Here’s an email I recently got:
Your work is really nice. I just discovered Portland Leather Works. I’ve been wanting to learn how to use a whip. For a few years now. I am determined. But.. first I need a beginners whip. I’ve been looking to buy but then I remembered how crafty I am Id like to make one. Money is an issue unfortunately. Do you have any advice I would appreciate it:-)
The thing about making your first whip and that whip being your first whip is that you don’t know what makes a good whip. So you don’t know the how far the weight inside the whip should be carried out into the lash, or how different handle lengths will change how the whip handles. So personally I recommend trying out some whips so you know what the goal is before you try to make one.
Also from the angle of saving money, it’s not economical to make a single whip to save money. Let’s say you are going to make a basic 4 plait bullwhip in cowhide. You’ll need to buy:
- The proper leather in the correct weight $75-$125
- Fall leather $100 or if you are lucky and can find some scrap $5-$10
- Sinew $10-$20
- Misc small tools $10-$25
- Cracker thread $10
So add that up and your first whip will cost about the same as one of my Beginner’s Bullwhips, however your first whip probably won’t crack as well as the one that I make. There’s one reason for that, I’ve made whips before, and have made many of these, so I have my design down.
Oh, I forgot to factor in some sort of instructions. I recommend Ron Edwards book How to Make Whips, that adds a few bucks to the price.
So to sum it up, if you just want one whip, it’s cheaper to buy one that’s been professionally made. If you want to learn to make whips, you’ll spend a lot of money on leather learning before you end up with a super solid whip!
I took a quick break from working on the 8 foot bullwhip to make a 4 foot 12 plait bullwhip. This bullwhip will be in black kangaroo. Here’s the skin:
and here’s the skin after it was trimmed:
Here’s the finished whip, it’s shipped out to its new owner.
Also with tomorrow being Thanksgiving, I should say there it still time to order a whip for Christmas. Currently if you get the order in before 12/10/16 it will arrive by Christmas.
Right now I’m working on an 8 foot two tone bullwhip. It’s going to be a 12 plait whip in red and natural tan kangaroo.
I cut six strands out of each kangaroo skin for the overlay:
Then I did all the strand prep (stretching, paring, etc)
These are now ready for braiding which will start today!
Here’s a mini bullwhip that I recently made. It’s 18 inches long and 4 plait kangaroo.
You can get little cracks out of these mini bullwhips!
If you’re interested in a mini bullwhip, contact me for pricing and color options.
My current project is an 8 foot bullwhip. Today I got the insides finished. This one started with a 10 inch handle:
Here’s the finished outer belly:
I’ve got the final bolster on it as well. Tomorrow hopefully I’ll find time to get some work on cutting out the overlay.
All the tubes have been completed and they are off in the mail!
In total I did over 90 tubes and double that in knots!
If you’ve got a braiding project that’s not a whip, feel free to contact me and we’ll see if I can help you!
Currently I’m working on a plaiting project. I’m braiding over copper tubes. This is the second time I’ve done this specific project. Basically I have 95ish copper tubes of various diameters and lengths (2 inches to 15 inches). I then do an 8 plait braid of the top of them.
The key to this is finding the most efficient way to do plait them. I’ve found that I first sort them by size and leather color. Then I work with them as a batch of that color. If I was cutting out and braiding them one at a time, it would take forever.
Once I have a group of the same width and color I cut the lace and start plaiting:
When I get to the end of the first tube, I put the second tube end to end with it and keep braiding. The goal is to not really stop braiding. Every time I stop, or change tasks I slow down, and as they say “time is money”.
Once I have all of the tubes braided over, I then use tape to mark off where the ends are:
Then cut the leather through the tape to leave some of the tube exposed.
The final step is tying the knots. Unfortunately the knots are very labor intensive and I really haven’t found a way to speed them up. As Lauren Wickline once told me, “Knots are a time suck”. And fully agree!
The best way I’ve found is to cut the lace I’ll need for the knots, so it’s one long strand. The I tied the first knot and tighten it, then using the other end of the lace I tie the second knot and tighten it. Finally I cut the knot off the lace and trim the loose end.
Doing the cutting two at a time instead of after each knot save me about 10 seconds per tube. While not a ton of time, when you multiply it by 95+ knots it will save me about 15 minutes over the course of the project.
Once this is finished the next project will be a bullwhip!
I finished repairing the bullwhip and it’s back in the mail to it’s owner. Here’s the whip with all the damage removed:
And here’s the repaired whip:
With some time the color of the new leather will age and start time look like the leather on the lash.
I took the whip out and cracked it a bit, and it’s still got a neat crack. It’s always nice to get to crack a whip I made a few years ago to see how it’s holding up!
If you have a damaged whip that needs to be repaired, feel free to contact me for an estimate for repairs.
I just got a bullwhip in the mail that got chewed up by a dog. The handle is in rough shape:
It’s not just the overlay that got tore up, it’s the bolster under it as well.
Luckily it looks like the layers under the outer bolster are OK, which is a good thing.
The game plane is to cut off the bolster above where it’s damaged and replace that leather. This will be a little bit tricky as I’ll need to match up the thickness. For the overlay on the handle, I’m going to have to untie the transition knot, and secure the strands under it. Then I’ll have to cut off the strands below where I secure them. Then I’ll have to add in new strands and plait them and of course redo the knot foundation.
This will be an interesting project!
Here’s the finished 16 foot bullwhip that I made a few weeks ago. I realized I had forgotten to post any pics of it.
This was a fun project to work on, and it’s nice to do a longer whip every now and then, it makes you realize how much easier the shorter whips are!