fatfingers

Carving details

16 posts in this topic

The last few weeks I've begun experimenting with carving gill plates on the wooden lures that I cut and shape from poplar.

I was hoping to get some dialog going about the different ways that you guys do it so that we could share some ideas.

I am also very interested in find a type of wood that cuts, shapes, sands and carves a bit easier than poplar, if that's possible, but I still want something strong and musky-proof. I know, I know, that's a big request. At any rate, there's probably a hardwood that's better than poplar to carve but still a strong tooth-proof hardwood.

I've worked only with poplar for the crankers and jerkbaits and have done some baits in oak and with the solid plastic, which I wrote about last summer.

I have a method duplicating the drawing of a gill plate on both sides of the lure blank that I will share later in this thread. I hope to get feedback in order to improve my current methods and carvings.

Thanks,

fatfingers

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B) hi fat fingers, i was like you and did use poplar, and maple for my jerk baits as well as poplar for my cranks, but after picking the brain of one of the great bait builders, have switched over to western red cedar, mahogany,beech and walnut , red cherry for my jerk baits and for cranks i use white pine( small baits) and western red cedar for the big musky guys, all of the woods are carved easy enough with a knife/dremel tool for the gill plates etc, cedar is a light wood , with a wicked action to it and when sealed with a laquer sanding sealer , water runs of off it no probs, so when mr teeth comprimises the epoxy , the wood is still safe I.M.H.O., same goes for the mahogany and walnut etc, cedar is also a very strong wood that will hold screw eyes no probs, pine is a little soft for that and you may have to threw wire those baits! poplar likes to contract to much even if sealed in diffrent water temps, and maple will blow the paint very easliy, you can use western red cedar for jerks as well you will need more lead then say with mahogany or walnut , hope this helps

Etch

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fatfingers,

There are many carvers who prefer Basswood to carve with.As far as a tooth-proof hardwood goes, I am not sure, but I don't think that God made one of those.There is a product, however, that is meant for curing structural integrity problems that occur when wooden frame members are damaged by water.I believe that product's name is Cure-rot.It is a liquid that is applied by allowing it to soak into the rotten wood.Afterwards, the previously rotten wood is supposed to become rock hard and structurally sound. :? I have not used this ,but it may be something that could help you musky guys with tooth-proofing prior to finish application?

Here are some woods that I believe are known for resisting water damage.Redwoods and Cedars come to mind.Cypress also, but I don't know it's carving or bouyancy characteristics.I say that it's kinda like a trade off, density and carving friendliness.Redwood and cedar have very good qualities all around IMHO.

By the way,if you live near Caesar's Creek, there was a smaller type company in that little town off of St. Rt. 73 that used a bunch of aromatic Red Cedar for various products.I'll betcha their scrap would be perty cheap, maybe free.

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Thanks, Etch, those are all great tips.

I'll hit the local lumber yard tomorrow morning.

Michael, I'm not close to Caesar's but I appreciate the tips.

I know what you mean about the tradeoffs between carving friendliness and density. I figured this would be the best place to get ahead of the learning curve without wasting a lot of time. Most everyone here is really great about sharing ideas and experience and that is something that's hard to beat.

I'll probably try starting with some western red cedar, like etch suggested, and maybe some walnut, which I know I can get my paws on without too much trouble.

I've getting into this business of carving but it slows the process quite a bit. For now since I can't paint, its a great distraction and its very satisfying for me.

I've been printing the baitfish like gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and perch and using the pictures to try to emulate the actual gill configurations. I'm still learning but hey, this stuff is all so much fun, even the mistakes and the learning curve are all worthwhile.

I've been using an dremel tool that is supposed to be used for writing on metal. For the life of me, I can't think of the proper term for it right now, but it does allow the removal of finer amounts of wood when you lay it against a razor cut line in the wood. I then use a stone piece which is for polishing and sharpening to smooth the wood down and feather it back a bit from the gill plate area. Then I sand it to feather it back and smooth if further down. So far that's working but I'm bending my head trying to think of how simplify and speed the process.

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B) fatfingers, remeber to wear a respirator when sanding western red cedar ,the dust is carcengenic!!, and i use the high speed cutter dremel bit for carving, looks like the spinning vents you see on the roofs of older houses, hope thiss helps

Etch

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Well, I just bought a chunk of western red cedar and I can't wait to hack it up and see what happens.

I'm going to start with crankbaits. Does this stuff require weighting to get a crankbait to run or is it similar to other woods, meaning that the lip determines depth to a large degree?

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I won't suggest any wood from my side of the world but I can offer some stuff I do with carving

1. Whatever u do a RAZOR sharp knife is critical. With a sharp knife u minimize the danger of of it slipping & cut u instead. It will also produce such clean cut that don't require any sanding after.

2. Use burrs with dremel tool for power carving when u need to take off deeper chunks of wood or to rough out the shape. Or there are diamond coated grinding tips with various shapes & sizes to do the finer work. What u used I believe is called an engraving tip. (See here for burrs & cutter bits: http://www.widgetsupply.com/page/WS/CTGY/dremel-burr-cutter)

3. Wood wise, pick a wood with consistant tight grains. Wood like Pine is a chore to carve because the different density btw the hard & soft wood will need different pressure to to cut to the same depth thus making ur knife/burrs wander as u cross from one grain to another. To me any wood with even grain density is a pleasure to carve.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks for the ideas and tips.

Please keep them coming.

I am lucky enough to have a rotary tool and I'm still learning what it can and cannot do.

