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Jim Farmer

Clearcoating And Resins

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I'd like to know what kind of clearcoats ya'll are using for your hardbaits. I've did a lot of research on the topic and I've used a few different resins myself. I finally settled on one that I like the best from Alumilite. This stuff is phenomenal for my cranks and jerks. It's called Alumilite Clear and it's a 2 part epoxy. I started using it a few months back and the only problem I've had is micro bubbles that sometimes caused a problem. I built my own degasser for the bubbles and would like to know also if anyone else is using it yet and any problems they have had with it. Here's a couple I did yesterday with the clearcoat resin. These are single coat. When I troll and long line these, they take a beating on the rocks so a good resin coat is a must. 

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Now Dont make fun... but I use rustoleum crystal clear coat enamel spray cans. Very very easy to use no maintenance just spray whole lure and let it hang and dry. I use 4 coats. Pretty cheap also. Like 3 bucks a can. Fishing all day with my lures on rocks the lure looks alittle nicked up but not too bad. I m gonna try epoxy down the road.

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I think you want to stick with epoxy if you troll baits.  Epoxy is usually thicker than other topcoats and although there are tougher coatings, they are almost always much thinner.  Thickness means it takes longer for hook rash to wear through the topcoat.  If you paint with water based acrylic latex paint, a breach in any type of topcoat will let the paint begin to absorb water and push the finish off the lure.  For baits that I cast, I prefer moisture cured urethane like Dick Nite S81 - but it is very thin and epoxied baits last longer when trolled.

 

I've used Devcon Two Ton for many years and like it but there are plenty of alternatives in 30 minute (slow cure) epoxies that work just as well - maybe the Alumite epoxy is one of them, I've never tried it.

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I accidentally bought 5 minute. Oh no! Hopefully it works!

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I think you want to stick with epoxy if you troll baits.  Epoxy is usually thicker than other topcoats and although there are tougher coatings, they are almost always much thinner.  Thickness means it takes longer for hook rash to wear through the topcoat.  If you paint with water based acrylic latex paint, a breach in any type of topcoat will let the paint begin to absorb water and push the finish off the lure.  For baits that I cast, I prefer moisture cured urethane like Dick Nite S81 - but it is very thin and epoxied baits last longer when trolled.

 

I've used Devcon Two Ton for many years and like it but there are plenty of alternatives in 30 minute (slow cure) epoxies that work just as well - maybe the Alumite epoxy is one of them, I've never tried it.

I tried another one yesterday. It's called Solarez and it's a uv catalyst resin. I dipped a few cranks and jerkbaits and hung them in the sunlight to dry. It works pretty well and I like the overall look. It took less than 5 minutes to dry in the bright sunlight and with a little worm oil on the surface they shinned up pretty well. Drawbacks are the fumes and getting an even coat. This stuff starts to thicken up with any exposure to uv light so it's best to dip the lures in a darker area, letting it drain well before exposing it to sunlight.

 

The only problem I've experienced with the Alumilite Clear is micro bubbles. It's recommended that you use a degasser so I made one from a bucket with an air tight lid and my shop vac. It works pretty well, but I still see a few micro bubbles. If I could get that straightened out, I'd use it more often. Next, I'm going to try a moisture cure urethane recommended by the guy I buy my blanks from. We'll see how it does. Devcon is on the list next. Here's a pic of some lures after the Solarez. 

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Look at Perma Gloss from U-40. It's a one part urethane. Water clear and cures harder than epoxy.

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Solarez is easy to like since you apply it and you're ready to fish in a few minutes after the resin has cured in UV light.  But like every clearcoat, there are pitfalls.  It's not as glossy as most other topcoats, if that is an issue for you.  It contains wax flakes which are necessary for the resin's surface to cure hard.  If you apply Solarez and let a bait hang for several minutes before curing it in UV, the wax will tend to surface and then migrate to the tail of the bait and leave a white blush - which can be glaringly apparent over dark paint.

