•  Lathe: There are quite a few tools used when making a duck call. the most important one of those, being a lathe. Some people use mini lathes, such as the Jet Mini lathe. Others use larger lathes, metal lathes, and bigger companies use CNC lathes to quickly duplicate calls.
    photo 1

    Simple Turning Shop

  • Wood Tools: Wood tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Wood tools can be very inexpensive or
    Basic turning tools

    Basic turning tools

    range into the 100’s of dollars. When making duck calls, it is important to have both large and small tools. While larger tools can be used for making your blank round and basic shaping, finer tools work better for smaller details such as lanyard notches.




  • Mandrel: A mandrel is a very important tool as well. This is what the blank is held on by, while turning the call. The blank is drilled with a (usually) a 5/8″ hole. The blank then slides onto the mandrel to beexpanding-mandrelsheld in place. The mandrel is attached to the head stock on the lathe. The main two types of mandrels are a pin-lock mandrel and an expanding mandrel. A pin-lock mandrel can be made fairly simply. It is essentially a piece of steel red, in a 5/8″ diameter, with a small notch cut out. A small pin is set in the notch, which “locks” the blank in place. And expanding mandrel uses a set screw, which when turned in, pushes “fingers” outwards and against the inside of the hole in the blank. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but both will work for making calls.



  • Collet Chuck: A collet chuck is a great tool. It is basically a small cylindrical piece of steel, that is slipped over your insert, then a larger piece of steel tightens around that to hold the part in place.
  • Tail stock Drill Chuck: Tailstock drill chucks are used for drilling inserts and can also be used for drilling the hole in your barrels when the barrel is held with a 4 jaw chuck or similar method.
  • Call Jig: If you plan on making your own inserts, you will need a call jig. A jig is used for cutting the cork notch and the toneboard shape of an insert. These can be custom made for a unique sound or you can purchase a public jig, which will allow you to make your own insert without the hassle of designing your own. A good supplier of public jigs is Pintail Waterfowl
  •  Other Tools: There are a number of other tools you will need. Sandpaper in lots of grits, basic safety gear (safety glasses or shield, dust mask), a drill press for drilling blanks, a band saw for cutting toneboards on a jig, rasp files, a caliper for measuring thicknesses, and many more that you will come across as you delve into call making.
  • Finishing: If working with wood, you will want to experiment with various finishes. Most common ones include CA Glue and polyurethane.  A lot of older call makers choose to only lightly finish the wood using things like linseed oil or bees wax. You may also want various waxes (automotive work fine) for polishing to a shine after final sanding. Some people use a jewelers torch for flame polishing acrylic calls, but the same result can be achieved by working your way up through grits of sanding.
Collet Chuck

Collet Chuck


Toneboard jig

Click Here to see the materials needed to make a call