How to Make Your Very Own Turkey Call At Home? (Slate & Diaphragm)

Turkey calls are an essential part of the equipment used by turkey hunters to lure the birds into a firing range. They come in many types, designs, from different manufacturers, and with the ability to produce different turkey sounds.

Moreover, they’re available at any sporting goods store for easy accessibility by any hunter.

However, if you’re a handyman who likes trying out new things on your own, you’d just go ahead and try to make your own turkey call.

But is that really possible?

Yes, it is.

In this post, I’ll guide you through the steps you can follow to come up with the two most popular turkey calls- slate and diaphragm calls- that produce realistic sounds just as the commercial designs.

How to Make a Turkey Slate Call

A slate comprises of the base and a striker. The base can be obtained from slate or glass while the striker can be made from wood or plastic.

Though this call might be difficult to master, it’s one of the most effective calls for luring turkeys once you learn how to use it.

This is how to make it at home:

Tools and materials needed:​

  • Piece of slate
  • Diamond-tipped saw
  • Sandpaper
  • 3-inch diameter PVC pipe
  • Tin snips
  • Liquid ceramic glue/silicone glue
  • 3/8-inch wooden dowel
  • 6-inch long dried, shelled comb

Instructions:

1. Start with The Slate Section

Assuming you’ve already found a good piece of slate (some good sources include slate tile and shingle), go ahead and cut it with your diamond-tipped saw. Cut the slate such that it measures 8 inches L x 12 inches W x 1/8 inches thick.

Now grind your slate section- rub on some section of sidewalk you’ve soaked with water.

Move your slate in circles until it feels reasonably smooth. Using a fine sandpaper will help make it even more smooth.

2. Make The Sound Chamber

You’ll obtain a sound chamber for your slate call from the PVC pipe we mentioned in our list of materials needed. So, cut around 2 inches off your 3-inch diameter pipe and set one of its end against the slate we’ve just made above. Trace the circular outline onto your slate with the help of a pencil.

Using tin snips, cut your slate- following the pencil tracings- such that you obtain a round piece that easily fits over the end of your PVC sound chamber.

Attach the round piece to the end of the sound chamber and use silicone glue or liquid ceramic glue to fix it in place.

3. Construct The Striker Handle

You’ll be making the striker from the wooden dowel. Simply cut an 8-inch section from 3/8 dowel rod and whittle one of its ends until it’s completely sharp.

Shove this handle, lengthwise, through a dried, shelled corn cob. If the handle feels a bit loose after inserting it in the comb, use wood glue to fix it.

The corn cob is now your striker.

4. Testing Your New Slate Call

A slate call is operated using both hands. Hold the striker (by the handle) in one hand and the slate in the other hand.

Move the striker over the slate surface in even, circular motions. Tune the call until you’re satisfied with the sound it produces.

You can slightly trim the handle to help make the sound coming out of your even more realistic.

You can also shorten or hollow out the top of your corn cob.

Or you can reduce the sound chamber length.

Whichever way you choose, you’ll be able to improve the sound coming out of your slate call.

When you feel that your new slate call is getting it right, you can now use it to mimic the wild turkey vocalizations in the woods and draw in the birds.

How to make A Diaphragm Turkey Call

A typical diaphragm turkey call assumes U shape. You use it by putting it into your mouth, and with the help of your tongue and the right air pressure, you’ll be able to produce realistic turkey sounds that bring them right into your range.

This is how you can make a diaphragm call at home:

Tools and materials needed:​

  • Tin/steel can
  • Latex gloves
  • Waterproof medical tape
  • Snips
  • Scissors
  • Razor knife
  • Permanent marker-cutting board

Instructions:

1. Make Your Frame

The first step involves making a frame- this is simply the metal portion that will give your call the necessary strength as well as hold the latex in position.

To make the frame, start by cutting the down side of the can, and then the base part such that you obtain a long metal strip. You can discard the bottom part or keep it for making more frames.

Lay out your long metal strip flat and draw a frame on it (it should be a u-shape with a closed end). Let the frame be 2 inches long and 1-inch wide.

Afterward, cut out your frame- do this along the outline first. Now fold the frame in half, cut its interior portion out, and then unfold it.

2. Make The Reed

Mark out a 2” x 1” rectangle on your latex glove. Next, lay the glove on the cutting board and use an extremely sharp razor knife to cut out the reed you’ve just marked. Ensure you cut both layers of the latex glove.

I’d advise you to use both layers in your calls to come up with a double reed design which helps hide any imperfection in your turkey calling skills.

3. Now it’s Time To Reed

Gently open the frame you made in the first step and carefully lay your latex reeds on it. Ensure the reeds align forward, against the frame bend.

Gently close your frame tightly to hold the latex in place.

Bend over the top tab on your frame to lock closed frame.

4. Tape Up

Now grab three pieces of waterproof tape- around 3 inches long- and layer them to obtain a single, three layers thick tape.

Lay the piece you cut off the interior of your frame in the center of this tape. Using your razor knife, trace around the cut to obtain a hole in the tape that matches the exact size of your frame opening.

When you have cut the hole in the tape, lay your frame (with latex) on the tape. Trying lining it up such that the frame opening perfectly sits over the hole.

When you’re satisfied with the above placement, pull the latex taut and then stick it to the tape around the frame. Just make it a little tight, but don’t overstretch as it might produce too high pitch.

Eventually, fold the tape over the tape and press it together.

5. Trim

Now that you’ve got your call folded over, you’d want to trace it into the right shape. That is, a shape that matches your mouth opening and helps seal the call against your mouth roof.

For the best shape, consider tracing a commercial diaphragm turkey call.

6. Test Your New Diaphragm Turkey Call

At this point, your new call is ready for use. Some of the top benefits if using this type of call is its ability to produce a variety of hen sounds, and you can operate it hands-free.

Mastering this call demands a lot of practice, but after you to learn to use it, everything gets easier!

See also:

Final Verdict

If you follow the two guides we have just discussed above, you’ll end up with two great turkey calls- a slate call and a diaphragm call. These calls are just as effective as the store-bought designs and will help you attract the Toms easily and quickly.

Plus you’ll save some bucks you could have spent on buying a turkey call at the stores.

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