Making Crankbaits Part II
By John Mills
In this tutorial we will continue the making of a 2 1\2-inch crankbait. The cutting and shaping has all been done and after sanding to a smooth surface we are ready to assemble the bait and prepare it for finish. If you will remember tutorial #1 when the layout or centerline was laid out and how important it was to make sure that it was correct, now will come the payoff for your accuracy to this point.
Tools and Materials needed for this step.
Epoxy: I prefer Devcon 2ton for assembly. Devcon is strong, waterproof and easy to use but there are a lot of epoxies that will work.
Screw eyes: I prefer stainless steel for a crankbait this size. The rear hook hanger and the belly screw are 1inch long and .062 in diameter.
Lip: The lip used here is a pre-made lip. Jann's Netcraft, Stamina and Barlow's all have crankbait lips of various types and sizes. There are other companies that have lips but these are the three I deal with most often.
Belly weight: This is a 1\8 ounce egg sinker.
Vise grips, surgical hemostats or some form of locking pliers, these will help you hold the bait while the epoxy cures.
Get all your parts and tools laid out along with the crankbait body, you don't want to hunt parts once your epoxy is mixed.
Measure and mix the epoxy. I usually just squeeze out about a half teaspoon for this bait. Stir the epoxy until completely mixed, you can mix this on a piece of paper or a piece of aluminum foil.
Using a tooth pick force some of the epoxy into the rear hook hanger hole. Now holding the screw eye in the pliers dip the end in the epoxy and screw it into the pre-drilled hole. Make sure the screw is lined up with the centerline, once the epoxy sets you will not be able to move it.
Again using a toothpick put some of the epoxy mix into the belly weight hole, be generous with the epoxy here and make sure to spread it around inside the hole.
Dip the screw eye into the epoxy and screw it into the belly weight. Take the belly weight, with screw and coat it lightly with epoxy then insert it into the belly weight hole and turn the screw and weight in until the weight is even with the bottom of the bait. Any excess epoxy that is forced out around the weight can be removed with a paper towel.
Now recheck the alignment of both screw eyes, making sure they are still straight with the center line.
At this point in assembly I like to seal the bait and paint before installing the lip. There are a couple opinions on this. One says assemble the entire bait then mask and seal, and the other is seal and paint the bait then install the lip. Both work fine; it is just a matter of personal choice. Since I have been pretty bossy to this point I'll let you make the call, but for this tutorial we will install the lip now then mask and seal.
Take a small amount of epoxy and using the toothpick place some in the lip slot. Now take a small amount of epoxy and put it on the end of the lip then insert the lip into the slot. Carefully align the lip with the centerline of the body. Use a paper towel to wipe off any excess epoxy.
Now that the bait is glued together the next step is to seal the wood. Sealing can be done with a water based polyurethane varnish, shellac, thinned epoxy or sanding sealer. I do recommend that it you use a water based paint that you use a water based sealer and a solvent based paint for the solvent based sealers.
At this point it would be a good time to test the crankbait to see that it runs properly and make any adjustments to make it run straight and true. Now you're ready for paint and finish.