Product Review: Watkins Duck Calls W2
Posted By Neal Rohrbach on 06/21/2011 10:33:39 AM
I had never heard of using stabilized wood in call making until I started visiting with Brian Watkins of Watkins Duck Calls. In short, he explained that it was a treated wood that has the beauty of wood but the durability of an acrylic. After a little more research and reading through Brian’s website, I learned that stabilized wood is raw wood that has been treated to resist outdoor elements. This is a commercial process, done to raw wood before turning. The wood is immersed in a resin and a vacuum is drawn so that the pores of the wood are filled with the resin. The resin is then cured under very high heat. This results in material that is resistant to temperature changes, humidity extremes, saltwater and UV rays. Calls made from stabilized wood resist swelling, shrinking and cracking due to moisture. This gives your stabilized wood call a big advantage compared to a call made from wood that is unprocessed. Working calls are constantly subjected to extremes, using superior materials for your call results in increased durability and longevity of the call.
After learning more about stabilized wood, I began wishing that some of my old favorites had been put through this process! When Brian said that the red/black box elder burl Watkins W2 he was sending me, with a white acrylic stopper, would have the beauty of wood and the durability of acrylic, he hit the nail right on the head. In fact, had I simply picked up his call at a trade show, I probably would have assumed that it was turned from acrylic. “Beauty” may have been an understatement, as the stabilized wood, band, insert and engravings were of the highest standard. Even the packaging was spot on. While some calls I’ve ordered in the past came in nothing more than bubble wrap, Brain ships his calls out in a stamped box, with logo’d drawstring bag, extra cork, reeds and o-rings. So the Watkins W2 looked good in my office, but does it run?
Indeed it does! The range and sound from that little call surprised me. To give you an idea of the unique size of the W2, I’d compare it to Haydel’s DR-85, a call just about every waterfowler has run at one time or another, but it’s a little shorter and just a tad bit wider. The call feels great in your hand and will fit on any lanyard with ease. While we’re talking construction, I have to give them props for the o-ring on the insert. There’s little to no chance you’re going to lose an insert or miss a chance on passing ducks because you’re trying to put your call back together. The Watkins W2 is a raspy double reed with the range of a single reed. There’s nothing compact about the hail or greetings, yet the call can still get down low for finishing ducks into the spread. I’ve run a few calls in the past that you have to “think” about how you run it when switching from hails to greetings, to chatter, and to a comeback, but not this call. You can move back and forth from high to low effortlessly. You won’t need to practice your “comeback” call with the Watkins Duck Calls W2… unless you’re a bad shot.
Brian Watkins has been in love with duck calling since an early age. Growing up on the Chesapeake Bay instilled a long family tradition of waterfowling and after picking up a call and doing well in competitions, at the age of 12, he talked his dad into getting the lathe out of the attic and showing him how to use it. Brain started turning out quality calls after much trial and error, in fact, he made his first set of reeds out of a gallon milk jug! You have to remember the resources back then weren’t what they are today. You couldn’t hop on the internet to get tips.
In addition to the W2, Watkins Duck Calls offers an open water Original, the Swamp Bore for swamp, timber and mountain streams, and Hybrid Swamp Bore that maintains the tone of the Swamp Bore, but has the ability to run mid to high range as well.
Watkins Duck Calls