Bullwhips – Handmade by Louie

Buying Kangaroo

March 27th, 2015

I’m very fortunate to live in the Seattle area where I’m very close to David Morgan.  Whenever I need to buy kangaroo leather I can simply drive up there and dig through what they have in stock and pick up what I need!

david morgan

Everyone up there is awesome and very helpful.  One of the nice things about buying kangaroo from a whip maker that you know is they don’t sell you bad skins.  I’ve ordered kangaroo from leather supply places and gotten skins that were horribly scarred, strangely shaped or a size that wasn’t ideal for the project.


This 64dm veg tanned drum stuffed kangaroo skin is for an 8 foot 12 plait bullwhip that’s going to end up in a stunt show at a theme park in Germany:



Stock Whip Kit

March 25th, 2015

I just finished packing up a Make Your Own Stock Whip Kit:

stock whip

These are a great way to learn to braid a whip, without the time commitment of learning to cut and pare leather. I’ve got a few more cane stocks left, once they are gone, I’m considering discontinuing the Make Your Own Stock Whip Kit.  They take a lot of time to  pack everything up and I don’t make enough of  them to justify the time commitment…or maybe I’ll just raise the cost.



Scrap Whip

March 21st, 2015

I’m trying to use up some of the tons of scrap leather that I have kicking around to sort of keep my shop semi organized.   Here’s a whip I’ve started making out of scrap:

bullwhip_1_200315 bullwhip_2_200315

Internally it’s got a core and two bolsters, so nothing complex inside.  The overlay is going to be from scrap kangaroo that I’ve got kickin’ around.



Bullwhip in the News…

March 20th, 2015

This story popped though my news feed:

A judge sent a 57-year-old Lincoln man to jail for six months Thursday for assaulting a woman with a 10-foot bullwhip.

Clay Zimmerman pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. He originally faced a felony.

In court records, Lincoln police say the 39-year-old woman told them that during an argument on July 22, Zimmerman grabbed a 10-foot bullwhip and hit her once with it, striking her forearm, shoulder and the right side of her face, which resulted in mild bruising.

Zimmerman was intoxicated at the time, according to the woman’s attorney.

by Lori Pilger – Lincoln County Journal

What this tells me is that a bullwhip is not an effective weapon.  The result of one swing was “mild bruising” which is probably less severe than a hard punch…of if he choose to hit her with a more common household object like a frying pan or hammer.

Now before you post comments that a bullwhip “In the right hands is an effective weapon” consider that a frying pan or a piece of rope in the right hands is a very effective weapon.  Unlike something like a baseball bat, gun or knife it’s not easy to make a bullwhip into a useful weapon.  The general public can’t just pick it up and have it work (how it’s intended to work).


Repaired Blackjack

March 15th, 2015

Here are some pictures of the finished blackjack repair

Black Jack

Black jack

It was a fun little repair project and it was interesting to see how this was made!



Blackjack Repair

February 25th, 2015

Recently I did a repair on a antique blackjack that had a broken wrist loop.  Here’s how it looked initially:

leather blackjack

Here’s a slightly closer up of the blackjack itself:

black jack

First thing I had to do was undo the knot:

black jack repair

Under the wrist loop there weren’t really any surprises, initially.   What I did find interesting under the string was that the wrist loop was tacked to the spring foundation of the blackjack.  It was just nailed inbetween the coils of the springs.  I would have figured the texture of the spring and the binding with string would have held it fairly securely.  Then thinking about this probably hanging from a policeman’s wrist or belt while they are running around all day those little tacks probably gave a bit of extra security!

Once the spring was taken off what was left was the bare spring foundation.

black jack

I’ll post some pictures of the finished repair soon.



February 22nd, 2015

One thing about living in the Seattle area and wanting to crack whips is that it always seems like the grass is wet, even in the summer!  I tend to crack whips earlier in the day and while it may be dry out the little bit of dew in the grass after a little while soaks into the falls of whips and makes them handle funny.  One solution is to coat your whip with dressing to slow the penetration of water into the fall and point of the whip, which is what I typically do.

