View Full Version : Plug Building: Blunders and Solutions

12-11-2016, 11:56 PM
Despite having jigs made for my processes when making darters, inherently there are still blunders. Blunders are those stupid, careless mistakes made because we are human, or distracted. Some of the errors are built into working with wood because there are knots and even the grains tend to make an awl depart from the intended punch mark.

Anyhow, on a run of my darters from last year, I had one where the front slope cut ran well into the thru hole. I was disheartened but finished the plug anyways, sealed, painted, epoxied. I tried to rely on "extra" epoxy to solve the error, however when done, I said to myself this will last one good fish. It'll catch it, but after that the plug will not swim.

My buddy Ian ended up with the plug after a bunch of begging for a darter, and we fished on the cape early this past year. He caugh a mid twenty pound fish, and rendered the darter useless as predicted. I took it back and replaced it with another I had finished the week prior. I spent many nights just thinking of that one plug and what I could do to fix it.

I could add a metal plate to the darter slope... no that'll add too much weight up front. I could add some sort of staple to "hold it (thru wire) down, no that'll pull just the same.

Tonight I finally picked up the plug and started messin' with it. I moved the thru wire to the side by bending it up and cut a deeper channel with a dremel, and attempted bending the same back into shape. Messed with that for ten minutes and determined it was no better than before. So I pried the rear tie open enough to get my knipex in there, cut it off, then slowly worked the thru wire out front the front. Then ran a 1/8" long bit thru the epoxied thru hole to open things back up.


Bending the new wire configuration in the pic took a little "doing". At first, I made what I thought would work but it didn't pan out. So I just started over from where each bend needed to be, and continued to modify it until I ended up with the result in the pic above. The "fix" was to drill a second hole just greater that the wire diameter below the thru hole, and configure the wire to enter there. I suppose I could have placed the hole nearly in line with the wire instead to avoid the extra bending.. but that's an afterthought.

The original problem was two fold. my thru hole was high, and my OAL was off as well. I think this solution will work for more than one fish.

Another thing I considered was to cut a triangular jointer style cut then work a JB weld style putty around the wire and into the groove, however that was a weight consideration as well. I may still try this, and counter it in the tail before sending epoxy down the center to reseal while I have the plug disassembled.

The intent of my post is that I'm glad I didn't toss the plug in the trash as it swims nice.

12-20-2016, 08:16 PM
We all have blobs. As I say, I keep the mistakes for me. Amazingly they swim & catch.

12-20-2016, 09:06 PM
Experimenting with a mess up is a great way to experiment and learn something new! I bet you will have that darter swimming great by spring.
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12-21-2016, 06:54 PM
Years ago I jumped at the chance to buy #^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&'s boxes of seconds, and misfires. I experimented, plodded along, and worked at making the plug right. It was a great education for the price of shipping, (about $20.00) each time I purchased the box. I still have many of the plug bodies Scott through in the box. Many just did not sand right, or some other minor flaw. Many were very fishable. Many are still waiting for me to to just that, finish them. However, because of these "seconds", and the guidance of people here, such as Larry Wentworth, my plugs are almost perfect. I do from time to time pick a plug from the #^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^& bag of seconds, and think about what Createx color I would paint it, but then I turn to my own plugs I turned.......
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12-21-2016, 09:45 PM
Frank I too got a bunch of ##*#*#*##*# seconds reject. Fixed most whether the wire hole was off center, or no hook or weight holes or cedar ripped. Great way to practice fixing a pending blob you surely will have doing you own eventually.

12-22-2016, 09:30 AM
There is a popular product on the market called "wood filler".......could have filled the top of that darter in with it after you wired it and never would have seen the issue or had an issue! Minwax wood filler....getcha some!! :tooth:

12-23-2016, 01:15 PM
There is a popular product on the market called "wood filler".......could have filled the top of that darter in with it after you wired it and never would have seen the issue or had an issue! Minwax wood filler....getcha some!! :tooth:

Thanks Larry, I will have to pick some up!

12-23-2016, 03:47 PM
I have some. Use it for most filler jobs. Actually it's a bond like product. Smells like it, looks like it, and you know , it is it. I find it easier to use the dupe to cut the blob first then sand. More laborious sanding w/o cutting first. Just don't over pressure when cutting soft woods.