View Full Version : Merry Plugmas (a step by step)


Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:22 PM
Ok, time for a little Christmas step by step. Iím sure a few of the newer guys got lathes or other plug making tools for Christmas. So here is something to play with to get started. Hopefully there is something in here that will be of use to those who have been making plugs for a while too. For those more experienced, feel free to suggest alternative ways to do some of the steps (I donít mind learning too ;) ). Here Iíll go through the steps to making a Danny plug. The end plug will be 5 inches long and weigh around 1 Ĺ oz. Iíll be using AYC for the wood, but other woods can also be used. You may have to play with the amount of weight in the plug if you use another wood. Note that in the following photos none of the equipment is turned on (I like my fingers!!). Ok, on to the plug building!

I start with a block of AYC that is 6 inches long. I like to start with a block that is a little longer than the finished plug as it gives me the square ends to keep things lined up after turning the blank. I have a center finder jig set up to quickly mark the centers. The jig is basically a section of 2x4 with two sides attached to form a corner and a section of a jig saw blade placed down the exact center of the 2x4. Place the blank in the jig and hit with a mallet, turn 45 degrees and hit again. The ďXĒ marks the center of the blank. Do the same for the other end too. Now you have the center of your block. This jig also works for round dowels.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:23 PM
Once you have mounted the plug on the lathe youíll start with a gouge to knock the corners of the block and round out the blank. The thickest diameter for the finished plug will be 1.1 inches, so make sure to leave the blank a little thicker than this. You can use a set of calipers to check your diameters as you go. Once rounded out, place marks on the blank for the end points (i.e., so you have a 5 inch plug). Next place a mark at 2 Ĺ inches. This will be the center point of the plug. On a Danny, the center is the thickest part.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:24 PM
Next, weíll drop the front of the plug down close to .8 inches. You can rough this out with the gouge or the skew (Iím using a skew here), which ever you feel more comfortable using. Youíll want to taper this back to the center point you marked earlier.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:25 PM
Next, weíll turn the tail down to .6 inches. Again, youíll taper this to the center point. At this point, the blank should be close to the final specs (.8 at front, 1.1 center, and .6 inches at the tail). When tapering the front and tail, you can take just the very ends down to the specified dimension, then turn the rest. Alternatively, you can slowly take the whole section down at one time. To make sure everything is even, Iíll use a sanding block to do the rough sanding. Using the block insures that the tapers are even.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:26 PM
I like a little curve to the body, so Iíll use a piece of sandpaper held between my hands to get this effect. No photo for this as I need two hands to use the sandpaper. Iíll hit it with 80 grit first, then finish up with 180 grit. You can do this on the lathe.

With the blank still on the lathe, hold a pencil to the blank to mark the weight, swivel, and eye (if you want an eye on your plug) locations. On this one, the eye is at .85 inches, hook at 1.5 inches, and the weight at 2 Ĺ inches from the front of the plug.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:27 PM
While the square ends are still on the plug, mark the hook, and weight locations. You can do this while the blank sits on a level surface. Looking down the center of the plug, the high spot on the blank will be the center of plug. With the square ends still on, weíll also cut the lip slot. The lip will be dead center. Mark this with a pencil. I do the lip slot on the bandsaw. To aid in keeping the blank squared, I set up the fence and use a scrap piece of plywood. The plywood sits against the fence and the square ends of the blank line up with the edge of the plywood. A simple, but effective, jig.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:28 PM
Once the lip slot is cut, you can remove the square end at the front of the blank. Leave the square end on the tail of the blank for now.

