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Why PVC?

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I would really like to discuss the advantages of building with   PVC. I see a member named Mark Poulson started a thread and wrote a great article on it but it is pinned for some reason. Anyone else experimenting with this?  I was hoping to skip spraying with white and paint directly on the white PVC but Mark took a different approach. I am wondering why he still sprays with white.

Edited by Hoosierdaddy
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Still needs a base coat for smooth finish to build on..  Advantages are simply no matter how poorly you build the bait it is waterproof.

No real differences in regards to typical carving, sanding, cutting, turning, etc... compared to wood.    I personally don't like using it but still make baits from it every once and awhile.  I just don't find it enjoyable to work with.  Definitely something to try.

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I spray with a heavy body primer because I'm too lazy to sand my baits really smooth first, and the primer fills the surface flaws nicely, so my paint jobs look better.  I need all the help I can get.

I do paint directly onto the bait without primer sometimes, but I always seal the PVC with runny super glue first, to stop it from offgassing and creating bubbles under my Createx paint when I heat set it.  Usually I only get bubbles when I dry the paint on the high setting, or have the hair dryer too close to the bait, trying to speed the process along.

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I do it with a hair dryer, and it's not really heat setting, just quickly drying water based air brush paints.   Many of the water based air brush paints, like Createx, are, first and foremost, T shirt paints, that are heat set with an iron after they've dried so the molecules of the paint cross link and become waterproof.   That's why you can wash painted T shirts in a washing machine without the paint dissolving.

I don't know the temperature that is achieved to cause the cross linking, but it's way above the temperature that's safe to apply to a plastic bait before it melts or cracks.

So I use a two speed hair dryer.  The lower setting drys paint just fine, and the higher setting, if the dryer isn't held too close to the bait, dries the paint faster.  But you have to be careful, or you'll ruin your bait.

If I'm using a water based top coat, like a concrete sealer, I do hit it lightly with the hair dryer after it's lost it's wet look (typically 15 minutes after dipping) and then again every 15 minutes for the first hour.  That cures the sealer enough for me to do a second dip after an hour, and I can fish the bait the next day if I do the 15 minute hair dryer cycle on the second coat, too.  Otherwise, I would have to wait 24 hours, according to the label on the can, before I could dip again, and another 48 hours before I could fish the lure.  I only paint for me, and I'm impatient, so I like being able to paint and topcoat a lure one day, and fish it the next.

Heating epoxy with a hair dryer before it's set will cause it to flow, which doesn't help when you're trying to get a good finish on the bait.  Epoxy sets by a chemical reaction, and, while heat usually accelerates chemical reactions, it isn't needed with epoxy, and can do more harm, from sagging, than good.

I do know of people who use heat guns to dry air brush paints, but they have to be very careful, because they are so hot.  It is too tricky for me, so I don't use one.


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Thank you for your replys mark. I have a balsa prototype I am finishing up. If it runs correctly, I am going to do a batch of ten or so of them. After that I,  am going to attempt the identical lure out of PVC in order to evaluate the process and results. I had no idea that airbrush paints required heat setting. I will be doing this starting tonite. Being bald I am going to need to go buy a hairdryer..LOL

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3 hours ago, Hoosierdaddy said:

I had no idea that airbrush paints required heat setting. 


They don't require it.        Paints typically dry quick and can lay down a color on a few baits and can go back and do scales without any issue.    Just a way to speed things up and a step some guys add to their regiment.  Nothing wrong doing it either way. 

Personally  I will paint  lures and then just finish up the next day, week, heck I have baits from years ago likely sitting on shelf somewhere.

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They don't require it but it’s a good idea.  You don’t want to spray wet paint over wet paint and while it will all dry eventually, it can take days sometimes.  And if water is trapped under dry paint, it will often cause problems during topcoating.  So it’s just more efficient to dry the paint as you apply it and it takes only a few seconds with a hair dryer.  As for pvc trim board, I tried it but didn’t like the fine pvc dust generated when hand shaping and sanding it.  It sticks to EVERYTHING.  But its big advantage is that it is naturally waterproof and has no grain inconsistencies like wood can have.  Wood WANTS to soak up water.  The only thing stopping it is waterproof topcoat and undercoating.

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Preheating isn't going to really help much with bubbles.  Off gassing in regards to chemical reaction  can help speed the reaction or drive it to completion  however the product we are purchasing should be considered a finished product.

With the nature of PVC and wood there are tiny voids/holes in the bait.   The PVC product we are using is a cellular PVC meaning they incorporate tiny air bubbles to reduce weight of the product and lower manufacturing costs.  When we heat or cool the air in these voids we create a closed system once covered with paint.   We essentially have a balloon and the tiny space of air will expand or shrink dependent on temperature.   When the paint is wet, not set, or very thin you can get  a "pin hole" in the paint surface or you can get a small bulge dependent on if the pressure created is sufficient to overcome the surface tension of the wet paint or the paint elasticity is low enough when a solid to give.

Super glue is created to have a low viscosity so it can run into and fill cracks and surface imperfections.  Using it prior will seal up the most of holes to eliminate or  reduce the issue.  Paint can do the same thing just not as good.  I usually just use a spray shellac as I find it easier, quicker, and not as messy as super glue and typically do several baits in a sitting.   

Depending on your paint process and top coat may not even necessary as any voids end up getting filled with paint during the process, just a precaution as nothing better than painting a few baits and applying a topcoat to find a small pinhole or bubble on the finished bait.  That's when super glue can save be of service again as a little dab and it can fill/seal those imperfections.

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A word of warning about PVC in lure building.

I make whopper ploppers from PVC, both the body and the tail.

In carving out the tail fin, the PVC gets down to 3/16"+-.  

I have found that the PCV is brittle when it's that thin, and will crack off if it hit's a hard object, like a garage floor.  Don't ask me how I found that out.

I have to reinforce the carved fin by adding some gap filling super glue to the inside of the fin. 

I add a few drops to form a thicker layer, and then use accelerant to set it quickly.

If I do it correctly, with several applications to be sure I've coated the inside well and evenly, but not too thickly, the fin is much stronger and doesn't crack off when fished.

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