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shamalex72

First trip

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Well, I made it out yesterday for a bit. Just went to a lake a few miles from home. Water was pretty murky, couldn't see bottom in six feet of water. Didn't see any fish, but got to test out a few decoys. I was a little disappointed, most of the new ones that I made out of the basswood swelled up and the paint cracked on the bottom. I thought I had them sealed pretty good. I think I am going to start to using cedar.

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That is too bad about the decoys cracking.

From my limited experience I think basswood decoys are best for the shelf.

It is so hard to keep a decoy sealed. No matter what you do, I think the wood to metal (tin or lead) will leak sooner or later.

I have had real good luck with cedar decoys.

The other thing I look for now is to make sure the fins are pinned or leaded in.

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Sham, Before you finished your decoys did you take a torch & burn the wood? I had seen in a book about burning the wood to a color like a perfectly toasted marshmallow. or was your basswood not dry enough to begin with? Just trying to help.

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I've heard a lot of those stories about basswood. I carve all mine out of Cedar, cherry, or Black Walnut and haven't had that problem. Make sure they're well sealed before swim testing them after leading as well. After mine are carved and finned I spray them with Zinser clear shellac. Right after I pull them out of the swim tank after testing I immediatley spray them off with the compressor and won't paint them for at least a week.

I know the pain of spending many hours on a decoy only to have something like that happen. It's a long learning curve and I've had some great advice from some of the best along the way and still I'm miles away from where I want to be.

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Last year I started to use boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits mixed 50/50. I would brush that on before painting, then let dry for a couple days. Worked great on those. It's just the basswood that I started using this year that is giving me trouble.

When I got home that day, I took a cedar one that I had laying around and put it in a bowl of water. I left it in there for over four hours and it was fine. So, I think that just switching to a different wood will solve my problem.

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