The next step is to drill the plug for the thru-wire. Mark the front of the blank using the slot on the lip to indicate where the line tie will be. Here Iím using a Lefty 1 lip from NJtackle.com (they have the best lips around). Note that this is the older style lip with two slots in the lip. They now have two versions: one with the upper slot and one with the middle slot. Youíll want to get the lips with the upper slot for this plug.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:29 PM
Once marked, I use a drill chuck on the lathe to drill the thru-hole. I drill the plug from both ends using a 1/8 inch brad point bit. A short bit works best for this as it will flex less than a longer bit. Iíll use these as guides and finish up with a longer bit in a hand drill. Again, drill from both ends until the holes meet in the center of the plug.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:30 PM
Next, I do the swivel, weight, and eye-holes. I do this on the drill press using a simple jig to keep things lined up. The jig consists of a scrap piece of sheet metal attached to a section of 2x4. The 2 by is attached to another piece of scrap wood. The sheet metal slides into the lip slot on the blank. When placed on the drill press, the blank will be held straight. Drill a 5/16 inch hole, ľ inch deep for the weight. Drill the hole for the swivel next. I like the eyes just above the center line, so that is how Iíll mark, then drill the holes (3/8 in this case). I use forstner bits for the weight, swivel, and eye holes (yes, that is a brad point bit in the photo, I cheated for the photo :smash: ).

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:31 PM
After the holes are drilled, you can remove the square end from the tail. A final sanding with 180 grit and we are ready for sealing/priming/painting. Note that epoxy will have trouble sticking to sharp edges, so I like to round the ends a bit.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:33 PM
I stick a section of wire into the tail so I have something to hold while painting etc. The wire is crimped on the end inserted in the plug and bent over at the other end to allow for hanging the plug while drying.

Now its time to seal the plug. I use a mix of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits (60% linseed, 40% spirits). I use a section of PVC pipe with ends on and a clamp to hold it the mix up right. Dip the plug for 30 seconds, let the excess drip off, then wipe the plug with a rag and hang to dry (be sure to read the warnings on the linseed label for proper disposal of the rags). After the sealer has dried, you can epoxy the weight in the plug. I have a mold set up to make my own, but you can use egg sinkers, buckshot, etc. Njtackle.com also sells some slugs for plug making too.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:33 PM
Next, prime, then paint in your favorite schemes. A suggestion of something to try here: paint the plug black, then fog the belly with Createx Chamilion blue. Hit a shot of red on the chin to complete it. The plug goes from metallic blue on the belly to black on the back. Simple, but looks pretty cool! The chamilion lilac also looks pretty good over the black too ;) After the paint has dried for at least 24 hours, Iíll add the eyes, red in this case. Add a touch of epoxy in the eyehole, then insert the eye. I do this even on the eyes with adhesive backing. Helps keep them in place when they get knocked about.

You can add the lip and grommet before, or after clear coating. To get the grommet to match the curve of the plug, I use a section of a dowel close to the diameter of the plug with a hole in the center (same diameter as the grommet hole on the plug). Another piece of scrap wood is cut to match this. Place a grommet in the hole, hold the other wood on the head of the grommet and hit with a hammer. The edges of the grommet are now curved to match the plug.

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:34 PM
As I am doing this plug in black, I have also painted the grommet and lip black too. Rustoleum spray paint can be used for this. On this plug, I use 4H rings and 1/0, 4x VMCís. And the finished plug:

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:35 PM
Attach photo :rolleyes:

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:42 PM
A couple of notes. I use my stuff in freshwater. For saltwater, additional weight or larger hooks may also be used. Also, I like my plugs with a front treble and a treble on the tail. The plug could also be made with an additional treble on the body or a siwash on the tail. You may have to mess with the weight a little if you go this route. When slow waked on top, the plug will have a nice wiggle with some roll. If you want less roll, you can grind the edges of the lip some so that the sides of the lip are straight rather than rounded. The tail width can also be modified to change the action some too. Same for wood type that you use. Try several and see what works best for you. To make a larger sized version, just increase the dimensions to the size that you want. The width at the front should be the same as the width of the lip you use. The version Iíve shown is one Iíve been working on for a while and it works how I want. You can use the above as a starting point and experiment to get the action you want from your plug. Be sure to post photos of the ones you come up with. Donít worry, I donít mind people copying this one for their own use ;) Happy turning :D

Jigman

Jigman
12-21-2004, 11:44 PM
Originally posted by Jigman
Next, I do the swivel, weight, and eye-holes. I do this on the drill press using a simple jig ...

