Cutting, shaping, and carving a bait body...

Discussion in 'Tackle Making' started by vc1111, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. I've posted a little on this subject and I think its an important one to explore.

    In the next week or so, I'll post some pictures and explain how I do it...but there's more than one way to skin that cat.

    How do you guys do it?

    Maybe we could compile a list of ideas, tips, and shortcuts.
  2. by no means a pro, or have ever claimed to know what i am doing lol. on flat sided baits, i draw my pattern then cut it out,then i drill the eye socket hole, with a small drill bit, straight threw the bait, this allows me to have centered eyes, (then later on after final sanding i use a forstner bit for the eye sockets to be recessed) then i drill my weight holes while the blank is still in its squared form , this allows you to keep the weight holes dead centered followed by the belt sander to round any high spots, then i use my knife to carve the sides (knock off the sharp edges) then i dremel it all smooth, and finish off with a little hand sanding, if its a round style bait, like my frogs, then i draw the front veiw, cut it out, then draw the top veiw, cut it out, then same as above , then i putty my weights in, let the putty sit for a day, sand, putty again, sit for a day, then i seal my baits with a couple of different methods you can choose from, laquer sanding sealer, stinks to high hell, 1 dip let dry for 1hr, sand , dip again, wait a day light sand and prime it, or you can use polycrylic, water based no smell, same as above, leaves a glass like finish, or you can use a water based primer sealer like 123 , dip and let dry, light sand if needed , then wait a day and paint, , with the sanding sealer or the polycrylic, u can use fusion spray paint for your primer or plain old whiite house paint, the key to keeping your bait water proof and long lasting is, the top coat, whether you use nu lustre(my fav) etex, or devcon, i like to put at least 2 coats, 3 on my bigger baits, hope this helps, Etch

  3. Etch, I've thought about drilling a hole through the bait where the eyes will be placed, and the using the forstner bit to drill the eye sockets, but I don't have a drill press (yet). I'm always afraid that I'll drill at a bit of an angle and wind up with the eyes in a different location on each side of the bait.

    A buddy of mine keeps telling me to check out the local estate auctions for a drill press because he says the tools are usually sold for reasonable prices compared to the price new.

    I have a method for rounding the edges off the bait using the sander, which I'll share later.

    I'd like to hear more about what other guys are using to seal their baits too.

    I'm using sanding sealer now, but its only OK, not as good as a true deep-penetrating sealer, which I used to use. I can't seem to find it in any of the local store for some reason.
  4. fugarwi7

    fugarwi7 Lumberjack

    I am very interested in everyone's carving and shaping techniques, but I would ask one addditional bit of information be included...what kind of wood do you prefer for your style of baits and what are the pluses and minuses of each. I would think a softer wood like poplar or cedar would be ideal for shaping, but what inherent characteristics of each would be of concern, a benefit, etc...(assuming it is properly sealed). I know this can get into all kinds of details, ie, density, graininess, shaping qualities, strength, and on and on...Just looking for a few basic considerations so I can start expanding my range and "crank" out a few more. Thanks.
  5. Getting in to the types of wood could be a thread in itself, but for the most part I use cedar, either white or red. My favorite for Musky lures is Alaskan Yellow Cedar but it is real hard to find now and it is real expensive. It has some type of oil in it that will not let water penetrate. Lots of guys use hardwood for their musky baits which is great, but I mostly make trolling baits which I believe the cedar has better buoyancy and therefore better action IMO for those type of baits. Gliders are better made of harder wood like poplar or maple, but that is only my opinion from my experiences.

    As far as shaping the baits, I use a lathe for all my Musky Rockets. I use calipers to make sure my baits are the same circumference in all areas. I cut the lip slot while the bait is still square with my band saw. I then use a belt sander to finish the head and then hand sand for finishing touches. For most other baits I trace the outline of the particular bait on the wood using premade templates. I cut these out with my band saw. I then do what Etch does and drill my eye holes and weight holes while the bait is still flat. Some baits I just use stick on 3-d eyes without drilling eye holes and stick them on before final clear coat so there is some protrusion effect. I do most of my rounding work on my belt sanders, 1" and 4". I do some finishing touches with the dremmel and hand sand with countour sanding blocks. (They work awesome by the way)

    I then prep with Minwax sanding sealer which I have used for years. It seals great and dries fast. I light sand and then put on a thin coat of Devcon for a glass like surface to paint on, spin for an hour and hang to dry overnight. I then use Krylon white or gray primer over the Devcon before paint. Color of primer depends on what colors I am going to put on the bait. I paint the bait and then apply two or three coats of Devcon depending on what type of bait it is.

