jt_ncbassman

Forming A Round Body Bait

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Just curious how you guys form and prepare your round/fat body baits for sanding. I realize I'm asking for information that is probably sacred, and took you all a long time to figure it out. I'm getting closer to getting it right, but the way I do it still takes quite some time to do one bait, and involves a suped up Dremel Trio with alot of index cards.

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The way I start is nothing more than a flat shape with a center line. Lip slot cut, ballast hole, line tie and hook anchors drilled. I just start taking off material off with an Exacto knife. Once the bait is shaped the way I like it and it looks symmetrical (symmetrical being most important) I sand with a Dremel drum to take off the knife marks and then sand with 100, 150 and 400. Primer, sand the primer with 400 and then paint. Nothing sacred, just lots of practice to get the bait symmetrical!

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May I assume you are using the index cards as templates? If so you are on the right track. A good eye for symmetry is a big plus, as Bassguy mentioned. Always write down details as you go so that you can remember how you did it the first hundred times, or so. That way you can duplicate the good one, when you get it. When you start modifying, only change one thing at a time. Otherwise you will never know what changes work and which don't. This is the stuff that gets me through the hard water (ice) months. I tried ice fishing once with no luck. By the time I chopped a hole big enough to launch the boat it was already dusk, and I had started at daybreak. LMAO. Good luck

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I would suggest you focus on getting your lip and hardware installed correctly, and not try to get the lure body perfectly symetrical.

I don't worry about getting my cranks exactly symmetrical. I cut my lip slot after I cut out the profile, while the blank is still flat, all on a bandsaw.

Like Bassguy, I mark a centerline around the perimeter of the bait, and work to that, sanding on an oscillating belt sander until the shape looks good to me.

Of far greater importance to me is that the lip goes in square to the blank, and centered, and that the line tie, hook hangers, and ballast holes are centered, too.

If you think about it, only the top of the head and the back are really disturbing the way the water passes over the crank, and I can get them even enough by eye. If the belly is even to my eye, it's close enough, too.

Your eye will tell you if it's too far off. Trust it.

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To do my final shaping I use sandpaper glued inside various things such as sections of pill bottles, PVC pipe in different diameters, etc. I also use a pencil to mark a line down the side of the body so I'll know how much sanding to do. Once the line disappears I know the bait has reached a full contour on that side. This helps me keep the bait symmetrical.

Ben

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Use a wheeled marking guage before I start carving. I know exactly how much wood to take off the corners and then just keep carving corners off until the bait is round. A couple of yrs of practice did not hurt.

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If you're going to make a lot of baits, and want to do it fast, a few years back Hazmail (Pete) posted pictures of his rounding wheels. They are plywood discs mounted to a motor shaft, like a grinding wheel, but with a concave edge cut into the perimeter that he lined with sand paper. So he had a consistent curve he worked with.

If you finish sand the profile of your bait and mark a centerline, you can do as Ben suggested and sand until the line is gone, and you'll have a symmetrical bait, or pretty darn close.

Edited by mark poulson
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Used the search function (yeah I try to follow my own advise that Search funcion is my friend) to find out what Hazmail put together. He is another guy who can put together anything to make his lure building world easier and smarter. Here's the link to the thread that I think Mark is refering:

http://www.tackleund...ge__hl__hazmail

By the way there are a bunch of threads about rounding hardbaits.

Edited by EdL
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Used the search function (yeah I try to follow my own advise that Search funcion is my friend) to find out what Hazmail put together. He is another guy who can put together anything to make his lure building world easier and smarter. Here's the link to the thread that I think Mark is refering:

http://www.tackleund...ge__hl__hazmail

By the way there are a bunch of threads about rounding hardbaits.

That's it Ed! It's on the second page, half way down.

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Just want to thank everybody who responded.     I haven't been on this site for a while as it seemed like there was something wrong with it.     Never could get to the forums without getting redirected.     

 

I can imagine in my mind now how you guys are making your baits and it really helps,  I have picked over every bit of information thoroughly and have much better prespective.        Tony -   Yes, I burn through index cards like somebody tossed them in a fire.       Once I get my templates exactly how I want them,  I encase them in D2T so I can trace around them with enough force to make an impression in the balsa wood.        I also use a "top view"   template (index card)  which ends up being about 1/2" longer than my first template due to the curvature of the back.        I have added an extra sanding drum to the post of my Dremel Trio so that it will sand about 1 1/8" of material.     Allthough some of my deep diving "Poes" looking baits have deep bellys  and I end up having to use a rolled-up piece of sandpaper or random orbit sander to finish off the sides.      This leaves me with a form that is still "square" if youre looking from the head or tail,   and after that I just zip zip zip with the dremel sanding wheels until it looks like a fish-able bait,   then I hit it with the sanding blocks.          I wish I could make about 20 of these bodies a day,   but unfortunately,  it takes about 2 1/2 hours to get one bait ready for sealing with D2T.

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I've been doing this for about a decade and it takes me at least an hour to round over a wood bait.  What helped me the most is the realization that I need to mark out everything I can before I begin rounding the bait, if I want it to end up symmetrical.  After cutting the nose and tail tapers with a sanding disk, I use a compass to mark facets onto the corners of the body, running the compass along the top, bottom, and sides.  I cut the facets with a wood carving knife - less dust flying that way - easing the cuts out at the tail somewhat.  After that, I use a Dremel sanding disk and hand held sand paper to smooth the edges of the facets into the body.  Yes, I still have to eyeball things to get the body symmetrical but any kind of "mechanistic' method to guide you will mean less chance of screwing it up.

 

This hobby has taught me a lot about patience and slowing down enough to enjoy the process.  If you have aspirations to build baits in quantity for sale, you obviously need to work out more automated methods for shaping baits, both to speed the process and to make them a uniform shape over many examples.  If I make 5 baits over the course of a day, that's about all I can expect if I want them to be right.  

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What BobP said... When I first got into luremaking I had faint aspirations of someday getting to the point where I could do it and get paid. What I have come to realize in the eight or so months I've been at it is that I enjoy the process too much. I take my time with each lure and tinker with it until I get it to do what I want it to do. Sometimes I get it right quickly, most of the time, not so much... Like others have said, I don't obsess over having my baits exactly, perfectly symmetrical but I DO obsess over whether the bill is exactly, perfectly perpendicular to the plane of the lure. Get that right, and (for me anyway) the rest will usually work itself out.

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its all about working the angle!   :D

 

I will make angles on top of angles on top of angles!  As suggested, get everything squared up (hardware holes installed) and some center guidelines on the lure.  Then start with a coarse angle and AND REPLICATE THAT ANGLE ON BOTH SIDES.  Then sand another angle on the corner of the previous angle, AND REPLICATE THE ANGLE ON THE OTHER SIDE. Best rule is to take it one step at a time and make sure each side gets the same treatment in sync.  Once you have a few angles applied, normally a little hand sanding is all that is needed to round the bait out.  I hope that makes sense.  Good luck.

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