The yellow blades with an orange nose are base coat clear coat automotive paint. The blades on the bottom are done with a coat of powder paint and then two toned with base coat clear coat.
The auto paint is alot easier to make the two tones blend together. Its not as tough as the powder paint and it does chip if you fish it in the rocks. The powder is very difficult to get a properly blended two tone color do to powder overspray. The powder guns dont have the fine adjustment like the liquid guns. The powder holds up to chipping better but it will still chip if fished in rocks.
The bottom lures are and attempt to get the good two tones from liquid and the durability of the powder. So far the two types of paint havent attacked each other and they are super glossy. I havent tried them yet so ill let you know how they hold up. Going to try to get to Tappan today.
The first one in "bad plaid" is lacquer with a clear coat. The lacquer is very "stinky" and chips like crazy. The rest of the blades in this pic are base coat clear coat. The saugeye love these 1/4 oz. blades in the smaller lakes and you can cast them a country mile.
For the protective coat, have you tried envirotec? I'm guessing you might be able to put just one coat on the blade and multiple coats on the lead body portion of the bait, without affecting the action in a negative way.
I have never tried it. Can it be sprayed through an air brush? I have tried a two part epoxy that held up well but it was difficult to clean out of the airbrush without a complete stripdown.
I normally lose the blades long before the chipping is a problem. The ones that do survive get stripped with lacquer thinner and repainted at the end of the year.
Both envirotec and Devcon 2 Ton epoxy can be mixed and brush on. After applying, you must rotate the bait until the stuff "sets up" or it will sag.
Envirotec has a much longer working time, about 30 to 45 minutes before you can brush it on to a bait anymore, but it also requires that the bait be rotated much longer as it sets up.
In this case, I'd probably try envirotec, because one coat would provide enough protection without affecting the action of the bait. It can be thinned too, but I would not spray it because it is nearly impossible to clean up after it cures (takes about 3 days to fully harden..then its like a rock). You might ruin your airbrush.
However, for blade baits, I would think that you could just brush it on, then hang the baits from a piece of wire in their natural position (upright, in the same position you jig them in the water), and let the excess drip off onto a tray of some type so as not to ruin anything it drips on. It would be easy enough to brush it on and avoid filling the line tie holes, but even if you get some in there, you can drill it out after it hardens.
I do believe you can buy it in spray cans, but I've never tried it.
Krylon also makes a spray clearcoat that is pretty tough, but would require multiple coats.
Envirotec has a certain amount of flexibility to it after it hardens, compared to other clearcoats, so I'd probably try that first and then experiment with Devcon 2 Ton epoxy.
Devcon 2 ton has a tendency to want to go on thick when applied so I'd brush on as thin a coat as possible then brush off any excess to keep from having it affect the action of the blade bait. Its harder than envirotec, but a bit more brittle as far as impact strength.
I will have to look into it further. Youre right about epoxy ruining an airbrush!% . The first time i tried it i didnt clean the airbrush fast enough and i didnt strip it down either. Its now one solid piece but it is very shiny.