What is one thing you MUST have if you’re going to make your own fishing lures from wood? Quality timber, obviously! I have personally observed (and made) lures from some pretty crazy timbers at one time or other, and I promise you that a couple of timbers are more useful for making wooden lures than some others.
There are my favorites that get used a lot, like western red cedar, although I continue with a number of specific timbers for specific lure making requirements.
This is my guide for choosing really good wood for lure making!
Tip 1 – It has to be easy to shape. Don’t make the mistake of choosing timbers that are very hard, ones that tend to take the edge off your tools or are otherwise demanding to carve or suchlike. There are heaps of simpler lure making timbers – so why make life harder than it needs to be?.
Tip 2 – Buoyant timber generally contributes to lures that have a better swimming performance so you can fit them with stronger terminal tackle without making them sink or dampening the action so much. If you happen to be making sinking or suspending lures you should still use lightweight wood and strategically place in weight where it will have the greatest benefit.
Tip 3 – Durability is another critical trait of suitable lure making timber. Very soft wood can damage when a fish attacks your lure, and that means that your carefully produced paint job will not last very long. This is a tradeoff, of course. Denser and more durable timbers also tend to be heavier as well as more difficult to shape.
Tip 4 – Choose a timber that has straight, closed grain. Wavy complex grain is hard to whittle and sand. Porous wood must be be given a dose of grain filler before painting, which means yet one more step in the process.
Tip 5 – Some timbers don’t let paint stick so well. Avoid greasy or waxy timber.
Tip 6 – Wood for making lures can be cheap. Wooden lures are always painted, so the timber beneath doesn’t have to be attractive. There are numerous low-cost timbers that work just fine, so don’t fritter away money on expensive ones.
Tip 7 – Select a lure making timber that takes glue well. Again, greasy or waxy wood often seems not to glue well, which is a hitch when you come to fit bibs, tow points and hook hangers.
Tip 8 – Start with timber that is square in section. This makes it a great deal easier to get the whole thing symmetrical, the towpoint central and the bib accurately aligned.
Tip 9 – Knots in wood are hard, can throw the action out on a wooden lure and are usually best avoided
Tip 10 – Make certain to choose well seasoned timber, because excessive moisture will cause distortion of the lure and de-adhesion of the paint with time. It will also decrease the mass of the lure (therefore produce it a better action).
The source of materials for wooden lure making are plentiful – it is possible to gather offcuts from a building site and make lures , no problem! plenty of guys save money by doing this. I have a preference to pay money for mine at a lumber yard, which enables me to get my hands on the top, uniform grained, knotless ‘planks that are fantastic for my requirements. Have fun with your lure making!
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