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Birth of the raffle plug... a how to pictoral

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  Discussion Boards > Do It Yourself Lure Building
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Joined: 06/02/2004
Posts: 701
Location: Reading Mass
 posted 11/28/2006 08:01 PM  

Between my lousy typing skills and my snail paced dial up, this may take all night!

some of what ai say and do here will be simular to what I have posted before, but, there will be things in this post I have never shown, little tricks, jigs and fixtures to make production much faster, seeing as I made two batches of plugs the same except for size I used a duplicator to keep the plugs as uniform as possible, even then, no two plugs will be exactly the same, close but not exact.....

For startes, the wood I use on %90 of my plugs is western red cedar ( the others are maple or birch) I buy 4"X4"X12'lengths (raly it is 3 1/2"X 3 1/2" X 12) when I get home I mark of the 12' length into 17" lengths and cut it with my miter saw ( I find this length the most useful from a storage and use point of view while wasting the least amount of lumber)
The 4 X4 (we will deal in the rough lumber yard numbers for simplicity) is then ripped on the band saw to make 2X4's then again to make 2X2 billets which are cut into either 8 1/4 or 6 1/4 lenghts fo the desired plug, once the blanks are cut I then mark the centers with a home made cener finder jig,this makes marking the centers fast( a nail is driven in from the bottom of the platform at a predetermined location), one whack of the palm of my hand on each side marks my center, remember, the exact center can be off as much as a 1/16 because you are going to spin the blank on a lathe....but this makes it exact.

Continued on the next frame:

A mans got to know his limitations... Clint Eastwood

Joined: 06/02/2004
Posts: 701
Location: Reading Mass
 posted 11/28/2006 08:35 PM  

now that we have marked the centers of our blanks we will set up the lath.

Once I make a plug that I like, I make a "set up" plug out of scrap lumber so I can easily set the lath up again to run that exact plug. I then select a template to match( one that I have traced off whichever plug I want to make) I make the templates out of scrap sheet metal (running the maintenance of a machine shop has it's perks)

Now it is an easy matter to set the depths of my cutter on the duplicator, I no longer have to keep measuring to be sure I have the right demensions.

I now chuck up my square stock in the lathe.
I use a roughing gouge to take off the square corners and bring the stock close to the size, using the roughing gouge saves time and wear on my duplicator cutter, using the roughing gouge, I can aggresivly remove stock, the blank will be round in about 30-45 seconds!

Now I clean off my ends with a parting tool, this gives me a starting and stopping point at the ends of the plug, it also helps insure that i wont have a tear out near the end of the plug.

Now using my duplicator cutter I mark the contours of the plug by gently pushing the tool into the wood until it just make contact with the template.

continued on the next frame:

A mans got to know his limitations... Clint Eastwood

This post edited by rockfish9 07:06 AM 11/29/2006

Joined: 06/02/2004
Posts: 701
Location: Reading Mass
 posted 11/28/2006 09:18 PM  

Now that our depth and plug contour is marked, I use a skew to once again aggresivly remove material, once I get it close I finish with the duplicator cutter...

At this stage the plug can be sanded, I start with 80 grit and work my way to 220, I will be sanding the plug at least two more times (to a final of #400)

After the plug is sanded, I ligtly touch a pencil to pre measured spots where my belly hooks, weight and eyes will go.( I mark the template with tape and make my marks, note: I use new measurements and tape with each new set up if I break down or move the template)

I now cut the square ends off of the plug, I do it with the lathe running, lightly holding a back saw gently against the flat portion of the square(this is the reason I cleaned up the edge with the parting tool) just before the plug breaks free i turn off the lathe and finish by hand, this leaves a perfectly centerd point, I dont recomend this method to the beginner, I recomend cutting the squre ends while rotating the lathe BY HAND, saw a little then rotate, repeat until you finish, it's a little slower, but safer until you have done alot of plugs....

Now take an awl and remark you centers (use the little nub left from rotating the plug on the lathe to find the exact center)

Because this plug is a true surface swimmer, not a doctord sub surface swimmer, you will be drilling it off center, but first you must cut your lip slot.
Place you plug in the vise and lay the lip on top, then draw a line across the bottom, you will want to do this on either side of the centerline dead cent in the middle of the plug.
this line will be the depth of you lip slot..
Once the slot is cut, check the fit, make sure that the lip bottoms out in the slot, now center the lip, and with an awl, mark the center of the wire hole, be sure that this lines up with the center of the plug, your now ready to through drill...

I'm parched and need a beer, after a fridge run, I'll continue on the next frame:

A mans got to know his limitations... Clint Eastwood

Joined: 06/02/2004
Posts: 701
Location: Reading Mass
 posted 11/28/2006 09:51 PM  

OK, I'm back, with a cold one, man gotta love dial up....

