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Plug Building - Got Wood? Got Plug?

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Old 12-12-2017, 04:37 PM   #1
striperswiper75
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Sealing Maple: Techniques

This is my second season building plugs and I just completed a series of Maple Donnies. I am about to move onto sealing them. After some research online and getting input from a couple other plug builders; I am going to be moving forward with epoxy sealing these plugs. I have never epoxy sealed a plug before, so I was hoping to get some input from builders here. Based on the research that I have done here, I am planning on moving forward with the following technique.

The following seems to be pretty standard:
- I plan on using Etex
- I plan on heating the plugs in small batches in a small oven for 20 minutes at 180 (or so) degrees prior to epoxy sealing.
- While the plugs are heating, I will mix up a small batch of epoxy; trying to time it out with the plug warming process.
- I plan on either pouring the etex down the through hole of the plug and catching it in a cup at the bottom. Another option is using a syringe to shoot the epoxy through.
- I will also brush the exposed wood grain with the epoxy.
- Itís a somewhat messy process the first few attempts.


I guess I am asking for clarification or tips/pointers on a couple items:
- Thinning the epoxy (Yes or No). If yes, how do you thin and with what material?
- Do you just epoxy the exposed wood grain (end grain, hook holes, lip slot, etc) or do you brush the epoxy over the entire plug and let it soak in? I hear differing opinions about this topic.
- If you brush the entire plug with epoxy; what will the plug look like when youíre completed. Will it have a shine to it? Whatís the best way to know that youíre done?
- What sort of brush do you use to apply the epoxy? Foam, bristle, etcÖ? Does it make a difference really?
- How long do you let the epoxy coat dry before applying a primer coat?

I know that I am missing some steps, so any advice would be appreciated.

It all started last year during a terrible thunderstorm, when I locked myself out of the house. Shelving myself with a large piece of sheet metal, I ran for cover under the tallest tree I could find!
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:45 PM   #2
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System three clear coat would be a better choice for sealing than Etex , that stuff is pretty thick.
Personally I would not mess with thinning it as it would be highly toxic fumes from the thinner needed.

BTW to be really waterproof you need three coats of epoxy sand or scuff between.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:01 PM   #3
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I use system 3 for over coating the painted plugs, 2 coats. Plan to use it for one of your maple plugs Kev. No thinning. Heat wood yes. Messy yes.

Billy D.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:13 AM   #4
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I was told to thin with denatured alcohol. Also was told not to thin at all. What I was told was to pour epoxy over the plug into another cup. So you're just pouring from cup to cup.brush off extra then wipe. Also to make your epoxy flow better is to warm the bottles in a hot water bath. It will be runny.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:44 AM   #5
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I see epoxy sealing as a viable step for sealing maple. I don't see it as a sealing method for doing large quantities of lures. It has to be extremely time consuming and messy. Being that end grain is where water would intrude, I would think pouring down thru wire hole, hook hole, eye cutouts and lip slot would suffice.
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbadad View Post
I see epoxy sealing as a viable step for sealing maple. I don't see it as a sealing method for doing large quantities of lures. It has to be extremely time consuming and messy. Being that end grain is where water would intrude, I would think pouring down thru wire hole, hook hole, eye cutouts and lip slot would suffice.
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True Billy but isn't there exposed end grain when you taper a plug? But I agree ends if plugs hook holes and slots
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:53 AM   #7
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I epoxy seal all my maple/birch this way.

Heated in toaster oven, 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes

I use etex and denatured alcohol to seal.

I heat my epoxy bottles up in hot tap water, helps thin it out a tad

I mix the etex like you would for topcoat.

Then I cut it with the DA about 25%, at first it wonít want to mix, but keep stirring and it will mix just fine

I remove the warm plug and pour the epoxy thru the plug, making sure it runs out of both ends, hook and eye holes, ill pour it thru the tail first and then flip it and pour it thru the nose, hook and eye holes, basically making sure the whole plug has had the epoxy poured thru it

I use cheap plastic cups, Iíll put maybe 1/4Ē of epoxy mix in the bottom of one cup and after 1 plug is done I just let it sit nose down to soak up more and then flip it when the next plug is done

Iíll do 3-4 plugs at a time and then wipe them down with lint less paper towels, like the brown kraft towels

If the plug has a lip slot I make sure to hang the plug tail down, so any excess epoxy doesnít cure in the slot.

One youíre all done doing all your plugs, double check the bottom end for excess and wipe if necessary

Allow to dry 24 hours minimum

The results are a rock hard sealed plug, works great for softer woods too, helps make em less soft
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Old 12-13-2017, 02:44 PM   #8
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Chris so u don't do the outside of plug, just the end grain?
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Old 12-13-2017, 06:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Chris so u don't do the outside of plug, just the end grain?
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Yes I do the whole plug, inside and out, not sure how I forgot to include I do the outside of the plug, guess thatís what I get for typing on break
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:38 PM   #10
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Has anyone tried sealing with this first?

https://www.jamestowndistributors.co...t.do?pid=97636

Jon, 24' Nauset-Green Topsides, Beamie, North River. Channel 68/69. MSBA, NIBA
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Old 12-13-2017, 08:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Has anyone tried sealing with this first?

https://www.jamestowndistributors.co...t.do?pid=97636
Interesting for sure.

