Author Topic: Time on my hands, so.....  (Read 1817 times)

Offline eriksat1

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Re: Time on my hands, so.....
« Reply #15 on: 04/27/21 12:32 UTC »
I just read Mick Thill died in Nov. 2018
A shame he was a great fisherman.

Offline ctom

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Re: Time on my hands, so.....
« Reply #16 on: 04/27/21 12:38 UTC »
The original owners grandson, Mick Thill, has sold to a holding company I believe. The Thill family were genius in their approach to fishing. I was fishing the Thill Mini Stealths back when Roland Herr was the primary owner of Lindy Tackle, and Lindy acquired Thill. There's quite a story there between Roland and I... he was quite a guy. Dentist by profession with two offices.

I really love my Mini-Stealths and wish they'd come back but in the interim......

I wasn't aware that Mick had passed on. But I know the sale took place. Maybe as part of the estate thing?

Offline eriksat1

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Offline eriksat1

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Re: Time on my hands, so.....
« Reply #18 on: 04/29/21 09:41 UTC »
Thill underwent any transfer of ownership and right now its very unclear whether any of the float will again be made. These work just as you describe except when I rig my floats as fixed floats I run the line thru the hole and then thru the sleeve, which gets pushed up the stem to the float body. Done this way they are hyper sensitive to up-ward hits down to 4-5 feet. You see the two sleeves here on these....I use two since the friction using just one doesn't quite hold the float at a fixed depth super well so I simply slip the two sleeves on after the float and run them both up on the stem with about 1/4" space between them. I leave the sleeves on when they're being fished as a slip float so I don't lose them.

Here's a picture showing how the float and sleeves are threaded threaded on the line.



The float on the right is rigged with the line laying up next to the float body and pointing up goes to the rod tip. The end going straight down goes to the jig.

I never cared for the way the Shy Bites got hung on the line even though they did a decent job on an upward hit. The Stealth style, using the hole at the bottom of the stem makes them a super hyper reactive float to upward hits, far better than the Shy Bites. The Mini Stealth floats are top heavy floats without the weight of a jig of sinker underneath them. The BB2 size was great for 1/32 and 1/24 jigs with a plastic in the 1 1/2" to 2" range, everything balanced really nice. BB3's are great for 1/16 heads.

With the line running thru that hole then being pinched along the stem, any breath of a lift whatever flips the float immediately on its side. Other floats have to rise high enough to become top heavy  before they'll lay over signaling an upward hit. Any other hit is indicated just like any other float. The mini Stealths are just the kingpins when it comes to an upward hit.

The ones I make are what I refer to as being "ambidextrious", they all, for the most part,  handle the 1/32, 1/24 and 1/16 heads fairly uniformly. Some have more balsa removed and play a bit better with the lighter heads and there are a couple here and there that might favor the 1/16. It really doesn't matter. The key is in the rigging with the line going thru the hole in the sten then being held tight against the underside of the float body. This is where hit recognition is instantaneous without having to have any significant rise in the float.

Could you show us a picture of your floats next to a tape measure for size reference? Im going to have to try making some of these. Thanks

Offline ctom

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Re: Time on my hands, so.....
« Reply #19 on: 04/29/21 12:13 UTC »
The floats are made from 5/8" square stock built up using two 5/8"W X 1/4"T stock balsa with two 1/4"W X 1/8"T balsa sandwiched between them leaving a 1/8" space in the center. You can see the 1/8 X 1/4 by looking at the side of the upright piece. The stock is cut off at 1 5/8" length. When finished turning the bodies measure 5/8" at the widest spot. The length is random but between 1 3/8" and 1 1/2". The stem stock is 1/8" acrylic, cut to 1 1/2" in length then marked at 3/4" with a marker. The line hole is about 3/32" from one end of the rod and is 3/64".



I use 3" 10-32 machine screws with the cap end cut off as an arbor to screw the body stock onto then set the arbor in the dremel. To shape initially I use the lowest setting using medium sheetrock sanding screen. Once the basic shape comes around I slip a 1/2" long piece of 1/8" square balsa in the top end of the blank and measure the blank from the bottom to 1 1/2" and make a black line, then power up to about 4  and use a fine hacksaw blade to trim the top end off while the dremel is running. Zip. Quick clean cut off then set out to get the rough shape dialed in using the sheetrock screen. When I think its about 90% where I want it I switch to 220 grit sandpaper on the #4 setting to finish it. It takes all of three/four minutes to do this.

Once all the bodies are shaped I cut, drill and mark the rods and epoxy them in place using 20 minute epoxy. I use a toothpick to help poke epoxy into the hole and generously coat the upper end of the stem that goes into the float . Slide the rod up to the 3/4" mark and wipe off the excess epoxy and lay the float down until the glue has set/cured. I use thinned  clear vinyl lure coat to seal the float bodies, dipping right up to the stem, hanging and tapping off the excess. The clear is thinned at a rate of about 2 ounces of paint to 5 ounces of lacquer thinner. The clear sealer needs to be very thin so it soaks into the wood. I do two coats. Then using the vinyl white, flame red and yellow chartreuse colors, again thinned well, I dip and tap and hang starting with one coat of white, another coat of yellow then a top coat of the flame. I like a large band of yellow as it stands out against the dark waterline. The flame is a super top color and is visible way further than you can cast.

I use 4" X1/4" balsa cut to 12" length. I then cut the 1/4 X1/8 stock as needed. I use aluminum 1/8" rod as a spacer when I lay out my first side of the body stock and use T-pins to hold the 1/8" strips in place with a metal rod between two strips. I alternate strip, rod, strip until I am out of room for more strips. I gently pull the rods and move over to continue. Once the glue has set up a bit I pull the pins carefully, apply the glue to the top piece, then sandwich the balsa between two pieces of 1X4 pine a foot long each and use hand clamps to tighten things down until all the glue is dried. I use a straightedge and a utility knife to split the stock into 5/8" square X 12" length, then mark into 1 5/8" sections and cut off using a hack saw blade.

I'll note here that this is a dusty venture. I rigged up my shop vac hose so that as I turn the bodies and sand the hose sucks up the dust, but you need to wear a face mask and glasses. This balsa dust gets into places you'll never know you had if you don't wear the safety stuff.

Offline ctom

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Re: Time on my hands, so.....
« Reply #20 on: 04/30/21 09:00 UTC »
Erik....if you're curious how well the screw holds the balsa for turning it does amazingly well. When all the gluing is finished there will be "squeeze-out" in the space where the space rod was from compressing the pieces together. When dried this makes a nice medium for the threads of the arbors to cut into when attaching the body blank to the arbor. I have to hold the smooth end of the arbors with a pliers to thread the body blanks on and off of the arbors. When the body is shaped and the arbor unscrewed, the acrylic stem and epoxy has a nice solid core to adhere to.

Casting as a slip float is rigorous and I have yet  to have one body shake loose from the acrylic stem an any of the eight or so floats I have fished. I have had virtually new Thill floats have the bodies fly off after fishing as few as three or four hours....none yet on the home-brewed.

Offline eriksat1

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Re: Time on my hands, so.....
« Reply #21 on: 05/03/21 09:01 UTC »
Wow quite a process, I don't know if I'm that motivated, lol. I thought I might try and make a few out of some old balsa floats I have laying around. Just need to match the size with the weight jig to get the float to lay down on a up bite. Plus I like the way you peg the line to the float with rubber sleeves to easily change your depth and don't kink up the line.
« Last Edit: 05/03/21 09:05 UTC by eriksat1 »