Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hello Everyone,

This year I wish you all a happy and healthy Holiday season. I ask a favor from you.

There are many people who will not visit with family, as they have none.

There won't be any big feast, and worst of all there will be no place to come in out of the cold.

They are homeless. Not by choice, but by circumstance. Some work a full 40 hour week, but being paid minimum wage, they cannot even afford a place to stay.

They are mothers with children. Aged, with health problems, They are the mentally disabled and physically disabled. They, by no choice of their own, have no place to go and no family to help them.

Please join me this year by helping them through Meeting Ground.

Meeting Ground helps these people help themselves by giving them a place to get on their feet and helping them direct their lives to independence. If you are an Ebay seller, please consider donating a small percent of profit from your sales to Meeting Ground It can be done through Mission Fish which is the service Ebay provides for charities.

Over the next month or two, I will be making three angels. Faith, Hope and Charity. All the proceeds are going to help Meeting Ground.

We have all been in dire straights and have had a friend or family help us out. They only have us. Strangers who care about them. So please, during this Holiday of happiness and good will toward men, Be their family. You can also donate by contacting

Under "contact us" there is an address as well as an email address where you can contact them. Please help! DARLENE AND I WISH YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Hair for your dummy"

I have been asked a million times "Where do you get the hair for your figures? They make them like that?"

The answer is everywhere and no. To be a figure maker you must have alot of other talents. You must have mechanical aptitude, carpentry skills, painting and sculpting skills, a great imagination and yes, you must also be a Barber.

I buy wigs from doll manufacturers, good will, ebay, close out stores... just about anywhere I see one that I like. I then match it up to the figure I am going to wig. You've got to cut the wig to fit which involves placing it on the figures head and slitting and cutting out sections until you have the basic shape you need.

Then using a good glue ( I use hotmelt) run a bead around the forehead line. Place the wig on the forehead line and then start working your way around the rest of the head.

I always look at the way the wig lies on the head to determine f I need the head to be higher. In paperman's case, I built up under the wig with batting that I attach to his head. It gives it a nicer shape and a better contour appearance.
Once the wig is in place, your barber talents come in to play. Any of you who have children have all cut hair at one time or another so you have the basic skills. Just remember that a wig is a complex of hair wefts and doesn't come out of the wig like human hair. If you cut too much, you will see the matrix.

Trim around the ears and neck line and shape his bangs by cutting on an angle . The long side should be where you part the hair and the short side on the other side as you see in the picture. You can thin hair by running the scissor up into the wig and snipping here and there (small snips. By running it up under the wig, you won't really see where it was cut.
Once your finished, use an acrylic sealer as hair spray. It works great! it can be combed out later on but the hair keeps the look you gave it. Here is paperman with his new do. Hope everyone had a great holiday. I'll be putting more vent figure on ebay this weekend. As always, anything I can help you with, email me at Happy Venting!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

adding mechanics to paperman

The inside of this paper mache figure was pretty tight to work in. His head is full size, but the room inside was limited due to the thickness of the paper mache. Should you ever decide to make a paper mache figure, you only need about a third of the thickness this one has. Once you have his head sanded, you can use a hardener on him like laquer to make him more rigid.

Even the jaw was made from paper!

I drilled a hole in the bottom of his neck and ran a brass tube up into his head and dremeled out a channel for the tube to sit in on the post. I then ran a steel rod up through the tube and bent it to use as a control for the eyes. It sits in between the brass eye connector bent in an "L" shape so when it is moved side to side, it will move the eyes. at the bottom of the brass tube which sits in the channel on the head post, I bent another 90 degree angle and connected a wooden ball to it. That will be the thumb control which manipulates the eyes.

I drilled holes in his forehead and added brass tubes and a wooden dowel to support them which I glued together. I then ran brass rods through them and bent them on the outside of the head for eyebrows. I looped them on the inside and connected them with a spring.

I ran cords for controls for both raising and lowering eyebrows.

I then ran a cord through the hole that held the original cord for the mouth an connected a spring control where there had been a rubber band.

I put a dowel with a pulley on it for the mouth string inside the head instead of the eye hook that had been there.

Then I sculpted some eyebrows out of magic sculpt for him and here he is! (the dummy on the right, of course...)

Have a great week! I am putting another figure with cross eyes up on Ebay so if your interested , check him out. Happy venting! and as always, If I can help you with anything, email me at

Sunday, November 2, 2008

working on paperman

After sanding him real well, I used paper clay to fill in the other places that were too deep to sand. I gave him a few coats of paint and blended his cheeks. I added 16mm iris from Braylu which I painted the back of brown to give it a deeper color than the amber colr that they were originally.

I removed two bent rods from the back of the eyes and replaced them with eye screws. I am adding a rod for eye control because there is no room in his little head to get the eyes to turn with eyelet controls. I also thickened an elongated his neck a little so it doesn't sit right on his shoulders like it used to.

