courtesy of Mike Wilson
Materials: 1/2" square balsa
blank. Choose the hardest available which can appear slightly grey
in color but is easier to handle as it doesn't crumble. It comes in
3' lengths giving you (6) 6" floats from one length.
Tools: Scalpel and several new
blades, a pen knife, a medium half round and flat file, a selection of
sand paper in varying grits, wood filler and enamel paints to suit your
Mark off lines for the top (1 1/4") and
bottom (2") of the float. In the middle is where the fluting
(2 3/4") will be performed noted with three lengthwise marks for
Now we'll cut out
the "V" flute. Cut down the center line 1/8" deep, don't worry
if the blade wanders.
Holding the blade
at a 45 degree angle, cut down the length forming 1/2 of the "V"
notch. Flip the blank and repeat on the other side to finish
the "V" groove.
With the blade of
a pen knife dig out the wood cleaning up the notch. Repeat for
all four sides.
Important Note: The flutes may
be as thick or thin as you like. The sides may be cut down with the
blade when forming the "V" notches or shaped down with sandpaper. If
cross sectioned, the float body would resemble a crucible (cross shape).
Misplaced cuts and mistakes can be "healed" with wood filler in the the
finishing stages of construction.
Roughly widdle down the ends to remove
excess balsa in preparation for the next step.
A couple strokes
with a half round file will produce shoulders nearest the fluting.
Smooth out the
shoulders and flutes with sandpaper.
Flutes can be enlarged with sandpaper.
Start with heavy and progress to finer grits until the desired shape
and smoothness is achieved.
When you have
achieve the finish you desire, skim over with a light coat of wood
filler and follow up with a pass of high grit sandpaper for a super
smooth and sealed surface.
desired color and finish up with float caps, tubing or a bottom slip
2008-09 Float Fishing Connection™