This instructable includes detailed instructions to create fully functional lipless crankbait fishing lures out of wood. All pictures and steps are numbered in the correct sequence to clearly provide steps to create your own lipless crankbait fishing lure.
I love to be outside fishing spring through fall. I have recently taken an interest in lure making as I want to add another layer of experience and knowledge to my fishing related hobbies. Making your own fishing lures is fun, easy, and satisfying. Catching fish on your homemade lures adds to that satisfaction and will keep you out on the water longer.
Store-bought lipless crankbaits are hard baits that are usually made out of hard plastics. They are used mostly for small and largemouth bass fishing. These lures sink when they are in the water and usually have a slight swimming motion when pulled through the water. Plastic lipless crankbaits will also have a rattle within the body of the lure to make noise during the retrieval of the lure. The wood lipless crankbaits produced from this instructable do not include rattles. Following the steps of this instructable will yield two custom lipless crankbaits that will be fun to use and may catch a lot of fish.
Step 1: Safety, Materials, Hardware, and Tools
Safety Glasses - used as a safety precaution against flying wood chips and dust
Dust Mask - used as a safety precaution against airborne saw dust
Work Gloves - used to provide secure grip when sanding and drilling
Nitrile/Latex Gloves - used to prevent paint, epoxy, and EnviroTex from contacting skin
Always work in a well ventilated area when working with airborne saw dust or using chemicals such as paint and epoxies. Follow all safety instructions listed on any materials used.
Throughout this instructable you will see Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) symbols in the pictures for each step. These PPE symbols are intended to suggest the minimum recommended safety requirements to the reader for the task at hand.
Poplar Hobby Wood 1-1/2 inches x 1-1/2 inches x 4 inches size - used to cut/sand/and shape the lure bodies.
5 Minute Two Part Epoxy - used to secure the screw eyes into the lure body.
EnviroTex Light Pour On High Gloss Finish - used to seal and finish coat the wood before and after painting respectively.
Spray Paint - used to apply color and patterns to the lures.
Screw Eyes (3 per lure) - used to mount the hooks for the lure and act as a line tie for the fishing line.
Round Split Shot Weights 0.94 grams each (4 per lure) - used to allow the lure to sink and make it more stable when pulling through the water.
Split Rings (3 per lure) - used to allow hooks to move freely on screw eyes.
Treble Hooks (2 per lure) - used to catch the fish when it bites.
Stick-On Eyes (2 per lure) - used to add eyes to the lure, eyes could also be painted on.
Combination Square - used to mark center lines on the wood.
Ruler - used to measure and act as a straight edge.
Coping Saw - used to cut wood to size.
Belt/Disk Sander - used to shape the wood lure body.
Punch - used to create starting holes at the drilling locations.
Rasp - used to round the edges of the lure blanks.
Electric Drill, 1/32 inch Drill Bit, and 1/4 inch Drill Bit - used to drill the holes for the metal screw eyes and weights.
150 Grit Sandpaper - used to smooth out edges after sanding.
Pliers - used to help install the screw eyes into the lure.
Paper Clips - used to apply epoxy deep into the screw holes and hang lure for drying.
Mixing Stick and Cup - used to mix epoxy and EnviroTex Light.
10cc Syringe - used to measure EnviroTex Light and dispense in cup.
Small Disposable Paintbrush - used to apply EnviroTex Light.
Small Hobby Vise - used to hold things as needed.
Alligator Clip Stand - used to hold lures while painting.
Mesh - used to create scale effect when painting.
Painter's Tape - used to tape off sections for painting.
Small Binder Clips - used to hold mesh tightly around lure when creating scale effect.
Split Ring Pliers - used to install the treble hooks onto the split rings and then the split rings onto the lure.
The common do-it-yourselfer will know that many different tools can get the same job done, but the best tools will get the job done with an increase in quality of work and decrease in time spent working all while being safe. I can admit I do not own the best tools for this job (this instructable) but I have made due with what I have on hand. For example, a lot of the work done in this instructable to cut and shape the wood lure blanks uses a coping saw and belt/disk sander. It is clear that one can save time and get the same if not better results by using a powered jig saw to cut the wood lure blanks. My advice is to use the best tools on hand for the job in a safe manner and if you have other tools that can accomplish what I have done faster and better then go for it.
