By Josh Boyd
Pot and peg calls have been a mainstay in the vests of turkey hunters nationwide, for nearly as long as anyone can remember. This comes as no surprise, as these calls are relatively easy to use, and are capable of rendering some of the most realistic sounding turkey vocalizations of any type of call on the market.
In order for a pot call to make so much as a single cluck, a striker must be used to create friction atop the call’s surface. This friction produces the various sounds which we all hope brings a lovestruck longbeard in tow.
Strikers come in a number of sizes, shapes, and materials, all of which yield a slightly different sound and level of practicality. These strikers can be purchased in their various forms both in store and via the internet.
However, if you have ever found that a striker does not perform as you feel that it should, or wish for a striker that is tailor-suited to your needs and preferences, why not make one?
Making Your Perfect Striker
While at first, the prospect of making your own pot and peg striker might sound unattainable, this assumption could not be further from the truth. You need not be an expert call maker, nor a woodworking specialist to produce a striker that is capable of talking turkey.
You will, however, need to evaluate the equipment that is at your disposal for completing such a task. While a lack of woodworking equipment is not a deal-breaker, it will change the course of how you will need to proceed.
Crafting a Striker With Minimal Tools
Many individuals do not have a shop full of power equipment to turn out a striker of their liking, and there is nothing wrong with this. This simply means that a little bit more sweat equity will be needed to achieve similar results.
In the case of basic hand tool use, it is far easier for most to create a two-piece striker. These two pieces are the dowel and handle. When building a two-piece striker, you must first prepare its handle, then a dowel must be inserted and secured in a centralized hole within this handle.
You will begin by selecting the type of wood that you would like your striker to consist of. Hickory, Rosewood, and Walnut are all popular choices, however the possibilities are endless.
Once you have selected the wood that is to be used, cut a blank that is of the approximate length and width of which you would like the striker’s finished handle to be, at its longest and widest points. You will now lightly secure this blank into a vice, by wrapping it in cloth where the vice’s jaws meet the handle. This prevents indenting of the wood.
A file can then be used to shape the striker’s handle as desired. Continue filing until you are happy with the handle’s shape and size.
You will now measure the diameter across the bottom of this handle in order to find its central point. This point will then be marked, and a hole for your dowel will be drilled at the point of this mark. Only drill this hole to the depth and size that is necessary to snugly secure the dowel within.
With this hole drilled, you will now take your previously selected dowel, coat the end that is to be inserted into the handle in wood glue or another epoxy, and fit the dowel into the hole that was drilled in the handle.
After your striker is given ample time for its epoxy to dry, the handle or dowel can be sanded to minimize any imperfections, and it can be sealed for protection from the elements.
Crafting a Striker With the Use of Power Equipment
If you currently own woodworking equipment yourself, or know someone who does, crafting a custom striker can be quite easy and takes less than an hour to complete. A single piece striker is typically the choice method for completing this task when a lathe is to be used.
You must first cut a wood blank from which to work. This blank should be cut a total of ½”-1” longer in length per end than you intend for the striker to be when completed. This blank will then be chucked securely into the lathe.
Using a gouge, you can proceed to bring the square blank into round, across its entire length. Continue this process until the blank itself looks to be tubular in shape. You can now begin to notch down each end of your striker with a parting tool. However, you should not cut too deeply as to risk breakage.
With your blank now in a cylindrical form, and each end notch to represent their outer extent, use a skew to remove wood from the handle portion of the striker in order to achieve the exact diameter that is desired. You will then do the same in order to shape the dowel end of the striker.
Additional rounding of the shouldered section between the striker’s handle and dowel can be further refined with the use of a skew chisel. Occasionally turn off the lathe to observe any areas that require further attention.
With your striker now shaped, proceed to lightly sand its body, beginning with 150 grit sandpaper. Continue gradually moving toward finer grits of sandpaper to achieve a smoother finish. This process will be continued until you are satisfied with the resulting surface texture.
You can now protect your striker against the elements by lightly coating it in wax. This is best done by rubbing a wax bar across the striker’s body as it is being spun in the lathe. You can again refine the striker’s finish by buffing the waxed surface with the use of a clean piece of cloth.
Once the striker has been weather-proofed, it can be parted with the use of a parting tool to free it from the unfinished ends of its blank. A band saw can be used to quickly remove any remaining portion of unused blank, and the striker’s tip can be lightly rounded with a belt sander.
A Striker That Fits Your Needs
The most appealing characteristic of creating your own pot call striker is that you can tailor your creation to best suit your preferences. Wood compositions and overall unit dimensions can be adapted to create a striker that meets your specifications and enables you to be more efficient in calling turkeys into gun range.