Would help if I attached the photo too :rolleyes: :smash:

Jigman

afterhours
12-22-2004, 07:20 AM
very nice Jigman.

Motor Fish
12-22-2004, 08:04 AM
Nicely Done! Thanks.

This is going into my plug building notebook. :D

reelecstasy
12-22-2004, 08:57 AM
Thanks alot for sharing jigman...good stuff:kewl:

Charleston
12-22-2004, 10:01 AM
Jig Man;
Very helpfull. One question, How are you turning (using gouge and skew) with the Vega duplicator in place? Do you have 2 lathes??
OK I guess there are two questions.

If you remove the square end on front of plug before you drill the holes, do the holes go in on an angle using only the rear square end?................oops just saw the photo!!

Sorry one more; what kind of bit did you use for the swivel/weight holes?

ProfessorM
12-22-2004, 11:58 AM
Great job. One question on the thru hole. How are you holding the plug in the lathe so you can drill thru from both ends? Seems each end is different. Lathe chuck or collet? P.M.

steelhead
12-22-2004, 01:13 PM
Can you talk a bit about the weight placement and how it affects the swimming action of the plug? don't have to give away your "secrets"... :-)

justplugit
12-22-2004, 02:05 PM
Awesome Jigster, bein that u haven't posted for a wile i thought you went "cold turkey" and went on "the wagon":laughs::D

Thank you for the a great Christmas Gift:btu::)

Charleston
12-22-2004, 04:12 PM
The final step would be to "send the finished plugs to Charleston"
:laughs: :happy: :happy: :D

Jigman
12-22-2004, 04:42 PM
Originally posted by justplugit
Awesome Jigster, bein that u haven't posted for a wile i thought you went "cold turkey" and went on "the wagon":laughs::D

I did, then I realized that the wagon was made of wood, next thing you know, no wagon, just sawdust :smash: :laughs: Finished the out of town stuff, now its plug/jig time :D

Charleston, I have two lathes. Dup is hooked up to the Jet. I turn freehand on the grizzly. The latter is what I use when working on something new. I sort of cheated for the photos :rolleyes: Forstner bits for the weight and swivel holes.

Steelhead, weight in center will give more of a wiggle. Weight in the chin will give more of a wobble. Think of it this way, the weight provides the rotation point for the plug. The closer to the nose, the wider the wobble. Weight in the chin will also give more of a roll. Course these factors will also depend some on the type of lip used, shape of the plug, and how deep you place the weight.

Jigman

Jigman
12-22-2004, 04:46 PM
Originally posted by Professor Moriarty
... How are you holding the plug in the lathe so you can drill thru from both ends? Seems each end is different. Lathe chuck or collet? P.M.

The pressure from the drill bit keeps the plug in place. I don't actually hold it while drilling it. Drill one end, then flip the plug and drill the other. Hope that makes sense. I can dig up some photos of thru drilling on the lathe if that would help.

Jigman

Jigman
12-22-2004, 04:47 PM
Originally posted by Sea-5
The final step would be to "send the finished plugs to Charleston"
:laughs: :happy: :happy: :D

Nah, final step would be Charleston put his new lathe to use and turn some dannys :p :D

Jigman

Surfster
12-22-2004, 05:29 PM
:happy: :bl: :claps:

TheRattBoy
12-22-2004, 06:43 PM
:kewl: :claps: :cheers: :wave: johnny

ProfessorM
12-22-2004, 07:03 PM
So let me get this straight you are not turning the lathe on and spinning it and drilling with the tailstock chuck. You are drilling the plug with a hand drill. You are just using the lathe to support the plug while you drill by handdrill. The plug is not spinning in the lathe. Thanks P.M.

