Brand new pot-and-peg calls won’t work perfect right away. To break in your pot call, rough up the surface and repeat regularly while using the call. For slate surfaces, use a flat kitchen-scouring pad (such as a green Scotch-Brite). For harder materials, use sharp 50-80 grit sandpaper, a piece of course metal screen (drywall sanding screen), or a sharpening stone. Slowly move from left to right, so the rough area on the slate runs horizontally. This way, when you pull the striker up and down the call (vertically), the ridges in the striker tip can slide across ridges in the calling surface, creating reliable vibrations and producing authentic turkey sounds.
To maintain your peg (also known as a “striker”), scrape it with a dull knife or sandpaper to ensure the tip of it always stays clean. A specialized “call conditioning” tool (pictured) can be used to service both your pot and peg as well.
Never touch the calling surfaces of a pot call. This will transfer oils from your skin onto the call and temporarily inhibit its ability to make realistic turkey sounds. If you accidently touch the calling surface, clean and condition it with a fresh cloth, a small dose of rubbing alcohol and a piece of scouring pad. Always use scouring pads, sandpaper, or screen.
Keep your pot and pegs clean and dry. Dust, dirt, grime, and moisture interfere with creating friction. Finally, store and carry your call in a protective case and/or use a plastic call cover.