I have drilled holes in his forhead and will add brass tubes to add eyebrows later. Here's where he's at so far.

I've got a few guys hanging around in the shop. If anyone sees one they are interested in, email me at

As always, if anyone has any questions pertaining to figure making or ventriloquism, feel free to email me anytime. I answer any and all questions. If I don't have the answer, you can rest asure I will point you in the right direction to get it. Have a great week. Happy Venting!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Working on and in the shop

I have been doing some serious work on the inside of my shop. I have run electricity, insulated, walled and I am now putting in a ceiling. I lreally like my new digs. I have a woodshop on one side with my duplicarver, drill press, bandsaw and jig and table saw. On the other side I have a finishing area where I paint, add mechanics and seal. I have my sewing machine and cutting board hooked on to the wall so they fold up out of the way and I have been adding storage and finish shelves every week.

I finished sanding the little guys head that I bought from ebay. I put a coat of paint on him to find the rough areas. I will fill them with paper clay. Paper clay doesn't adhere well to most surfaces but it tends to grip to paper mache real well. Anyone wanting to make a paper mache head should take that into consideration. Once you have the general shape made from paper mache, you can use paper clay to finish his face.

I am also in the middle of furthering my education. I have been taking Bill Nelson's sculpting course. Although it has only been three weeks, I have learned more in his sessions than I have reading sculpting instructions from a book. Bill is thorough and simplifies his procedures in step by step format. Anyone wanting to learn how to sculpt or better yourself should consider taking this course. It's worth every penny.
A side note. I never criticize anyones work. Everyone has the potential to make a good figure. I always tell everyone when I see them doing good work. The only thing that bothers me is the copycat. One thing I always try to do, is make my figures a little different by adding something no one else has and coming up with new ideas. Everyone should do that so their figures are unique to them.

Here are pictures of the inside of the paper mache head. I have alot of eworking of mechanics as you can well see. I'll work on him some more next weekend. As always, If anyone needs help in figure making or has a question about ventriloquism, I answer any and all questions. If I don't have the answer, I will point you in the right direction to get it. You can email me at Have a great week and HAPPY VENTING!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A lonely guy from ebay.

I have recently purchased a figure on ebay that was made by someone back in the early seventies. It was made of paper mache and covered with a resin to harden it.

I opened the back of his head to do some repairs and his head was almost an inch and a half thick.

His eyes need to be repaired and I am going to add raising and lowering eyebrows to him. He's cute and looks like alot of love was put into building him. It was this womans first try and i think she did a great job! I'm working on sanding down his face because he is pretty bumpy and I will attach his original hair and eyebrows when he is done.

His body is large for his size so I am going to shorten his torso and narrow his shoulders as well as shorten his legs. I will use all his original parts to do this because he was well built.

When he is finished.... I am going to keep him!

Monday, September 22, 2008


I have been relocating to my new shop. (out in the yard...) After moving all my tools, equipment and stock, I realize I would never want to move from our home! Too much work!
I spent the entire weekend relocationg and cleaning out the back of the house, hooking up machinery and getting things in place. I'm still not finished!
I am taking orders for look alikes again. I am caught up with everything so if you want to get a vent figure for a loved one, a friend or a boss that looks like them, Now is the time before the Christmas rush.
I have had several people ask me this week about cases for their figures. carries a nice line of professional cases for your figure. If you can't afford the cost, the best way to go is look for a hard case or suitcase. For my figures, I reccomend getting something 21 x 10 x 10. That is the size of the box I ship my dummies in and if lined with one inch foam, would protect him very well.
You can find suitcases or hard cases on ebay. There are alot of them and they change daily so if you want to wait, you'll find the right size. You can also hit garage sales and yard sales. That is where i have found most of mine. I added foam and wala! instant vent case. Some I have even have stickers from all over the world which gives the case a well traveled appearance. It also catches everyones eye when you walk on to the stage. Whichever route you go, you are looking for something to protect your figure, so keep that in mind.
I have put Darnell on ebay this week. He has a buy it now price of 319 which is excellent for a deluxe modified vent figure with these animations. I keep the cost low to make them affordable to all and don't worry, I guarantee all my work to be quality figures that if maintained properly, will give you many years of satisfaction. Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I received a letter from one of my customers and thought I would share it.

