Custom Jig Production

Discussion in 'Lure Making & Customizing' started by Baja Belk, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. Baja Belk

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    This will be a continuously updated thread following me and a buddy making our own lures, for those interested in the process.

    We're not starting our own company or looking to compete or steal business from guys like Reebs, Warbait$, or whatever. We just got tired of overpaying for a 1/2oz piece of lead with a hook in it and decided to take matters into our own hands :)

    We split our resources and purchased a Style "9" Shad Head and a Poison Tail Weedless jig mold from Do-It. We chose the cheapo Hot Pot 2 lead melting pot. Various colors of Pro-Tec powder paints, a bunch of hooks, eyes, skirts, etc. Total initial investment was about $250 split between the two of us. We got hooked up on a 5 gallon bucket full to the brim of wheel weights from a friend (cost: $0).

    Mold and Hot Pot
    2012-06-13_14-26-04_229.jpg

    Mike T secured an old bathroom vanity from a job site, put caster wheels on it, and made a sweet drying rack. Another customer gave us an old cast-iron pot for making ingots, and our boss let us borrow his turkey fryer. We're in business!

    The station
    DSC09151.jpg

    First step was to separate the iron and Zinc weights from the lead. This was by far the most tedious process. We ended up with approximately 40 lbs of clean lead, which was then soaked in degreaser and rinsed. We figure this will make us over 900 jig-heads.

    Crap on the left, Iron and Zinc in the middle, and Lead on the right
    2012-06-13_14-24-54_159.jpg

    Clean lead
    DSC09159.jpg

    Next step was to melt the weights, use candle-wax as a flux to burn off some of the impurities, and scoop the rest of the dross that floats to the top off with a spoon. Once we've extracted most of the impurities, the lead is poured into cupcake molds to make the clean ingots for the jig molds.

    DSCN6371.jpg

    2012-06-14_12-47-10_895.jpg

    Lead cupcakes!
    DSCN6373.jpg

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    Once the ingots are made (each one feels about 1-2 lbs), we put them in the hot pot to melt. These particular cupcakes fit the hot pot bowl perfectly. We had an issue where the lead was setting before it fully filled the mold, so we were getting partial heads. Heating up the mold before pouring helped, but we still weren't getting the barbs on the shank of the hook. Finally a torch was used to apply heat to the mold and the hooks themselves, and finally - perfectly shaped heads!

    DSC09164.jpg

    DSC09160.jpg

    Now the fun part. Mike T made a fluid bed from scratch, which uses a PVC chamber, paper bag cutout filter, and a small aquarium air pump to suspend a bed of powder paint making a lighter but more even paint coat. This process is so cool to watch....

    DSC09157.jpg

    A small amount of powder paint is poured into the chamber, and the air turned on (you can see the bubbles in the pic below. It actually looks like fluid):
    DSC09172.jpg

    The lead head is heated up with a torch for a few seconds:
    DSC09176.jpg

    ....and quickly dipped in and out of the fluid bed:
    DSC09177.jpg

    Boom! Just like that there is an instantly dry powder-coat quality finish on the head.
    DSC09178.jpg

    Once we had a large batch, we baked them in an old toaster oven to cure further. Optional step but I think it will lead to a tougher finish.

    Final product:
    DSC09173.jpg

    DSC09150.jpg

    DSC09166.jpg

    I am still waiting for my Poison Tail weedless mold and some more colors, but for now we're having fun experimenting with skirts, eyes, etc. More to come!

    2012-06-22_09-49-46_564.jpg

    2012-06-22_09-41-09_630.jpg

    By the way, we estimate that our first 900 heads will cost about $.27 ea, and we'll re-coup our initial investment after only 200-300 pieces. Moving forward the biggest cost will be hooks, skirts, and eyes. Hopefully I'll never buy another jig head again :)
     
  2. wccjanel

    wccjanel Fishing Guide
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    Very well done photo essay.
     
  3. Christopher01

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    Nice set up, those look great
     
  4. dj thrillz

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    Thats awesome! Only thing I dont like about the do-it shad heads is the shank is not in the middle of the head, just a personal thing. I have the poisontail jighead mold as well, those are nice, but, since you are melting wheel weights for the lead you will more than likely not like the results of the poisontail pours. You will have to get the lead really hot(the mold too) so it can flow through easier. You cannot adjust the temp on the hot pot2 so you can only get it as hot as it lets you. The pouring gate is rather small so you will find a lot of incomplete pours with wheel weights and a hot pot2 since they harden up a lot faster than pure lead. Been there done that ;) Pure lead works way better, but if you find yourself having no issues then thats great!
    From what I can see everything looks great on the shad heads, nice job.

