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So you are thinking of casting your own blanks – Read this first.

We have been casting blanks for nearly 8 years now. We have been the innovators of and brains behind, many ideas and colors out there today. We made call making easier and have helped many people get started in it. A lot of people think that we are against people casting their own blanks. This is false. We are against people copying our colors and ideas, then trying to compete against us by selling those blanks.

We see a lot of customers stop ordering and try to cast their own blanks. More often than not, then return to order blanks again after realizing that casting isn’t what they thought it would be. I decided to write this article, not to discourage people from casting, but to educate would-be casters on what to expect before they waste a lot of money and potentially hurt themselves in the process.

First off, casting is expensive. There are a LOT of hidden costs that most don’t realize before getting into it. Between the supplies, safety equipment, degassing, etc, it all adds up. You really need to do the math first. We sell a barrel for $10. To cast one you may be able to cast it for half as much. That is $5 saved! Except now you need to subtract your materials, equipment, and most importantly, time. In the hour it takes you to cast a blank and clean up, how many barrels could you have turned? More on this later.

Now this list isn’t all inclusive, and to just cast a couple blanks, it may not all be necessary, but if you are serious about casting, these is actually a very basic list.

Safety – Insulated, temp controlled room. NIOSH respirator. Chemical proof rubber gloves. Clean air ventilation system. Fire extinguisher. Proper clothing or coveralls. See…resin casting is dangerous. The fumes are harzardous and VERY explosive. People have burnt their house down while casting. It can hurt your skin if it gets on it. It will also make your entire house smell if not isolated.

Materials – Resin, hardener, pigments, molds, mold release, thermometer, psychrometer, degass chamber (vacuum or pressure), work bench. Resin has a VERY short shelf life. If not used quick enough, it goes bad. It also needs to have correct temperature and humidity to set right. While vacuum chambers are fairly safe, pressure pots that can reach the required pressure for degassing, are expensive and dangerous. Molds can be cheap or very expensive. Cheap molds will get you a handful of casts before they need to be replaced. Our insert and goose molds were over $900 ea. Pigments aren’t real expensive until you want to do lots of colors. Then they add up quick. You could have $4 in pigments into JUST ONE BARREL.

Disposables – Cups, mixing sticks, paper towels, etc. Pretty self explanatory but again, they add up quick.

Again, this is just a basic list.

You will lose anywhere from 10 – 20% of material from spills, mold leaks, stuff left in the cup and container.

You will lose approx 1% of your blanks to breakage when remolding, air pockets, not getting hard in the mold, getting stuck in the mold, colors that aren’t right, etc.

You will spend nearly twice as much time cleaning your molds as you will casting.

I have done the math, numerous times. Casting vs buying blanks. How many calls could you make, in the time you spend casting? How much do you actually save? If you are going to cast 10,000 blanks and make 10,000 calls from them, the investment may be worth it. If you are making and selling a couple hundred calls a year, it probably isn’t. You will double your time investment, or half the amount of calls out the door. All to only make a couple dollars more per call.

Casting sucks. Seriously. It is fun the first few times. The final results are cool. The rest sucks. Ask my mom, who casts all our blanks. It is boring, time consuming, and very frustrating. She has gotten phenomenal at it, but up until then, we had a LOT of fails. Even to this day, we still have blanks that don’t turn out, almost daily.

If you want to buy a couple pigments, make a mold, and try and cast a few blanks…it is fun. I highly recommend trying it. Just keep in mind, from someone who has 8 years experience, and tens of thousands of dollars invested, unless you are casting and turning well into the 1000s a year, it isn’t a good business decision.

 

 

 

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Pintail Waterfowl’s 2016 Annual Callmaking Contest!

2016 Pintail Waterfowl Call Making Contest

Sponsored by: Pintail Waterfowl, Call Nutz, Havok Calls, Solo Mountain Game Calls, and Ron Gould Custom Bands

Dates:

August 1st-September 30th will be the call making period.
September 3oth is the deadline for call picture submissions!
October 1st judging starts.
October 7th winners announced.

How to Enter:

Call makers may enter one (1) Photo of the call of they are entering. You may submit pictures of calls by emailing them to us at ryan@pintailwaterfowl.com or messaging them to us on Pintail’s Facebook page. Please put “Call Contest” in the header and make sure to include your full name (real name, not company name), city and state. You may also tell us anything you want about the call you are submitting.

You may also enter by sending your picture via message on Facebook to Pintail Waterfowl’s FB page.

Pictures posted to Pintail Waterfowl’s FB page are not allowed as entries.

