How to get started making calls


New member
Is there any videos on how to turn calls? Or should I look for a custom call maker in my area to mentor me? I think the only call makers in my area are duck and goose call makers.

Well, no video that I know of, but Videos of pen turning will help some as a lot of what we do is pretty similar to what they do.

If you are just looking for information on actually using a lathe, I would suggest you visit a local Woodcraft or Rocklear store near you and see if they have any demonstrations planned. They usually do them this time of year and they are free. Another good source is the American Association of Woodturners

There is probably a chapter in your area. They will help you learn to use a lathe.

If you are talking about actually building calls, there are a lot of post in this forum that show how to go about it.

Here is a link to a Duck Call Site that shows how he turns and builds calls. It might help some.

Other than that, just ask a lot of questions. There are a number of guys here who are really good at this and will be more than willing to help you get started.

TheHuntedOne, Thanks for the info. the link to the missmallard site was the kind of info I was looking for. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grinning-smiley-003.gif

Lights, here is step by step the way I do it. I will post a small composite picture also if it meets guide lines.
If you talking open reed, Rich Cronk has already posted a full tutorial here.
I use a Jet mini lathe, 4 jaw chuck from harbor freight, pen mandrel from woodcrafter, also needed is 1/4" bit, and 9/32" bit, helpful is having a step drill ( unibit ).
step one. Cut all wood to uniform size and mount in 4 jaw chuck.
step 2, drill 1/4" hole thru wood blank, then bore out sound hole with unibit.
step 3 mount on pen mandrel and turn shape in way that is pleasing and functional.
step 4 sand and polish to degree wanted.
step 5 take off mandrel , drill out 1/4" hole with 9/32" bit.
step 6 finish as desired, I dip in Deft ( laquer) and buff.
step 7 put a little glue on JC reed holder ( Availible from All Predator Calls ) and insert into call body about 1-1/2".
step 8 insert reed ( also from APC ) into reed holder.
Your done.
Richard Grantham
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lights, picture added. Little clarification if needed. 1/4" drill because most pen mandrels are that size, 9/32 " drill because reed holders are that size. In picture bottom left is a skew removing steps if desired- some makers leave in and some likes smooth tapered look.
BTW I think Calypso uses that byline too, haven't seen his posts on this board for awhile.
Richard Grantham
Boy I can not believe all the help you guy's are. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowingsmilie.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grinning-smiley-003.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowingsmilie.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif

Thank's a ton,
Weasel, I too just turn from square as shown in my picture. I use big hi-speed gouge so its tough, also most wood turning books shows technique for turning spindles, you don't just run gouge across entire length until its round, you use a small twisting motion on end takeing small bites of wood, it goes very fast that way and is easy on tools.
Richard Grantham
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grinning-smiley-003.gifGreat post guys, very informitve, much enjoyed and appreciated! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowingsmilie.gif
Just curious.....I may have missed it, but what exactly is it that you use to cut/shape the block as it's turning?
Any action pics would be greatly appreciated as well!
My way of turning calls....part 1... I first take a suitable slab of this picture some Birdseye Maple.


I then measure the thickness...


Then I square up the ends/sides to rip into turning squares..



And cut to length for whatever call I am about to turn...

Then after cutting to length....making sure everything is square...I mark center and drill end to end completeky through with a 7/32 bit..


After which I set it between centers and tighten it up...


I then use a roughing gouge to turn the corners off....


After getting a smooth dowel shape...I begin to shape the wood....I start on the mouth end....