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  1. I've used quite a bit of balsa for making model planes, fishing floats and more recently small fly fishing poppers for panfish. To put it bluntly, I don't care for the (typical densities of) the balsawood that I could buy from the hobby stores. Find balsa to be too soft (crushes and bruises too easily) and needs a good epoxy "skin" to make it durable. I found that polishing my knife blade to a mirror finish (with 600 grit sandpaper to remove the fine burr) made carving easier. A good quality 100 grit open coat sandpaper glued to a paint-stir stick makes a decent "rasp" for shaping balsa wood. The fine dust is a problem as it gets into everything. I prefer basswood over balsa. I've made a couple of canoes and kayaks with basswood strips though they "fuzz" a bit when power-sanded, raising the fibers with a damp cloth followed with a light hand sanding fixes that. Again sharp blades and fresh sandpaper are best to cut the fibers cleanly rather than tearing them. Up the "carveability scale" are cedar and white pine - both are relatively soft and nice to work with. You may want to consider those woods as well. Van
  2. @Sonny.Barile Thanks for your comments! I've just started experimenting with a couple of clear acrylic products and your suggestion for the ratios will be a good starting point. I'll post the results once I am done. Van
  3. @Hillbilly voodoo Thanks for the reply! Never used a J-plug, I like the shape (looks like it would be good in wood) and was going by its reputation as a trolling plug. Was intending to troll the J-plugs at slower speeds for lake trout and walleye so a less erratic, swim-bait type of action would be desirable. Thinking about my application and the action I am looking for I might be better off to focus on swim-baits. The local fish seem to prefer a slower wobble over a frantic wiggle. Van
  4. @Hillbilly voodoo "I can tell you wood is not a good substitute" ...Sorry to hear that as the J-plug was one of the baits that I wanted to try. Was going to buy a commercial J-plug to use as a template but won't waste my time if it can't be duplicated in wood. Would you please share what you tried. I was thinking that some plastic baits (because of air chambers) might need a combination of two different density woods (like maple and basswood) to get the proper balance/action. Cheers! Van
  5. @mark poulson Thank Mark - appreciate your help! Van
  6. @BobP I like your suggestion of copying commercial baits, lots in the tackle box for reference. There are a couple of baits that I would like to make in 1/2" increments so that I can follow the length of the forage throughout the season. I like to use a bait (or streamer fly) that is about 20% larger than the baitfish. Van
  7. @Chuck Young Beautiful work Chuck! Will have to try it!
  8. Interesting read. Being new to building hard baits I'm curious as to what (experienced) people are doing. When selecting a lure I consider its working depth and the type of action it has, color and pattern are chosen based on water clarity and light penetration. My thinking is that you have to present the lure to the fish where they are (within the range they are willing to chase) and the action should suit their mood. In all of the discussions (above) of color and pattern little was said if the lure was catching fish during prime time when they were feeding heavily or of it was off time when fishing is slower. I think that "mood" is an important factor in choosing which lure to use. People often name lure types per the fish they catch on them (spoons are pike lures and jigs are walleye lures) where they are really associating the action to the (typical) mood of the fish. Pike are aggressive 75% of the time so a fast presentation with a spoon is a good choice, walleyes are subdued 75% of the time so a slow presentation with a jig works well - mind that walleyes will hit a high-speed spoon when they aggressive - no problem! Just saying that it seems that the fishes mood doesn't get considered very often in all this discussion. For the record, simple color schemes (darker back, light sides and lighter belly) have always worked well for me. Florescent blue, orange or chartreuse back for deep water and black, dark grey or olive in shallow water. Typically silver or gold sides. If perch is the predominant forage I will use that pattern but usually it is simple colors. That being said, I am looking forward to learning to paint some of those beautiful sunfish patterns I have been seeing! So, fish or fishermen? ...I let the fish tell me what they want Van
