Turning turkey calls - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 01-02-2009, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Turning turkey calls

I just got into turning and am trying my hand at making turkey calls. They're essentially a shallow hollowed wood pot with a slate, glass, or metal surface that you use a dowel rod-type striker on to make turkey sounds. Trust me, it is frustrating.

I'm having some troubles, so let me describe how I'm doing it in hopes of getting some more experienced peoples' ideas of a better way...

1) Cut 5/4 material into an octagon about 4" across.
2) Turn it to round between the pointed centers on the lathe
3) Part it off at the tailstock side as smooth and flat as possible
4) Remove the nub from the parted side with sandpaper
5) Using double-sided tape, adhere a dovetailed tenon on the flat parted side, chuck it in the chuck.
6) Part the top rim nice and flat, and part a ridge to support the calling surface around the perimeter.
7) Using a fingernail grind gouge, hollow the cylinder out leaving about 3/16" thick sides and bottom
8) Sand everywhere but beneath the tenon to at least 400 grit

Now here's the challenge...

I want to be able to finish the turning on the lathe with CA, wax, Huts, wipe-on poly, or other finishes. But, I can't do it with the tenon still installed.

Anyone have any ideas on how to do this more efficiently? I tried a pen mandrel through the center hole I drilled but that failed miserably. I think that I might be overlooking something obvious, given my newbie turner status.
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post #2 of 34 Old 01-02-2009, 12:24 PM
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I've never made one and don't know anything about it, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express once or twice.

I do have a whole bunch of call makers for customers. One guy makes a pot call that kee-kee's as good or better than any mouth call, and also gives a clacky jake yelp toward the center. I think that's the one where he uses a slate and glass combo on the same surface. Tricky eh. It makes another sound or two depending on the striker you use but I can't remember the lingo I am not a turkey hunter. Quail and duck are my bag of bones.

Pretty much pick any duck/turkey call forum and I have customers who post there so if you want I can hook you up with one or two that I know like to share info. Some of those call makers are very secretive but several come to mind that I know enjoy helping out newbies. If you're interested email me at [email protected] and I will hook you up.
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post #3 of 34 Old 01-02-2009, 07:20 PM
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Ahhh Termite,
This is how the addiction slowly creeps......
You have to learn to think in terms of finishing one side at a time. Many projects I do this on. Go ahead and sand everything you can get to and apply your finish. I would recommend lacquer for this as it will dry very quickly and provide a more durable finish than Huts friction wax. Turn a scrap block with a tenon that will fit into the recess of your piece. Turn the other end of the scrap block so it will fit into your chuck. You can make the tenon fit fairly tight, thus creating a 'jamb chuck', which will hold your piece while you finish the other side. If it doesn't fit tight enough to hold, you can put a piece of blue painter's tape around the tenon to provide a snugger fit, or sometimes a piece of paper towel put over the tenon tightens it up enough. You could also put a piece of blue tape around the outside of the scrap block and the piece you are turning to make sure it doesn't come off. Whenever you are using a jambchuck, if you have more turning to do, take light cuts so you don't knock the piece off your jambchuck. Half the fun of turning is figuring out how to hold pieces from either side to finish them.
The other thing you could use is a set of jaws made for holding the outside edge (largest diameter) of a bowl in order to finish the bottom. There are rubber bumpers that grab the edge of the bowl or anything round for that matter. They work well. Good luck, and hope you understand my rant here. Here's a link for the bowl jaws. You should get them from whomever manufactured your chuck.
http://www.packardwoodworks.com/Merc...-fourjaw-vm120
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post #4 of 34 Old 01-02-2009, 09:24 PM
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I don't know what kind of chuck you have, but I have this one http://www.pennstateind.com/store/CMG3C.html. They have a flat jaw that will attach to that chuck, http://www.pennstateind.com/store/CJAWFJ2.html. This will allow you to put the call on the flat jaw to finish either side. You put it in one way and apply the finish, then the other side. The pieces that hold the work piece are rubber and will not mar. I have used this on some bowls that I have done. Works well but can get a little pricey. The flat jaw bolts to the chuck to allow you to do this. The nice thing is that you will be able to do all sorts of things with that setup. This is another version of the link mike has, they also have a 5" version to that is a little cheaper.

