About a year ago I made an instructional DVD that teaches you how to make a 4 plait cowhide bullwhip with a plaited belly. This DVD takes you step by step through the whip making process and even includes a shopping list with Tandy Leather Factory item numbers to make getting your supplies easy!
This is a great resource for learning to make your first whip.
I never really promoted the DVD or had it listed on my website…why…because I forgot to. So I’m re-launching the Make a Bullwhip DVD. It will sell for $30, however during the relaunch you can get it for $20 shipped in the USA.
I know I keep saying this, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to offer these. I don’t make a ton of money on them, and they are lot of work for what I charge for them. I’d almost rather charge a few bucks more and make the whip. The fun part is assembling the whip, not cutting out the leather!
My current project is working on an 8 foot Indiana Jones Style Bullwhip. I’m trying something that I don’t normally do when I make these whips. I’m trying to get a slightly lower profile on the heel knot.
Basically there are few ways to do this:
Use thinner leather: This option will change the entire whips profile, not just the heel knot.
Use less lead: This will also accomplish making the heel knot smaller, but may potentially give the whip an undesirable “in the hands” feel.
Put the lead on sooner: By putting the lead on a lower layer, I can use the same amount and it will stick out less.
I opted for adding the lead on a lower layer of the whip. Normally the lead goes on top of the outer bolster. My thinking all the layers give me some meat to attach the lead to.
If you look at the picture above you will see the layer that’s cut short is the outer belly. By attaching the lead in that space, the lead will not be on top of two layers (the outer belly and the outer bolster). That’s going to reduce the profile of the heel knot, however visually I won’t know how much until the whip is done.
I recently had this stock whip come in for a repair.
It needed a new fall and point plaited onto the whip. Quite often when a whip comes in for a repair they are very dry. One of the first things that I do is give it a coat of grease. However many whips are beyond repair and will basically turn to dust if you try to move the strands. This whip was on the edge, however I was able to get a new fall onto it!
The moral of the story is to make sure your whips don’t get dried out. A light coat of Pecard’s Leather dressing a couple of times a year on a whip that you don’t use will help keep it in good shape.
One of my least favorite parts of any whip to make it to put on the heel knot.
I think it’s because at that point all of the plaiting is finished and I just want to be done and making the heel knot isn’t fun. However it’s something that’s got to be done and in comparison to plaiting, or cutting out the leather it’s pretty quick!
Right now I’m working on a six foot 12 plait bullwhip in natural tan kangaroo. I had some natural tan in stock, so I didn’t need to drive up to David Morgan to pick up a kangaroo skin. I’m using a 57dm skin, however I also found a belly that I had cut out a while ago for something else, but for whatever reason didn’t use in black kangaroo. Since this will be in the inside of the whip you won’t see it.
Currently I have both bellies and bolsters finished.
Next up is to put some lead on for the knot foundation on get to work on the overlay.
People always ask how I can cut out the overlay before I’ve got the inner layers finished. It’s pretty simple, I know about what the strand widths should be and cut them a smidge wider than that. I then will resize them once the inner layers are finished.
On the surface it sounds like it’s more work than cutting it later, however it actually saves me time. By doing all of one task at the same time (i.e. strand cutting) it saves time in set up and clean up. Regardless of what point I cut the strands they still need to pared which also accomplishes the resizing.
The more I make whips, the more I’m looking for ways to save time…not cut corners, but to save time by eliminating steps that are duplicate, like sweeping the floor twice or putting away the leather only to take it back out an hour later. While these are small amounts of time, when you add them all up they can add up to a decent chunk of time.