Bullwhip hide selection…

Bullwhip hide selection…

 

One of the most important things when starting to make a bullwhip is picking out the right hide for the job.  Picking a hide to small won’t work and picking a hide too big will leave you with a ton of leftover kangaroo.  

 

Another consideration is what you are making.  If you are making a long whip that will use two hides, you will need to find two hides of similar thickness.  The thickness of the hide wil make a difference in how the whip looks.  A thicker hide can give your whip a more rugged look and a thinner can give you whip a smoother look (how you pare the strands will also change the look of the whip).

Scaring and stretchiness of the hide are also a factor in selecting the kangaroo hide.  A hide is virtually useless if it’s overly scarred.

 Bullwhip kangaroo hide

Right now I’m looking at two natural tan kangaroo hides and I’m trying to figure out what to do with them. One hide is 52dm and the other is 53dm.  I could make one 10-12 foot bullwhip or make a two 6 foot bullwhips.  Making a pair of 6 foot bullwhips appeals to me right now…but before I can use those hides I’ve got an 8 foot budget bullwhip cut out and I think I’m going to plait that before I cut up more roo hide.

Louie

http://bullwhips.org

My Finest Work!

My Finest Work!

The 8 foot 12 plait bullwhip is finished and I think it’s my best work to date!  The last 4 or 5 whips I’ve made have turned out very well…or I’m consistantly making better whips, so as a result of that my prices will be going up in early May…so if you’ve been thinking about ordering, do it now!

Here’s the finished 8 foot bullwhip:

 

bullwhip picture

The butt and transition knots are 5 part 6 bight turksheads.  I like the look of this knot, it’s fancier than the 5 part 4 bight knot that’s on the Indy Bullwhips.  

5 part 6 bight turks head 8 foot bullwhip

This bullwhip has a 10 inch handle that’s lightly loaded with lead to give it a little bit of extra weight.  I’ve thrown this bullwhip on my deck a few times and it’s got a great crack! 

This bullwhip is listed for sale on the IN STOCK whips page.

Louie

http://bullwhips.org

8 foot bullwhip…

8 foot bullwhip…

This bullwhip seems like it’s taking me forever to make.  Usually I’d do the overlay in one day, or maybe two evenings.  I think the reason it’s taking me soo long is that I currently don’t have a wait list.  I’m making this bullwhip because I enjoy making them and there is no one waiting for it, so I’m taking my time.    Also I’ve been very busy performing and doing family stuff lately.

Here’s about 7 feet of the finished thong:

 

Bull whip 12 plait overlay

One thing I’ve noticed about my recent bullwhips is that when new they don’t want to be coiled very tightly.  In my opinion that’s a good thing, that means they are plaited nice and tight!

Louie

http://bullwhips.org

Strand Prep…

Strand Prep…

One of the most important things when making a bullwhip is how you prepare the strands.  Here’s the process that I use:

Stretch:  This takes out some stretch from the strands and also straghtens out the strands.

Pare: This evens out the width of the strands and the angle that you pare at will give your whip a smooth or chunky look.

Stretch:  This takes out more stretch from the strands.

Split:  This makes all the strands the same thickness. 

Here’s the strands that I prep’d yesterday, and you really can’t tell from a picture all the work that has gone into them:

 

12 plait bullwhip overlay

Another important thing that Joe Strain has stressed to me many times is to make sure that all the layers are securely fastened to the handle foundation.  When the layers are tightly bound to the handle you will have no wiggle in the handle…no wiggle equals less internal wear on the handle.  Having a little bit of wiggle over  years can add up to the handle wearing out.

 

bullwhip bolster

With my kangaroo whips I make sure that each layer on the whip is securely fastened to the one below it, so there is no wiggle.  There is a differnce between securely fastening and blindly wrapping string about a layer of the whip.  The goal is to use the least amount of binding to hold the most efficently!

Louie

http://bullwhips.org

8 foot Bull Whip Plaited Bellies

8 foot Bull Whip Plaited Bellies

Yesterday I got a couple of layers finished on the 8 foot 12 plait bullwhip that I’m working on.  Here’s the inner plaited belly:

 

8 foot bull whip

And here’s the bullwhip with the inner bolster and outer plaited belly attached:

 

Bull whip 8 foot

I’m hoping to find time today to work on braiding the final belly on this bullwhip…and doing all the strand prep for the overlay.  I probably won’t have time to do all that today becaue today is my daughter’s fifth birthday party and we need to get ready for that.  

The Post Office Finally Delivers (3 months late!)

Yesterday I got a surprise in the mail, it was a 16 plait signal whip that I made.  It was ordered by someone in Louisiana and I shipped it to them on 1/20/09.  About a week later the guy emailed me to get a tracking number because the signal whip hadn’t shown up yet.  