Recently I came across a product called NeverWet which repels water.


I’ve thought about coating a fall in it to see what happens, however I think the amount of work it’d take versus how long it’d keep the fall dry would make it not worth it.  To apply the NeverWet, you’d spray the base coat, wait 30 mins, then the top coat and wait 12 hours.  Which the amount of force the fall takes I bet you’d need to apply it every day or two.  Also it adds a foggy look to things after you apply it.

Maybe one day I’ll coat a fall in NeverWet, if I do I’ll keep you posted.  If you try it let me  know how it turned out!


Mini Bullwhip

February 12th, 2015

Every now and then when I have some time and enough leftover kangaroo I make a mini bullwhip.  Here’s one I made a few months ago:

bull whip

It measures approx 14 inches excluding the fall and cracker and has an 8 plait kangaroo overlay.  I’ve gotten little cracks out of it, but it’s primarily a display piece.

Normally these start at $75, however I just listed this one at $50 on my IN STOCK page.


From the Mail Bag…

February 10th, 2015

I get people who email me with whip making questions all the time.  Here’s a recent one and my answers will be in bold:

… I am looking into tackling my first whip making project…. I was wondering if I could ask a few questions in this email about some of the specifics of making an Indiana Jones style 2 belly 12 plait bullwhip that is 10ft long. I am planning on doing the first belly as a 4 plait and the second as a 6 plait with a bolster running down the outside length of each belly.

Both bellies don’t need to be more than 4 plait. I know some people say that using an increasing number of plaits on each belly makes a better whip.  In my opinion if your internal construction is core – belly – bolster – belly – bolster and you think of a bolster as a 1 plait it totally destroys the increasing number of plaits in a belly theory.  

I’ve talked with some of the people at David Morgan regarding materials and they have directed me to your site as a great resources for my project. After reading through your site, I still have a few questions about what I would need to do to prepare for my project. Firstly, for a 10ft long 12 plait bullwhip, how much would I need to taper each of the strands for the bellies/overlay? I have heard that for the overlay some people go from 6-4mm, but I was wondering if you had any recommendations as to how much to taper each strand for the internal bellies and the overlay itself.

When I make a whip I cut the strands to fit the whip. What that means is that I don’t start with a specific width.  I measure the circumference of the whip, multiply it by 1.5 and then divide that by the number of plaits.
So for example my whip after adding the final bolster measures 60mm around and I’m making a 12 plait w
hip. My math would look like:

60 X 1.5 =90  
90 / 12=7.5

So 7.5mm would be my strand width assuming there’s no stretch in the skin.  So you’ll cut wider on the stretchy parts. 

If this was my first whip I’d probably try to cut at 7.5mm all maybe taper down to 6mm at the point of the whip.  Then resize as I’m plaiting.  

I understand I also need to bevel the edges of the leather to get the best plaiting, so that will also be accounted for when preparing my leather straps. Secondly, how long (approximately) would you recommend each of the bellies to be? I am unsure about how long to make each belly as from what I have been able to find online, each belly does not go all the way down the length of the whip.

The general formula most people use is approx. 1/4 and 1/2 the final length of the  whip.  

And lastly, is there a set time when I should begin to drop strands in the 12 plait overlay?

Start dropping at the end of the final belly.  However you can resize if necessary at any point. 

I have read that one needs to bring the 12 strands down to about 6 strands by the end of the whip. Do you have any recommended times to begin dropping strands from 12 to 10, 10 to 8, and then 8 to 6?

You drop when necessary.   The width of the strand will tell you when to drop.  If you drop too early you’ll get gaps and if you drop to late you’ll get bunched up strands and in a worse case scenario a big air pocket inside the whip. 

I am sorry for all of the questions being placed in one email. I really appreciate the time and consideration for reading this! Thank you so much for your time and help.

Hope that helps!


Out of Town…

January 27th, 2015

This is just a quick heads up to let you know I’m out of town from 1/28/15 to 2/8/15.  While I’m away nothing will get worked on or shipped until I return on 2/9/15.

Thanks !


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