I've done Turpins using, Maple (hard-soft-curly), Cherry, Walnut, Cedar, Butternut, Sassafras, Pecan, Holly, Purpleheart, Poplar, Mahogany, for the boxes. There are a few other woods that will work also, but are very hard to find. I try to find a square block, at least 2-1/2" square, that way most times you can get 2 calls out of it, depending on how the grain runs through it. !/4 sawn lumber works best. If your buying flat cut boards, then you'll have to buy thick lumber, 10/4 or 12/4 wood to get the grain to run right. You want the grain at no more than a 45 degree angle running through it.
If your just starting to build, choose a wood that's easy to work with, like cedar, sassafras, poplar, they are a bit cheaper to learn on and easier to tune. Again the straightest grain you can find the better, without knots. Your paddle wood should be harder than your box wood to get a good sounding call, but some woods play great together like cedar, sassafras.
I buy as much wood as I can locally, so I can pick through it. You can do an internet search for woods and get a few good places. If your buying off ebay, ask the seller to post a pic of the end grain, so you can see if it's useable, or buy thick enough wood so you can cut it the way you need the grain running. Most seller will work with you to find what you need.
For paddle wood I've used, Hard Maple, Canarywood, Hickory, Walnut, Padauk, Cedar, Cherry, Mac. Ebony, Kwilla, Purpleheart, Osage, African Blackwood, Mahogany.
Sometimes you just can't find a piece of wood that is big enough or has the right grain direction, so sometimes you have to make do with what you can find. This piece of Butternut wasn't high enough to make a Turpin, so I added a piece of Padauk to the bottom of it and used Padauk for the lid. It made a very nice call with a little different look to it.
- Padauk Butternut turpin.jpg (48.89 KiB) Viewed 1175 times