Hello Steve,
How are you? Thanks very much for the great vent figure! He has become quite the character. He is liked by young and old but to some, a little scary. Once they get to know him, they seem to be more comfortable around him. Cordell got a chance to sing "Oh Canada" over the internet to a family in Japan by webcam.
Cordell and I are getting better by the day. My son Christian will sometimes talk to Cordell about things he will not tell me for fear of getting in trouble. When Cordell tells Christian what he is doing is bad, Christian listens and usually no more problems.This little trick his Mom and I find helpful in taching Christian right from wrong when he won't listen to us.Hope your wife is feeling better. She is in our prayers. Talk to you later,
Thanks for the letter Corey, as well as the prayers. Darlene is doing much better thanks to everyones prayers.
Ventriloquism has always been a great tool for teaching right from wrong. It is great for any kind of teaching from English to History. Try it the next time your child has trouble with a certain subject. You'll find they are alot more receptive with a "Smart Dummy!"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's been a long summer

I haven't had much time to add to my blog this month. My wife was in the hospital. She had a schematic attack, better known as a minor stroke. It has been a really hard year for her physically.
Although she is feeling better, she still has some residual effects left. I humbly ask for your prayers for her to regain her strength.
I have finished up all the look alike's I had on back order. One was for a puppet on utube. His name was Adan and he is in a Spanish clip. He is singing about "mansanas", or in english, apples. I did my best on the three of them and have posted pictures of the latest ones. If there is anyone who would like a "mini-me" now is the time before it starts getting busy. I want to thank everyone who reads this blog and remember, I am always available to help you in any way with figure repairs to any advice you might need. As I have said, if I don't have the answer, I will get it for you. You can email me at Have a great week!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I promised Delores I would do this post for her. This is the making of "Look-a-like Louie"
I received the pictures from Delores and went to work sculpting out Louies face
After sanding his features smooth, I put four coats of fleshtone acrylic paint before blending in his highlights. After sealing the paint with flat acrylic sealer, I added the mechanics in his head. I attached his head to a post and sealedthem together so there would be no seam. Then I made his body from 1/2 inch pine board and connected the upper and lower torso with dowels and 1 inch grade 2 furring strips. I padded the body and connected his arms and legs and dressed him up in this smart suit. Here is a picture of the subject and a finished picture of "Louie"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Finishing up a "ham"

Well I finally finished this guy. I can almost hear the delivery of the first joke. Vent: I've got a fresh ham here"
Ham: (Whistles) Hey sweetie want a kiss?!! Hey Mr, you left your hair at home. Hey grandma is your hair sad? It looks a little blue today!!!

Anyway, here he is, It took awhile to figure out his design and the layout but He's ready to go to Mexico. I've been giving him spanish lessons. I hope he's better than I am. If he doesn't speak up quick, he might become dinner!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fresh Ham!

I've been working on this project for Duque Delbot in Mexico. He wanted a leg of pork that could talk. It took me awhile to figure how i was going to do this one. I remember reading Clinton's blog an seeing the bats that he turned into ventriloquist figures. If I cut the top half of the bat off, split it down the side, then put one half on each side of the bottom part of the bat connecting the top at the edge of the bat and the bottom snug against the handle, I would get the shape I was looking for. I then covered it with a thin layer of magic-sculpt and then cut out a mouth and eyes. I formed the bottom jaw with the epoxy and belt sanded the sides to fit. then I attached the eyes inside the frame and built his face around them. I formed a pigs foot at the bottom of the bat and started putting in the mechanics. Here is the unpainted result. He should be finished by the end of this weekend. When he is, I will post more pictures. Have a great day!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Look alikes

I received a mad rush of orders for look alikes last month. I am finally finished so if you are looking for one, now is the time before it gets busy!
I finished one for Bob Albano, the creator and administrator of a pictorial history of ventriloquism. His website is His site is chock full of interesting facts and pictures as well as enteretaining clips to view for all you ventriloquist enthusiasts!
Bob asked me to make a look alike of his son, a gift for his wife. Here he is.
I was asked recently, How do you become a professional ventriloquist?
There are three important elements The first is Desire. You must really want this. the second is Dedication. You must practice constantly.There are many courses out there. All of them are good. Some are costly, some are inexpensive. The best, in my opinion, is Maher Studios Millenium addition. It was created by Clinton Detweiler and can be purchased by contacting him through his blogspot It is not cheap, but it is complete, thorough and you are graded by the master himself as you take the exams that are included with this course.You receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course suitable for framing. I purchased one recently and as soon as I have some time, in between my ten jobs (exagerating, only four) I plan to become a Maher student. Something I wanted to do 35 years ago and never had the chance. Who says you can't teach an old dog now tricks! The last and most important is your delivery and act. Without that, you will be no where. If you have a great act, and good delivery you will be asked how to book you for a party or show in most cases immediately after your first act, be it a freebee at a school or a relatives birthday. How do you know you have a good act and delivery? You will know from the laughs and applause and the self confidence that comes with it.
I am working on a project for a ventriloquist in Mexico. It is a first for me. It is a talking "jamon serano" or smoked ham. It is built to resemble a leg of pork on one side, The other side has moving eyes,raising eyebrows and moving mouth. I will take you on a picture journey next week of how he was built. Hasve a great week and happy venting!