Now we are going to set up the dril press for through drilling, as I've said before, these plugs are drilled off center, this makes the body of the plug have a higer center of gravity that gives it that sexy snake like action....
I drill the plugs in two stages, first i use a 3" 1/8 drill bit, the bed of the drill press is set up so the plug just clears the bit, but first, I chuck up a 1/8 steel rod in the drill chuck, I have bolted a board with a 1/4" drill center in it to the platform of the drill,a fence on the drill press controlls the depth of the board, the fine adjustment is made by locking the platform when the 1/8 rod and the dowel center meet, I now can drill my plug, use the fastest setting on your drill, this will keep the drill running true, once you drill one side, flip the plug lie it up and repeat,because my drill press has a laser, I have made marks so i dont have to reindex my dowel center and drill after i drop the table to install the longer bit.... Note: I buy long bits and cut them th length to suit my needs.

The beauty of this set up is in the simplicity, one everything is lined up, as long as the drill speed is fast the drill will go straight EVERY TIME, remember the shortest distance between two points is a straight line! I havent made a scrap of fire wood in the last 300 plugs...

Now that the plugs are through drilled,I can use my drilling jig, this utilizes the lip slot and the through hole to line it up, the fence on the drill press controls the distance in, so it is only a matter of lining up the marks( remember the pencil marks from the lathe, no measuring, measuring takes time!)
I use forshner bits to spot face (thats the "countersink") for the belly gromets and to make the belly and weight holes, they dont grab like a drill bit.

Continued on the next frame:

A mans got to know his limitations... Clint Eastwood

Joined: 06/02/2004
Posts: 701
Location: Reading Mass
 posted 11/28/2006 10:11 PM  

Now that the belly holes are drilled, I turn the "headstock" of my jig around so I can use it to screw the plug onto it so I can spot face the eye sockets, to make sure the eyes are consistant and line up the same on all my plugs i place them on a jig and using a pre-measured block of wood i mark the eyes..Simply run you pencil across the block of wood, spin the plug and repeat( the plug is sitting on a dowel glued into the jig and resting in the belly hole)

Once the eyes are marked, the then can be screwed onto the jig to be spot faced.

One the eye sockets are spotfaced, you no longer need the lines, also there's a good chance that the plug has gotten beaten up a little by all the handeling and clamping, this is why I save the final sanding until after the plug is drilled, now chuck the plug up in the lathe, not too tight, just enough so it wont spin under light sanding pressure, now sand to a #400 grit finish starting with #180 or #220....

Now remove the plug fromn the lathe and insert the belly weight,use you drill press and an old headless screw if you cant press the weight in by hand.
Tip: two reasons for installing the belly weight after final sanding, first, if your sanding, the last thing you want to breathe is lead dust, yes the weight is SUPPOSED to be counter sunk, but they might not be, secondly, the bottom of the plug will be off balance with the lead, this will cause you to have to tighten the tailstock on the lathe, the excessive pressure could split the plug... been there... done that!
continued on the next frame

A mans got to know his limitations... Clint Eastwood

Joined: 06/02/2004
Posts: 701
Location: Reading Mass
 posted 11/28/2006 10:31 PM  

Now is the time to fill all the weight holes,tear outs or boo-boo's.
I use the Elmers two part epoxy wood repair, it is 100% water proof and hardens like a rock, unlike conventional wood putty...

I allow this to dry over night before sanding, once the putty is sanded the plug goes into a 60/40 mixture of linseed oil and mineral spirits, after an hour soak the plugs are hung to dry, after 24 hours i wipe off any excess and leave the plugs for a week, this sealing process is vital, if you dont want your plug to become two -half plugs with no paint!
Note: linseed oil creats heat as it dries, so it does create a conbustion hazzard, any and all rags or paper towels in contact with linseed oil are put into a bucket of water then dried outside on a drying rack...

After a weeks time, I lightly sand the plug with #400 grit papper, if dust is raised the plug is ready for primer, if no dust is raised, the plug needs more curing/drying time.

I apply three coats of prime, yes it's over kill but, it;s my way, the first two coats are brushed on, witha #400 grit sanding inbetween coats, I brush these on because I can work a controlled amount of primer/sealer into the belly holes and lip slot as well as the tail end of the plug, the third coat is sprayed on, after a wet sanding with #600 paper...

Continued on the next frame:

A mans got to know his limitations... Clint Eastwood

Joined: 06/02/2004
Posts: 701
Location: Reading Mass
 posted 11/28/2006 10:46 PM  

After the final , spray coat of primer, i mount my saw in the vise and clean out the lip slot and once again test fit the lip, it's alot eaiser to correct now than it is after you have the plug painted... been there... done that!

