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Cabela's Custom Rod Kits

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You are here: TackleMaking Encyclopedia > Buying Guides > Lure Making Wood Lathe
 
Buying Guide: Best Inexpensive Lathe for Fishing Lure Makers
 
Having access to a wood lathe can save valuable time and money for fishing lure and rod makers, who frequently use them to shape the bodies of their plugs and the curves of their fishing rod grips. Unfortunately, a worthwhile lathe can easily cost well over $200 and comes with a bunch of advanced features that apply more to home woodworking than to tackle making. Fortunately, Grizzly Industrial has come up with a product that's much better suited to hobbyist tackle makers and costs MUCH less than a full-blown lathe. (FYI...we have no affiliation whatsoever with Grizzly Manufacturing...we just really like this product!)

Suggested Vendor : Amazon.com (Grizzly sells through Amazon.com)
Link to Exact Product: Grizzly H2669 Hobby Lathe
  
Our Recommendation: The Grizzly Hobby Lathe
 

Grizzly Hobby Lathe - This is an inexpensive (less than $60 including shipping) "must-have" tool for any lure or rod maker who doesn't already own a wood lathe, but does own a variable speed electric drill. Simply mount your drill to the adjustable clamp at one end, and you have an instant wood lathe for turning wooden lure bodies, shaping cork rod handles, or drying lure paints and finishes. It can turn anything that is less than 6" in diameter and 24" long (i.e. most lure bodies). Once you get it home, you'll want to mount the aluminum bed to a heavier wood base or shop table to add stability.

Why is this a good fit for lure makers?
When making a fishing lure, having a well-balanced, symmetrical body is critical to avoid erratic movement in the water. The best way to ensure this symmetry is to shape the core of the bait using a lathe. The rotating movement of the lathe ensures that an equal amount of wood is removed from all sides of the bait, thus preserving the bait's balance. And once the body is shaped, you can use the lathe to quickly sand the bait by applying sandpaper strips to the body while it is spinning.

Why is this a good fit for rod builders?
Part of the excitement of making a fishing rod is being able to invent an entirely new grip that is custom molded to your exact hand and style of fishing. Unfortunately, making your own grips can't really be done effectively without a lathe, because it's virtually impossible to quickly and uniformly shape the glued-together cork disks by hand. Unfortunately, traditional lathes don't work well for this either, because you usually want to shape the cork while it's already glued to your rod blank, and there aren't many workshop lathes that can accomodate a 6 foot length of bending material. That's what makes the Grizzly so great...it can actually accomodate shaping rod grips while they're glued to the rod! Simply pull out the drill clasp from the end of the aluminum bed, turn it around, and then reattach it so the drill is actually facing in the opposite direction. Now attach the butt end of your rod blank (with the glued-on cork rings) to the drill, and put the "Y" block from your rod drying setup a few inches past the cork rings to support the rod. Start up your drill and start sliding sandpaper along the cork to quickly shape it!

Important things to know
The lathe doesn't come with an electric drill. You'll need to provide that on your own. The clasp that holds the drill appears to be versatile enough to accomodate most of the electric drills we've seen. I probably wouldn't use a cordless drill with this, because unless you've spent a few hundred dollars on a high end cordless, you likely won't get the RPMs you'll need to effectively use this as a lathe without burning out the drill motor...and you'll run down your battery pretty fast. You're better off picking up a basic variable speed electric drill for $35 (Black & Decker, etc.). Even with the extra cost of the drill, it's still a whole lot cheeper than buying a used or low-end lathe. Also, make sure your electric drill has a "lock on" feature, so you don't have to keep pressure on the trigger to keep the drill spinning.

Suggested Vendor : Amazon.com
Link to Exact Product: Grizzly H2669 Hobby Lathe

 
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