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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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All my Modifed Olt Key Holes cracked——either the barrel or the plug. Bought this from a guy who worked for Olt for decades years ago. Got it out recently. Starting to like it again. What is sold as a Cut Down today is nothing like the old hard rubber tonal plug calls we ran. There is no hold, ring or rattle in an old Olt. What you put in is what comes out. The reeds are/were .014 thick and will last a long time. All the tunning was in the cut on the tone board ——- no reed trimming whatsoever. Once it is cut right, it never changes tone or sound—-just pop in a new reed when the cork dies or the reed splits on the end. The real deal had a molded ABS plastic barrel or horse hoof-derived hard rubber barrel——no wood, no hard cast acrylic. The sound is gruff; not crisp like an acrylic call. The thick reed is part of what makes the call. The tone board has to be hard rubber, not wood, not acrylic.
 

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FWIW, the old molds Olt used to make the call barrel and insert from the 1900’s was never replaced. They just kept building them up—-thus the reason for so much inconsistency from call to call. You could buy 10 and two might make good calls. They were $6.50 a piece when I was 10 or 11 years old. I still have barrels and ruined inserts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have to re-calibrate my air to run this monster. There wasn’t any putting a .10 mil reed in or tweaking this or that back in the day. Our ring leader had a cut similar to the LA cut but even more. You could either run one or not. You have to push it or stay on top of the call whether you blow it loud or soft. The chatter is loud and gruff. I can’t explain it. They are very loud but they don’t ring at all.

The guy who introduced me to the Olt sat out in the woods on private ground next to Cut-Off creek in February in the 1970’s with an old cassette recorder with the old external microphone and taped the vocalizations of thousands of Ducks. Then he went back to his shop and would listen then work on the call and repeat until he got it just right.

The North Louisiana boys used to say it took so much air to run an Olt that you got dizzy enough to see Blue Monkeys dart across the sky. They called it a case of the “ Blue Monkeys “.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I never understood the reason to cut them tone boards and such so short. Too much air and then put the insert in the wrong end...d2
I don’t run the ones with the end of the plug lopped off. The thick end of the old horse hoof rubber barrels would wallow out and they would put the plug in bassakwards. I think the lopped off plugs was handed down tradition.
 

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I get the shoe box out occassionally like I did today and go down memory lane but I like running something like a Daisy Cutter or a Lares T-1. Smooth and easy to operates. Love the history and lore of the old modified Olts.
 

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I get the shoe box out occassionally like I did today and go down memory lane but I like running something like a Daisy Cutter or a Lares T-1. Smooth and easy to operates. Love the history and lore of the old modified Olts.
A T-1 tuned right has a good loud pop that’s cutdownesque, and probably one of the closer calls to a cutdown, but it’s still not a cutdown. Love it and the hybrid, but still not a cutdown. I have a couple that I’m going to send off soon to be cut that my dad stumbled across when he was cleaning out some stuff recently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I got it out again and got to doing the “ waaaaaaaaank - waaaaaaaaank - waaaaaaaaank “ quack a Hen makes when she is calling her Drake on the water, the Loud Chatter and the three to seven note, simple, loud barks. Amazing how it comes back. I put it in my hunting coat. 🤠

The first time I hunted around one was with a man named Steve Richardson in the Ouachita River Bottoms in Bradley County. His repretoire was very simple. He WAILED at them with three to five note cadences, Chattered LOUD and HARD and then just shut it down as they started coming in. I watched him put 20, 40 and 50+ groups or more on the water——-one caller. It sent chills down our spines. The pause in calling before they came in just magnified the emotions. You heard everything the Ducks did instead of hearing some pinhead showing out showing us how soft he could run a call.

I hunted some down there with another man named Melvin Mills. Same deal————Olt cut down, very simple routine, very loud ——-one caller ——-and he let the Ducks work in once they were coming. I have seen him put 100 Ducks in the decoys. Magnificent experience.

What I hear today sold as a cut down is nothing like what I learned about as a young man. Very little hand manipulation on the call but a lot hot air and intense muscle control in the mouth, throat and diaphragm regions. Loud and gruff but smooth. Again, a hilariously simple routine from a $20.00 piece of molded, black abs plastic and a short, narrow, modified hard rubber tonal plug with a key hole from the mold pin.
 

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JBWeld is correct. I still use my Olt Keyhole Cutdown. (Used it this morning actually) My boys still use them too. I have several that Kirk McCullough cut, and a couple from Tyler Rogers. (I have cut some for gifts, but I’m not an expert and get nervous filling on a 1947 Olt Keyhole) I also had Kirk cutdown a Mondo for me. Really like that call. I think if someone wants a cutdown call the best bet is a cutdown Mondo. (You could say the Mondo is already a cutdown by design) Maybe it’s more correct to say a “modified” Mondo. Since it’s acrylic it will last forever and the sound is excellent.
 

