Turning turkey calls - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 34 Old 01-11-2009, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Success! I made one from cherry yesterday after much fooling around with various dimensions and soundboards and the sound is perfect. This thing sounds better than any call I've ever used. I'm tickled! Too bad it is just plain old cherry and nothing exotic because as a woodworker I'm not satisfied with how it looks...But the turkey caller in me is happy.

Turned another pot from a few pieces of glued-up zebrawood today. Turned out pretty good. No idea how it sounds because I'm waiting on more slate to come in the mail.

Tried making a couple strikers as well. One from "tigerwood" (like Ipe) and one from honduras rosewood. They sound ok. I need to find a way to drill a centered hole in the large end of them to hollow out the bell a little bit. I can drill it on the lathe but can't mount it and turn it between centers after drilling it. I guess I need one of those cone-shaped live centers to be able to re-mount it in the lathe after drilling.
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post #22 of 34 Old 01-11-2009, 04:27 PM
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KC,
Looks like you are getting those pots down to a science. As far as your issue with drilling and then turning, check the Pro Live Center Set from Woodcraft. I bought a set a couple of months ago, it makes it nice because there is a number of different configurations you can use. Here's the link check it out. http://www.woodcraft.com/product.asp...&FamilyID=3727 You can get it in #1 or #2 Morse taper, just depends on the lathe you mave and the taper of you tailstock. Keep up the good work. Those things look awsome.

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post #23 of 34 Old 01-13-2009, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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I went to Woodcraft and got the cone-shaped live center. Haven't tried it but it will work perfectly for turning the strikers with the holes pre-drilled in the big end.

I also splurged and bought a set of 8" colby jaws for my Supernova II chuck. Man, those things are great for doing these calls' pots. It'll make flattening the faces of rough blanks easier and it sure as heck will make sanding and finishing easier.

This woodturning is expensive. I think that once I sell a few calls I'll make about $3 for every $100 I spend on tools.
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post #24 of 34 Old 01-13-2009, 06:50 PM
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Woodworking as a whole is expensive. Woodturning alone is expensive too. There are so many different tools and gagets you need to have to be able to do some things. It is so much fun though, IMO it is worth every penny.

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post #25 of 34 Old 01-14-2009, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, I know! I've already got a pretty well-equipped shop but just decided to branch off into turning.

I've learned that I've been using the wrong tools to do the outside of these call pots. I've been using the roughing gouge to bring the bandsaw-cut blank to perfectly round. I've been using the spindle gouge to do most of the shaping of the outside, occasionally using the bowl gouge. I'm told that I should not use the roughing or spindle gouge at all when turning end grain. I've had some crazy ugly catches and gouges using the bowl gouge and I'm scared of the thing. It is definately inexperience shining through, but I've ruined as many pots as I've made.

Should I be using just the 3/8" bowl gouge to form the outside of these things? Even when "roughing them out"? I've also been told that a scraper will work pretty well, but I don't have one just yet.

I need to find somebody to teach me to do this the right way!
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post #26 of 34 Old 01-14-2009, 08:48 AM
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You know thr first three bowls I tried to turn were complete failures. The first on blew up on me,literally in a hundred pieces, the second gouged so bad I threw it away the third was a lamination that failed. I took a trip to Dallas last summer to my uncles house. We spent a week there. I spent about 10 hours in the shop with my uncle showing me what I was doing wrong. The table I built for my lathe was too tall, the tool rest I was putting too low, and used wrong tools for what I was trying to do. After I got home, all the things that were wrong I fixed. I cut the legs off the table about six inches, and started setting up my turnings differently. It is amazing the4 difference it made just to find all the things I was doing wrong and fix them. It makes turning that much more fun when you get the results you should have. Find a friend or take a class. you will have more fun with it when you do it right.

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post #27 of 34 Old 08-28-2010, 10:46 PM
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That looks great! I am starting to learn how to make slate calls. I love your design but I was wondering what your dimensions are? How thick is the glass/slate and also where can I get slate and glass? Like I said I am new at making calls but I would love to hunt with my own. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. My Email is [email protected]
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post #28 of 34 Old 09-02-2010, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sclafani"s View Post
That looks great! I am starting to learn how to make slate calls. I love your design but I was wondering what your dimensions are? How thick is the glass/slate and also where can I get slate and glass? Like I said I am new at making calls but I would love to hunt with my own. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. My Email is [email protected]
I had totally forgotten about this post! I now have a booming turkey call making business...Kind of fun to look at how I was doing it back when I started a couple years ago, and it is amazing how different my calls are now.