Never tried it
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:28 PM   #12
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Looked into that product. Sounds like it what we could use. Pricey compared to e tex but about the same as Sys. 3
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Old 12-14-2017, 03:11 PM   #13
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Thank you to everyone who has replied so far. I'm going to be drilling the maple bodies this weekend and will make an attempt to Epoxy seal them. I'm going to start with 1 and see how it goes.

It all started last year during a terrible thunderstorm, when I locked myself out of the house. Shelving myself with a large piece of sheet metal, I ran for cover under the tallest tree I could find!
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:39 PM   #14
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https://youtu.be/BchBGYFdysw
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:54 PM   #15
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If u feel like changing sealing method I would try that brand,Totalboat.
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Old 12-15-2017, 02:08 AM   #16
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total boat products are great.
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Old 12-15-2017, 02:03 PM   #17
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What do production plug makers use for birch/maple if they don't use epoxy? Also which system 3 epoxies is anyone using for sealing or top coating?

It would seem that you would have to through wire before sealing as the holes for through wiring and tail weights would get clogged or reduced to the point where the wire would not go through or the weight would not go in if you sealed first. So far I have been sealing with 50/50 spar urethane/mineral spirits with medium success, and etex for top coating.

Last edited by fishing bum wannabe; 12-15-2017 at 02:10 PM..

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Old 12-15-2017, 02:46 PM   #18
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Minwax wood hardiner worked awesome. I think that they stopped making it.
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Old 12-15-2017, 03:10 PM   #19
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I have seen the minwax wood hardener in stores still, it just may be more difficult to find as the paint regulations for all the nasty stuff puts limits on what can be sold to retail. I have some and use it on maple and even on AYC sometimes. I like to use it for red cedar that I use on pencil poppers.

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Old 12-15-2017, 07:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishing bum wannabe View Post

It would seem that you would have to through wire before sealing as the holes for through wiring and tail weights would get clogged or reduced to the point where the wire would not go through or the weight would not go in if you sealed first.
No the holes all stay clean with epoxy sealing, thatís one reason you cut it, it soaks in and doesnít clog the holes for the wire or swivels
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Old 12-16-2017, 08:05 AM   #21
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System. 3 clear coat Fred. Epoxy soaks in fast in a warm microwaved or oven heated plug. No need for thinning this product IMO. It is very thin to begin with. I use a pipe cleaner thru the thru hole and wipe off any excess epoxy with a paper towel after a few minutes. Just a messy process so have everything ready to go. Fumes on a warm plug are not very nice for several minutes after application so an exhaust fan is a plus. Personally I have not had any issues sealing birch with the spar concoction as I prefer birch over maple and use that for a few of my darters or AYC.
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Old 12-16-2017, 11:40 AM   #22
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Hi Paul,

I still have to get together with you and get a couple of carbide bits, if you still have them.

I havent made much in hardwood to date, mostly needles. My issues have been that sealing reduces the diameter of the through holes and weight holes and i have to redrill, not that i have had much cracking. Maybe I will have to get some pipe cleaners. What are the advantages of system 3 over etex?

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Old 12-16-2017, 01:13 PM   #23
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I have plenty of inserts. I put my belly wgtís in before sealing if your talking tail wgt hole make them bigger by a 64 and it should not be an issue
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Old 12-16-2017, 01:55 PM   #24
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I had been putting my tail weights in after sealing. I make my own and unfortunately, even drilling over size they all don't fit. I am using wood molds which after a couple of pours are not teribally accurate in size. I hadn't thought about putting them in before sealing. I missed a nice looking tail mold on SOL earlier in the week that might have solved the issue of inconsistant diameter.

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Old 12-16-2017, 05:15 PM   #25
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I put the belly wgtís in I do not put the tail wgtís in before sealing but I would imagine if you sealed the plug and before it sets you then slide the tail wgt in that would solve the issue. I would imagine the issue is after it hardens up so sliding in while the epoxy is still damp would solve your dilemma
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Old 12-17-2017, 12:35 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishing bum wannabe View Post
I had been putting my tail weights in after sealing. I make my own and unfortunately, even drilling over size they all don't fit. I am using wood molds which after a couple of pours are not teribally accurate in size. I hadn't thought about putting them in before sealing. I missed a nice looking tail mold on SOL earlier in the week that might have solved the issue of inconsistant diameter.
Fred, It might be worth it to buy a blank do-it mold and drill it out yourself for the tail weights, that is what I did and it works well.

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Old 12-17-2017, 01:22 PM   #27
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Thanks Bruce. I have been debating doing that for a while anyway. I've had enough practice doing wood ones so drilling should be pretty straight forward. On the one that sold on SOL there was a fixture attached to the top of the mold that would keep the wires for the through hole centered. That looked very interesting. I might try that as well. I wish I had Paul's experience and access to a machine shop but I think I can muddle through on this one OK.
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