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Last edited by AZ Termite; 01-02-2009 at 09:29 PM.
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post #5 of 34 Old 01-02-2009, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Guys, thanks for the help. I found what I needed online!
Here's the link to a how-to pictorial description of how it is done.
http://www.customcalls.com/cgi-bin/y...num=1211135908
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post #6 of 34 Old 01-02-2009, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Even though I have a turning solution now, the flat jaw idea for finishing the backside of the call pot is a great idea. Being a newbie turner I don't necessarily think of such things on my own!
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post #7 of 34 Old 01-03-2009, 08:12 AM
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KC, looking at that link those jaws would probably be the easiest way to finish that call. Not only that but that middle piece that they showed being removed with a drill could be turned out of there on the lathe. You would end up will a better cut in the end, which would mean less sanding. Good luck

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post #8 of 34 Old 01-03-2009, 02:03 PM
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Hey,
I just noticed something. This forum is infested with termites!!
Mike Hawkins
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post #9 of 34 Old 01-03-2009, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehawkmph View Post
Hey,
I just noticed something. This forum is infested with termites!!
Mike Hawkins
I chew through a lot of wood.
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post #10 of 34 Old 01-03-2009, 08:16 PM
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Mike, I chew through alot of wood to. People that know me well tell me all the time that I must have been a termite in a previous life.

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post #11 of 34 Old 01-07-2009, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I'm starting to figure this out. I turned one tonight after doing a lot of learning online. This one's a prototype for sound quality so it is form following function. Didn't make it to look good, but will be making pretty ones very soon!

It is a slate playing surface over a glass soundboard. The inside is ugly but you don't see the inside!

These are going to look sweet in cocobola and other exotics!
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post #12 of 34 Old 01-08-2009, 08:28 AM
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KC,
Glad to see you got it all worked out. How does it sound? You are right about the cocobola it will look nice. Padauk, or Wenge would also be some good options.

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post #13 of 34 Old 01-08-2009, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks AZtermite, it sounds good. I wouldn't be disappointed if I'd paid for it, but it doesn't have quite as much volume potential as some calls I've used...It is better for softer and mid-range calling. I think I'll be able to tweak future ones to get a little more volume.

The only major challenge with this is creating the pedestal that you see in the middle. The part that supports the glass soundboard inside the call. I turned a cylinder, hollowed it, and then used a 5/16" forstner bit on the drill press to drill the cylinder into four separate wall segments. Doing that was pretty hairy, and I can see myself breaking those out when drilling them. I might use little pieces of wood cut to shape on the scrollsaw for future calls.

Since the call is turned on a piece of threaded rod, the wood that surrounds it has to be removed after turning. I used a small forstner bit for that as well, which is tricky. A big forstner bit would be easier but I couldn't hold it steady enough to get that to work without breaking the fragile pedestal that is in close proximity.

I'm kind of excited...My friends are lining up to get me to make them a call. Seems to me that the VAST majority of calls on the market look like they were made in Dogpatch USA! Most have names on them like gobbler gitter, strut buster, or turkey tamer, and have woodburned images of turkey feathers, turkeys, or turkey tracks on them. I'd rather have a call that has nice wood and no other crap on it...Something that looks classy and sounds good. Hopefully I'll be able to accomplish that in the coming days.
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post #14 of 34 Old 01-08-2009, 09:20 AM
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If you ever get into turning duck calls, let me know!!! I would buy a couple!
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post #15 of 34 Old 01-08-2009, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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All in good time...I'm a duck hunter and plan to eventually give it a shot.
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post #16 of 34 Old 01-08-2009, 11:53 AM
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Termite,
Why don't you try turning that inside ridge. Hollow out but leave room to form the ridge. You could use a parting tool to define each side of the ridge, then use a scraper or small bowl gouge to remove the rest of the material. I would do this with the bottom chucked up and no threaded rod in the way. BTW, what happened to the hole in the center, looks like some tear out.
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post #17 of 34 Old 01-08-2009, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Mike, since the pot is tapered, there's nothing for the chuck to grab onto. Here's what I'm up against:


The guy that posted these pics in another forum drills the center out like this but it isn't as easy as the picture makes it look!


Here's the design of the "chuck" I made:
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post #18 of 34 Old 01-08-2009, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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As for the tearout, yeah, drilled the center hole from the top of the blank instead of the bottom. Just a mistake. This one is for function, not form!
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post #19 of 34 Old 01-08-2009, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I could use double stick tape to add a tenon and chuck it into my supernova II chuck. Hate to do that though!
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post #20 of 34 Old 01-08-2009, 10:04 PM
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KC,
You might try getting wood that is cheap like poplar and experimenting with different methods. The more you can refine the process the better results you will end up with. I would not try this on expensive exotics, that could get expensive quick if experiments the fail. It will be easier if you could turn them without the threaded rod.

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