I’ve cut out and pared the belly’s and overlay’s for 8 budget bullwhips (7 eight foot bullwhips and 1 six foot bullwhip). When I was paring all that leather it felt like I was paring a mountain of leather!
One tip for any aspiring whipmaker, keep your blade sharp! I think cowhide dulls your blade much faster than kangaroo does, it felt like I was changing my blade every couple of strands. Having a sharp blade lets the blade do most of the cutting, so it takes less energy on your part to pare the strand. That will help keep you from cutting yourself…but you still need to be careful.
I threw this whip on my deck last night and it’s got a great crack! Now I have 7 more of these whips to go!
42 inch Signal Whip
I’m also working on a 16 plait signal whip. This whip is to replace a signal whip that someone ordered, but the post office didn’t deliver. It took two days for the whip to get to New Orleans, and the post office decided the address was “Undeliverable” and they are returning it to me…that was over 8 days ago and it still hasn’t gotten back to me yet! So instead of making the person that ordered it wait for the Post Office to return it me, so I can reship it, I’m making a new one to send out.
Hopefully I’ll be able to finish this signal whip today…and maybe get some work done on more of those budget bullwhips.
P.S. The Budget Bullwhip is listed for sale on my IN STOCK Whips page.
I was doing a little vanity search on google and found a mention of this website in a book. Here’s a quote from the book:
Whipcracking may date back to the time of the dinosaurs. According to http://bullwhips.org it is possible that Apatosaurus cracked it’s 41 foot tail, weighing 3,200 pounds 2,ooo times louder than the sound a bullwhip made today. That would get attention!
The above is from the book A Teacher’s Handbook for Solomon By Marilyn B. Shaw. You can read the text by clicking here.
Now if you search my website I don’t have any mention of Apatosaurus cracking its tail. So I’m guessing that Marilyn B. Shaw isn’t qualified to write any handbook for teachers if she is either making up a quote and/or wrongly crediting it to me.
Personally I DO NOT believe that a dinosaur would be able to crack it’s tail in the same manner as a bullwhip.
Currently I’m in the process of making some more budget bullwhips. I’ve got about seven of the in the works right now. They are for a western event ina couple of weeks and for a juggling convention in a couple of months…but I’m not opposed to selling them before those two events.
The picture above is of 7 bellies and 5 overlays…I’m going to cut out the last two overlays to make a total of 7 whips in a few minutes.
I’m going to have to wait until next week to try doing a budget bull whip with a shot loaded core because I’m out of lead shot. I ordered more this morning and should have it in about a week.
When the lead arrives I’m going to try to make a couple more budget snake whips and maybe a budget signal whip.
I just finished another Snakewhip, it’s 6’6 in 4 plait cowhide (like the previous one).
I threw this snake whip on my deck a couple of times and it’s got a nice crack!
Today I also cut up a batch of whitehide for falls and mixed up a batch of grease…it’s been a busy day.
Yesterday I was cleaning and found a cowhide that I had forgotten I had. it’s about 1/2 of the hide, so I’m going to use that up to make a few budget whips. So I have about 25-30 square feet of cowhide to make budget whips out of.
The snake whip started with a shot loaded core, and I plaited a belly over that:
Then I did the overlay and the knot. I did the knot out of kangaroo (it makes better looking knots than the cowhide):
I’ve got some work to do today to help fill up my summer schedule, but I’m hoping to find time to make a couple more budget bullwhips. I think I’m going to see what happens when I add a shot loaded core to my current budget bullwhip design!
P.S. This snake whip is listed for sale on my IN STOCK whips page
Over the last couple of days I’ve made a couple of budget bullwhips. These whips are different from my normal bullwhips. These whips are made from cowhide with a rolled leather core and plaited belly…normally I make my kangaroo bullwhips with a rolled leather core, two bellies and two bolsters.
Below is the 8 foot 4 plait cowhide budget bullwhip. This one has kangaroo knots.
And below is the 7 foot 4 plait cowhide bullwhip:
The reason that I made one with cowhide knots and one with kangaroo knots was to see the visual difference that they materials gave the whips. I like the bulk of the cowhide, but the look of the kangaroo. I could build up the knots differently and do tie them with the roo…maybe I’ll do it with the next batch.
