View Full Version : sealing/finishing question
Well, this is a little off topic, but prehaps you guys/gals can help. I am making wooden fishing lures (plugs) and had a couple of questions concerning a good sealer for the wood and a clear coat finish. The plugs are of basswood or poplar. They are center drilled to allow for a wire to run thru to hold the hooks and for the line tie. I have tried a few products for a sealer. Tried some boiled linseed oil the other day. After reading a bunch of posts on this forum, I did a couple last night using a 50-50 mix of boiled linseed oil and turpintine (could not find pine tar). This mix seems to work better than just the boiled linseed oil as the plugs I did last night are already dry. Typically, after the sealer dries, I lightly sand the plug then hit it with spray primer (Bin) then several coats of spray paint (enamal Rustoleum is what I have been using). For a clear coat, I have been using Devron 2 ton, 30 minute epoxy. Is there something else that you would recommend? I have seen reference to some West Systems epoxy and someone else recommended trying Systems Three epoxy. I notice a number of you use some type of varnish. Any particular brand? I'm looking for a clear coat that will not yellow over time and will help to protect the paint on the plug. Between fish teeth, hooks, and bouncing off rocks or trees, they can get pretty beat up. In addition to holding up well, I am looking for something that can be applied quickly and easily. Between doing a few plugs for me and some for friends, I'll often do 10-20 in a run. Thanks in advance,
05-15-2002, 09:06 AM
Guess it depends a little on whether you're building to fish or show. Assuming you're building your lures for the same reason as I (to fish... I lose a lot of lures!), I use two coats of an all purpose sealer from the craft shop (mine is Delta Ceramcoat), then paint. When it's dry, I shoot a coat of polyurethane over the whole mess. The lures I haven't lost and have been in my tackle box for 3-4 years are holding up very well.
I do use epoxy to set the hooks (most of my lures are light poppers to use with my flyrod), 'cause nothing else will hold the hooks very long. Not the 5 minute stuff, though. I also use balsa, just because that's the only material other than foam that's light enough for flyfishing.
The high-quality, long lasting, showroom finishes are out of my realm. But I do catch a lot of fish!
APB...I've been fishing with plugs for 50 years, and making my own for 45, and I'l start by telling you that there is no finish which will prevent the wear and tear of fishing on your plugs.
That being said, here's what I've found. The strongest clear finish I've found is Depthane, a polyurethane product. I give my plugs 3-4 coats of it after I wire them, but before the hooks go on. I dip the plugs in a tall thin olive jar of the stuff, and hold them over the jar for a minute or two while the excess runs off...then hang them in a hot box that's powered by a bathroom infrared bulb. The inside of the box is lined with mirrors, and it'll hold about 2 dozen lures, hanging vertically by the thru-wire.
I don't paint my plugs anymore, finding that the finish never lasts (particularly since I moved to the ocean and discovered Bluefish, which made short work of my basswood musky plugs..) I need only 3 colors of plugs, light, dark, and in-between. I use walnut burl, white oak, and red oak for all my plugs, and frequently make up the blanks with epoxied segments providing, for example, white bellies on dark plugs, or red heads on light plugs. This procedure keeps the general look of the color of the lure, even after much abuse.
I make several different styles of poppers, chuggers, darters, swimming minnows, and deep divers, using the blanks described above. I use large moving plastic doll eyes on plugs that require eyes, and bright red foil for gills. I'll also frequently apply shiny silver, silver-green or silver-blue foil under the depthane.
I'm firmly convinced that all the lily-gilding I do to my lures only satisfies me, and has little to do with the lure's efficiency as a fish-catcher. It seems that the more beat-up they get, the better they work. :D
Hope this helps...making fishing lures is one of my favorite pastimes. I have a large oak desk beside my PC workstation that is decked out with a tying vise, a wire jig, a lead foundry with molds, and several carving tools. The drawers are filled to overflowing with wood, hair, thread, foil, and all the rest of the goodies needed to make plugs, jigs, streamers, spinners, etc..
[ 05-15-2002, 09:31 AM: Message edited by: donnwest ]
Thanks for the info guys. Definitely making these for fishing, not showing. Have to agree with you Don, most of the fancy finishes are for the fisherman not the fish. Doubt they really care about the scale patterns I add, but it sure do look nice :D Have had days when they would hit a certain color, but not another. Might have to give your suggestion of different woods to get the colors a try. I fish lakes, so no problems with toothy critters like bluefish, though hitting rocks with the plug seems to take some out of them. Had not heard of Depthane before. Any suggestions where I might find it? For eyes, I like the 3d ones from Witchcraft Tape Co. Fine glitter in the epoxy is also good for adding some flash to the plug too. Mix up the epoxy, add a small amount and spread on as usual.
Phil, I've used the delta ceramcoat stuff before. Seems to work good on the plugs that I've used screw eyes. Have problems on the thru-wire plugs. Probably due to the wire hole not being sealed.
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