After the success of making split belly shad bodies, the next step was to make lead heads. Ideally an aluminium mould would be used but these are expensive to have custom made. After some research and helpful advice i decided to create a mould using high temperature resistance RTV silicon. This blog post outlines how i created a two piece RTV silicon mould to make homemade lead heads for the split belly shad bodies created in Part 1.....
To make the lead heads shown in this tutorial you will need:
- A lead head to closely replicate the shape of - or a solid clay blank of a custom lead head you wish to create
- A strip of wood - approx 3in x 0.25in x 0.25in
- Sticky tape - I've used insulation tape
- Smooth flat tile - I've used a square of glass
- White Modelling Clay
- High Temperature Resistance RTV Silicon - available from DWR Plastics
- 2 x Small Jugs
- Stirring Rod - I've used a knife
- Mustad Fastach Clip - Size 4
- Mustad Barrel Swivel - Size 10
- Googly craft eyes
- Nail Paint/Varnish
- Small paint brush
- Wooden Dowel
- Sharp knife or scapel
Making a 2-part RTV Silicon Lead Mould
Once you have chosen the basic shape/design you wish to create a mould for you will need to create a mould box using the wood strips and a smooth flat tile - the tile forming the base. You want to create a box big enough to allow for a few centimetres of space all around the lead head if the lead head is located in the centre. Cut the wood to size, then glue the strips together and secure with sticky tape.
You wont need a lot of silicon and you can estimate the amount needed by measuring the dimensions of the mould box, calculating the volume (L x W x H), dividing this by two and then converting this into the equivalent quantity of liquid needed to fill that space. I would then multiply this amount by half again as you will get some stuck to the sides of the pouring vessel....... or just guess the amount but make sure you overestimate as there wont be time to mix more if you find you don't have enough once pouring.
You will then need to create a mould release agent to stop the two halves of the mould sticking or bonding together. Vaseline works just fine and the easiest way to apply this to the surface of the top half of the mould is to melt it. I did this by putting some in a small plastic tub and floating this on hot water. Once molten, apply a light coat to the mould, including the dowels, using a small paint brush or piece of sponge.
Adding a Hook Clip
After a bit of searching i came across the ideal solution - a Mustad Fastach clip. These have an eye at one end and a twisted section of wire at the other that forms an eye that you can clip a hook or weight onto. The eye sits inside the head and the attachment point outside - it is simple enough to cut a small depression in the silicon to allow for the clip to sit in place when the two halves of the mould are placed together. I have also used a small Mustad barrel swivel (size 10) as a point of attachment for the line. Again, if needed, a sharp knife can be used to form a depression for this to sit in but i found the groove left by the original clip was just the right size to hold the swivel in place.
Making the Lead Heads
A silicon lead mould acts differently to an aluminium lead mould. An aluminium mould requires pre-heating to ensure that the lead fills the mould fully before solidifying whereas this is not really possible with a silicon mould. The silicon does not seem to hold as much heat as an aluminium mould but can still get very very hot after a few pours. I have also noticed that it takes much longer for the lead to solidify within a silicon mould than in an aluminium mould - I'm assuming that the silicon resists the conduction of heat away from the molten lead thus taking longer to cool, so leave it a couple of minutes before opening the mould.
Once the lead has melted in the pouring pan, place the Fastach clip and Swivel in place, put the two halves of the mould together, using the dowel to lock the two halves in the correct position. Ensure that they are fully pushed together with no gap at the seam. Slowly pour the lead into the mould until it is full. Try to stop as soon as lead appears to rise in the pouring funnel.
Leave several minutes for the mould to cool slightly before the next pour.
The Finished Homemade Split Belly Shad Lure
Do they work.....
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and i will get back to you.