as presented by Leo Gutterres, Delta Fly Fishers
at PFF Workshop, May 17, 1990
List of Tools
Jig For Groove
to cut a groove in the balsa stock for the insertion of the hook shank
sized for one-half inch square balsa stock
with a protruding nail point as the cutting tool, on the centerline, approximately one-sixteenth to one-eighth inch high
Jig For Length and Face Angle
for cutting the grooved balsa stock to length and for cutting the angled face
one-and-one-eighth to one-and-one-quarter inch long 30� angle for face
for cutting balsa stock
X-ACTO makes handles and replaceable blades
a medium tooth works well
Electric Drill & Three-Eighths Rounding Bit
to hollow the popper's face
X-ACTO makes knife blades which fit the hobby saw handle
for making dots, eyes, and such
with various sized heads
for making fish scale pattern
get bridal veil net from a fabric store
Small Paint Brushes
for painting the poppers
clean them in thinner immediately after use
Paint Drying Rack
to hang poppers to dry after painting
a board, eighteen inches long by six inches wide
at each end, a three-and-a-half inch nail
nylon line, with an overhand knot every one-half inch, tied between the nails; the knots keep the poppers separated
vice, 3/0 thread, bobbin, hackle pliers, sissors, head cement
use as drill bit for rubber leg holes
Wire Needle Threader or Mono Floss Threader
to pull rubber leg material through the needle-drilled holes
get them at a sewing store or the dental care department at a drug store
List of Materials
Square balsa stock
one-half inch square cross-section
usually found in thirty inch lengths
look for the extra hard kind, called heart balsa
Mustad #33903, size 4
double-humped shank, to hold in groove without rotating
toothpicks for spreading
old business cards for mixing small batches
for initial coat
Pactra Aero Gloss #70-4
for second coat
Pactra Aero Gloss #71-4
Base Color Coat
for third coat
flat white Pactra Aero Gloss #31-4
Top Color Coats
Testors enamel paints and thinner
#1165 flat olive
#1164 flat green
Enamel Spray Paint
for fish scale effect; used with bridal veil netting
chrome and blue colors
for making hair legs
olive, white, and black
for securing hair legs in holes in the body
use the slow setting kind
Hackle Butt Sections
for feather legs
yellow and black grizzly
for hackling behind balsa body and over where hackle legs are tied in various colors
white, yellow, black, green
Push the balsa stock through the grooving jig. Check that the groove is deep enough for the humped hook shank.
Cut the grooved stock to length and face angle in the jig. The groove should be on the bottom.
Hollow the face of the popper while holding it in the jig.
Whittle cut #1: the angle on the back of the popper. Whittle cut #2: on the bottom rear of the popper.
Sand the back into a smooth curve.
Sand the bottom rear to make a smooth transition to the curved back.
Whittle cuts #3 and #4 on the sides of the popper. At the rear, the cuts should narrow the stock to about one-eighth inch.
Sand the sides to smooth curves.
Whittle the four lengthwise corners (cuts 5–8) down as a first step in rounding the cross-section.
Sand the popper with a winding motion to make it round and smooth.
Check the fit of the humped shank hook again. Deepen the groove with the hobby saw if the shaping of the body has shallowed the groove too much. Widen the groove with sandpaper, if necessary. The hook must fit well.
Glue the hook to the popper body. Prepare a batch of popper bodies before mixing the epoxy glue. A beginner will want to make a batch of as few as three; an expert will want a batch of fifteen, maximum. A thread of resin and hardener of about an inch-and-a-half from the syringe-type packaging is enough for fifteen bodies. Put some epoxy in the groove with a toothpick. Position the hook. Add more epoxy over the hook to fill the groove.
Sand the bottom of the poppers smooth after the epoxy has cured.
Dip and hang to dry in the following sequence.
#70-4 Balsa Sealer
#71-4 Sanding Sealer
#65-4 White Gloss Coat or #31-4 Flat White
Sand lightly between coats. A drip will form while the poppers are hanging on the drying rack. Knock it off with a toothpick.
Paint the face first. Use red or orange Testors. Paint the body as you like.
Make eyes by touching a larger nail head dipped in the color of your choice (such as red or yellow), and a smaller nail head dipped in black to make the pupil.
Alternative 1: Make eyes by attaching doll eyes with instant glue (cyanoacrylite).
Alternative 2: Make eyes by attaching self-stick metallic eyes.
For a fish scale effect, spray the sides and back with the color you want the outlines of the scales to be, and let dry. Pull the netting over the back and sides so that you get a close, wrinkle-free covering. Then spray the color or colors you wish on the sides and back.
An epoxy coating will protect the finish. A rod-wrapping type epoxy works well. The epoxy coated poppers will need to dry on a slow rotating drum for a smooth finish.
Tie on feather legs and hackle.
Tom's preferred method for legs is to make up calf hair legs. Hold the bunch of hairs in place with hackle pliers until a length of tying thread can be knotted around them. Put a drop of glue on the tied end. Let the glue dry. Cut the legs to length (to the thread tie). Drill a one-sixteenth inch hole on each side, at the back end of the popper body, for the legs. Angle the holes so that the legs will have a sixty degree spread. Glue the hair legs in the holes with slow drying super glue.
Drill holes for rubber legs with a needle for a bit. Push a thin-wire needle threader or mono dental floss threader through the hole; capture the rubber leg material; pull the threader with its entrapped rubber leg material back through the hole. Position and trim to length.
Tom Kilfoil's frog poppers use these materials:
Testors #1164 flat green for the body
Testors #1116 cream for the belly
Testors #1114 yellow for spots on the back; drag the nail head applicator to give the spots shape
two separate bundles of hair per leg; a green bundle over a white bundle