Step 2: Lure Template
1. Print the attached lure template file. When printing, use the actual size of the document and do not scale or change the size of the print. If the print size or scale is changed the lure template will not be the correct size.
- The lines drawn on the lure template are the drill lines. The drill lines marked with "s" on the lure template indicate where screw eyes will be installed and the drill lines marked with "2w" on the lure template indicate where the two weights (four total weights per lure) will be installed.
2. Trace the printed lure template on a more rigid material such as thin cardboard or thin plastic sheet and cut out the traced lure template. Using a material more rigid than printer paper is important as it will allow for easier tracing and will last longer for tracing many lures. Don't forget to mark the drill lines on the lure template.
- I like to use clear thin plastic report covers. These plastic covers are thin yet rigid and allow me to see the wood underneath the template while tracing. I use a thin permanent marker to mark the lines on the lure template.
Step 3: Measure, Mark, and Cut
1. Use the lure template made in the previous step to mark out an approximate length on the wood.
- I usually leave around 1/8 inches extra space on each side of the lure template in order to square off the sides after cutting.
2. Use the combination square to mark a center line from the end of the wood to the line that was drawn in step 1.
- The wood I'm using has dimensions of 1-1/2 inches x 1-1/2 inches so I set my combination square to 3/4 inches to mark the center line.
3. The wood is ready for cutting.
4. Use the coping saw to cut along the longer marked line.
5. Use the coping saw to cut along the shorter line.
6. Two wood blocks are produced. Each wood block will make one lure.
7. Use the disk sander to sand both ends of each wood block until they are square.
- Squaring the ends of the wood blocks now will make it easier to mark the thickness of the lure in the next step.
8. Use the combination square to mark a line 3/8 inches from the outside/uncut face of the wood blocks around the outside of the wood blocks. This will be the thickness of the lures.
- I like to measure and mark off of the outside/uncut face of the wood blocks because I know that those faces are already squared.
9. Both wood blocks now have a line marked all the way around them that is 3/8 inches from the outside/uncut face of the wood blocks.
Step 4: Sand, Trace, and Mark
Check your work frequently when sanding. You can always remove more material but you can't put material back when its gone.
1. Use the belt sander to sand the cut face of the wood down to the line marked from the previous step.
- I rotate the blocks of wood 180 degrees a few times while sanding to ensure I am sanding the wood blocks evenly.
2. Two wood blocks are produced that have a thickness of 3/8 inches.
3. Trace the lure template made in a previous step to create an outline of the lure on the wood block.
- I trace the lure template on the face that was just sanded to allow me to place the wood block down on the outside/uncut face of the wood block when sanding in the next steps.
4. Use a ruler to mark the drill lines. These drill lines mark the angle and location of the pilot holes that will be drilled in a future step.
- After marking the drill lines, I like to put letters next to the drill lines to remind me what they are for. The "S" stands for screw eye and the "2W" stands for 2 weights.
5. Use the disk sander to sand the wood block down to the lure outline that was traced.
6. Sand all the way around the lure outline.
7. Half of the lure outline sanded down.
8. Both wooden blocks are sanded down to the lure outline. Two lure blanks have been produced. The drill lines can still be seen on the face of the lure.
9. Use the combination square to mark a center line (3/16 inches from the side of the lure) along the back and belly of the lure blanks. The lure blanks have been sanded down to 3/8 inch thickness in the previous steps so the center line will be half or 3/16 inches from one side of the lure.
10. Use the combination square to mark lines perpendicular to the length of the lure that connect to the drill lines.
11. All drill lines now have a perpendicular line connecting them on the belly and back of the lure blanks. The intersection of these perpendicular lines and the center line is where the pilot holes will be drilled.
- Don't forget about the single drill line along the back of the lure. This is where the eye screw will go that the fishing line will be tied to.
Step 5: Drill, Round, and Epoxy
IMPORTANT: USE A VISE TO HOLD THE WOOD WHEN DRILLING.
