How to Make a Wooden Duck Call

••• Image from Miss Mallard Custom Calls.

The call of the wild is seldom associated with a duck call, but many hunters swear by the sweet, flat sound of a duck call. Fashioning this intricate call takes time and a fair investment of resources. The most important piece of equipment is a lathe for drilling holes and crafting the distinctive cylindrical wooden call. The exact timbre of the sound is always a matter of personal taste. This requires a bit of experimentation with the Mylar reed and cork piece.

Bore out a 5/8-inch hole through the larger block of wood. This will become the barrel of the device.

Insert a 5/8-inch mandrel into the freshly-bored hole and shape the barrel on the lathe as desired. Remove from the lathe, sand until smooth, then set aside.

Mount the second, smaller block of wood to the lathe and bore down with a straight taper. This will be the insert stem of the duck call.

Bore the insert so the smallest part is a little less than 5/8 inch in diameter. This will allow you to insert it into the barrel.

Drill out a hole the length of the insert. The exact diameter is a matter of personal choice.

Using a handsaw, cut a cross-section of the insert, exposing approximately two inches of the newly-drilled hole. Use a wood file to notch the freshly cut cross-section.

Fit the notch with cork piece and a Mylar reed and insert into the barrel.


  • Be mindful when using power tools like a lathe. Use caution when cutting with a hand saw --- fix the insert to a vise.

About the Author

Victor Fonseca started writing professionally in 1998. His specialties are history, popular culture, and information technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Southern Methodist University and spent a year studying at the American University of Rome.

Photo Credits

  • Image from Miss Mallard Custom Calls.