Handmade Wooden Fish Lures           
                                                                           - General Guidelines -


Tools & Items You Will Need:
   1. Sandpaper 180 or 220 grit.                                           2. Spray paint (Rust-o-leum or similar) & clear finish.
   3. Small flat blade screwdriver.                                        4. 2 part epoxy.
   5. Paper clips or craft wire.                                              6. Hacksaw blade (optional for diving bills).
   7. Needle nose pliers.                                                        8. Drill with 1/16" bit.
   9. 1/4"  brad point bit for drill.                                       10. Sanding sealer of choice.

Basic Guidelines:

1. Finish shaping and sanding the wooden form down to 180 or 220 grit.

2. Mark and drill 1/16" holes in tail, belly, and front of wooden lure body. Drill a shallow 1/4" hole with the brad bit for insertion of the 3D eyes later. If installing a diving bill then cut slot with hacksaw blade in desired location near mouth/front.

3. Coat, dip, dunk lure body in sanding sealer of choice. When dry lightly sand raised grain and repeat if desired.

4. With closed screw eye in one end; dangle & prime & paint lure desired colors, patterns and designs. Hang with a paperclip or craft wire hanger by the screw eye until dry.

5. Finish with the clear coat. Several coats are recommended for good water resistance.

6. Take a screw eye and pre-thread the 1/16" drilled holes.

7. Mix epoxy. Daub a little bit to the screw eyes and install. Glue and set the diving bill if needed. Glue and set the 3D eyes into the body. Attach treble hooks, propellers, and other devices. The needle nose pliers help crimp the open eye screws.

8. Should be ready to go try it out after drying and curing.

Other Tips and Ideas

1.   Wood. I use any scrap wood I have from other wood working projects. Different woods display different handling characteristics. Some prefer cedar. I don't like cedar and several fisherman friends don't either because it is easy to damage. Hickory is strong, but needs care in working so you don't break off the screw eyes upon installation. It exhibits extra momentum when reeling in. I use lots of pine because it is cheap and light weight. I have used walnut, elm, and other woods instead of throwing them away and they all display different handling and wood working characteristics.

2.   Epoxies. I use the 50 minute variety. I do my lures in bulk instead of one at a time. So I mix a little epoxy into a tiny plastic cup. It won't set up or start drying until a I get my dozen or so lures all done. A little daub keeps the screws in tight &  waterproofs the holes. Some people have used epoxy as a clear finish. I haven't tried that yet.

3.   Sealers. Again some have used epoxies. I have. There are many sanding sealer sprays on the market so pick your fave. I have learned that water based sealers raise the grain dramatically and the lure must be detail sanded again. I stay away from those. The better the sealer, paint, and clear coats the longer the lure will last in a wet environment.

4.   Paints. I had been using Rust-O-Leum spray enamel for my first batches. It worked just fine. I still use their white primer before painting.  I tried to paint with a brush to get stripes and spots and that just looked bad. I'm no Rembrandt!  Now, I have been using an airbrush, an Ewata Eclipse or the Master G-44,  to get a little more detail and a lot more control over the previous spray cans. Colors can be blended and feathered in so much better also. Opaque and transparent colors are more appealing in my opinion. I have been using the Createx paints for now. No reason why you can't paint the eyes. I use 3D holographic eyes for most of my stuff, but you can save a little money by painting eyes. Also, metalized and pearled paints can add variety. Try using some screen material to mimic scales on a painted lure. I recently acquired some GLOW paint by Ready Set Glow . This might be neat for mimicking bioluminescence for night fishing. I haven't used it yet. It is not some cheap kiddie paint; this stuff will glow bright a long time. I already tested that. I don't know how well it might work in an airbrush so a real paint brush may be needed. The latest thing I've used is UV reflective paints. I have some stuff called UV Blast  I bought from Bass Pro. Under UV light it has a bright 3D looking shimmer to the lure. It goes on clear and drys fast, but I let it sit overnight. It really works great.

5.   Other thoughts.  I have used a belt sander or file to shape the lures flat or put some kind of different detail into the shape. The diving bills can be made from most anything to save money. I'm using some sort of plastic stuff. I let the paint dry thoroughly before clear coating and let all paints and coating cure. By applying a light clear coat on a paint when doing multi-layers, the clear will protect the painted surface from the adhesive if doing any masking on the paint job to duplicate stripes, gills, wounded red spots or whatever. Maybe a drilled hole with epoxy & birdshot can add some ballast or add a small tube with shot or bearings for noise.

I get a big kick out making my own home made wooden fishing lures. It fills my dead time around the house and friends find them unique. Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas.

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June 4, 2010