Bullwhips – Handmade by Louie

I’ve been doing a lot of travelling around the USA this summer and I’ve run into many bullwhips in museums, stores, etc.  Here are the ones that I was able to take pictures of.

I was at a flea market in Marysville, CA and found the following two bullwhips:

bullwhip_10_080814 Bullwhip


When I was passing through South Dakota I went to Walldrug and found a bunch of cheap whips:

BullwhipBullwhip   Bullwhip

As I got deeper into the store I found this whip:


It looked decent, not great, but not a piece of junk.  They had a few others by the same company:


These bullwhips were at the Casey Tibbs Museum at the Historic 1880′s Town in South Dakota.  Casey was a rodeo champion.

Bullwhip Bullwhip BullwhipIt always amazes me at how much neglect leather gets in most museums.  I wish they’s put a bit of effort into preserving these whips.



Jacka Bullwhip

July 9th, 2014

Here’s a bullwhip I ran into a couple of months ago at the Seattle Comiccon:

Terry Jacka

It’s a bullwhip made by Terry Jacka on the hip of a guy dressed as Indiana Jones.


Braided Leather…

June 25th, 2014

I’m travelling this week and here are some braided pieces that I’ve run into.  The first is a synthetic whip which is made out of a similar material as the Karaka whips.


The next is a bullwhip and the picture turned out blurry…but that’s probably for the best, this one hurt my eyes.

bull whip

The last is a little rawhide quirt.



We’ll see what turns up on my next road trip in a couple of weeks…


Bullwhip UnBuild Part 2

June 24th, 2014

I’m still taking apart this bullwhip.  Here’s the last of the picture of the overlay:

nylon bull whip

Here’s the core without the overlay.  The entire thing is wrapped in electrical tape.

bullwhip core

Here’s a close up of the handle.  If you click on it you’ll get a larger picture and you can see the bottom  bit isn’t wrapped, it’s just the metal bar.

Bullwhip core


The bar had a hole in it, and I’m trying to figure out the purpose of the hole.  No strands were fed through the hole.  If the whip was braided from the tip like I think it was then the hole wasn’t used to hang it on a hook while braiding.

If it was used to hang from a hook while braiding from the tip it makes the whole process very awkward to braid.  Or maybe it’s used while they wrap it in electrical tape. It’s hung by the hole and the tip is secured someone and they simply run the tape around.  That’d be my best guess.

Now that I had the core out, since the whole thing was wrapped in tape and there were no loose strands I wondered if I could crack it.  Here’s a very quick video of me trying:

So the core cracked, and I think it cracked easier than the assembled whip did.  I think the reason is the nylon on the second half of the whip was slowing it down when I tried to crack it.

I’ve been thinking about the strand adds/drops and them being secured by tape. These go maybe an inch into the plaiting.  This is a horrible idea and the reason for that is over time the tape will lose its stickiness and not hold the end of the strand in place.  This will then give you a situation where the end can come loose and there’s not a lot holding it in place.

I’m curious as to how things are laid out under the electrical tape, but I probably won’t have a chance to keep taking this whip apart until next week.




Whip Trick on TV

June 22nd, 2014

Recently I was on a game show and they interviewed me as a whip maker  and  I did a quick whip trick for them.  Here’s a bit of my appearance on the TV game show Let’s Ask America:

I’m using an 8 plait signal whip (aka single tail) on the show. I chose that whip because
it’s shorter and would frame slightly better than a longer whip on the screen.

Bullwhip Unbuild

June 21st, 2014

If you’ve read my blog since it got started you’ll know I’ve taken apart many whips over the years.  These are whips made by the top whip makers in the USA and the world…and some by whip makers that aren’t top of their game.

Since the nylon bullwhip from Pakistan isn’t one I’m going to use I figure why not take it apart.  Here’s the whip before:


So far I’ve gotten just shy of about halfway through the unbraiding process. Before we get to the pictures here are a couple of things visually that I notice before taking apart the whip:

1:  The transition knot is larger in diameter than the heel knot. After taking apart the knots there is no real reason for this other  than style.  It makes me wonder why it’s done that way when most modern whips have equal sized knots or larger heel knots.