The very best guy to get glass and slate from is Chad Hutcheson. His email address is [email protected]. Other sources are Brookside game calls and Grassy Creek game calls. Both have websites but both charge considerably more than Chad. Many, many professional callmakers use Chad. 3-1/2" slate is the standard, with soundboards being 3" diameter (usually glass).
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post #29 of 34 Old 09-03-2010, 04:04 AM
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That is great that your business is doing well. Being in the military leaves me with little time with my family and even less time in the shop. Maybe in 10 years or so I might start a business but for now it’s just for fun.

I have a couple of questions that might speed up the trail and error. What are some things that you are doing different? And what is a good distance from the bottom that the sound board should sit?

I really don’t have a clue what I'm doing, but I know that I want to do it? I tried to look it up on line but all that I got was how to make a slate call using PVC pipe. I don’t know any measurements, glue to use, distances for sound boards, or finish's to use.

Thank you for the reference on slate and glass and if you have any pics of your new calls I would love to see them. Also what is the name of your calls?
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post #30 of 34 Old 09-04-2010, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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My website is wingertswoodworks.com. Tons of pics there and on my blog linked from my site. There are two callmaking forums worth checking out too. THO Game Calls and the Custom Callmaking Online forum. THO is very newbie-friendly...CCO, not so much.

The only glue to use on soundboards and surfaces is Plumbers Goop. All turkey call makers use it...Nothing is better, everything else won't work as good. Use a very small bead all the way around the playing surface (using a syringe helps) and all the way around the pedestal that holds the soundboard.

Start with 1/8" between the top of your soundboard and the underside of your playing surface. 1/8" will work on most calls pretty well. Most of my calls are just a hair over 3/4" thick. Aim for 3/16" thickness on the bottom. Set the playing surface on a 1/8" wide ledge, more or less.

Finishes....
Don't use laquer of any kind. Aside from sucking as a finish for a game call, bug spray totally destroys it. I'd recommend spar urethane. Minwax Helmsman is slow drying but works ok...The Cabot brand from lowes is better IMHO. Polyurethane is mediocre as a call finish but it will work, it just isn't very tough.

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post #31 of 34 Old 09-12-2010, 02:32 PM
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Thank you so much. I have made two so far. The first one needed some work but it sounded good, the second one I think the soundboard is to close to the playing surface, so it sounds kind of like a sick turkey...lol. I'm glade that I did that (to know the difference in sound) but I'm upset that I used a piece of cherry lol. I made the strikers out of a 1” piece of scrap wood (walnut and cherry), it sounds ok? How do you make your strikers? I noticed that they are made from two different pieces of wood. Once again, thank you so much for your help.

ps...The hardest thing about making these calls is waiting for turkey season!
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post #32 of 34 Old 09-12-2010, 06:05 PM
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i have made around 40 or so turkey calls. turning is an addiction. give this a try, don't add a tone board on the inside of the call. I used to do that until i forgot to put one in and the sound was so realistic, more so than if i had put a tone board on the inside. I haven't put them in since. getting the right depth has been a challenge but once you get it repetition then is easy
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post #33 of 34 Old 09-12-2010, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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i have made around 40 or so turkey calls. turning is an addiction. give this a try, don't add a tone board on the inside of the call. I used to do that until i forgot to put one in and the sound was so realistic, more so than if i had put a tone board on the inside. I haven't put them in since. getting the right depth has been a challenge but once you get it repetition then is easy
Glad to hear you're able to get good sound without a toneboard brown down, but that is the exception to the rule. Nearly all custom callmakers use a toneboard (glass, slate or wood) for darn good reason. I can get turkey sounds without a toneboard, but you'll never get the ideal rollover in the notes that every good caller wants without a toneboard. Starting out, I'd definitely recommend a toneboard....You can always experiment later on but I'd wait until the learning curve has flattened out.

Sclafani's, strikers are made in a multitude of ways. Most guys do one-piece strikers turned between centers. I don't, but that's just me. I use two piece strikers just because I want my strikers to match my calls, and many of the exotic woods I use for calls don't make the best strikers. It is kind of a signature thing for my calls too.
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post #34 of 34 Old 09-12-2010, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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As a followup to my original post here, here's an evolution pic of how my calls have changed.
Three cocobolo calls for a friend who is a Mossy Oak camo rep, and a curly claro walnut call that I made for the KS governor for the gov's annual turkey hunt.
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