU member I was thrilled.

Immediately, it cut my lure making process down to two days for jointed swimbaits, and one day for cranks.

Because it is hard, strong, buoyant and waterproof, I was able to switch to lighter urethane top coats without fear of water intrusion, and abandon epoxy top coats completely. Initially, I built walking baits, gliders, jointed swimbaits, poppers, and crank with the decking, and it worked really well.

I only recently began using the AZEK trimboard, which is even more buoyant, for all my cranks and topwater baits.

As I said, I'd rather fish a bait than build it, even though I do enjoy making them.

So when I found AZEK, I was able to streamline my lure making process and that lets me build a crank or bait, and test swim it that day.

The trimboard it white, and I've caught fish up to 5lbs on unpainted lures while I was test swimming them.

If I'm really ambitious, I will bring it back from the test pond, clean it, paint it, and top coat it that day, too.

I typically let my three dip urethane top coat cure for another day before I fish the finished lure.

But I've found that putting a coat of clear Sally Hansen Hard as Nails polish over the dried urethane lets me fish the lure the next day. And it makes my lures almost hook-rash proof.

Plus, there are a lot of neat nail polishes that can add sparkle, flash, and color more easily than trying to airbrush it on.

I have had my top coat fail, due to hook rash or rock encounters, but, unless I make a mistake with my hardware installation, I never have problems that a quick drying, paint touchup, and coating with clear nail polish can't fix. And I can continue fishing a lure with a nicked paint job without fear of having it suck up water and being ruined.

I still have lots of my wooden swimbaits on my bench that had catastrophic failures due to water intrusion under the top coat, swelling the wood and bubbling the epoxy, just to remind me of why I switched.

So my turning to the dark side with AZEK is more a marriage of convenience than of passion.

It works, and saves me time.

I'm writing all this not to argue about what's better, but to share something I've found that has made lure making much easier, and fun, for me, so others who have encountered the same problems I faced with wood have an alternative.

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I have to admit to a visceral reaction regarding PVC trim board - "What? Why not REAL wood?" I don't have time or money issues with using wood, so it's my strong preference. But I can understand the advantages of PVC and/or molded urethane. If you're just starting out in crankbaits, a material like PVC carves consistently and is easy to finish just like Mark says. You don't have as much time or sweat equity in the finished crankbait so if you screw it up, it isn't such a tragedy. A big plus is that you can easily swim test your crankbait before you put the finish on it. Wood is harder to shape, harder to waterproof, and harder to finish. It has a lot of variability and requires different finishing processes for different wood species. But that variability which makes for a steeper learning curve (and longer build times) also opens up a wider universe of design possibility if you want to build crankbaits that perform better than the ones from major manufacturers. If performance is the reason you build your own, I think at some point you have to turn to wood. JMHO

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It's not particular woods, it's the sealers I've used.

When I used solvent based (oil based) sealers and paints, I had no problems, but, when I switched to water based air brush paints I found any wood I used for my jointed swimbaits, from pine to fir to oak right on up to poplar, all developed leaks, either where the hardware penetrated the top coat, where the joints bumped into each other, or where I hit a rock and dented the top coat and paint. Anywhere water got past the top coat, it got between the wood and the paint scheme, and bubbled the finish, or caused it to split.

I tried polyvinyl sealer, wood hardner, and even thinned epoxy as a sealer, but never could get a bait waterproof.

Once I switched to PVC, all waterproofing issues disappeared.

Plus it is hard, so it doesn't dent the same way wood dents when I introduce it to the occasional rock. The worst that happens is the paint gets chipped a little, but I can keep on fishing that lure without worrying about it soaking up water, like I did with wood.

For one piece lures, like gliders and cranks, and even big walking baits, wood works fine, as long as I watch where I cast them.

I just switched to PVC for almost everything because it works, and cuts so much time off my lure building process.

I can be sitting at my computer in the morning, think of a lure I want to build, and have it built and ready for test swimming by noon. If I'm really in a hurry, I can paint it and top coat it with three dip coats that same day, too.

I could never do that with wood.

I take my lure building time wherever I can steal it during the day. Sometimes I don't go out to the garage for days on end.

So I really appreciate the freedom that PVC gives me by speeding the building process.

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Mark, well said. I don't think you are being defensive at all nor are you putting down wood in any way. But pointing out the positives of using PVC versus wood is a very helpful thing for those of us who don't have much time to invest in their lure-building hobby. I for one appreciate your talking about the worthy characteristics of PVC and how it has solved some of the problems for you especially time. Probably had I not read all your posts, I would have never gave it a chance. None of my lures nor my painting/carving skills compare to the talented people on TU (I would like to get that good some day) but, my time spent on lure building is very limited so PVC is my friend and the fish don't seem to mind at all whether it is wood or plastic. I use the PVC trim board and balsa. Again I appreciate that you have talked about how much faith you have in the PVC, it encouraged me to give it a try. John

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Why I like PVC but Love Wood

Availability/Cost

PVC can be found at Lowes for a price.

Wood grows on trees for Pete's sake. Does it get better than that?

Joy

After working with both materials, wood is in my opinion is more enjoyable to work with both in feel and smell. Not sure how to describe the smell of PVC as your carving it or sanding it but it is far from pleasant or natural. The odor reminds me of something burning in mama's kitchen. Then, there is the feel of those shavings on your skin. Hard, itchy and unnatural to the touch. Can't get them off soon enough. Wood on the other hand has a variety of odors and all are natural and comforting (at least for me) to be around. And the feel of wood shavings on the skin is just the opposite of PVC, natural, softer, not irritating(at least to me) and almost comforting. The smell and feel of wood brings back fond memories for me of setting on the front porch on summer afternoons with my grandfather carving away at a piece cedar until it disappears.