Always use a vise when drilling wood to ensure no injury to the hands. Serious injury can occur if the wood is being held in hand and the drill slips. Make sure to drill straight and level when drilling. If the holes are drilled too crooked the screw eyes will be crooked in the wood and potentially cause an undesired swimming motion when using the lure. If a crooked hole is drilled, it can be filled with a toothpick and glue and re-drilled once dry.
1. Use the punch to make a hole where the perpendicular lines and center line meet for every drill line.
2. Use the 1/32 inch drill bit and electric drill to drill the pilot holes where the perpendicular lines and center line meet. Make sure to drill deep enough to fit the length of the screw eyes.
- I make sure to look at the marked drill lines on the face of the lure to ensure I am drilling at the correct angle.
3. Use the 1/4 inch drill bit and electric drill to drill the weight holes on the first and third (from the nose of the lure) pilot hole. Make sure to drill deep enough to fit a little over the length of two weights. Weights will be inserted into these holes to allow the lure to sink and be more stable in the water.
4. Use the rasp to round all the edges of the lure blanks.
- I start at a very shallow angle to the outside face of the lure blank when rasping and finish at a large angle.
5. With all edges rounded, use 150 grit sandpaper to smooth the rounded edges.
6. Both of the lure blanks are now rounded, sanded, and ready for the next step.
7. Dry fit the screw eyes into the 1/32 inch pilot holes but do not tighten them down all the way. Remove the screw eyes and set them aside for the next steps.
- I have had screw eyes that break off near the top leaving the threaded portion of the screw stuck in the wood. When this happens I just mark a new hole to be drilled a little above or below where the first screw eye is stuck and drill another hole. I then install a screw eye in the new hole and hope the new screw eye doesn't break.
There is not a lot of working time when using the 5 minute epoxy. Make sure to set up everything that is needed for the epoxy step before dispensing and mixing the epoxy. If the epoxy starts to harden before it is done being applied mix a new batch of epoxy and continue working.
8. Dispense some 5 minute epoxy into a small cup.
9. Mix the epoxy per manufactures instructions.
10. Use the end of a paper clip to apply the epoxy deep in the 1/32 inch holes.
- Apply epoxy to all 1/32 inch holes of both lure blanks before installing the eye screws. The 5 minute epoxy sets up fast and does not allow a lot of time to work with it.
11. Dip the threaded ends of the screw eyes into the remaining epoxy and install them into the 1/32 inch holes. Make sure to tighten them down fully this time and that the screw eyes line up straight with the center line of the lure blank.
12. Mix up another batch of epoxy as done before and apply epoxy inside the larger 1/4 inch holes with a small stick.
13. Press 2 weights into each 1/4 inch hole until they are fully seated. The weights should sit below the belly of the lure blanks.
14. Fill the remaining space of the 1/4 inch holes with epoxy over the weights until the epoxy fills to the belly of the lure blanks. Allow the epoxy to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Dry time may take up to 24 hours due to the large amount of epoxy used when gluing the weights. Don't worry about being messy as excess epoxy can be sanded away later.
Step 6: Seal, Paint, and Finish Coat
Sealing the lures is essential to creating a long-lasting lure. Sealing will prevent water from getting into the wood and ruining the lure. It is critical to follow the instructions included with the EnviroTex Light when using it. The instructions give clear steps to achieve the best results under normal conditions.
1. Use 150 grit sandpaper to sand and remove any excess epoxy on the lure blanks. Remove excess epoxy until the surface of the epoxy is flush with the surface of the wood.
2. Use one 10cc syringe to measure 2.5cc of EnviroTex resin and a different 10cc syringe to measure 2.5cc of EnviroTex hardener. Follow all instructions provided with the EnviroTex Light. It is important to get close to exactly 1 part resin to 1 part hardener by volume and that they are mixed thoroughly per manufacturers instructions.
- I have drilled a small hole in the caps of the resin and hardener bottles so I can insert the syringe tips and dispense the EnviroTex into the syringes upside down. This is much easier than pouring the EnviroTex into a different container to measure.
3. Dispense the resin and hardener from the syringes into one small cup and mix them according to the EnviroTex instructions.
4. Apply the mixed EnviroTex with a small disposable paint brush. Make sure to cover the wood completely. Don't worry about putting too much EnviroTex on at this point.
