Home brew floats

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GungasUncle

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Forest Grove, Oregon
I haven't had a chance to buy anymore balsa lately, so I don't have many in-process pix -but I do have a number of pix of some floats I've made in the last few months. I started making them as a way to "save" money - because purchasing Beau Mac floats and Thill floats was getting expensive, especially if I lost a few each trip. The Salmon Stalker floats are also pretty expensive.

Then I discovered that making floats is an entirely new tackle craft hobby that is mucho fun.

Most of the floats I've made are balsa bodied slip floats. Some are slip/fixed combos, and some of my latest creations are balsa bodied fixed floats, or cork bodied fixed floats.

The balsa floats are made by turning a hunk of balsa on a micro lathe, then pressing a graphite tube through the center. The balsa fixed floats are made similarly, but instead of a hollow graphite tube, I press through a stainless steel spinner shaft wire through.

The cork fixed floats I made are super simple - I bought a package of wine corks from a crafts store, and pushed through spinner shafts, cut to the appropriate lengths.

Some floats I finish with clear coats - and only paint the tops, others are painted black with colored tops - green, orange, or yellow.

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F

fish_4_all

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Dec 1, 2008
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Aberdeen, WA
Do you have any dimensions to help with how big to make them for a certain weight? I need to look into a micro lathe. Would be fun to do and make my own floats in the shape I want.
 
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Anyfishisfine

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Mar 8, 2009
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Tualatin, Oregon
Very cool. For me, if I catch something on tackle I made, it makes the fish even more satisfying.
 
C

CoastieFlo

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Nov 22, 2010
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Florence mainly...but wherever the fish are too!
Simple way to make one is with a wine cork........slice the side with a razor blade to put your line in and bingo.

You can also glue two together (one on top the other) and do the same, when you need more weight.

I gave up on using balsa or fancy slider floats a long time ago.....KISS
 
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GungasUncle

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Forest Grove, Oregon
Dimesions - I roughly eyeball them - and keep them close in general size to my beau macs, west coast floats, and steelhead stalkers. Balsa does seem more buoyant than foam - so a balsa float the same size as some of those foam floats will take a little more weight.

Honestly - I don't usually have an idea what shape/size a float is going to be until I'm cutting into the wood with the chisel - I let the wood tell me what I should make with it.

The microlathe is super fun, I gotta say. It's a good idea to keep the shop vac handy when you're doing this - one 1.5" x 1.5" x 6" chunk of balsa will create a LOT of saw dust. And I hit the body with a couple different grits of sand paper to smooth it out when I've got the body shaped - and that fine dust is REALLY gnarly. Wear a mask unless you really enjoy wood boogers, and the taste of wood dust.

As for sliders vs. fixed vs. the slitted cork... each have their place. I don't have a 20' long float rod, so if I want to fish a really deep run with float/jig or float/bait - i've got to use a slider setup. And I like the slider because I can easily change the depth I'm fishing. The slitted cork style bobbers (I use something similar in foam, with a peg when fishing micro jigs for panfish & trout) are also easy to change depths, but you're limited in the depth you can realistically fish that way.

A fixed float is good for shallower waters, although if you're fishing bottom that has lots of contour or depth changes, they're more of a pain since you're going to be changing leader lengths a lot in order to effectively work each bit of that run.

Much like every other piece of gear - the different floats all serve specific purposes :)
 
J

Jig'n

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Mar 13, 2009
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Cottage Grove, OR.
Very Nice! Where do you find the Graphite tubing?

I used to make my own floats out of Backer Rod and Coffee straws, they worked pretty well but it didn't last long due to the straws breaking or shreading from the braided line.
 
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GungasUncle

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Location
Forest Grove, Oregon
Very Nice! Where do you find the Graphite tubing?

I used to make my own floats out of Backer Rod and Coffee straws, they worked pretty well but it didn't last long due to the straws breaking or shreading from the braided line.

I get the graphite tubes at Tammie's Hobbies in Beaverton - they're back in the section with the build-your-own RC cars/planes stuff. I'm not sure what you'd use them for (structural members maybe?) - but they've got dozens of different diameters, along with solid graphite rods instead of tubes. The one drawback to the graphite tubes (and I'd love to find a plastic tube instead because of this) - if you bounce a bobber off a rock (usually on accident) and the tube takes he blow - it'll shatter the graphite really easily. I've done this to two floats so far. One solution - cut the tube flush with the end of the wood body, let the wood take the impact force.

I don't fish braid. One of the concerns I had with the graphite tube was a sharp edge, but so far I've had no issues with line abrasion or cutting.
 
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