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A couple of years ago I was strolling through a flea market in Gassville looking for any older, hard to find, duck calls. Luck would have it and they had an old PS Olt for sale in cabinet for $50. At first I was like, that's awfully high, but the more I thought about it, the more it peaked my interest so I bought it.

I had no idea how old this thing was but I knew that it was old. Through a mutual friend I came in contact with DJ. Sent him some pics of the call and he estimated it to be around 60-70 years old.

Still have the call to this day. Haven't cut it, heck haven't hardly taken it apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A couple of years ago I was strolling through a flea market in Gassville looking for any older, hard to find, duck calls. Luck would have it and they had an old PS Olt for sale in cabinet for $50. At first I was like, that's awfully high, but the more I thought about it, the more it peaked my interest so I bought it.

I had no idea how old this thing was but I knew that it was old. Through a mutual friend I came in contact with DJ. Sent him some pics of the call and he estimated it to be around 60-70 years old.

Still have the call to this day. Haven't cut it, heck haven't hardly taken it apart.
On the really old ones, sometimes a new white reed is all they need. Soak the old insert in water to get the cork out so it doesn’t break. That cork will last forever. It will sound bad at first bur then it expands with saliva and the call sounds good. If you do this the insert will probably go back to it’s natural color if you just want it for a collector’s item. The same is true for the old 1950’s era calls that came in the red, black and white “ Lucky 13 “ boxes with the red stenciled clear plastic top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A couple of years ago I was strolling through a flea market in Gassville looking for any older, hard to find, duck calls. Luck would have it and they had an old PS Olt for sale in cabinet for $50. At first I was like, that's awfully high, but the more I thought about it, the more it peaked my interest so I bought it.

I had no idea how old this thing was but I knew that it was old. Through a mutual friend I came in contact with DJ. Sent him some pics of the call and he estimated it to be around 60-70 years old.

Still have the call to this day. Haven't cut it, heck haven't hardly taken it apart.
Don’t put the plug in backwards without a crack ring Kirk McCullough sells. Those old barrels will crack.

David Jackson is making his plugs from hard rubber from the same compound Olt used before 1941. He has the old Olt die cutter to make the reeds and the old Olt grinder to contour the tone board. He also offers an acrylic barrel now. I want to be as close to the original as I can so I stay with the old plastic molded barrel. I like Kirks molded plastic calls too. Both men will do anything to help you. Kirk used to modify David’s calls. I bought two of them. They are on the money.
 

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I've had dozens of these over the years. My last true old OLT was misplaced by a friend before Kirk could cut it. In exchange, he gave me one of Kirk's prototype calls that never made market. It sounds great. I blow it when I go. I also have a KM "cutdown" acrylic that needs a reed and hasn't been used at all. Got that from a guy that couldn't blow a cutdown. He started cutting the reed and it got harder to blow so he sold it to me cheap.

I have definitely gotten dizzy blowing an old OLT. But, I will say this... a good OLT with a tight-fitting insert (or tape) that's cut right with the right length reed is NOT that hard to blow. It doesn't take near the air a bad cut or short reed takes. Mostly just backpressure. Wish I still had all the OLTs I let go over the years.

I've tried BSOD, DFB (which was exhausting to blow), DJ calls, Mondos, KM calls and modified versions of several the aforementioned. It's hard to beat the right OLT be it roundhole or keyhole. That OLT bounce is impossible for me to replicate on most other "cutdowns" available today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It is not that a cut down is harder to blow. The air presentation is different. What you put in is what you get out. I like the way Kirk presents his air. He does use his hand but it is more to refine or tweak the notes. The pressure is already built when it hits the tone plug. I see some building that pressure by holding the hand closed when they use a cut down. It takes away from the smoothness of the call.

If you listen to a Duck, their cadence doesn’t have any ring to it. It’s clean in a way but it’s gruff——-a chortle maybe? I don’t think it’s the pitch of a cutdown. I think it’s the notes coming out of the call. I have seen both high pitched and low pitched cutdowns do wonders in the right hands.

I go back to my early days of Duck hunting. There is something about the sound of those old calls with hard rubber tonal plugs and ABS Plastic or Hard rubber barrels versus wood or machined acrylic. The molded calls are not as sharp. They are gruff like an old Hen Mallard.

The other deal is not having to cut or dog ear the reed. You just popped on an old, .014 reed in and the sound never changed once the cut was right. The reeds last forever. I can wear out a .010 reed and cork in a J Frame after two or three hunts.
 

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That is why I like the tone out of wood better than acrylic, but I believe you are on to something with the hard rubber tone as well.......I just could never blow one of the cutdown calls.....I tried and tried.
 
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