5. Once the lures are completely covered in EnviroTex, hang them to dry for 20 minutes.
6. After 20 minutes of dry time, take the lure and use something flat (stiff cardboard or flat mixing stick) to scrape the excess EnviroTex off the lure.
- I used the flat edge of the green mixing stick to scrape the excess EnviroTex off.
- By applying the EnviroTex and waiting 20 minutes the wood will have time to soak up the EnviroTex and help with sealing. Scraping the excess EnviroTex off will allow there to be a thin sealed layer on the lure.
7. Use your finger (with gloves on) to evenly spread the rest of the EnviroTex all around the lure. The EnviroTex should feel tacky at this point. Hang the lures for 24 hours to fully dry. The lures are now sealed.
8. Lightly sand the sealed lure with 150 grit sandpaper in preparation of painting. Wipe away the sanding dust after sanding using a rag.
9. Wrap painter's tape around the screw eyes to protect them from paint. A paper clip can be pushed through the tape and screw eye to allow for hanging.
10. Use the alligator clip stand to hold the lures while painting. Start with white spray paint and apply a base coat using 3 light layers of paint. Allow the paint to dry for a few minutes between layers. Allow the white base coat to dry completely per the spray paint instructions on the can.
11. The mesh will be used to create a scale pattern. Wrap the mesh around the white lure and secure it tightly with the small binder clips. It is important to get the mesh tight around the lure to prevent any gaps between the mesh and lure that may cause a messy scale pattern. Spray the scale pattern color over the mesh and allow to dry for a few minutes. Carefully remove the binder clips and mesh.
12. Allow the scale pattern to dry completely before next step.
13. Be creative and apply paint any way you want. I used a template I made from the same plastic material used for the lure template to create the red stripes on my lure. I also used blue spray paint to coat the spine of the lure and finished by adding a red stick on eye. One thing to keep in mind when spray painting is over-spray. The lures are small and it can be hard to create clean lines using spray paint. To ensure clean lines when spray painting, use painter's tape to cover all surfaces where you don't want the paint you are using to get on.
14.Remove all painter's tap before finish coat is applied. With the lure painted and the eyes on, the finish coat can be applied. Mix and apply the EnviroTex in the same manner as done when sealing the lure in a previous step. Instead of wiping the excess EnviroTex off as done before, allow a thin layer to build up on all surfaces of the lure. It's okay if EnviroTex gets in/on the screw eyes. Any hardened EnviroTex in the screw eye holes can be carefully drilled out using the 1/32 inch drill bit.
15. Hang the fully coated lure untouched for 10 minutes to allow the EnviroTex to even out and allow any air bubbles in the EnviroTex to rise to the surface. Use the torch to quickly pass a small/low flame over the surface of the lure. This will pop any air bubbles that have risen to the surface. More EnviroTex can be applied if any spots were missed.
16. Hang the lure with the nose pointing down and leave the lure for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes hang the lure tail down and wait 10 minutes. Repeat this hanging process every 10 minutes for the first hour after applying the EnviroTex. This will help evenly distribute the EnviroTex. After the hanging process allow the lures to hang and dry according to the instructions provided with the EnviroTex. The EnviroTex can take up to 3 days to fully cure. Try to hang the lures in a warm/dry place that is protected from dust for best results.
- A lot of DIY lure makers use a lure drying wheel to dry the finish coat on their lures. A lure drying wheel consists of some sort of turning motor that holds and rotates the lures 360 degrees while the finish coat is allowed to dry. Using a lure drying wheel will provide professional results with clean finishes. I do not own a lure drying wheel and do not have the supplies to make one so I have chosen to hang dry my lures while following the hanging procedure above. My results are not perfect but I have found them to be good and reliable enough for my own needs.
Step 7: Install Split Rings and Treble Hooks
The final step is to install the split rings and hooks. Once completed the lure is ready to catch some fish!
1. Use the drill and 1/32 inch drill bit to drill out any hardened epoxy in the screw eye holes.
2. Attach a split ring to the top screw eye hole. The fishing line will be tied to this split ring.
3. Attach the split rings to the treble hooks and then the split rings/hooks to the last two screw eyes on the lure. The lure is now ready for some fishing!