Tuning and Maintenance of Your Box Call
Even though there are many variables when it comes to making a call sound good, re-tuning one is a relatively simple task. To best judge the sound of your call, you should be outdoors when tuning it.
The easiest adjustment to make is to increase or decrease the angle of the striker (or paddle) against the rails (sounding boards.) Simply turning the screw one direction or the other does this.
Using quarter turn increments will ensure you don’t inadvertently overshoot your mark.
A cautionary note must be made here. Under no circumstances should you use “Dust-Free” chalkboard chalk! This contains wax, which will ruin an otherwise good call. Box call chalk is available commercially, though Carpenter’s or playground chalk is just as good, if not cheaper!
If, after adjusting the angle of the striker, you feel the call still does not sound right, you may have to resort to using sandpaper. It is critical that you do not alter the radius of the striker or rails!
Using 120 grit sandpaper and light strokes, check the surfaces often. Removing too much wood or worse, creating a flat spot, will render the call useless and necessitate replacing the lid.
Sand with the grain of the wood rather than against it. Resist the urge to sand the bottom of the lid smooth. It needs to be just slightly rough to the touch in order to hold the chalk.
With a little time and a lot of patience, you can return those raspy yelps and sharp cutts to your favorite call. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, I’d be happy to help! Give me a call or drop me a line to discuss your concerns.