    For bass baits and walleye baits I make my own screw eyes out of stainess steel wire (.031 or .041) I have proven they will hold just as good if not better than commercial screw eyes and they are thinner which makes the split rings fit better on smaller baits. For Musky lures I use .092 stainless steel screw eyes in different lengths that I get from Stamina. I use Devcon 5 minute epoxy for all screw eyes and line ties.

    One thing I do and use it like a bible is I keep a notebook with a page (scaled shop paper) for each type of lure I make with a drawing to scale of top, side and bottom view with all the dimensions, weight placement, weight amount, line tie placement, hook placement, lip angle, type of lip, etc, etc. Everything that goes into making that particular bait. Then if something is not right with the bait I can make changes and have something to refer to. I could not do without this. I also have a "Recipe Book" that is all the bait colors that I paint and how to do it. After you do hundreds of baits, you will forget how to paint some of the colors if you don't do this. It help me tremendously.

  6. I have not used balsa for years, mainly because if I am fishing for Bream (not sure of the equivalent) they crush the lures, they eat oysters, so you can imagine how hard their mouth’s are. I used cedar for a while but find it too ‘grainy’ for small lures and the grain tends to come through clear coat. I now use a local furniture wood (hardwood) called Kauri Pine (very ancient pine) which grows in Queensland (not plantation), I find this to be a good density (similar to Basswood), fine grained and sands to baby skin smooth and is tough on the teeth.
    Recently I have posted a few on round sanding, flat sanding and through wire; I will not load them again because it would take hours. Sorry about the post size, but to be fair, I had to cover just about everything.
    I have been favoring split lures lately, for the ease of adding weights and I think foiling is much easier doing it in halves. For rounding lures, weather they are split through wire or one piece I use this:

    Also good for finishing off a round lure is brass or Al tubing, cut in half, lengthwise with sand paper laid or glued in the concave curve (makes a concave rasp). Just find the tubing a bit bigger in diameter then the curve you want to sand, use coarse or fine paper, whatever is required.

    For Sanding and fitting through wire (post is back to front –sorry about that) I do this:

    I have been sealing with propionate, either thinned with lacquer thinners or acetone, I prefer lacquer thinners which takes longer to dry but I think it soaks in further and gives a better build. I sometimes use the “poor mans Prop”, yoghurt cups (“recycle 3”, I think), if I want a white undercoat (but it’s not real hard) or another one I have after many hours of research, found to be pretty good and cheap if you are blind - reading glass lenses- Yes these are also Propionate, hard and crystal clear. I have a ready supply of scratched glasses here and any friends who buy cheap, non prescription plastic lens reading glasses gladly supply me with old scratched ones, so I have a couple of hands full of lenses in reserve.
    I used to use aluminum for lips but now have discovered how to bend Lexan (polycarbonate), very versatile and very strong:

    Make a Jig or template for whatever you are doing; they make life so much easier and predictable. If a lure runs how you like it and you have ‘Jigged’ it, the next one you make will run the same.
    Jigs for everything:

    I have used Dick Nite style clear and D2T, I like both, but for ease of use (and it’s nearly summer here) and I am not selling lures, D2T is the best filling / leveling finish, easy to use, fast drying and does not etch or strip paints. I have a new clear I am dying to try out which is shellac based (AND made in Australia, shock horror), which may be a problem with acrylics- Looks very promising though - anyway we will see what happens. \

    This is just a few more angles on the ‘art’, hope you get something out of it. Pete
  7. Vince - I am noticing on a lot of topics, mine is the last say (including this one), seems like I am killing 'Topics' here, which certainly is not intended- maybe I am coming across as an opinionated D/H, if so I appologise for putting anyone off side. pete
  8. fugarwi7

    fugarwi7 Lumberjack

    Pete, I'll post so mine is last in line...keep the info coming...this is all good stuff...I'll try to spur this again with another question...Template making!

    I have begun making drawings of the lure bodies I want to make and when I finally get one dialed in and the lip angle/size just right, is there a method to make a template that is more permanent, rather than the paper method I am trying now? I envision myself making many of the same style so I can paint a variety of finishes, so I am looking for a repeating method without the cut and paste process. Any other ways you can suggest will help me and I am sure many other newbies. mentioned making permanent templates and tracing the outline..what do you make the template out of? I was thinking about using some lexan and making construction notes on it with a Sharpie...any thoughts on this?

