What is the best wood for duck calls?
For us we build duck calls from two primary woods, Cocobolo and Hedge. They are the best for duck calls.
Cocobolo vs. Hedge
Cocobolo, I'm just going to say it. It is the best wood mother nature has created for call making. It has killer looks and sounds amazing. It has earned the title as the iconic wood sound in many of our minds sound files. I wish it grew in the states.
Hedge, is a great wood for calls. Softer sounding than Cocobolo. In fact nothing sounds like hedge other than hedge. It's mellow and deep and the hedge we build calls from is USA grown.
We shy away from clear coat. Clear coat is for call cases not lanyards. If your an everyday killer it won't last with hard use. Instead, I prefer a good old fashion oil, wax and buff finish. The same style finish your granddads shotgun had. The oil protects the wood and is easy to reapply. The oil/wax also has a more rugged look like duck killing tool should have.
Wood call maintenance
Wood calls do require some maintenance. This can be a draw back depending on how you look at it. They can and do swell after heavy use. How do you handle this? First off, it is always a good idea to take your wood calls apart after hunting. This allows the barrel and insert to dry. If you can not get them apart after hunting don't panic. Just wait and when the call drys out it will come apart.
We use a oil/wax finish on our wood calls. We do this for a few reasons. Woods that make the best duck calls are naturally high in oil content. This is why we choose Cocobolo and hedge. The oil finish we use on the calls just adds to the woods natural ability to repel moisture. This means you can add oil to your call anytime you wish. This is huge benefit to keeping your wood call in the best condition. Adding oil will keep your wood call from drying out. This is why we do not clear coat calls.
What oil finish do I use?
You can use boiled linseed oil, teak oil, butcher block oil or lemon oil. All of these are found at any hardwood store. To apply the oil all you have to do is take the call apart. Remove the reed and wedge wipe the call with oil inside and out. This includes the tone channel and tone board. Let the oil sit for a few minutes and then full wipe off. Let the call dry overnight and resemble. This is very similar to treating an oil finished gun stock.