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Another question about lead dumbell eyes

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3 replies to this topic

#1 bullhead



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Posted 21 January 2019 - 02:56 PM

Hello, I have a bunch of unpainted eyes I would like to color. Thinking about Sally Hanson hard as nails in colors. Do you think it would be tough enough?



#2 flytire


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Posted 21 January 2019 - 03:08 PM

depends on how many times they hit rocks, trees etc :)


maybe a powder coat would last a little longer

Fly tyers sure have a way at making things difficult

#3 Capt Bob LeMay

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 04:17 PM

Here's what I do... and I've been painting lead eyes in bulk for years... I put 50 to 100 at a time between a pair of threaded rods (the threaded rods act like parallel bars and are held together with wire ties, every five or six inches).  Each leadeye is spaced about 1/4" from the others when the fixture is secured and you handle each pair of rods like one unit... I do have a set of photos somewhere showing the above... Here's the first of them... It shows a 2x6 that I carefully routered a groove into, shallow enough so that a 3/16" threaded rod barely sits in it with enough outside the groove to mount lead eyes onto -note the short pieces of wire under it at five to six inch intervals....  Once the lead eyes are positioned the second rod is held on top of the first and then each wire is wrapped and twisted into place around both rods.. When this step is completed you have a single "fixture" that holds all of the lead eyes in place for painting...



My eye painters are simple nails (w/ different head sizes, set in short sections of fiberglass rod or simple wood dowels for convenience and handling... The paint used is alkyd enamel from Ace Hardware (comes in small cans - labeled as quick drying - but it's actually very slow to dry...).




this photo shows the fixture properly set up and the first paint going on...

In use I set up each pair of rods on a board with them slightly elevated and with only one eye side up... then using the lid of the paint can as a palette I dip a painter and apply it to each eye one at a time.  When one side is done I turn the fixture over and do the other side.  All of this is only for the base color... Once I have two or three fixtures completed with the first color I hang them in an oven and bake them at 350 for about 15 minutes then allow them to cool in the oven before removing them... 


A word about baking with solvent based paints.... I don't ever do this with wife or kids at home (before the kids grew up and left...) since the solvent smell is very obvious and obnoxious... I open nearby windows and turn on ceiling fans as well to clear out any fumes... 


Once the first coat is done I again set up the fixture on a board and do the pupils using a smaller eye painter.... here I should mention that whatever size your nail head is - the painter will do a slightly larger dot of paint - so I'd experiment a bit with a piece of cardboard first to get the size pupil you want... After both sides are painted with the second color - the fixtures go back in the oven for a second baking session again 350 for 15 minutes... 


The result is a really professional appearance with pretty good durability... The following pics show eyes that have been treated this way....





I always try  to do as many of the lead eyes as possible in one session -then store them in a divided box by size and colors (I mostly use white with black center, yellow with black center, red with black center, etc.) so they're conveniently at hand for production tying.


Hope this helps.

Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666

#4 DarrellP


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Posted 09 February 2019 - 06:35 AM

Quite a production. Thanks for the detailed post.
"Calling fishing a hobby is like calling brain surgery a job." John Geirach