Well the tracking number said the whip was “undeliverable as addressed”, and it was being returned.  Another week passed and neither the customer or I had recieved the signal whip. So I made a replacement for the guy and shipped it out and he got it in two days shipped to the same address that I had sent the first one to!!

Now finally after 3 months and a few days of the post office trying to redeliver it, the signal whip finally got back to me!!    

Thoughts on Bullwhip Making

One thing that I’ve learned about making bullwhips is that it’s not just what is inside it (bellies, bolsters, fillers, etc) but how you get from one layer to the next.  The transition between a plaited belly and the fillers is very important.  

Sometimes you see a whip with a lot of kinks in it, that’s usually because the whipmaker hasn’t figured out a way to smooth out those transitions between parts and layers.  So nine times out of ten if you see a whip that has a lot of kinks in it when coiled, it’s an caused by an inexperienced whipmaker.    

Louie

http://bullwhips.org

Cracking some whips…

Cracking some whips…

Yesterday I was traveling through the Tulalip Indian Reservation (about 40 mins north or Seattle) and drove by Tulalip Tanning.  I stopped in to see what they had (mostly deer and elk), but after chatting with the lady there I noticed a couple of whips on the wall.  There was a bullwhip and two stockwhips, all of them were made out of cowhide.  

 

bullwhip

 

stock whip

 

6 foot bullwhip

These whips were made by a guy named Rob.  They were made of cowhide and personally I don’t like the look of most higher plait cowhide whips because the strands look too thick (chunky?) for the whip…especially around the strand drops.  I did get to crack these whips and they threw well.  

There was also a quirt made of buffalo(maker unknown): 

 

Quirt

Louie 

http://bullwhips.org

Falls

Falls

I just finished rounding  a batch of falls.  I still don’t like making them, but I’m getting much faster at it.

So far I’m liking the new side of whitehide I got from my new supplier.   I still need to start cutting up the Indian Tan Latigo side.  

The thing about matching my falls to a bullwhip that took a long time for me to learn is that the fall should be an extenstion of the point of the bullwhip…not just something you tied on to the end of it.   What I didn’t believe was that someone (the whipmaker) would compare the point of a bullwhip to a stack of falls to find the perfect fit.  It just seemed like a lot of work.  What I used to do long ago was if the point was light, I’d put a ligher fall on and if it was heavier I’d put a heavier fall on.  Now what I do is compare the point of the whip with several falls of the same weight to find an even better match.

Louie

http://bullwhips.org

Rawhide Core Bullwhip Pics…

Rawhide Core Bullwhip Pics…

It’s finally finished and I’m very happy with how this bullwhip has turned out!

Yesterday morning finished the overlay: 

 

Bullwhip without knots
Bullwhip without knots

  Then I tied the knots on this bullwhip:

 

First set of turksheads
First set of turksheads

I wasn’t happy with this set of knots.  I was sort of experimenting and I didn’t like the results, so I untied them, cut a new set and retied the knots:

 

Final turks heads
Final turks heads

And here’s the finished bullwhip:

 

8 foot bullwhip - Finished!
8 foot bullwhip - Finished!
Finished Bullwhip
Finished Bullwhip

This bullwhip came out well and I’m really glad a redid the knots.  This bullwhip is plaited very tight and I’m still very happy with my strand drops.

I gave it a couple of throws on my deck yesterday and it throws well.  Hopefully later today I’ll be able to take it to the park for a better test cracking session!

Louie

P.S. I’ve listed this bullwhip in my IN STOCK whips page.

6 feet of an 8 foot Bullwhip…

6 feet of an 8 foot Bullwhip…

This weekend I got very little bullwhip work done, I was a busy boy.  However I did manage to inch along the plaiting on the 8 foot bullwith with the rawhide core.  I’ve got about 6 feet of the overlay finished:

 

8 ft bullwhip in progress
8 ft bullwhip in progress

I’m doing a new thing when I’m making a bullwhip when I have to stop and start it.  Whenever I have to stop plaiting for an extened time I pull all the strands tight, then tie them off. Then when I start plaiting again I undo one full set of strands (so if it’s an 8 plait, I back up 8 hitches) then continue plaiting.  

My thinking is that over time the last row of hitches will loosen up if the whip is just sitting around.  So by pulling them tight, then backing up a set when I start braiding again it will help keep the plaiting evenly tight. 

Hopefully today I’m going to have time to finish the plaiting on this bullwhip.  Also I might sneak in an 8 foot budget bullwhip between this one and the 8 foot black kangaroo bullwhip that I was planning on making…I found a complete bullwhip set for a budget bullwhip, so all I’d have to do is braid it.

Louie

http://bullwhips.org