Make Your Own Keel Grabber Decoy Weights

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Make Your Own Keel Grabber Decoy Weights

Postby JTR » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:59 am

Hi guys. I was making a mold today to pour some keel grabber decoy weights and I figured that I would snap a few pictures and share the process with you. For many of you, this will be an inexpensive way to make some otherwise very expensive weights. Before I go on, please use your head when working with lead - wear a respirator, gloves, pants and a long sleeve shirt and KEEP MOISTURE AWAY FROM MOLTEN LEAD. Also, only smelt lead in a well ventilated area - outside, unless you have some crazy ventilation system in your shop. Good luck and have fun.

First, some things you will need (Bondo, fiberglass resin, WD40, some sort of fast drying adhesive, tupperware, mixing stick):

mold ingredients.JPG

mold tupperware.JPG

That is pretty much it. Obviously, you will need lead and a way to smelt it. I use a 10 pound lee smelter, but a cast iron pan over a propane burner is a good tool as well and cheaper. I use scrap lead that I find or get from tire shops in the form of wheel weights.

The first thing that you are going to want to do is come up with a design. I used the GHG weights as inspiration and drew my own version on autocad. However, a simple google image search for keel grabber will yield you plenty of images that you can copy and paste into paint or word and print out at any size that you want. Then I take my image and trace it on to a piece of 1/8" luan. This is the perfect thickness for a master to make a mold out of.

mold proto trace.JPG

Then you are going to want to cut out your master(s). My bench top band saw is perfect for this, but anything that will cut details will work. Sand down your masters after you cut them out. I also cut out another piece of luan that fits the bottom of whatever tupperware container that I am using to create my mold. I spray only one side of the master(s) with spray adhesive, let it get tacky and then stick them to the sheet of luan and place it in my tupperware container, like this:

mold wood glued.JPG

Then I mix up my bondo. You are going to want to use fiberglass resin to thin the bondo down to a soupy, pancake batter consistency, so that when you pour it over the master(s), it fills out nicely and doesn't leave any air pockets. Chances are that you will need more resin than you think. Remember to thin first to the right consistency, before adding any hardener:

mold resin mix.JPG

Continued on next post...........
Last edited by JTR on Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:50 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Make Your Own Keel Grabbers

Postby JTR » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:14 pm

Next, you want to very liberally spray down the tupperware container and the master copies with WD40. I usually spray them, let it absorb into the wood, then spray again before pouring. It is a real pain in the butt the separate after if you haven't sprayed them down. Then liberally add your hardener, mix and pour your bondo mix until is is just over the top of your master copies. Tap the container on the ground, so that any air bubbles rise to the top. Once you think all of the air is out, add the rest of the bondo. The more bondo that you use, the longer the molds tend to last, because the heat from the lead has more area to dissipate into.

mold poured.JPG

Now you wait. I usually wait about 8 hours until I remove the entire block of bondo from the tupperware. I pry out the master copies, being careful not to mess up the cavities. You will end up with something that looks like this:

mold 6 ounce.JPG

I would then wait about a day before I poured lead into it. It takes some time for the bondo to fully cure. When you are pouring the lead, I would not rush. These molds will last quite a while, however, the hotter they get, the faster they tend to need repair/fall apart. So take your time and let the mold cool a little bit in between pours. I poured 25 6 ounce weights, in the process of making this other 3 cavity mold. Another good thing is that you won't need to smoke your mold or use any release agent. Just lightly tap the mold on the ground and the weights pop right out. You will end up with something like these as an end result:

mold finished product.JPG

mold finished products.JPG

All you have to do it drill them out, which is a piece of cake. I don't like trying to add something to the mold to create the holes. That is just overkill and will be more frustrating in the end.

The part the I really like about these molds is that you can customize them to what you want. I've made 2.5 ounce weights for some teal decoys and I'm sure that you would have no issues making a 10-12 ounce weight for some magnum geese. This is definitely not a high production mold, but for doing a few dozen here and there, and if you have the stuff to make them, they beat the hell out of spending money on different aluminum molds.

For the bungee material, I'll be using black 1/8" shock cord ($15 shipped for 100') from ebay. And I'll be using stainless steel hog rings to secure everything together. I'd say that you could probably get between 8 and 10 molds from a can of bondo and a can of resin. So for the money and the ability to customize to your liking, I'd say that it is well worth it.
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Re: Make Your Own Keel Grabber Decoy Weights

Postby WingsCupped&FeetDown » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:07 pm

Try this out for your bungee.

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Re: Make Your Own Keel Grabber Decoy Weights

Postby BBK » Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:31 pm

Looks good to me. The mold from do-it is so darn expensive, im sure there are lots of guys out there that will love this.
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Re: Make Your Own Keel Grabber Decoy Weights

Postby WSUWESTON » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:47 pm

Made a similar mold 4 years ago and am still using it :thumbsup:
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