Criteria:

Calls entered in the contest will be judged on use of color, material, and craftsmanship of the call. You are encouraged (not required) to use a mix of different materials (resin/acrylic, bone, antler, wood, metals, etc) BUT 50% or more of the call must be from our material. We want to see how far you can push your limits! While we are not judging on the quality of the photo, nicer photos represent the calls better and may play a role in your call getting noticed more by our judges. This contest is based solely on the picture of the call entrants submit and is not a chance based contest.

Categories are:

Best use of materials – We want to see what you can do with our materials or even blending ours with other materials!
Best laminated/sleeved call – We want to see those flawlessly laminated or sleeved calls.
Best non laminated call – Calls made with a one piece barrel and one piece insert.
Call Maker of the Year – That one call that just stands out above the rest

Prizes:

Winners in each standard category will receive:

A $50 Pintail Waterfowl store credit
Their choice of a rough or fine expanding mandrel
A special barrel blank from Pintail Waterfowl
A gift certificate from Havok Calls

Pintail Waterfowl Call Maker Of The Year will receive a $100 Pintail Waterfowl store credit, a P2 or P3 jig (we saved a now retired P2 just for this), a Havok Calls gift certificate, and a banner on our website promoting your calls for 12 months.

We may add more prizes as time goes if we acquire more sponsors.

Rules:

Calls can be duck, goose, grunt calls, turkey pot, or any style of “tube” style calls.
Calls should be newly made during the call making period. This is based on the honor system.
Calls will be placed into the appropriate category as we see fit. Only one winner per category.
Must use a Pintail blank for at least half (50%) of the call. Premade style inserts are allowed.
Calls can be sleeved, laminated (with wood or other), etc as long as at least 1/2 (roughly) of the material is Pintail’s.
Calls can be plain, engraved, color filled, hand carved, banded etc.
We will not be judging on sound quality but calls should be a working call.
Submit 1 (one) picture of your best call
Pintail Waterfowls featured call makers are allowed to enter but are not allowed to vote.
By submitting a picture, you are agreeing to these rules and allow the picture submitted to be used in future marketing and advertising by Pintail Waterfowl, LLC.

Voting:

Calls will be judged by our independant panal of 5 judges. I don’t believe in “FB voting” as a fair way to judge. How many likes or shares do not play any role in voting.
Callmaker of the year call will be chosen solely by Pintail Ryan.
In the event of a tie between judges, ties will be broken by being chosen by the business owner.

Disqualifications:

If you are caught cheating in any way you will be disqualified.
Calls that use less that 50% of Pintail’s material may be disqualified based on contest judges input.

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2016 Changes

In 2016, Pintail Waterfowl will be making some changes. We have not increased our prices since we started. We have built a new pricing schedule, which will only increase some blanks, very slightly. We have also made some of our more popular blanks available at cheaper prices! This is our first price increase in 5 years.

We had to increase shipping a little bit as well since USPS decided to raise prices, but we decided to eat a little of the cost and not increase prices to actual shipping prices.

We will be bringing out our NEW P3 Jig around the end of February, beginning of March!

We are now offering lots more custom sizes for cast call blanks. We now have pen blanks, turkey pot / slate call blanks, and grunt call blanks.

We have acquired a bunch of new pigments and pearls , so look for lots of new colors coming this year!

 

 

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Price Changes

We have had to raise some prices a bit due to higher production costs. On the upside, we have gotten some new pigments and pearls and will be having some new colors soon.

Solid colors and swirls will remain the same at $9.00. Three colors swirls or two colors “in clear” will be raised up $1/blank. Glow blanks will remain at $11.00 and matched glow sets will remain at $21.

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Custom cast acrylic call blanks

We are now casting acrylic rod for duck calls. These blanks are cast with the 5/8″ hole already in them saving lots of time. Our insert blanks already have the 5/8″ tenon to speed up making your toneboards.

In addition to having hundreds of colors available in our store, we can also custom make colors for you! We can make them with the hole bored in them, or solid as well.

You can see ll our acrylic in stock by clicking here!

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What’s coming for 2013

This year we here at Pintail Waterfowl are going beyond jigs and call supplies and are trying to get into making decoy rigging kits and some other hunting products. We are trying to make a dog stand, that is affordable, yet still good quality with all intentions of staying under the $80 price range.

We WILL be casting blanks as soon as the weather begins to get warmer. Hoping to be turning out a dozen barrel blanks and a dozen insert blanks a day to stock up for the late summer/fall.

We have been talking with one supplier to be able to offer wood blanks as well.

We also have a couple other things up our sleeves if they work out!