30 minute Turkey Call

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Project by HalDougherty posted 07-11-2011 05:25 PM 9122 views 7 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the worlds simplest, easiest to make turkey call in the world! I start out with a 2” X 2” X 5” block of wood, and drill a 1 1/2” hole almost all the way through the block. (actually almost any size will work, but the sound will be different for each) Then I run a saw kerf on a tangent with the hole so I end up with a thin sound board on one side. Next I run the block through the saw to cut the top about 1/8” below the top of the sound board. Years ago I made a jig for my drill press to get the holes in the exact same spot on each block. It doesn’t have to be centered, but each block has to be drilled in the exact same place so you can run a batch of them with the same setup for your saw. ( I couldn’t find it, so that’s why the third photo showing the inside of the call is off center… The drill bit hit the sound board, but it still sounds good…) Cut a spacer from contrasting wood and glue a strip in the saw kerf on each end. It’s a simple task to make a bunch of them. I got started because I was at a Wal-Mart store when they marked down a bunch of turkey decoys to $1.50 each. I bought a truckload of them and put them on E-Bay. There were 4 different decoys, so I put up 4 a week, till every Wal-Mart in the world marked down their overstock and everybody in the world started selling turkey decoys on E-Bay. I spent one day designing this call, the next day making enough to put a call with every auction and the third day dipping the calls in varnish and drying them on a 2X4 with a bunch of dowels stuck in it. It looked very much like a porcupine had run through a wood shop. I also wrote a short 5 page booklet about turkey hunting, calling turkeys and setting up your blind and decoy. I added value to my auctions with the calls and sold out the rest of my decoys. The average price of each auction was $15 plus shipping. I wish Wal-Mart had more decoys to get rid of! Anyway here’s my design. It works with any type wood, the grain can also run in any direction. I cut each call so the sound board is a little thick and tune them by sanding them till they sound ok. There is a left handed and a right handed model. The sound isn’t right if your finger is on the sound board. The walnut call is a right handed call and the mesquite call is a left handed call… You want to cradle the call in one hand and the dowel that’s used as a striker slides over the sound board away from the call. The opening should point away from your body so the sound is focused away from you.

-- Hal, Tennessee

7 comments so far

View STL's profile


68 posts in 3955 days

#1 posted 07-11-2011 11:37 PM

Great idea Hal! I’ll have to give that a try some day. Any chance of you posting a pic showing how you hold it and how the striker is positioned in use? Thanks for sharing!

-- Dan Siggers, Alabama,

View dirtbagchaser's profile


31 posts in 3790 days

#2 posted 07-12-2011 01:57 AM

Ill second the request on how to apply the striker! I have made some box calls and some slate calls before but never seen one like this. Very interesting. Will pass it along to some fellow gobbler hunters.

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4360 days

#3 posted 07-12-2011 03:27 AM

I hold the box in my left hand with my fingers on the top and bottom, I hold the striker in my right hand and strike away from the call. It does everything except gobble. You can sharpen the pitch by sanding away wood on the sound board, you can make the sound deeper by adding wood… Woops, you can’t add wood unless you cut off the sound board and glue on another one. It’s just as easy to make another one as it is to change the sound board.

It was tough taking this photo. Let’s see, one hand for the camera, one hand for the turkey call, one hand for the striker???

-- Hal, Tennessee

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4587 days

#4 posted 07-12-2011 07:47 AM

I can make enough to sound like a flock of love sick hens. Or at least change up if I got a gobbler that’s heard all my tricks with my old call.
Thanks for another great post.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4360 days

#5 posted 07-12-2011 01:38 PM

The hole in the call also holds the striker and chalk. I use a piece of foam to hold them in place and keep them from making noise.

If you are going to make more than one call, make a jig that looks like one used to cut rails and styles on a router table. Mine is a flat 1/4” hardboard with an adjustable maple runner for the slot in the table and an adjustable stop because each batch of calls will be slightly different sizes and a hold down so you don’t have your fingers close to the call when you are cutting it! A vise type jig to hold each block in the same position on the drill press is also important. You can’t use a jig to cut the slots if the hole is in a different place on each call. I can’t find the jig I made to hold calls so I cut these two without it. As soon as I can find it, I’m going to make 50 or so to take to the next craft fair. It’s a good way to use up small pieces of wood that’s too nice to burn or throw away.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View jcrammell's profile


5 posts in 3526 days

#6 posted 10-28-2011 04:51 AM

That is pretty cool. Simple too.

View NikonF100's profile


51 posts in 4309 days

#7 posted 12-09-2012 03:33 AM

Hal, show this today to a buddy at work , he show it to a couple other’s . Got any left for sale ?

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