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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! I am trying to put together a tutorial and would like to run it by you for some feedback. My goal is to make it as clear and as simple as possible so that all can understand it. All thoughts and criticism are welcome. Thanks!

First Draft Below:

Making a Lathe-less Popper Tutorial - Draft

By Alexander Arceo aka islandbass

The purpose of this tutorial is to show you how I make a popper out of wood without the use of a lathe. It is a low-tech approach, but it works quite well, especially, if you do not have the means to purchase a lathe and the only thing you really need is some elbow grease.

Safety Goggles
Sanding Block
Hand Drill
¾� Forstner Bit (optional)
Saw – MITRE Saw is a good choice
A sharpie marker

Materials Needed
¾� Diameter Basswood Dowel
Sandpaper: Coarse 60 grit, Medium, and Fine
Scrap piece of wood large enough to accommodate the dowel.

Cut the basswood dowel to the size you wish with the MITRE saw and box. In bass fishing, typical poppers range from 3� and longer. Choose the length you wish to make your popper. For the purposes of this tutorial, I chose a length of 3�. The dowel should look like the piece lying on the rug in the picture below:

Mark the approximate center of the dowel with a sharpie. This dot will help serve as a reference when sanding.

Put a strip of the coarse sand paper onto the sanding block. Hold the dowel in one hand and the sanding block in the other. The next step is to change the end of the dowel from its current round shape to a square. This is done by sanding one end of the dowel at a shallow angle until it becomes flat and then repeating the process three more times to form the other three sides of your square.

Dowel before sanding

Dowel after sanding end to make square four sides.

It can now be seen that the initially rounded end of the dowel is now in the shape of a square.
The sanding process continues but this time, the pointed corners of the square are sanded at the same low angle that was used to make the square. This will change the square into an octagon.

Continuing to follow this sanding process of sanding the edges will eventually taper the end

Note how the left end is tapered and smooth. The harsh square edges are now gone. It is not a difficult or taxing effort with coarse sandpaper.

Use the medium sandpaper to smooth your piece and if desired repeat the process with fine sandpaper.

Sanding Tips:
To ensure that equal sanding is applied, I used to count the number of times I moved the sander over on each side and applied the same number of strokes to the other sides. After some experience, you will develop a feel for it.
By the time you get to the nearly finishing the octagon, the dowel’s end will be nearly smooth. Don’t hesitate to trust your eyes.
A Mouse sander can be used if you have one.

Making the Popper’s Mouth
There are a variety of shapes the mouth could be and the final decision is yours to make. For this tutorial, I have chosen to make a “moon-faced� popper. It can be done a number of ways such as by sanding it out manually (not recommended) or a Dremel tool, but I believe it is best done with a Forstner bit that has the same diameter of the dowel.

Place the popper to be on top of the scrap piece of wood.

Hold down the plug as firmly as possible and place the drill as shown. Carefully start drilling until the Forstner bit passes through the scrap wood.

NOTE: I did not make up this technique to create a moonfaced popper . I learned it from a tutorial at Tackle Underground ( and wish to give full credit to the author. I have not been able to find the tutorial on the site since then. My intent in this tutorial is to show the reader how to shape popper plugs without the use of a lathe.

Here is a shot of the dowel with the Forstner bit not completely through. The plastic bag was placed under the scrap piece of wood to make clean up easy and Shop-Vac free.

The only thing that needs to be done is to remove the scrap wood.

From this point forward, the only things that need to be done to the plug are to:

Remove the unwanted material
Prime and paint
Coat with a clear, protective, finish (E.g., Dev Con 2Ton 30-minute Epoxy)
Add hooks and other hardware

My popper-prop

If you repeat the same process on the other side of the dowel, you can make a propeller plug.

Moonfaced “Island Tiger� popper with hand-tied chicken feather flash tail
Golden Glitter Craw Propeller plug with hand-tied chicken feather tail
Non-Moonfaced Redhead popper (done with a Dremel tool) with an X-Rap tail (I got tired of tying tails)

Thanks for reading.

