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Larry Smith Jr.

drawing profile on crankbaits

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Hi, I am new here. I was wondering how I should draw the profile on the lures once I draw out the design, and cut it with a coping saw. I havw been doing a ruler, but it is very frusturating and time consuming. Any special methods or tools?

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You can freehand the design on a block of wood or draw your design on paper, cut the design out and glue it on.  You can find good videos on YouTube and the search feature on this site has tons of great information.

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I print them, cut them out and glue them on with a glue stick.  This allows me to also show locations, angles, and sizing for lip slot, line tie, and hook hangers.

profiles.jpg

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I draw two lines with a small square across the top of the lure. Each one shows where the forward and rear taper start. Then I mark the ends by eye but you can measure, then use a plastic stencil to make the lines to the rear, and then to the back. Look for videos on a youtube site called 'marling baits' he does this in almost all his builds. You can learn lots of other stuff too.

baitlines.jpg.2f3f7a58cc8acb05827f5bca2822efdb.jpg

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I see what you mean. I guess the actual placement of the lines depends on the bait. When I began making mine I've learned about how blunter nosed or wider/narrower bait behave in the water. That along with weighting, the bill, etc determine how the thing moves in the water. I guess you just make some and pay attention and see what happens. General rule for me is blunter in the front, narrower on the tail and enough weight in it so that it stays upright. And center the weight to start. Moving it back or forward affects the center of 'wobble'. Hard to define everything so stay with general rules, see what happens, then modify from there with the next ones. There are some sort of standard methods, but half the fun is making one and working with that.

That being said, you'd be surprised how just freehanding it and looking down the axis by eye while cutting/sanding to get symmetry  can be done quite easily. Anyway, good luck with it. I don't overthink it. Just do one and go from there.

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48 minutes ago, Larry Smith Jr. said:

does the tapering have to be even on both sides?

Ideally it should be. It isn't too difficult to do if you take the proper steps.   A top down profile drawn on card stock, recipe card, etc.. can be used as a template and trace the design on each crank. I then typically go the band saw and cut to save time.  For some baits this isn't needed and sharp knife makes short work of it and easy enough to keep even if you draw a center line on the bait.  

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57 minutes ago, Larry Smith Jr. said:

does the tapering have to be even on both sides?

Doing this is a bit of an art project. Some people can only do it with a micrometer. Others can carve by eye and get it pretty good. Look down the sides and from the top and you can usually see any slight variations that need to be taken down. And, if you should mess it up. Well, it's a small chunk of wood and you can start again. After you get used to it and develop a process it only takes 20-30 minutes to go from wood to shaped bait. Since you've asked the question it seems that you are ruminating about this. Just do it and see what happens. I'll bet you'll be surprised at how good it can come out.

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Symmetry is everything.

Once you have your basic profile cut out of the slab of wood, next comes the most important operation of the whole build - the centre line.

The centre line gives you the location point for all holes, and gives you a datum to measure off the taper lines.

How are you drawing the centre line?

This is not a test. You will not be criticized for the wrong answer. Maybe you have not even drawn a centre line. Tell us the truth now, and we can bring your design skills and talents up to the latest thinking and methods.

Dave

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Dave, I do not know how to correctly draw it. What I have been trying to do is use a wooden ruler and measuring the wood, for example, 1 inch popler. Once it is cut out, measure the half inch mark and make a mark with a pencil on both ends, and both sides of the lure and connect them with a ruler. I am having trouble, though, because the ruler is flat and the lure is curved.

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If you have a good centered reference point at each end, use something with a straight edge that will cast a straight shadow. If you can get your bait securely held in place, you can use the shadow to draw your line. The trick will be keeping everything squared up and aligned properly. 

That said, I only make flat sided baits, or paint plastic blanks, so it might not be as simple as it is in my mind.

 

Edited by osutodd

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On 6/3/2020 at 4:59 PM, DGagner said:

I draw two lines with a small square across the top of the lure. Each one shows where the forward and rear taper start. Then I mark the ends by eye but you can measure, then use a plastic stencil to make the lines to the rear, and then to the back. Look for videos on a youtube site called 'marling baits' he does this in almost all his builds. You can learn lots of other stuff too.

baitlines.jpg.2f3f7a58cc8acb05827f5bca2822efdb.jpg

I do the same thing, and it works. But I take it a step farther.

Once I cut out the profile on my bandsaw, including my lip slot, I smooth it with belt sander, and then draw a centerline all the way around the bait.  That lets me get the line tie, the hook hangers, and the ballast centered.  Once I've marked those locations with a pencil, and deepened them with an awl, I begin the tapering and shaping process.  The awl marks make sure I don't lose the locations, even if I happen to sand off the pencil line.  If I'm adding a rattle, I'll mark it's location, and drill a small through hole, so I have a way to line things up later, before I begin tapering and shaping.

Once you have begun shaping a few lures, you'll get a feel for keeping it symmetrical just by eye as you shape it.

Give yourself some time and don't be too hard on yourself if something doesn't work.  We all make mistakes.  The key thing is to learn from them, so you don't repeat the same mistakes.  Of course, there will still be plenty of room to make new ones!  Hahaha

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I draw the center-line by drilling a hole in a block of wood and jam a sharp pencil in the hole, roughly the height of the center-line. No need to be accurate.

Place the blank and pencil block on a flat surface and wipe the blank all round on the pencil. Then flip the blank and repeat.

You end up with two parallel lines. Now you can eyeball more accurately between the parallel lines.

Dave

Edited by Vodkaman
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I usually draw the center line one of 2 ways.  The first way is sort of like Dave said. I lay the pencil horizontally on something I have hanging around the shop. For example a 1/2" center-line, I use a scrap piece of 1/4" trim board, with 2 pieces of scrap sheet metal stacked with the pencil on top. I sometimes have to use index cards, cardboard or whatever I can find that is flat to get the pencil at the right height. Trace the bait around the pencil, flip the bait and repeat for the 2 lines. Try to get the pencil to the height of one of your center marks and a lot of times the two tracings will be on top of each other.

The other thing I use, once I get a good center mark at each end, is a plastic notebook cover. I cut the cover off a notebook and cut it into pieces preserving the straight edges. You can get a piece with an 11" straight edge from  the side of the cover and two six to seven inch straight edges from the top and bottom of one cover. To make them easier to use cut the straight edge sections into whatever lengths you want depending on the size baits you make . The plastic cover material is flexible enough to conform to the curve of the bait and hard enough to use to trace a line between the center marks and each end. I once had a flexible plastic ruler that I used for that. I lost it somewhere, probably buried in a tool box.

Make sure you note where you start the tapering on a bait. If your bait has the action you want, you can put marks on the side template indicating where to begin tapering. Just trace those marks around the corner a bit once you have the side profile cut out. You can then make 2 marks equally distance from the center mark on the ends. You can use the plastic straight edge to make a straight line form the tapering mark to the end of the bait. 

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