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Discussion Starter #1
Pick up some basic stuff fur, bobbin, flash etc , have messed around with about 50 so far . Trying diff things here and there.

My main question is . Is powder coating better or Just primer painting/airbrush then dip the jig with a heavy epoxy to coat everything . I know paint won't hold or last unless you clear coat or epoxy over it. I see benefits in both and seen both ways done on YouTube. Any suggestions.. I fish alot of rocks and go through some bucktails and tear the paint off pretty quick .

Is it cheaper to epoxy/clear coat them or powder coat ?
 

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Airbrush can look better but I think it is overkill on bucktails. I save the airbrush for my turned plugs. I powder coat all my bucktails. Where I fish a lot if you are not bumping the rocks with the bucktail you are not catching fish. You said you fish a lot of rocks so I would recommend powder coating. I have caught many fish on unpainted heads so not really sure if the paint is more to catch the fisherman than to catch the fish. I think presentation and the hair and/or trailer on the bucktail is more important than the head color. Cost wise it is probably cheaper just to paint and epoxy them. To do a job with powder coat I use a fluid bed which is an initial additional expense that may in the long run save you bit of powder but mainly will give you a more even coat. You said you go through bucktails where you fish so only you can decide if powder coating and or painting is even worth it for you.

John
 

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I've been making lures a long time & agree with John. Powder coating is a more durable option, but nothing is bullet proof if you fish the rocks. Epoxy helps reduce the paint loss with other paints, but won't prevent it. What happens is the paint really doesn't stick well to lead. You add the epoxy coating, which is fairly durable, but hard. If it cracks it starts to come off since the only thing its bonded to is the paint and that comes off the lead rather easily. Frankly, if you're concern is strictly cost, paint them with plain ole enamel like you can get in any hardware store. Many of the old time bucktails were only painted with enamel. There are some "etching" type enamels made for metal that bond to the lead a bit better, but will still come off when banged into rocks. Vinyl paint is another option and it works well, but again will still come off when banged into hard objects.

Like John said, we paint them more for our own satisfaction & the fish don't care.

I also have a fluid bed for powder coating, and there is additional cost for getting the equipment, plus you need a air supply to make it work correctly. If you make a lot of jigs, it may be worth the expense to you, but as said only you can determine that. When I fish rocks, I just make sure I have a lot of jigs on hand as I know I'll lose some & others will be banged up. One nice thing about making your own is you can always make more.

Now, if you do any trolling or casting in open water, where they won't get banged into hard structures much any paint will work, but powder coating also helps keep the lead sealed longer. I would bet you've seen jigs where the lead has oxidized under the paint & the paint comes off leaving that nasty gray oxidation. Unfortunately, that will happen no matter what you use, but powder coating does slow that down a lot.

One thing that I've found that does help paint to stick better is dip the lead in white vinegar just before painting & then dry them good. The acid in the vinegar cleans any oxidation off & will help the paint to stay on there a bit better.

There are also primers you can use, but I've yet to find one for painting lead that really is any better than simply using the paint & giving them a couple of thin coats.

Heck, even cheap finger nail polish works, but could get costly with larger jigs or a lot of them.

Of course you could also epoxy them first & after the epoxy has hardened, rough it up with emory paper, then paint them & epoxy over the paint with a second coat. Even that's not going to be bullet proof, but does work. Roughing up the lead helps getting paint or epoxy to stick to it too, but each step adds time & some cost to the process.

I've tried all kinds of things over the years and nothing is perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Great info . I very much appreciate it . I also catch them just as much with a painted jig as I do Unpainted. Trying to get a few things worked out before I spend more money and time. Just wanted to find a set direction cause it seems like you can take this process really far but with really no shortcuts. Bunch of little steps...but I have the time.
 

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Yep, you can take it as far as you like, there's really no limits. But, as said most of it we do for our own satisfaction.

BTW, I forgot to add above that if you use the vinegar, whip them down afterwards with acetone. The vinegar removes the oxide, the acetone removes any oils or residue that may be present.
It's simply a cleaning process, and yet another step.

I used to tie flies & make some lures commercially. I learned to do things in an assembly line style, doing basically one or two steps at a time. It's surprising how much you can get done in this manner, but you have to set up for it. I cranked out a lot of flies & jigs back then. :D

You can take shortcuts, like the enamel I suggested above, and that works for it's purpose, but not if you want the paint to last longer. Nothing lasts forever. All this effort we put into making these things is to make them last as long as possible. That's the best we can do as long as we're willing. ;)
 
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