Bullwhips – Handmade by Louie

10 foot bullwhip progress…

April 14th, 2014

I’m working on a 10 foot 12 plait bullwhip.  Right now I have the outer plaited belly finished:



Today I’m going to cut out and attach the bolster.  Hopefully I’ll have time to get the 12 plait overlay set cut out and all the strand prep finished by the end of the day as well.


10 Foot Bullwhip

April 13th, 2014

I’m currently working on a 10 foot 12 plait bullwhip in black kangaroo.  When the order came in I was out of kangaroo, so I made a little trip up to visit everyone at David Morgan.  One thing I love about getting kangaroo skins from David Morgan is that I’ve never gotten a bad skin from them.  They always pull exactly what I need!

This bullwhip has a 10 inch handle and cow leather core:


bullwhip core

The inner plaited belly was made from some leftover brown kangaroo that I had kicking around.

bullwhip kangaroo

bullwhip plaited belly

Then the inner bolster is cow leather and this is a short bolster that doesn’t cover the entire handle.

I’ve got the next belly cut out of the outside of the black kangaroo skin that I bought yesterday, however I  need to pare it and split it down to a uniform thickness.



Plaited Kangaroo Dog Lead

April 9th, 2014

Here’s a fairly simple little project that I made the other day:

dog lead


This is a 4 plait dog lead with a 10 plait wrist loop.  What’s fun about making these lower plait count dog leads is that they are simple…until you split the strands for the wrist loop and then you’ve got a slightly more challenging project!


Bullwhip Egg Breaking

March 21st, 2014

I turned up this video of a guy using a bull whip to break eggs (whip starts at about 27 second mark):

What’s interesting about the whip used is that it doesn’t have a fall or cracker on it.  It looks like it just ends in a fall hitch, makes you wonder why????


Bull Whip Strand Break…

March 20th, 2014

Yesterday I was plaiting a bullwhip and about 5 inches past my first strand drop (12 to 10 plait) I broke a strand.  When that happens there are typically three options:

  1. Add a New Strand:  I could cut out a new piece of lace and add it into the plaiting as I drop out the broken strand.  To to this I would have to unplait some of the whip to properly anchor the new strand.
  2. Swap Out a Filler Strand: This is a pretty easy procedure, simply drop the broken strand and add in one of the filler strands from inside.
  3. Unplait to the Strand Drop and Switch Strands:  To do this I would unbraid the whip to the strand drop and switch the dropped strand for the broken one.   So the broken one gets dropped and the one that was previously dropped ends up as part of the overlay.

Since I was fairly close to the strand drop I figured I might as well back it up and swap out the broken strand for the dropped strand.  In this particular situation that was the best option and basically it’s like the strand was never broken!


Tapered Thickness Bolster

March 18th, 2014

I’m working on a whip right now and I just did something that I used to do, but for some reason stopped.  What I did was taper the thickness of the last couple feet of the bolster.  So not only does it get narrower it also gets thinner.

This is pretty easy to do I simply take my Dene Williams Hand Splitter and run it down the boslter a couple feet from the end.  Then I do it again about 18 inches from the end, but set to take off a little bit more leather.  Then repeat that a couple more times.

Dene Williams Hand Splitter

Right now I think the Dene Williams Hand Splitter is hard to come across in the USA (and internationally) so you can also thin your bolster down on a bench splitter.


Glued Bullwhip Handle?

February 25th, 2014

Something I’ve done in the past and occasionally do now when making a bullwhip is glue the layers together.  I’m not using glue on the entire bullwhip, simply the non plaited layers on the handle.  I do this using a Leather Cement:

bullwhip glue


It’s pretty easy to do I simply put some on the part of the core that touches the handle foundation, then tightly bind them together with artificial sinew.  I repeat this with all non  plaited layers of the whip.    What that does in theory is if the artificial sinew were to ever breakdown hopefully the glue will keep the whip from twisting on the handle.

Is this a realistic concern?

Probably not.  The artificial sinew on the handle doesn’t really take any stress, so it’s not going to break from that.  And it degrading over time really isn’t a concern.

So why do I do it?

I’m not sure and I pretty much only do it on cow leather whips.  My reasoning is that typically they have a slightly different construction than my kangaroo whips and there is 1-2 less layers on the handle tied down, so less force compressing it on to the handle.  Also with cowhide generally being thicker the bindings on the outside of a layer of cowhide doesn’t necessarily translate to as much force on the inside as it would with kangaroo.


Bull whip progress…

February 23rd, 2014

I got a bit of work into the English Calf Bullwhip that I started the other day.  I got the belly plaited:
plaited belly

Then I cut out the belly:

plaited belly bullwhip

And attached the bolster to the handle:


I should be able to get some more work in on this tomorrow!

Also I just listed the Shark Spine Bullwhip on ebay, you can check it out (and bid) at: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=221380741725


English Calf Bullwhip

February 22nd, 2014

A couple of months ago I made a bullwhip from some English Calf Leather that I had come across:


When I made the bullwhip above I also cut out core and belly for another bullwhip.  Yesterday I started to make that bullwhip, first I attached the core to the handle:

Next up was fitting the yoke of the belly to the handle:

And attaching the 4 plait belly to the handle:
English Calf Bull Whip

Hopefully I’ll find time today to finish up all the internal parts of this bullwhip and maybe get started on the overlay.


Whip Pitchman…

February 11th, 2014

I’m back in town and one of the stops on my trip was in Cozumel, Mexico.  While there I saw many shops selling simple 4 plait leather bullwhips:bullwhip-mexico_1_110214

Here’s a quick video of a guy who was pitching whips to tourists.

Did you notice how when he’s cracking the whip no one even stops to look?  That sort of amazed me, you’d think it’d at least make people turn their heads.


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