Frank Marshall not only produced great faces for his figures but he was a great craftsman on his bodies. I have been fortunate now to inspect and own nearly 40 different bodies that were constructed by this genius and he did do some different things to them.
I will try to cover some points.
First it is rumored that he would use orange crates for scrap wood to build his bodies. I think that is a misnomer because none of the bodies that I won were made from so called orange crates.
In fact I have found that for the most part the perfectly shaped shoulder boards are made of Maple which is a hard wood. There are 3 pieces of maple laminated together and cut on a band saw to make the shape of the shoulder. I can certainly let you know that was not scrape wood which was used.
The base board as well as the side boards were made with poplar or pine. After this the entire front is crisscrossed with reed which is then tied and then the front is covered with a quilted material.
This made for a very sturdy body and a very comfortable fit for the hand. The reed is bent into place forming the front of the body and was attached by small brads and glue.
The hole for the headpost is a 2″ in diameter hole and if the body was used for a flat bottom neck the hole remained just like that a plain circle but if the neck was ball and socket, the hole had a carved by hand route around the hole about 3/8″ wide and about 3/8″ deep. Perfect size. Marshall did it perfect.
If you check back on the Marshall article by Bob Isaacson (click here to see article) there are some great photos of Marshall in his shop creating one of his bodies as well as some great shots of him working on his heads.
Ventriloquist Central is the brainchild of Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst. Dan is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Steve is a ventriloquist as well as builder of ventriloquist figures. He also has a background in sales, marketing, building websites and computers. Because they both love the art of ventriloquism, the website Ventriloquist Central was born. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2015 by Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst
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