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  #1  
Old 08-25-2009, 01:36 PM
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Default Woods for Plug Making

I'm putting together a spreadsheet of various woods, their densities, plug making pros and cons, and plug type best suited to the wood. I'd like feedback from as many people as possible. I'll gather the info, plug it into the spreadsheet, and re-post. My thoughts are that a density below 30 make for a nice surface, to shallow swimming plug unweighted. Weighted, and you start to build extra action and sub surface depth into the plug. Lip style plays into this. A Danny is a good example of a weighted surface swimmer. I've gotten nice action from a light wood pencil heavily weighted in the butt. Darters, and bottles, perhaps are better suited made from maple or birch. Needlefish from the woods that are closer to a density of 50+. I plan on experimenting with more wood types. My plug experiment last winter was to make the same plug from various woods. I made metal lipped swimmers, and so far, results show that the heavier wood plugs do swim deeper, but tend to roll out when in current or when retrieved to fast. Anything heavier than mid 30's in density and this style of plug doesn't like it. Yet, a metal lipped conrad will swim deep and nice with a heavier wood. All in plug design... I believe darters are a different animal, where my maple darters are digging in nicely. So, it's different wood for different plugs, and a combination of wood types and weighting that will introduce individual action. What I have so far is:
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  #2  
Old 08-25-2009, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

I have a Wood type for you to add if that is possible. .

I have recently Purchased Red Balau to Make Adirondack Chairs with. I am going to laminate what I have left over for turning. The wood is Stronger than Teak and More durable than teak but 1/10th the cost. It is extremely heavy and dense I believe this wood would Make great sinking plugs or possibly darters. It has a Specific Gravity of .93 and weighs 53 pounds per cubic ft. It finishes unbeleivably but your tools will need sharpening often.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:11 AM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

You da man!!! So pretty much most stuff around 53 lb.ft or so will more than likely sink or suspend due to weight added when epoxied, wired and hooked. As you had in the comments about the birch, I have also seen the same thing. Salty's sells through drilled birch(pretty good price) and flame birch blanks. Birch is also a pretty easy wood to find and resonably priced. I have a birch tree in my yard I keep eyeing up, my wife would kill me though
For Cedar an easy way to get it is to buy 2x2 cedar spindles or 2x4 or larger boards, not to large though as the price per ft goes up the larger you go. It does work out pretty cheap when you cut them down for turning. I wish now that I kept a bunch of the cedar from a tree that I took down that was right next to my house. It was nice and straight with no limbs for the bottom 20' or so.
Thank you for posting this as I was wondering the density for many of the woods listed as I can get a bunch of drop offs from the lumber yard/mill shop real cheap or even free. What is better Red or Yellow cedar or does it matter?

Jackbass I do agree with what you said about the Red Balau(premimum Mahogany). I did a small 2 level deck last year and it a super nice wood but heavy. I sure wished I kept the drop offs but I never even thought about plug making then
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

Hate to toss a monkey wrench into all this hard work but once you seal the wood it changes the density and sink factor, sometimes dramatically. Your method of sealing will also play a large role.
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

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Originally Posted by Sudsy View Post
Hate to toss a monkey wrench into all this hard work but once you seal the wood it changes the density and sink factor, sometimes dramatically. Your method of sealing will also play a large role.
That is very true. If you use Epoxy to Seal, BLO or Spar and MS or what-ever method you may use. Would absolutely change the Density of the wood. Maybe a column for the sealing method used for different types of plugs would help that situation.
I think the Basic idea is if you start with a certain type of wood that has a density of 53 lbs per cubic ft. or what-ever number. You can get a fairly general idea of how it will respond with fixed variables such as sealing and finishing method. This will give you an idea when you go to line up winter building stock of what type of wood to use and what is available to you at certain cost levels.
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudsy View Post
Hate to toss a monkey wrench into all this hard work but once you seal the wood it changes the density and sink factor, sometimes dramatically. Your method of sealing will also play a large role.
I hear ya. I've been caught a few times going into epoxy with what I thought was perfect weighting, just to have it blown when I get a nice finish on it. I'm great at messing up pencil poppers that way.
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

along the lines of what Sudsy said.. you better have a way to contol the moisture content or none of your specs are worth the paper they are written on....
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

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along the lines of what Sudsy said.. you better have a way to contol the moisture content or none of your specs are worth the paper they are written on....
Speaking of which. Sudsy you are an advocate of sealing with epoxy if I remember correctly I was wondering about sealing with e-tex and one concern I had was how does the through wire hole get sealed. When you seal with e-tex will the e-tex soak in enough with heated wood to lay down in the hole?
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

Bottom line is that there are several factors that will affect how a piece of wood floats, and swims. The density spreadsheet is a good referance to use as a starting place. (Light wood versus heavier woods.) I have it in Excel and if anyone wants it PM me with an email address.

Sealing, moisture content, top coat, pit wood, heart wood, sap wood, combinations of each and even variation within a wood blank will affect how a plug swims. Two blanks of the same wood might swim different. Hence why every plug should be test swam before it's placed in the plug bag.

This plug making stuff is addictive, with a large learning curve. But I love it anyway..
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:34 AM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackbass View Post
Speaking of which. Sudsy you are an advocate of sealing with epoxy if I remember correctly I was wondering about sealing with e-tex and one concern I had was how does the through wire hole get sealed. When you seal with e-tex will the e-tex soak in enough with heated wood to lay down in the hole?
Buy a bunch of cheap eye droppers and use them to get the etex into the holes. I also use a can of air to blow the etex through along with inserting ire and moving around. With the are and wire this assures me that I don't clog up the hole as some of my lures are hand carves and I only drill 1/8 through holes. I got the eye dropper trick from Sudsy

2 of my hand carves(maple) one 5 " and one 6 1/2"-kind of a crappy picture and I screwed up the finish on the 6 1/2"-Oh Well
I used .062 through wire, 150# swivel, hand cut lexan lip, and dressed treble for tail. It swims nice and straight but I need to get more of a wobble to it. It fooled a LMB as one slammed it from under my dock as I was just pulling it back and forth through the water testing it.
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  #11  
Old 10-04-2009, 02:08 AM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

I have a question about a wood. I think it is somewhat rare. My neighbor had a small tree/shrub type bush that I took down as it had died. This wood was very heavy and he told me it was a yew. I'm thinking of taking some of the pieces that may be large enough and cutting ang drying. Any one have any input on Yew wood? It's just too bad as it was not very big tree/bush, the base was a mess of tangled weaved like branches growing together.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

Cut a piece and see how it floats, and wants to naturally sit in the water. When in the water, figure out what type of plug you want to make. With the wood growing together, I'm guessing it's probably heavier there, so keep that in mind. If through drilling, take it slow going through that area, or your bit will wonder. Make sure it's well dried, and seal it before paint.

Best case is you try it and it is the best fish catcher you have. Worse case is you salvage the hardware and chock it up to experience.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

somebody's givin away trade secrets....
none of my business but i've watched and learned that somewhere on the q-t. are we on the same page rick?



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Old 10-04-2009, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

No trade secrets given away Zim. There are a couple I 've learned from the best that are closely kept. Almost but no cigar.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Woods for Plug Making

I did some research on yew wood and found this interesting tidbit.

Plucking the Yew! Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible for the English soldiers to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore incapable of fighting in the future. The famous bow was made of the English Yew tree and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" or "pluck you". Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won the battle and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French and saying "We can still pluck yew. Pluck you". Since "pluck yew" is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodental fricative 'F' and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger salute. It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird". And yew thought that yew knew everything.
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