Author Topic: New guy possibly beating a dead horse.  (Read 3586 times)

Anthony Best

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New guy possibly beating a dead horse.
« on: July 08, 2019, 04:54:06 PM »
Curious if there is a thread with a list of must haves or should haves for someone wanting to get into making duck calls. In the market for a lathe to get started turning pens and other things to gain confidence and possibly skill. Also curious as to what cheaper tools or makers to avoid. Hope this is an allowable first post as I have been lurking around this page and enjoying what knowledge is here. Thanks

Offline majordog

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Re: New guy possibly beating a dead horse.
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2019, 10:14:44 AM »

I hope you get a lot of responses.....and I can just about guarantee you most of them will be different.....LOL

I am not a professional, but I have been turning calls for over a decade.  In that time, I still can't get one of my inserts to sound as good as a purchased I wont even begin to offer my opinions on that end of the process.....

As far as the barrels go ;

You will need a 5/8" expanding mandrel.  I have used jam chucks, Hut's "expanding rubber" ring system on a pen mandrel......nothing beats an expanding 5/8" mandrel.

One other suggestion from me.....spend the money and buy carbide tipped turning tools.  You wont regret spending the money...
Don Anadell  Backyard Custom Calls

Offline FDR

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Re: New guy possibly beating a dead horse.
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2019, 01:14:38 PM »
To hold the expanding mandrel you will need a collet chuck. A lot of us use the collet chuck sold by Peen State Industries (PSI).

 I would go to Web Foot Custom Calls for the mandrel. They are high quality.

Lathes- I bought 3 before I found the right one. Look at a Jet 1221. They will do anything you need in call making. They cost a little more but you only have to buy one!

Tools- You do not need a lot of tools to turn calls. You need a 1/8 or 1/16 parting tool, a skew chisel 1/2' or larger, a spindle gouge to turn square blanks to round, and a tool to shape the call barrel. I use a Crown Skewchigouge for most of my barrel turning.

Drill bits and reamers i buy from MSC Industrial Supply.


Fred Roe
Reelfoot, the original duck call. What's on your lanyard?

Offline BigB

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Re: New guy possibly beating a dead horse.
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 05:42:35 PM »
You won't get money rich in this hobby.  The richness is in the culture, the craft, the friends you meet along the way, and being able to call in a wary game animal with a call that you made with your own hands.


Offline Kirk Malmo

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Re: New guy possibly beating a dead horse.
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2019, 11:33:13 PM »
A lathe with easily adjustable speed is a big help compared to having to change belts if you are wanting to go cheap.

The collet chuck is absolutely necessary for turning inserts as well as opens up many possibilities for chucking other items.

A 5/8 mandrel is also a necessity. Mine has a morse taper which I really like but you can get a straight shank if you want to use it in the collet chuck.

Carbide tipped tools are a big help especially when starting out. I bought the round tool and diamond tool when I first started. I recently bought a square tip tool which I use a lot. You can spend a truckload of cash on tools you donít need when just starting out. I bought a cheap set of tools off amazon for around $50 because I wanted to try some other tools without spending $150 each. Pair that with a bench grinder from Harbor freight for $35 and you have a full set of tools. They dull quicker than nicer tools but you learn how to sharpen well on cheap ones so itís win-win. If you realize you use one or two of those tools a whole lot you may then decide itís time for a quality one. Keeps you from buying a bunch of tools you thought you needed then never use.

There are ways around it, but a drill chuck really helps a lot with many different projects. I rarely use my drill press because Iíve realized Iím much more precise drilling on the lathe.

Aside from drill bits and many minor add-ons thatís all I use regularly for turning calls.