Now I scuff the plug with grey scotch bright and wipe it clean with tack cloth, now i begin applying my paint.

I use all water base acrylic paint, doesnt matter what brand, whatever they have on sale, i've learned the ins and outs as well as the quirks of each brand.

First i apply two light coats of Ivory white, this gives me a good base to work off of.
Once the base coat is dry, I applytwo light coats of pearlized(metalic) white to the belly, allowing it to run a ways up each side, this gives a nice fade affect.
Once the belly paint is dry, I add the latterl line,once that is dry I add my base color (blue in this case)

continued in the next frame:

A mans got to know his limitations... Clint Eastwood

Joined: 06/02/2004
Posts: 701
Location: Reading Mass
 posted 11/28/2006 11:07 PM  

I just realized I left out a whole section on forming the head, hopefully a moderator can put it into the correct order...

Once the filler is sanded the plug is placed on a jig and a multi angled (20,10,5) cut is made along the head,1/8" up from the original ceterline(lip slot)

One this is done the plug is placed on a jig, the slope sanded and the screw holes for the lip, marked,drilled and counter sunk.

A mans got to know his limitations... Clint Eastwood

Joined: 06/02/2004
Posts: 701
Location: Reading Mass
 posted 11/28/2006 11:40 PM  

After the base coats and any detail (spots, stripes etc.) are dry the plug is put into the scale booth, the mesh is adjusted to form snugly around the plug and a LIGHT coat of metalic silver is applied, one dry the plug is removed and the back of the plug is finish in alternate layers of black and purple.
the paint is then allowed to cure for 24 hours.

Once cured, a scratch coat of polyurethain is applied, this acts as added prtection to the paint while the plug is assembled and gives the top epoxy coat a binder to stick too...

once dry (about an hour) the belly and tail grommets can be installed as well as the eyes (I use 5 minute epoxy), now the plug can be assembled..

continued in the next frame

A mans got to know his limitations... Clint Eastwood

Joined: 06/02/2004
Posts: 701
Location: Reading Mass
 posted 11/29/2006 12:02 AM  

The last down...

Once assembled, I put on a apir of rubber gloves ( to keep oil and contamination from my hands off of the plugs) and scuff the poly LIGHTLY with grey scotch bright, I then wip each plug in ONE DIRECTION gently with an alchohol prep and install them in my spinner.Small pieces of drinking straws are inserted over the swivels in case any epoxy should spill into the swivel cavity.
while the alcohol evaporates, I prepare my envirotex lite, i apply THIN coat to each plug as the spin with an acid brush, It is my experience that thick coats tend to gather on the edges and also can cause pits, all excess gas bubbles ( a natural part of the epoxy curing) can be broken by lighly exhaling on the plug ( it's the carbon dioxide that releases the bubles)

I allow the plugs to rotate in the heated spinner over night, the hooks can be installed in 24 hours when the epoxy reaches a full cure...

A mans got to know his limitations... Clint Eastwood
new hampshire

Joined: 09/28/2001
Posts: 6337
Location: USA
 posted 11/29/2006 07:50 AM  

one word......Wow!!!!!

Looks like she got beat with an uglystick(((SHAKESPEARE)))
That is.
Captneilf Club Member

Fishing Rods
Posted Reports

Joined: 08/14/2000
Posts: 10313
Location: Sayville, NY 11782
 posted 11/29/2006 07:51 AM  

Good Morning,

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and talent with us. That is an amazing tutorial.


Capt Neil

Custom Fishing Rods  
The Long Islander Series


Joined: 07/01/2002
Posts: 5206
Location: Growing up, 11756.....growing old, 11741
 posted 11/29/2006 08:08 AM  

Words cannot describe what you can do. If you don't mind, I am going to print this tutorial out, and one day when I have the time, I am gonna try to make one of my own! Inspiring.

You can't just beat a team, you have to leave a lasting impression in their minds so they never want to see you again. Mia Hamm

Joined: 09/01/2005
Posts: 16692
Location: Miller Place
 posted 11/29/2006 09:04 AM  

Very informative and thanks for sharing. The end results are awesome.

Making my own lures has been on my list of "to do's" for quite a while. Over the winter months, I am going to give it a shot. Thanks for the inspiration.up


Joined: 06/14/2004
Posts: 17224
Location: U.S. waters
 posted 11/29/2006 09:32 AM  

WOW is right!

we stand in utter awe of your talent, Rock

for someone like me, you might as well be describing brain surgery as I would have NO HOPE of ever going from point A to Z like you do (even if I had the equipment)

it's really functional ART (the best kind)up

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."


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