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AlamOso

Combined wood crankbaits

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I make crankbaits from a combination of balsa and mesquite woods. I use the "sandwich method", i.e, glueing two balsa halves together with a center stainless steel frame (similar to through-wire, but a plate instead). The "throughplate" in the belly of the lure is .026" thick. This leaves a gap in the rest of the bait body. So, before the halves are joined (with epoxy) I add a laminate of mesquite wood shavings. It mixes with the epoxy, and forms a wood composite, or "particle board".

After the block is dried (while clamped together), I shape the lure. The result is a thin "particle board" strip (about 1/32" thick) in the center of the lure - from the nose to the tail. What you are left with is a lightweight, rigid "beam" that adds considerable reinforcing strength to the balsa. It does take a little more effort to shape, though.

Why do I use mesquite wood? It is a strong hardwood and grows in my back yard. Besides you can grill fajitas with the left-over pieces. Browsing the archives I have found discussion of other wood combinations. Has anyone had luck with other woods, materials or methods?

Garrett

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I went out to take a look at your site. Your lures are very nice. Really good work. The only one that I know of on this site that is doing something similar is Coley. He comes up with some really wild stuff. And what really blows my mind ...... is that it all works and is very unique. Your metal plate through the center of your baits is interesting. But I don't understand why you go through the pain of the particle board concept. I know that it has to be labor intensive. Have you had trouble with a balsa bait breaking before? Seems like the metal plate should firm up the bait enough.

Skeeter

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Thank you for the compliment. You are absolutely right about the throughplate firming up the bait, similar to Rapala's throughwire. It is unquestionable that the particle board adds extra strength to the back of the lure. Whether or not it is necessary is open to debate. I can say that I have not had a problem with balsa failure, and that I did not add it as a fix for any problem. The particle board concept does however serve in at least two regards - it is a filler material for the gap between the balsa halves, and it changes the lure weight characteristics (a little more top heavy).

(Hoping to not be too long winded) the particle board is a concept borrowed from my research in graphite (carbon fiber) composites. I took conventional "sandwich reinforcement" used in the aerospace industry and applied it to the core material for fishing lures. My first intention was just to try something new. Then I realized that that by alternating laminates throughout the lure, the result was a"membrane structure". It seemed novel to me that it also resembled "bones", like ribs and a spine. Noticing the emphasis for "strike sensitivity" placed on fiber composites in the fishing industry (fishing line, rods) I likewise realized the concept MAY apply to lures as well. I have no emperical data to back-up this claim, and I don't play it up too much either. I rely only upon the fact that by the nature of the material, carbon fiber conducts vibration better than wood. I do not necessarily claim this to be the case with the "particle board" concept, but who knows? If you browse my website below I go into more detail about this.

The "ridges" are more difficult to work with in terms of sanding. Fortunately, in my process I rough out the lure bodies with a "jewelry makers" type CNC mill (right in my garage - be looking for a post this weekend in the "Home Brew" section. I'll upload a short video clip on my webserver. Maybe someone else out there with machine shop experience would be interested, and I'll be glad to help them get started).

I appreciate your feedback. I'm supposed to be doing my day job now, so I better go.

Garrett

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