Tonight I started rolling and shellacing a Young Indy bullwhip and a signal whip / single tail. Here’s the Young Indiana Jones style bullwhip before rolling or shellac:
And here is the Signal whip (16 plait) and the Young Indy with shellac drying:
Both of these whips will be listed on the IN STOCK whips page shortly.
I’ve been thinking about how/why some bullwhips have wobbly butt knots. This has been in my head since my last visit with Joe Strain. Some people think that having a wiggly knot is a cosmetic issue, not a functional one, but Joe thinks that any wiggle in the butt is bad, and I agree with him. The theory is that any unnecessary movement in the butt can wear down the leather in butt over time.
Now with that thoery in my head I’ve been trying to find out what causes the wobble in the butt. I think it’s caused by two things:
- The knot foundation (lead or leather) not being firmly attached
- The leather (or lack of leather) under the knot foundation not being firmly attached to the handle.
One thing that I’ve done to stop wiggle in my butt knots is to bind each layer of leather under the knot foundation very tightly. Another thing I do is add a bit of a layer of artifical sinew under the knot foundation to give it something with a bit of a tacky texture to hold onto before I tack on the lead that I wrap tightly around the handle.
I used to tack the heck out of the knot foundation to get it secure, but I wasn’t securing the leather below it tightly and would start to wobble. I now think that you can nail the check out of the handle foundation, but if you don’t secure the leather below, it will start to wobble.
A few weeks ago I made a snake whip, but I never took any pictures of it. Here it is:
Lately I’ve been facinated by snake and signal whips, I’m finishing up a signal whip right now. The signal whip came out a bit heavy, but it still has a nice crack to it.
Right now I’ve started work on the 8 foot 12 plait Young Indy bullwhip (red handle with black thong). In the past I’ve made them with two different hides and red one and a black one, both tannery dyed. I posted pictured of one and Victor Tella emailed me suggesting that I try hand dying them the next time becasue a bullwhip has more structural integrity when it’s made from one hide.
I disagree with Victor about using one hide for the handle and one for the thong being weaker than with just one hide. I think that when the thong is properly attached it will be attached with a couple of inches of the handle left and tacked and tyed down tight it’s not going to go anywhere. But he did start my curiousity with hand dying whips.
First of all hand dying kangaroo is a pain in the butt!! After dying this whip I’m probably going to have to charge an additional $50 or so for whips that I have to hand dye. But I’ve learned a lot, I did a lot of practice on cowhide and talked to a lot of people.
One thing that happens to the kangaroo when you dye it is that it dries out. You have to be careful when you are lubing it up, or you will stain your hands when the dye bleeds on to your hands. Franco in Canada gave me some good tips, like buffing out the dye with a piece of scrap wool.
When I was in Boise recently I had an idea. If leather dressing with beeswax will help repel water, then it may help keep the color in. Then I happened to drive by a saddle shop and I stopped in. I bought a jar of Skidmore’s Leather Cream. Just as I suspected I had a lot less bleeding of color onto my hands while plaiting with it. I used the Skidmores instead of plaiting soap. The thinking was that using a dressing with natural oils would help rehydrate the kangaroo strands, and I was correct.
A nice bonus about using Skimores is that is has a nice smell to it, unlike everything else I’ve used for plaiting which usually smells horrible (or at least my wife says so).
I’ll take some pictures of the bullwhip tomorrow and post them when I get a chance.
A few weeks ago there was a “presale” of the book Let’s Get Cracking and I ordered one. Mine hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m excited to take a peek at it.
There aren’t many books on bullwhip technique in print, so I’m interested in Dante’s approach to teaching bullwhip cracking in print.
For more information about the book Let’s Get Cracking or to order a copy through Amazon.com click here!
When my copy arrives and I get a chance to read through it I will post a review.
Another bullwhip that I finished yesterday was an 11 foot black bullwhip (12 plait kangaroo):
This bullwhip has a nice crack to it:
Here’s a “cheap” bullwhip that I made:
This is a 4 plait latigo bullwhip and it’s not as nice as the kangaroo bullwhips that I make, but it cracks and it’s cheap! Here’s a video of me giving it a few test cracks:
P.S. This bullwhip is available for sale on the “Whips For Sale – IN STOCK” page
Last night I finished the plaiting on the 10 foot KotCS bullwhip:
and this morning I tied the knots and shellac’d it:
and this afternoon I took it out to make sure it does what it’s supposed to do:
I’ve been a busy boy lately, here’s some of what I’ve been working on:
This Black 12 lait bullwhip still need some finishing touches (rolling and shellac).
10 foot KotCS
Above is a picture of the bullwhip with about a foot and a half of the overlay plaited. Below the whip has about 5 feet (half) of the overlay finished.
Below is a great picture of the strands below the work on the whip (on the floor). As you plait on the thong, the ends of the strands also plait, so you end up with a tangle on the floor at your feet. This is why its important to untangle them periodically. If you look close at the tangle it’s got a nice loose braid.
10 Foot Natural Tan Indy Bullwhip
I’ve got one and a half Morgan style Indy bullwhips cut out, they just need to be braided.
8 foot Young Indy Bullwhip
Everything is cut out for this bullwhip, it still needs to be dyed before being plaited.
For the next few days I don’t have any shows, so I’m hopefully going to be able to get take a fairly large chunk out of my bullwhip backlog. I should have the plaiting on the KotCS finished tomorrow and get a couple of bellies plaited for the 10 foots and the young Indy bullwhip.
Every now and then ebay emails me coupon codes good for 10 percent off purchases when I pay with paypal. I got one in my email inbox the other day and it was good for 15 percent off, so I took a peek at what was for sale on ebay.
I’ve been thinking about getting another signal whip and saw an auction for one made by Axel Wright, and the auction was ending in a couple of days. I ended up getting a sweet deal on this signal whip (under $100).
I’m very curious to see how the strand drops are done in this whip, since it’s a shorter whip at 4 feet and a higher plait count (16 plait). Basically I’ve only done the shorter whips in 8 or 12 plait, it seems to me that with a 16 plait, you’d be dropping strands a lot and very often!