Speed

Yes PVC can be made into a fishing lure overnight but so can wood. Sealing wood with superglue allows one to turn a piece of wood into a fishable lure in nearly the same time as PVC. In fact, I often test swim new lures just after carving and then sealing them with nothing but superglue. Takes minutes to do and is effective.

Durability

Here is where PVC really shines in my opinion. The stuff is tougher than grandma's day old biscuits. Really, you can't get rid of the stuff. It is engineered to not break down even under chemical attack. Unlike most woods which mother nature in her infinite wisdom designed to fall apart at the first sign of moisture, PVC will last a very very long time. Good thing right? Not so fast. What if a piece finds it's way into your eye or worse yet lungs? It will not break down like wood. You'll have to dig it out or cough it up. One thing is for sure, your natural body fluids are not going to break it down. But wood does break down with acids produced naturally within the body to a limit. Safety should be the first thoughts in every builders mind.

Well I guess that about sums it it up for me. I hope everyone finds their own path to a safe enjoyable build. Thanks for reading...................

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A word of caution Vic. Just because it's wood doesn't by even the farthest stretch of the mind mean it's safe. There are woods that can cause adverse reactions in some people just by touching it. There are also woods that can have carcinogenic effects. Not to mention the dust causing respiratory problems in people like Mark who have a tough time with their sinuses. I'm also a little skeptical about your body breaking wood down and expelling it. In certain situations your body reacts to an invasion by isolating it and growing a protective layer around the intruder forming scar tissue. This can also happen in your lungs and if scar tissue forms in your lungs they don't miraculously heal and regain their ability to pass oxygen into the blood stream. Your left with diminished breathing capacity for the rest of your life. This is the same sort of process that causes asbestosis.

This thread seems to be turning into a PVC versus wood thing. IMO Mark was only trying to lay out options for anyone who hadn't thought of using PVC as a lure building material for the reasons he stated. If PVC doesn't fit into anyone's way of lure building then by all means don't use it. On the other hand if you can see where it would be useful, or fit a certain niche, then it sure wouldn't hurt to give it a try.

Just my :twocents: .........................Ben

Edited by RayburnGuy

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Ben

We are all friends here.

If we are to have an open and honest discussion, I believe it is fair for everyone to share his or her point of view.

Having used both products and having read this thread, I felt compelled to share the points not yet covered in the discussion. My commentary is in no way directed at Mark but PVC as a building material. I do use it myself on occasion and my experience using it has formed the opinions shared here. But, I use it with the reservations mentioned.

Every builder must make his or her own risk assessment as we are all individuals with our own situations. But, if I have to choose between working with a building material I know my body has NO chance of breaking down and one that it does, then, the choice is an easy one for me to make.

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Vic,

I understand what you're saying. Each material has it's own virtues and drawbacks.

But Ben's right.

No matter what material you choose to work with, a dust mask, minimum, is really important.

I am a retired carpenter. I worked with wood, and in construction dust, most of my life.

When I was younger, I used to love the smell of sawdust, deisel, and all of the chemicals and materials I worked with. I still love the smell of wood.

But prolonged exposure to all that stuff made my sinuses super sensitive to any kind of dust or chemical smell.

Even a woman's perfume gives me a headache now.

I guess it's kind of like exposure to UV rays from the sun. Over time, the damage builds up.

So, whichever material you choose to build your lures from, protect yourself.

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Ben and Mark

I absolutely agree! :yay:

Though the hazards of wood inhalation are well documented, they may not be known to the novice lure maker\wood worker nubie like myself and many others sure to visit this site. Thank you both!! :worship: I can be and am more cavalier than I should be when it comes to wood dust. Like a teenager on his first date, unaware am i of the long hard bumpy road laying ahead.

One of the things that does not lay easy with me with PVC is the fact we are treading in relatively new water with PVC. I am thinking the hazards have not been fully vetted yet. Or at least using the way we do with the sanding. But like a teenager, builders, protection is a must no matter who your dating!! :)

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I personally like/prefer cedar because there is no need for through wire harnesses, and I like the smell. I like Bass wood because again no through wire harness. I like white pine for its wide, lazy action. Still learning about Balsa with a dowel in the tail but I do like the lively action that it gives you. Haven't tried PVC yet but it is on my to do list.

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Vic,

Years ago I looked at paulownia for planting in my yard, but I never dreamed it would be a wood I might use.

The literature says it's stable even when it's damp. Does it swell when it gets wet?

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Same here Mark. I planted two "Royal Empress" tree's not realizing they were paulownia with a fancy name. I really like it as a wood for cranks. It's soft enough to carve easily although you need to be careful around the grain as it can tear. Can't answer your question about it swelling as I've only used it to build baits and kept it away from water before sealing.

Ben

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This is all really good reading material ....I never would have thought of carving cedar I'd have thought it'd been too hard...

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Mark,

The wood will retain some moisture but nothing like most of the other woods we use. It is really similar to balsa in almost every aspect. Just tougher. I seem to remember reading Gene doing a comparison of water retention some time back. And, I found it! Make sure you read Dave's take on the numbers. Gene(thank you ) recommend the wood to me and by just plain dumb luck have it growing all over the yard. I haven't looked back since. Really good wood for baits. But if your looking for something with less buoyancy, then, look elsewhere. Here is the link:

http://www.tackleunderground.com/community/topic/16410-water-absorption-rates/page__hl__paulownia

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