  9. fugarwi7- I just cut out the profile (paper) and stick it on a sheet of aluminum / Lexan / perspex and do a rough cut around th outline with snips or scissors, then use a disc sander to sand up to the lines. They last for years, you can also drill a small hole for the eye placment and then just mark the blank (through the hole) with a pencil for later drilling. As long as your timber is square you can reverse the template and mark the other side, so the eye marks should be perfect - Ah ! but nothing ever is. pete
  10. My permanent templates are similar, except I make them out of 1/8" plywood from the hobby store. I trace the outline rough cut it out with a scroll saw and finish edges on the belt sander. I drill the eye holes and cut the lip slot so when I lay it over the blank it is easy to mark.

  11. eyesman_01

    eyesman_01 getting wEYESer every day

    So far I'm using the paper templates. I fill a page with a specific bait, make copies as I need them, then cut and paste. I too have thought about the aluminum/lexan aspect, and will probably go that route eventually. However, I'll have to make 2 of each size, as I'm using 2 different lip configurations for each size... one for shallow diver, and one for deep. It will still beat cutting and pasting.
  12. fugarwi7

    fugarwi7 Lumberjack

    Thanks guys...I was hoping I was going the right direction with this...eyesman...sounds like we're working on a similar plan for those pesky eye's.
  13. Pete, don't worry about topics, just keep posting. You provide a ton of info and I've already picked up a few pointers from this thread. :D

    I have some templates cut from wood, but most I store on my computer so I can resize them, making them bigger or smaller, or just longer or wider.

    I like the idea of a Lexan or thin plywood template with a traceable lip slot and eye notch. I vary my bait sizes frequently, but it would be nice to have my standards streamlined that way too.
  14. eyesman_01

    eyesman_01 getting wEYESer every day

    You betcha! They're really the only species I fish for anymore, so my whole boat/tackle set-up is based with that in mind. I figure the more variety I have to throw at 'em, the greater the chance I have of catching my limit.

    To get back to the original subject of this post...

    I start with the template, cut out the shape and lip slot, drill holes for the hooks and line tie while it is still flat to get a centerline. I also drill a hole all the way through to align the eyes at this time. Vince, you said you need a drill press. I know you can get a small cheap 5-speed at Menards for around $60. That's what I have, burnt the motor up and adapted a blower motor to fit til I can buy another. You guys would laugh at the tools I've adapted to make these baits. I adapted an old jigsaw to "tabletop" style to get a good square lip slot. Adapted an old burnt up hand belt sander to a blower motor for a tabletop model. I'll have to post pics some time.

    Shaping, I start bevelling the nose and tail on the belt sander to narrow them down, then start on the corners, usually starting with the tail end of the bait, keeping each side as even as possible, til it is down enough to round to the shape I want, then I work the head the same way. Middle body is last, to get the flow from one end to the other. Then I install the screw eyes, and prime or foil, depending on the finish. Kinda got myself into a routine so each is shaped as close as possible to the next. Takes some time, but relaxing.
  15. That sounds like a good price point for all the more use I'll give it. I only have a few drilling applications. I need to drill the eyes pilot holes and I'd like to try drilling out the bodies of my Slopeheads so that I can fill them with metal sleeves and bb's for a pronounced rattle effect.

    Do they have a mail order catalog?

    (I love threads like this because one thing leads to another and all kinds of good tips get posted:D )
  16. BEWARE Vince- I have a 6' all singing all dancing, pedastal cheapo, the motor burned out and I had to strap on a washing machine motor, then one of the belts broke and I could not find a replacment so had to make a leather one- some times it's just not worth buying cheap tools. Pete
  17. Its a lot of work but fun when you catch-em on your own lures!

    We made the Tomahawk weight foreward spinners,the Walleye Whacker single hook harness's,the Tomahawk Jigs,and array of panfish jigs.
  18. eyesman_01

    eyesman_01 getting wEYESer every day

    Vince, Menards is one of our local Home Improvement stores, like Lowes or Home Depot. Big chain around here, but I don't know how far out they spread, and I don't believe they have a mail order catalog. The drill press is just like the one rjbass posted except red and white. Just their generic version. Not good for heavy work but would probably do for no more than you need it for. Like Pete said, they are cheap though.
  19. Pete you are full of info............. I have learned so much from your posts. Believe me I am very very new to this whole thing. Vince got into this about a year ago. I'll get him back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

    I have been taking scrap pcs of countertop laminate to use as my templates. I will mark the lip angles and weighting postions on them.

    I have been using a band saw and table top combination sander to shape the lures. The walleye sized baits are all power sanded. I will finish them off with an electric palm sander.
    Musky baits I will use a hand router to round the edges.

    You can use a band saw for more than a flat side cut. You can stand the bait up in a running postion and cut a taper from head to tail also. BE CAREFULL! go slow and steady. It helps having to sand as much.