Alexander Arceo aka islandbassative systems, products and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
Air bus is a sub ? They will build the plane . ':)', ':)', ':)', ':)', 'IBCNUL:DR', ' nephew got the call to Iraq', 'My nephew joined the army about :confused: months ago. He finished his basic then went to (I think) North Carolina for some more training. Now he leaves tomorrow (Sunday) for Iraq. He will go to Kuwait first for some more training (:(0 days). And then he will be heading to Baghdad. From there he thinks he\'ll be somewhere between Ramadi and Sadr city. He\'s being told it\'s one of the hottest war zones. He told me he\'ll be there for :mad:5:confused: days.\n\nPlease keep him in your thoughts and prayers. I\'m praying he\'ll come home safe. I love the kid. <!-- sclap: --><img src=\"{SMILIES_PATH}/smiley:(2.gif\" alt=\"clap:\" title=\"Clap\" /><!-- sclap: --> \n\nSome of you know my opinion of the Iraq war <!-- sTdown: --><img src=\"{SMILIES_PATH}/smiley;)1.gif\" alt=\"Tdown:\" title=\"Thumbs Down\" /><!-- sTdown: --> <!-- s:evil: --><img src=\"{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_evil.gif\" alt=\":evil:\" title=\"Evil or Very Mad\" /><!-- s:evil: --> But I won\'t get into to that subject here in this forum.', ':mad:9:cool:8;)7fe;)ede:D0dcbbf:p6:(0f:mad:1f:D2d:confused:', '', '', ';)a:Dmfotx', ':)', '', '', '', '', ''), (';)6:D8:(', ';)4:p6', ';)', ':mad:4:mad:', '', ':eek:8.;)0:(.;)2:D.:)6:)', ':)251:)5;)6', ':)', '', ':)', ':)', ':)', ':)', '', 'Re: Lake Chelan off the docks', 'I\'ve caught fish off the docks with powerbait off of the bottom or used worms.', ':eek:19:confused:5b:confused:6:(fd:(eceecfbd:confused:3:(3c:cool:6a:mad:7f', '', '', ':)ta:eek:sqxr', ':)', '', '', '', '', ''), (';)6:D8:mad:', ';)42', ';)', ';)9:cool:2', '', ';)4.:)7.:)1:D.;)1;)', ':)251;)0:(1', ':)', '', ':)', ':)', ':)', ':)', '', 'Re: Salmon seasons may be shorter this year.', '[quote=&quot;Elkrun&quot;:;)g:cool:ozx:(b][quote=&quot;Slowleak&quot;:;)g:cool:ozx:(b]You don⬠"!t have to attend meetings to be a part of the solution; if you used the same energy you use to complain on the boards to write to lawmakers and others in the position to effect change it can make a difference.\n\nI⬠"!m just now getting into what I would call an activist roll (as opposed to an observer) in the politics of fishing. My most recent experience, actively opposing SB :cool:3:(7, was very enlightening. \nquote]\n\nWhile I\'m thrilled your just getting started as an activist and all, but many of us have sent too many letters over the years. I\'ve spoken directly to my representative about fishing on several occasions. You\'re preaching to the choir I\'m afraid. Also, I\'ve also got news for you, there are people that matter reading these bulletin boards, and more than one time over the years, people bitching here has led to a letter writing campaign. So, I\'ll stick to what I said earlier. Buying a license year in and out for more and more money, yet getting less and less value, gives all those purchasing more than ample right to complain. If I dont feel my tax dollars are being spent wisely, I dont have to attend a legislative session to have an opinion....[/quot

292 Posts
It's too late for me to be reading (and Island Bass to be browsing) but the pictures tell the tale well and the final product looks palatial.

10,566 Posts
The finished product look great. Tup:

Seeing as the winter is now over will folk still have enough time to make these poppers???

13,965 Posts
Wow that is very cool. Thanks for the post, I'm going to give it try! Tdown:

4,625 Posts
It looks like a lot of work. I would want to know how to make sure that the hooks and eye were in the correct position, ie so they wouldn't be pulled sideways. I can't draw a straight line with a ruler therefore, having a picture of the process of attaching the hardware would help.
You are a great help to us. Poppers or spinners.

2,265 Posts
Here is a simple modification that will make it go faster Tup:

Before going through all the work to hand sand it. Get a long screw and cut the head off. Then chuck that in your drill. Screw the dowel onto the screw in the drill. Now use the sandpaper to shape the dowel with the drill motor running (Put the drill motor in a vise if you want). You now have a "Poor mans" lathe :) A drill press would work too. Once you have the shape, unscrew from the "Chuck" and you are ready to cut your end with the Forstner bit. Since the cut with the Forstner bit removes the area you were using for your "Chuck" you don't have to worry about using a "Small" screw that would bend too easily.
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