Normally I don’t make many cowhide bullwhips, that’s because as far as a material for whip making, kangaroo is superior. I found this cowhide for cheap (there’s nothing wrong with the hide), and normally that’s the worst reason to buy a hide…but I’m going to an event next month and want to make some budget whips to take with me to sell.
I have both of these bullwhips listed on my IN STOCK bullwhips page.
I spent about 20 minutes today outside at the park learning to throw a sidearm crack with the 29 foot whip:
Here’s a question about shopping for a bullwhip that was emailed to me:
“Hi Louie , I’ve come across your site with interests in whips.What do you recomend for a starter ? Is a used or inexpencive whip a bad idea ? I have a double whip variety act in mind.”
When you are starting out with bullwhip cracking getting the best bullwhip you can afford is a good idea. Now keep in mind the best doesn’t always mean the most expensive bullwhip. Figure out what you want to do with it…are you to be doing a faster mulitple cracking routine, or are you just wanting to make the thing crack?
There’s nothing wrong with a cheap whip, but usually a cheap bullwhip is made with inferior materials (like cow) or with inferior methods (like less bellies or no bellies!). Those are things to consider when shopping for a cheap bullwhip and before you buy you can ask what’s inside the bullwhip. You don’t need super detailed info, but a quick answer like two bellies and two bolsters is all you need.
I’ve heard that one particular guy that sells bullwhips on ebay uses felt as the core for his whips…personally I’d steer clear of any bullwhip that had felt for a core! A little bit of homework will take you a long way, but also don’t necessarily buy into the seller’s hype.
The guys who really “pimp” thier whips on either thier websites or ebay generally aren’t top notch (there are probably execptions to this)…however if you look at guys like Paul Nolan, Joe Strain, David Morgan, Bernard Del Carpio’s websites they don’t whore out thier work like other people. In fact any of the guys I just mentioned make fanstatic whips and you can’t go wrong getting one from them!
My first whip was a cheap-o bullwhip, but I learned to crack it and that carried me onto the next level. I may have learned faster with a nicer bullwhip, but at first I all I could afford was an $80 whip. Once you move your bullwhips skills into some type of performance you will need to start thinking of investing in a higher quality whip. If you are using your bullwhip in a show, you need to rely on it, and it needs to do what it is supposed to every time. In my show’s I use a bullwhip that was made by Paul Nolan and it’s been in close to 2,000 shows (in addition to practice sessions) over the years! That’s how a show bullwhip is an investment, it’s never failed me!
I listed this Signal Whip on ebay:
You can view the auction by clicking the following link:
I probably won’t be listing anymore Signal Whips on ebay for a little while, I’m getting pretty happy with my design, and I’m the experimental phase of them is pretty much over…but I imagine I’ll still be tweaking my signal whip design. Of course I say I’m happy with my design now, but who knows what I will think of it two years down the road!
I’m having a lot of fun with the 29 foot bullwhip! I’ve have 4 sessions with it and I’ve come up with three different ways to crack it:
- Start with the bullwhip laid out in front of me, run forward, throw the whip, then cut it backwards
- Have the bullwhip laying out in front of me, then rolling a loop into the thong with a foward throw type motion
- Begin with the bullwhip in front of me, then I throw a back hand (reverse side arm?) crack
The third method seems to give me the most consistant crack.
Trying Something New
I had an idea yesterday while I was cutting out the overlay for a signal whip. After I cut the set for the overlay, I hung it on the hook and stretched it. Then I took a strand cutter and set it to the width that I wanted my strands at and ran the strands from the hook, through the strand cutter and I walked backwards.
The theory behind this was to even out the strands a bit more. I don’t know how effective this is because when you pare the strand it’s straightening it out. I’ve run half of the the overlay for this signal whip through the strand cutter, the next step is to start paring them.
If this works out and I like the results, it will add another step to preparing the lace for my whips…I don’t necessarily want to add another step to whip making process…but if I like the results then I’ll probably keep doing it.
Whips I’m Working On
I’ve got a couple whips in the works right now. Yesterday I started a 4 foot 16 plait signal whip, this will have a two tone overlay. I’m also working on a 16 plait two tone bullwhip that will use the spring steel handle with rawhide core.
I don’t know how much work I’ll get in on any whips today, I’m heading to Portland this afternoon more an event for magicians.