How to Make Balsa Wood Fishing Lures

How to Make Balsa Wood Fishing Lures
There is a certain satisfaction that comes from catching a fish on a lure that you made by hand. Carving a lure from balsa wood allows you to apply your knowledge and experience as an angler to create a lure best suited to the species you want to target and to the environment in which the fish live.

Simple hand tools, a block of balsa wood, some basic hardware and paint are all that it takes to construct your own crankbaits, stickbaits, top water lures and diving lures in your own home.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Block balsa wood
  • Flat sheet of cardboard
  • Vise
  • Coping saw
  • Pencil
  • Drill and small bit
  • Carving knife
  • Sandpaper
  • 2 small eye screws
  • Commercial diver lip
  • Small egg sinker
  • Epoxy resin
  • Enamel paint in white and various colors
  • Glossy clear coat urethane
  • Artist brushes
  • 2 hook rings
  • 2 treble hooks
Step 1
Draw a profile of the lure on a piece of cardboard with all the contours and slot for the diving lip included. Cut the cardboard out with scissors to form a pattern.
Step 2
Place the pattern onto a block of balsa wood. Trace around the pattern with a pencil to transfer the pattern shape to the wood block.
Step 3
Place the wood block in a vise. Cut the pattern out with the coping saw to make the lure blank. Mark a center line around the lure blank along its length. Place the blank in the vise with the bottom facing up. Drill a hole near the center of the bottom of the blank large enough to hold the small egg weight.
Step 4
Shape the lure blank with the carving knife. Round the edges of the block into the shape of the lure. Sand the lure to finish shaping the blank and smooth the wood.
Step 5
Screw the eye screws for the tail and belly hooks into the blank along the center line. Insert the egg weight into the hole in the bottom of the blank. Position the diver lip in the blank and tie a length of fishing line to the lip eyelet. Test the lure in a pool or tub to check its buoyancy, tracking and diving ability. Add or remove weight as needed.
Step 6
Remove the eye screws, diver lip and weight, and then dry the lure blank thoroughly. Blend the epoxy resin. Glue the weight into the hole and fill the hole with epoxy. Allow the epoxy to harden, then sand it smooth. Apply epoxy to the diver lip and eye screws and glue them in place on the blank.
Step 7
Cover any exposed areas on the lure with masking tape that you do not want painted. Spray the lure blank with several coats of white enamel paint as a base color for the lure. Allow the paint to dry completely. Finish the lure with hand painting and two or three coats of clear coat polyurethane. Let the clear coat dry completely. Remove the masking tape.
Step 8
Place the hook rings on the eye screws and the treble hooks on the hook rings to finish the lure.

Article Written By Frank Whittemore

In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.

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