I've become somewhat familiar with the engraving tool and have actually purchased a second one that is a bit smaller for roughing out finer lines.

The things that you guys are sharing about the different types of wood is particularly interesting to me because although I understand the some of differences between different types of stock, the variables of buoyancy and the resulting differences in the action and depth capacity of different types of wood is something that can consume a lot of time in understanding.

Lure building reminds me of some of my past hobbies, such as photography and long distance running in a way...all are very humbling when you look around and see the accomplishments of others that are on the same path. At the end of the day, you really gain a lot by sharing, giving and taking, and that is what elevates what seems so simple into a form of expression.

I have a lure down in my basement that was my very first attempt. I look at and laugh because I painted it by hand with a crude brush and a sponge. It is truly a gruesome thing to behold, very bad. :rolleyes: But it was a beginning of yet another great pastime, and another way to make friends...this time from all over the world...that is always a good thing.

Anyway, I appreciate all the great feedback when I post on this board, and I hope to share what I learn along the way.

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I use Lime tree wood. I guess that for u guys is the basswood. It comes in all possible densities u can imagine. The denser it is the harder it is to carve. If the wood is lighter, and less dense it's almoust white, and the denser it gets the browner it is.

Lately i can;t get my hands on the white yellowish stuff that i really enjoy carving, but what the hell... From my pike fishing tests, it's teeth proof, of course if u use a quality sealler.

I made balsa baits(at least that's what i think for now) that can withstand pike teeth(don't know how powerfull a musky mouth is, but guess it's powerfull than a pike's mouth). But had to make compromise, cause it needed at least 7-9 base coats, until it gor really hard. I say compromise, cause after 7-9coats the edges on detailed gills dissapear, and i covers them up really god :cry:

That's why i mainly use basswood. It's hard enough for pike teeth, and boiant enough to use for all tipes of cranckbaits or jerkbaits. The only thing that bothers me is that it comes in a different density every time, and that's a big downer ......

Like LP said a sharp knife is the most desired for cutting details, even if he says it helps not utting yourself......if u mannage to cut yourself with a really sharp knife u'll be in big trouble. I mannaged to cut my thumb really deep(and long one) this Christmas eve, and it still hurts really bad...so be really carefull, and don't carve details when u r really tired, or on hollydays as i did, cause u'll inflict some serious enjuries with sharp knifes. (these r the main times i injure myself when lurebuilding).

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Thanks, savacs. I'll get some of that and whack it up and see what happens.

Lately, I've been checking out a lot of different woodworking websites. Man is that a humbling experience! One of the first things I saw was a falcon that a man had carved and painted. When the image first appeared on my computer, I actually thought it was a photograph of a real falcon.

It made me feel puny and insecure. :lol::lol::lol::lol::D

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I use Lime tree wood.

I hope you mean lime which grows in our latitude (wich is 'die Linde' in German), not same like lemon, only green in colour? :)

Here it is basicly used for boarding saunas, and that's where I get my supplies from. They use LOT'S of this kind of wood and I usually pick through their saw-offs to find the properly coloured chunks. Or trade the whole board for a bottle of vodka, which is a good bargain for both sides :)

Have you tried beech? This bugger also comes in different densities and is damn hard. I use the parquet blocks. But as the blocks are not thick enough I have to cut out to halves and then have to glue the halves together. Epoxie does this just fine. Also saves me the trouble of finding lures' centerlines to drill for hook hangers and belly-weights. The biggest pike I got with such lure was 7.2 kg and it didn't do the lure any harm at all.

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I'm just reading and learning, and perhaps I'll try my hand at lure carving. So far all the carving I ever did was some chip carving.

Love working with basswood, have worked with Linden in the home Country, harder to get and more expensive in Canada. White pine is a okay to carve as said, the grain can pose a problem and slip ups.

Have one question: "why western red cedar? is it easier to carve then the eastern cedar?" To my knowledge the eastern cedar is much cheaper and just as durable as far as weathering goes.

etch a sketch: Thank you for this reminder "remember to wear a respirator when sanding western red cedar ,the dust is carcengenic!!"

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I'm just reading and learning, and perhaps I'll try my hand at lure carving. So far all the carving I ever did was some chip carving.

Love working with basswood, have worked with Linden in the home Country, harder to get and more expensive in Canada. White pine is a okay to carve as said, the grain can pose a problem and slip ups.

Have one question: "why western red cedar? is it easier to carve then the eastern cedar?" To my knowledge the eastern cedar is much cheaper and just as durable as far as weathering goes.

etch a sketch: Thank you for this reminder "remember to wear a respirator when sanding western red cedar ,the dust is carcengenic!!"

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Okay tha's not funny LOL.......sorry about this. It'll be the last time I'll use 'quick reply' Post one time and it shows up as multiple post. Moderator please remove the excess posts. Thank You!!

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Fatfingers,

I haven't tried carving yet but admire your work very much. I have turned out over a thousand musky baits using various types of wood. Looking for the most tooth proof yet workable stock. I stopped using Western Red Cedar very quickly. I have used cherry, mahogany (African and Honduras), anigre, white cedar, red cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar (AYC) hard maple and various other exotic hard woods. I do have some sugar pine that looks like it will be nice to work with but I haven't tried yet. I would try AYC, Honduras Mahongay, sugar pine or Jelutong if I were a carver. The AYC has a very fine tight grain and would carve very nicely. If you would like I could send you a piece of AYC and or Honduras Mahongay. Just let me know the size requirements and where to send it to.

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