    I still have about 50lbs of wheel weight lead that has been fluxed 5 million times, but I still cannot use it for jighead molds. I use some of it for my egg sinkers for surf fishing ;)

    Wether you want to sell them or not, you will have plenty of people hitting you up just from your posts. So you will make your money back sooner than you think also ;)

    Cant wait to see your PT pours!
     
  5. Fishtricks

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    They look nice, good for you! But there's no way you built those heads for $.27 the skirts alone are like $.40(Perhaps you meant just the naked head)

    I don't have any problems with wheel weights.
     
  6. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Thanks for the step-by-step, that was cool to see. Your optional step of baking the heads isn't really optional in my opinion. If you don't bake the heads, the paint chips/wears in no time (only a handful of casts in my experience).
     
  7. Baja Belk

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    I can't remember how we worked the exact math, since there's lots of pieces involved, but you're right, the eyes and skirts are probably the most expensive pieces. That number was for bare heads. Does anyone know where to get skirts in bulk?
     
  8. Baja Belk

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    We should have a little better luck with our PT mold since we got the bigger one (1/2, 3/4, 1oz). Hopefully the cavity being a little larger helps us out.

    I've heard that wheel weight lead is more difficult to melt and work with, but turns out a better jig because it's a harder lead.
     
  9. Baja Belk

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    We're baking everything for now, and I also have clear coat on the way with our PT mold. I'm thinking of applying the clear coat over the eyes to lock them in, but I'm concerned if I try to bake them like that the eyes will melt. We'll probably bake the powder coat, put on the eyes, then clear coat. That should provide a pretty durable finish.
     
  10. mick

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    You can buy the skirt material and collars from several online dealers. They have bulk pricing. You would have to assemble you own but they do have them pre-made too.

    Try

    lurepartsonline
    Janns netcraft
    Barlows
    Lurecraft
     
  11. Fishtricks

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    Skirts are the money killer part. Yeah get the solid skirt layers at Barlow's or something. I like the pliers tool better than the hollow tool, even though the hollow thing cost way more. They both take some practice to get efficient. Clear coating is totally unnecessary IMO. Baking is necessary.
     
  12. mick

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    I agree. The pliers are cool but you need the right size collars to make it work right. The ones with the really small opening are an exercise if frustration. I've shot those things all over the house.

    mick
     
  13. maxfli123

    maxfli123 Well-Known Member

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    Sweet post :D I'll give you $2 for 3 of them...just messing with you. I have always wanted to do this, just wonder how bad are the fumes? From the pic looks like its rather volatile...for now I will leave my jig heads to Thrillz :D good luck with your venture, I'm sure it will be more satisfying when landing that big one on your own rig
     
  14. dj thrillz

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    Anthony, lead is toxic... It can lead to cancer if you dont properly protect yourself. If you notice in his pic, he is well protected, and has a fan blowing the fumes away from him. Hes doin it the right way :)
    The actual fumes dont hurt or make you choke or anything, its just bad for you.
     
  15. maxfli123

    maxfli123 Well-Known Member

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    Good to know ill leave it to the experts :wink: thanks Kevin
     
  16. Baja Belk

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    SOLD! Ha, just kidding. Thrillz lead heads are way sweeter than ours, and pair up perfectly with his grubs. I think we're gonna experiment for a while and build up a good stockpile for ourselves then sell some on the side to re-coup costs.

    Lead fumes are very bad, coincidentally we're a restoration company that happens to be lead certified so we've got all the right gear. I think we are gonna move production outside though since we kinda smoked out the shop with fumes lol.

    And you're 100% right, catching the big one on your own stuff makes it that much sweeter!

    DSC02613.jpg
     
  17. maxfli123

    maxfli123 Well-Known Member

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    Reaping the rewards of your own hard work, very cool!!! That's a hell of a flattie, I'd say the mold and stuff has now paid you back...keep it up
     
  18. dj thrillz

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    Nice tanker butt!
     
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