The lure factory recieves the milled balsa into the factory where it is then sorted by feel. An experienced handler can tell by knocking along the length of the wood whether that section of wood has a light or heavier density. This allows the handler to sort the wood based on the need for certain lure models requiring a lighter, mid-range or heavier density for the resulting best action of that particular lure model.
Once sorted, the wood is then carved to shape using the mandrels that replicate the outer shape of each particular lure model. The carved lure is then sectioned and sent as a group to be tumbled. The tumbling process sands down each lure body resulting in a reasonably smooth body surface.
Once sanded and based on which particular model is being made, a hole is drilled into the body in a specified location after which a small piece of lead is inserted and glued into place and then patched and sanded over. This is what gives the lure its balancing and heft for casting and swimming.
Another alternative production technique is to channel cut a length through the entire balsa wood length, which represents the position of the lure belly, into which later will be inserted a strip of a heavier and denser hardwood. This strip is then glued in securely and patched and then rough sanded. This inserted hardwood strip serves as ballast for the lightness of the balsa and as an anchor for the hook hardware. The lure then follows the same process as outlined earlier.
This traditional processing requires many different production stages and includes multiple handlings; including many coats of primer, paint and lacquer to achieve an ideal surface finish. As the grain is wide open after the carving process, many coats are needed to achieve the desired smooth finish of the lure. These multiple finish layers can slightly impact the action of the bait unless careful steps are taken in the preparation process. To ensure each lure runs correctly, each lure is then tank tested – and tuned to run straight – before being packaged and sent off to retailers.