Jigman
12-22-2004, 08:09 PM
:wave: Ratty, Destroyed any Jigwood lately :D


PM. The lathe is turned on to drill. Prehaps this will help:

Center drilling on the lathe. After you mark the front of the plug, mount it on the lathe with the drill bit dead center of the mark you placed on the front. The tail will be alined with the tail stock:

Jigman
12-22-2004, 08:15 PM
2. Make sure the drill bit is secure in the plug, then turn the lathe on and slowly crank the handle to move the drill into the plug. Note, the plug is turning, the drill bit is stationary:

Jigman
12-22-2004, 08:17 PM
3: once the bit is in as far as it will go, turn off lathe and remove plug from the drill bit. Flip plug over and drill from the tail of the plug:

Jigman
12-22-2004, 08:19 PM
4: once you have drilled on the lathe from both ends, remove the plug and complete the hole using a long bit in a hand drill:

Jigman
12-22-2004, 08:21 PM
I'll do the same thing with the long bit, drill from both ends until the holes meet. The main thing to watch when you mount the plug on the lathe is that the place you want the hole to start should be dead center on the spur and dead center on the drill bit. This goes for center drilled, and off center drilled plugs. Hope that clears it up.

Jigman

Slipknot
12-22-2004, 08:26 PM
Jigs, have you tried it the other way around with the drill spinning and the plug still?
It may be safer that way.

Young Salt
12-22-2004, 09:04 PM
what a great how-to! :btu:
when you drill the hook and weight holes, you hold the plug with just one finger?

TheRattBoy
12-22-2004, 09:13 PM
:smash: ,Nah, it's winter here now:rolleyes: nice to have you back :) johnny

rocketman
12-22-2004, 09:38 PM
Thanks Jigman, very informative. JohnR: Maybe make this one a sticky for a while, its a great starter course.

Jigman
12-22-2004, 11:23 PM
Slip, have not tried it the other way around. Done several hundred plugs this way with no problems.

Young Salt, I usually use all fingers to hold the plug steady. The drill is turned off for the photo. Just used one finger so more of the jig would show in the photo.

Ratty, good to be back. It was starting to get cold where I was. No time for fishing up there either :eek: Hopefully some next week :)

Jigman

Adam R
12-23-2004, 08:16 AM
Hi Jigman! Great thread, good job!
Adam

striperman36
12-23-2004, 10:30 AM
Excellent How to thank you for the present. can you share you lead molding jig secrets too?

Hoho, it's off to the lathe we go!!

Slipknot
12-23-2004, 10:58 AM
Jigman, I can see it becoming a problem with that plug spinning off center wobbling around, good way to break a drill bit or bend it or worse, it could fly off there easily. Maybe you drill slow enough where it isn't any problem for you but I know others could have an accident doing it that way.
It is 10 times safer to put the drill chuck in the motor end of the lathe. Just trying to help like you are with this tutorial. Thanks

Jigman
12-23-2004, 01:54 PM
Thanks Slip! Always good to hear other ways of doing things. I'll probably turn some stuff later. Will give your way a shot.

Striperman36, be happy to share some jig making info. If you have some questions in mind, start a thread. I'm sure there are a few others here who could give some good pointers too.

:wave: Adam. Nice photo on the front page :kewl:

Jigman

Charleston
12-23-2004, 04:11 PM
I was shown to put the drill chuck in the head stock. Put a drive spur in the tail stock. Put the plug against the drive spur and bring the tail stock(plug) forward to engage the drill. With the tightening lever of the tailstock lightly snugged (to align the unit) you can actually push the plug onto the turning drill.
IMHO it's a much safer method. Also with the drill turning there is less tendancey for the drill to "walk #^&#^&#^&#^&
BTW; we were using a long drill in from each end. The entire though hole took a matter of less than a minute.:happy:

BTW; With the plug not turning there is no wobble with off center drilling! As Slip mentioned.

JohnR
12-23-2004, 04:53 PM
Originally posted by rocketman
Thanks Jigman, very informative. JohnR: Maybe make this one a sticky for a while, its a great starter course.

What if we made this the start of our favorite Plug How-To subsection here in the plug forum? If that's OK with all of you and, of course, Jig Man. Very cool thread.