 

It's pretty cheap at less than $30/quart for the High Gloss Solarez.  Be sure to stir Solarez before use to disperse the wax flakes that tend to accumulate on the surface of the resin.  I use a brush to apply it, then put lures on a lure turner for 10-15 mins to let it level out, then I either cure it under a salon nail light for 3 minutes or set the lure turner, still running, out in the sunlight for about half an hour.  Voila, ready to fish.

 

Except for the lower gloss, I think Solarez performs very similarly to a slow cure epoxy like Devcon Two Ton.  Added benefit - it probably will not yellow like most epoxy eventually does.

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Solarez is easy to like since you apply it and you're ready to fish in a few minutes after the resin has cured in UV light.  But like every clearcoat, there are pitfalls.  It's not as glossy as most other topcoats, if that is an issue for you.  It contains wax flakes which are necessary for the resin's surface to cure hard.  If you apply Solarez and let a bait hang for several minutes before curing it in UV, the wax will tend to surface and then migrate to the tail of the bait and leave a white blush - which can be glaringly apparent over dark paint.

 

It's pretty cheap at less than $30/quart for the High Gloss Solarez.  Be sure to stir Solarez before use to disperse the wax flakes that tend to accumulate on the surface of the resin.  I use a brush to apply it, then put lures on a lure turner for 10-15 mins to let it level out, then I either cure it under a salon nail light for 3 minutes or set the lure turner, still running, out in the sunlight for about half an hour.  Voila, ready to fish.

 

Except for the lower gloss, I think Solarez performs very similarly to a slow cure epoxy like Devcon Two Ton.  Added benefit - it probably will not yellow like most epoxy eventually does.

 

I was able to test some jerkbaits with Solarez and a moisture cure urethane, the one Dakota recommends. I did a 1 coat dip in the moisture cure urethane and took them to the lake for 2 days of fishing. On the first day, after 5 bass, 5 pickerel and dragging the bait through the weeds all day the paint started coming up around the head of the bait and around the hook areas. I put a second one on for the second day and it faired a little better and lasted through 10+ bass and a few stripers with minimal paint loss. My thoughts were maybe trying multiple coats with the moisture cure.

 

I also took some baits with the Solarez but didn't get to use them as much as the urethane coated baits. Like you said Bob, the Solarez is good stuff but the wax additive dulls the surface coat. I'll try your suggests with the Solarez. I've got some Devcon 2 part on the way, so I'll give that a try when it gets here. 

 

Thanks for all the info guys. I'm learning a lot about these different topcoats.

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The down side of the urethane is it's hard to store. If air is left in the container as you use product the moisture causes the remainder to set up. 

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The down side of the urethane is it's hard to store. If air is left in the container as you use product the moisture causes the remainder to set up. 

I'm fairly new at the moisture cure stuff, but I did get some Bloxygen to spray in the can before re-sealing. Hopefully that helps. I'm doing some crankbaits right now and I'm try multiple coats of the moisture cure. I like the overall look of the moisture cure urethane so I'm hoping multiple coats will hold up better than one single coat. The single coat breakdown seemed to be isolated to the head area of the jerkbait where the gill plate is raised. It also broke down where the trebles were constantly hitting the body.

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Yep, storing moisture cured urethane (MCU) is a real pain because it begins to harden after exposure to the moisture in air.

 

Be aware that MCU moisture cure begins after application and lasts for several days to about a week.  If you coat a bait and fish it the next day, MCU is like regular urethane, with limited durability.  You have to wait for the cure process to make it really tough and hard.

 

Your MCU will begin to harden in the can a lot sooner than you think.  Amble on over to tackleunderground.com/Hardbaits forum and search for posts about MCU storage.  There are many of them and they will give you ideas on how best to store and apply it.  I've never been able to use a whole can of MCU before it hardened, using it to dip coat batches of baits over months.  Even with Bloxygen.  Guys who never open the can and tap it with a screw to get out the MCU, then brush it on lures, report they have gotten to use the whole can of finish. 

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