Rollo

Pre-shaped balsa bodies

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Like many of you, I usually build crankbaits starting with nice square stock, thus ensuring nice square slot lips. However, in a moment of weakness, I bought a bunch of pre shaped balsa bodies. Trying to align and cut square slot lips on them is an absolute bear! Does anyone have a good method of accomplishing this task? Thanks!

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I made that mistake ONCE and never bought any again. Though the bodies are nice, it was just too hard to try to get things square and in-line on a round body. :(

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I guess you could make a custom jig to hold them straight while cutting the lip slot but that seems a lot of trouble to me. What I did was cut the slots as straight as I could, but thicker than usual. When I installed the lips, I did it with Rod Bond paste epoxy and the larger slot gave me some extra room to visually true up the lip. Not an elegant solution but it works.

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Thanks, guys. Those are great suggestions. I was thinking those bodies would end up as key chain fobs, Christmas tree ornaments, light switch chain knobs or lovely dangle ear rings for my wife. With your advice, I just may be able to salvage them after all. You're right, Terry. Never again!

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Unless you are only making one off's, some kind of jig will be required in order to get some production consistancy. Investing ten minutes per lure to ensure the lip is central when you have two hundred bodies on the bench is not a good option.

Cheeseheads bondo idea is favourite for large runs, but simpler solutions can be found for smaller production runs.

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I cut the lipslot by hand, while the wood is still square. But somethimes I find that the angle of the lipslot is not perfect. I put a large lip in the lipslot, to see if the angle is correct or not. If it isn't, I correct it.

Let's say when I look to the head of the lure, from the front, I see that the lip has a slight angle from left (high) to right (low). In this case, I have to sand the interior of the slot, at the bottom low and at the left high. To do this, I use a small piece of thin steel sheet, on top of which I put sanding paper. You have to feel the place inside the lipslot which you sand. With a little practise, you can come out with good results.

Of course, this is not a method for large quantities. But it helps you when you catch fish on a lure you have taken so much care to accomplish :lol:

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I wanted to say that in this case I sand the low left and the right high at the interior of the lipslot

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It can be difficult 'eye balling' the alignment, especially for round or curved shaped lips.

The process is made easier by drawing a line down the centre of the lip (on masking tape for protection). Our eyes work best with straight lines, preferably vertical. It's probably an evolution thing, gravity, trees, etc.

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