How I Carved a Ventriloquist Dummy From Wood

Image 3 of Justin Carving
This is me actually carving my second ventriloquist figure, but the first one was made of wood too.

As a kid, I discovered the art of ventriloquism and knew it was something for me.

The only problem…I wanted a high quality ventriloquism figure, but didn’t have the cash to buy one (and my parents sure weren’t going to fork it out).

Instead of doing what seemed like it would take forever – saving up the $600-3000 I’d need to buy one – I bought a block of wood (I’d heard they were made of wood sometimes).

Image of Dummy Head

This is the bass wood head that I carved at age 15… Ultimately it became Luigi (pictured below) who is still one of the stars of the comedy ventriloquism showcase.

What kind of wood?  I asked some woodcarvers what the best wood is for carving.. Their answer: bass wood.  It  has a tight grain so you can carve with detail, but it is also soft enough.

I figured “I’m fifteen years old…if it doesn’t work out…no big deal.  Just throw it in the trash and at least I tried.”

Well..whad’ya know!  After six months and the loss of a lot of friends (just kidding…bud I do think a lot felt put off by me because I would constantly turn down their invitations to hang out in order to carve and put in the mechanisms).

Fortunately, carving my own created more human interest than if I’d started by buying a dummy.

Image of Justin carving

My mom was nice enough to put up with the messes I made carving in the kitchen – of all places! The things parents put up with so their kids can fulfill their dreams!

In fact, the local TV station (KVOS TV) did a story on me, as well as the local paper (which was a POWER HOUSE back then…wow have the times changed!).

I still use Luigi, the guy I created at that tender age of 15, in my comedy shows.  In fact, he is often the star and the biggest draw.