2. The strand drops are really strange looking.  Where the strands drop the strand to be dropped is on top of the strand next to it.  After seeing inside the whip I think the strand drops aren’t drops at all, they are “strand adds”.  Meaning the whip is braided from the point  towards the handle and strands are added instead of dropped.

Okay now here’s the photo gallery with some notes:

I’m very interested in this core that is wrapped in electrical tape.  From the tip that isn’t covered it looks like it’s paracord with a leather bolster on top then electrical tape.  We’ll see what’s up when we get there…


I frequently get emails from braiding companies in places like India or Pakistan that want to send me samples.  I’ve never taken them up on them  until recently.  My main reason for not taking the samples is that I didn’t have any intention of selling whips made overseas.

However with me messing with nylon whips recently I got another email from a company and I decided to take them up on their offer.  Mainly to see how mine compared and if they made something as good or better I’d consider selling them.

Here’s what they sent me:


Right after opening seeing this whip my first thought was the fall was too long.  Shortly after starting the whip cracking session this was confirmed.  I cut a few inches off of the whip and it handled a bit better.

I took it to the park earlier today and  had a little cracking session.  Here’s a sample of it:

Internally this whip isn’t effectively carrying energy to the end of the whip.  It does “closed loop” cracks like a circus crack or over head crack fairly well.  However for “open loop” cracks like a flick/forward crack or side arm the whip seems to stall out about halfway.

So in my opinion this whip would be good if you want to learn one crack and really don’t want to progress past a very basic crack, so if it were for someone like an actor that only needed to crack a whip once in a play.  I think a beginner trying to learn a forward crack is going to have a hard time with this whip.

Knowing my feelings on this being a good learning whip, there is one instance I would sell them.  That would be if I sold my whips in a booth at places like Ren Faires (which I don’t).  I’d use these to fill my booth to offer something cheap for “impulse buyers”.

Also I’ve changed how I think about all these companies offering to send me sample whips.  Since they are contacting me, not me asking them for something, I will take the free whip…just keep in mind when you contact me I have very little interest in reselling whips that I didn’t make, so when you email me offering a sample you’re probably wasting your money.


Some Whip Crackin’

June 17th, 2014

I got in a little bit of whip cracking the other day:

I’m really liking my second plan for a nylon bullwhip.  The third one (I’ll post about that later) ended up a bit too light and  the first one was a bit too heavy.

It’s always nice to get out to the park every now an then!

650 Paracord…

June 13th, 2014

I was going to take a break from experimenting with making nylon bull whips after I finish the roll of red that I bought a couple of weeks ago…then I get a 10% off coupon code in an email from UBraidIt and I’m thinking I might make a couple more.

FYI the coupon code is: JUNE14

One of the bigger differences for me between making leather and nylon is the nylon is really rough on my hands.  I can’t braid for extended periods of time like I can with leather.  It’s been years since I’ve gotten blisters on my hands from plaiting, however thanks to the paracord I’ve gotten them again.

Another thing is my elbows have gotten sore.  I don’t know if I’m pulling differently than with leather or maybe it’s  the resistance with the nylon being different, but I’m hoping it temporary.

Also there are only a few hours left on the eBay auction I have on a bullwhip right now: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-foot-BULLWHIP-12-plait-English-Calf-handmade-bull-whip-/221458916442?


Bullwhip in the News…

June 12th, 2014

I wish more of the people who are in the news using a bullwhip were more positive than this one from the London Evening Standard:

Apparently this guy is a Squatter at a old police station in East London.  He uses the whip to agitate the neighbor’s dogs.  You can read the whole story and watch a short video of his non-existent whip skills at: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/squatters-in-former-police-station-accused-of-stripping-metal-spying-on-neighbours-and-using-bullwhip-to-make-dogs-aggressive-9489503.html


Copyright 2009 by Louie Foxx LLC http://bullwhips.org.