  9. @Anglinarcher Thanks, this does help! It's the exact kind of information (experience) that helps us newbies! Made notes The Varathane product is very similar to the Minwax. The same color, viscosity, tackiness and even smell is (almost) the same. I had a can of the Varathane for other projects so I thought I would test it as well - bonus is that it is "Exterior" use rated so it's more water proof and UV resistant. Bummer about the Pledge, the bottle I got says "Original" on it but I doubt it is the original original. Hate when "new and improved" products don't work as well as the original one. I like how clear the Pledge is but I suspect that word "Cleaner" on the label implies extra chemicals that may not play well with pigments and chrome or bright silver finishes. More testing to be done. I'll probably end up buying proper transparent paint for general use but tinting a clear base sounds like an interesting experiment. It might be useful to add a tiny hint of color to an intercoat to mimic the sheen you see on a lot of bait fish. Van
  10. @ravenlures Interesting that you would pour off the polycrylic ("decant" it ?) to get rid of the "sediment". My first thoughts would be that the stuff on the bottom of the can was part of the product and had just settled out in storage. But then, I am thinking it terms of a paint medium and pigment. ...I just checked my (new) can of Minwax Polycrylic and did find a bit of sediment but there was also instructions to stir the product. @mark poulson Lots of views but few comments, guess that there's an interest or a curiosity about tinting polycrylic. Since I asked first, I'll volunteer to do some testing. As you suggest Mark, it will be a good learning experience. I have 4 water based products that have potential... Pledge "Floor Gloss" - it's crystal clear with a 30 minute drying time. Holloway House "Quick Shine" - it's milky, 1 hour drying time. Minwax "Polycrylic" - Gloss (Interior) it's milky, 2 hour drying time (probably less drying time when thinned to spraying viscosity) . Varathane "Diamond Wood Finish" - Gloss (Exterior) it's milky, 2-3 hour drying time (probably less drying time when thinned to spraying viscosity). Was thinking about using opaque black Createx Wicked (mixed and thinned as required then) sprayed on white paper (with printed text) to gage the transparency. Any thoughts/suggestions? Van
  11. I'm just setting up for airbrushing and bought the two C'tex sets (Basic 1 & 2) not realizing that they are all opaque paint. I am waiting for my compressor and polycrylic to be delivered so I can't try/test this myself. I'll eventually order some but in the meantime I'm wondering if anyone has tried making a transparent paint by tinting polycrylic with C'tex? Any other suggestions on how to make transparent paint? Van
  12. Watched the video, seems that if a "minnow bait" turns out to have a subtle or subdued action it may perform well as a jerk bait. ...good to remember if my minnow baits don't turn out the way I hope
  13. @Hillbilly voodoo Yeah, agree - enough thinking - time to make shavings Van
  14. @Anglinarcher Thanks for that link, sounds to be exactly what I need. I'll check it out! @Travis ...hmm the wrong search word problem again eh ? LOL! Thanks for your comments Travis! Much appreciated! Being (very) technical in nature I guess that I am over-thinking hard bait design. Seen a lot of videos where they just free-hand a lure profile and start carving, I always wonder how many "duds" they make before getting a bait that swims the way they want. Yes, lure profiles are easy to get from pictures, it is the lip/bib shape and weighting that is the concern. Lots of commercial lures in the tackle box that I know the action of. Thinking that studying them (their weight and for they float) would be a good to develop a feel for lure design. Looking to be an interesting hobby! Cheers! Van
  15. First, thanks for the help in selecting a wood to carve hard baits - I've cut a enough cedar and basswood (1 1/4 inch thick) to keep me busy for quite a while :) Being new to carving hard baits I thought that it would be better to make a couple different ones following proven patterns before venturing into (trying) to design one of my own. I searched for "pattern" and found lots about painting. I'm used to fly tying where patterns are readily available, are there public patterns/plans/templates for wood baits on the forum? Any sites/links to where I can find some? Thanks! Van
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