We can grab a few other ultra-informative threads and put them in the same place?

(Jigman - I want to meet you and shake your hand next time you are up here :hee: )

Jigman
12-23-2004, 06:53 PM
JohnR, feel free to use this thread on the site any way you like. May be the thing to do would be sticky a thread with links to how to info. Been plenty of good stuff lately that could be in there. A great resource for many of us. I hope to be up that way fall 2005. I'll let you know in advance. If you ask nice, I might even let you go fishing in my plug bag too :D

Thanks Charleston. Sounds like I need to rethink my center drilling method some. Good thing I posted this :)

Jigman

NIB
01-03-2005, 08:52 PM
:)

striperondafly
02-02-2005, 10:06 AM
Originally posted by reelecstasy
Thanks alot for sharing jigman...good stuff:kewl:

Very good stuff!!!!! :)

castn4bass
02-15-2005, 08:43 AM
most informative thread I have read so far!!! I'm just getting started in this and learned more from this thread than you can imagine! With the info here, even a novice like myself can get everything lined up right the first time. Thanks so much!:D

JohnR
04-14-2007, 09:23 AM
BTT - gonna make this one another Jiggy article ;)

(btw - jigman - that thing we were talking about before the thing blew up i have thoughts on how to do a new thing :tooth: )

Jigman
04-14-2007, 10:53 AM
John, if you make this an article, you might drop the thru-drill section. Since putting this up I do like Slip suggests: put the drill in the head stock and the plug in the tail stock. I believe he is right, its easier and safer that way. I'll see if I can take a few photos next time I drill one and we can replace that section.

Jigman

JohnR
04-14-2007, 03:26 PM
John, if you make this an article, you might drop the thru-drill section. Since putting this up I do like Slip suggests: put the drill in the head stock and the plug in the tail stock. I believe he is right, its easier and safer that way. I'll see if I can take a few photos next time I drill one and we can replace that section.

Jigman


Got it - thanks!

John

JohnR
04-15-2007, 09:19 AM
OK - thanks again to Jigman for the great How-To :btu: - This will go a long way to helping folks get started...

I now have this up on the articles section for Jiggicle #2

http://www.striped-bass.com/fishing/lure-building/custom-lures/merry-plugmas-getting-started-with-plug-building.html

Thanks!

John

ProfessorM
04-17-2007, 11:26 AM
I just reread this again. Good info and some good stupid questions by me.

Jigman
04-17-2007, 06:22 PM
Looks good John :)

Jigman

JohnR
04-19-2007, 10:21 PM
Looks good John :)

Jigman


My Pleasure - thank you :btu:

Of course, you're up on everyone else so maybe this will inspire and inspiring Plug article from one of the brethren :tooth: :hidin: :bshake:

benjiwhite
04-28-2008, 06:29 AM
Great looking lures!! What are you using for the final clearcoat?
Benji

Jigman
04-29-2008, 11:18 AM
Great looking lures!! What are you using for the final clearcoat?
Benji

Been a while since I did those and don't remember off hand what I used for the clear. There are plenty of choices. A search on the Plug Building Forum will give you a bunch of things to try out.

Jigman

brucelieb
11-11-2008, 07:02 PM
can you do this all without a lathe?

steelhead
11-11-2008, 09:16 PM
I do all my thru drilling without a lathe. Takes a bit of practice to get the feel of it. The key is learning how to let the plug spin in your hand to be sure that the plug/drill are centered on each other. Practice on some cheap dowel form Home Depot. You'll get the hang of it... :)

winevine
11-30-2008, 11:52 AM
Jigman-
Great post. Do you know of any "How To" plug building books or other online resources?
Please reply to winevine@gmail.com

Jigman
12-01-2008, 09:00 PM
Winevine,

You might check out www.striped-bass.com and go to their Lure Building forum. I hear a few good builders hang out there :cheers:

Jigman

JohnR
12-18-2008, 11:14 PM
Jigman :btu: