8 plait bullwhip

8 plait bullwhip

Today I got some work in on an 8 plait bullwhip.

Bullwhip Plaited belly
Inner Plaited belly
bullwhip
Outer bolster

I have the overlay cut out and it just needs to have the strand prep done before I can do any plaiting.  Today is Wednesday and I don’t think there is anything good on TV tonight, so I might end up watching an episode of V on my laptop while I work on the overlay of this bullwhip.

Kangaroo Bosal (with rawhide core)

Here are a couple of pictures of the bosal that I made yesterday:

Bosal
bosal

While this Bosal isn’t perfect I think it’s pretty good for a first try.  The next one will be better. I’d like to make a high plait count bosal in rawhide…eventually.

I also cut out some rawhide strips from a side of rawhide (cow):

rawhide

Each coil is about 30 feet of rawhide and about 3/4 of an inch wide.  Rawhide is soo much work to get ready to work with it’s easier to do a lot of the prep all at once, then use it as necessary.  It takes the same amount of effort to case as strip of rawhide and  a whole side of rawhide…and it’s just a bit more effort to do the cut out 10 strips instead of just one.

I cut out about half of the side of rawhide that I had…I would have done the whole side, but my arm got tired!

I’m going to try to do a bullwhip with a rawhide core for some of these strips and the rest will be bosal cores or cores for other types of of plaited things.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Veg Tanned and Rawhide kangaroo

Veg Tanned and Rawhide kangaroo

Yesterday was package day, and FedEx brought me a couple of kangaroo skins:

Kangaroo
kangaroo

The black kangaroo skin has a bit of funny shape to it. If you look at the bottom of the picture you will see the big “scallop” taken out of it.  A lot of the right side of the scallop will probably end up being cut off as I use the kangaroo skin.  So it’s more waste that I’m paying for.

These two kangaroo skins are for an 8 plait bullwhip that will be 6 feet long and two tone.  Then with the leftover roo I’ll probably make a 16 plait bullwhip 6 feet long.

Last night I started work on the 8 plait bullwhip.  I cut out the core:

how to make a bullwhip

And I attached it to the handle foundation.  This bullwhip is being built on a 12 inch spring steel rod.

bullwhip core

Today I should at the very least get both bellies plaited (unless something comes up).

Rawhide Update

I’ve got all my kangaroo rawhide cut into even strips that are ready to be resized whenever I need them:

rawhide

I also learned a lesson about rawhide while working on my quirt.  At one point my strands had dried out and I had stopped work for the day.  So the next  day I took the whole quirt and cased it for a little while.  When I started work the core had also taken in moisture and swelled.

Well when the plaiting was finished and dried the core shrunk more than the plaiting, so now the plaiting is loose!  Next time I’ll have to rewet the strands with a spray bottle, and carefully case just the strands and not the core.

One thing I did learn is the type of plaiting that I like best with rawhide.  I like the chevron pattern going down the handle.  On the quirt I did several patterns and the chevron’s look the best.  Having made that determination and then looking at a lot of rawhide work I’ve noticed it’s a fairly common pattern with rawhide.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Kangaroo Rawhide…

Kangaroo Rawhide…

Yesterday I got the plaiting of the Rawhide Quirt I’m working on finished.  I still need to do the knots and the lash.  Working on it (and it’s not the prettiest thing in the world!) has taught me a lot about working with rawhide.

One of the biggest differences between rawhide and leather that I’ve noticed is the time is takes to cut and prep the strands.  With leather I just cut my strands, stretch them, split them and pare them.

However with rawhide I have to case the hide, then cut it out into strips.  Then depending on how dry they’ve gotten while I was cutting the strips, I might need to add moisture again before I stretch them out to dry.  Once they are dry and stretched, I throw the strips under a wet towel for a bit and once they are not too wet, but not too dry I even out the strands.  I do that by cutting one side a bit wide with my Morgan strand cutter, then the other side at my desired width.  After all of that it’s time to split and pare the strands.

While rawhide is a lot of work I find it very interesting to learn to use.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

4 foot 4 plait bullwhip

4 foot 4 plait bullwhip

Here’s some pictures of me making a four foot four plait bullwhip in kip:

bullwhip

bullwhip

This four foot bullwhip shipped out a few days ago.  I do have two more of these in the works.  I’ve got the cores and bellies cut out.

Yesterday I managed to case some of the kangaroo rawhide and cut it into strips.  A year or so ago I was messing around with rawhide, but now I have a much better understanding of the process of preparing rawhide.  That comes from having more leather experience, having read more (and understanding more of what I’d previously read) and talking to several experienced rawhide braiders.

I made a couple of key fobs, and one of them has rawhide in a knot:

leather key fob with kangaroo turkshead

plaited kangaroo

Yesterday I also bought a side of rawhide and cut out a strip for a bosal core. It’s been drying overnight and I think it came out pretty good for my first try:

bosal core

To make this core I punched a hole in each end of the rawhide strip and hung one end over my plaiting hook.  I put a hook into my drill and put the hook through the hole in the other end of the rawhide.  Then I used the drill to twist the rawhide.  I left the drill hanging over the edge of a chair to keep tension on the twisted rawhide.  Every now and then I gave the rawhide a extra twist to tighten it up.

Having made this core, it’s given me an idea for making a bullwhip core.  I could split down 8-12 inches of it and have that part cover a spring steel core  Then twist it around the spring steet and then extend out as the core of the whip.  I might have to give that a try.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Rawhide Quirt

Rawhide Quirt

After my recent exposures to seeing some amazing rawhide plaiting at Hamley”s and at Davey Jones’s Saddlery my interest in plating rawhide has come back. Rawhide is fairly mysterious when it comes to preparing it for plaiting.  There’s a lot more work that goes into getting it ready than a leather.

I remembered I had a leftover rawhide kangaroo skin and I dug it out.  I’ve got it under some wet towels right now to put some moisture in it.  Maybe later today it’ll be wet enough to cut out some lace.  I’m planning on making a quirt from the kangaroo rawhide.  I have a rawhide core that I got from David Morgan and I’m planning on cutting about 6 inches off it and braiding the rawhide over it.

I really want to make a Bosal, but I don’t have enough rawhide to do that.  I might swing by a leather place to pick up some thicker rawhide to make some cores.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Davey Jones’s Saddlery

Davey Jones’s Saddlery

Last week when I was on the road I was performing in the town of Starbuck WA.

Starbuck WA

Despite what the name would lead you to believe, Starbuck is the only city in the USA that doesn’t have a Starbucks!  Starbuck has a population of 130, so it’s a small town.  One of the businesses in town is Davey Jones’s Saddlery.

I was lucky to get to spend about an hour poking around Dave’s workshop and chatting leather work and plaiting with him.  He renewed my interest in plaiting rawhide, I might be ordering some kangaroo rawhide shortly.

Here’s some of his work:

plaited leather
horse tack
rawhide bosal
bosal
rawhide turkshead
reins
holser

I consider myself very fortunate to have gotten to visit Dave and spend a some time with him!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Shaping the Point

Shaping the Point

Yesterday I had someone email me with a problem they were having with making whips.  They said:

“Your blog has turned into a great resource for beginning (and not so beginning) whipmakers. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting these past few months and one thing that I’m still having issues with is maintaining a round cross section when braiding over the looses belly strands. I’ve tried several different ideas to keep the strands from laying on top of each other forming a rectangular shape with the effect of sometimes working, sometimes not. This ends up adding a lot of time doing multiple plaiting over the same area until it “passes” inspection. Can you share your experiences and what works for you to maintaing a round rather rectangular shape?”

If I remember right David Morgan in his book Whips and Whipmaking cautions that having filler strands that are flat/rectangular can stack up on each other giving your bullwhip a square cross section instead of a round one.

There are a few  things that I do or I’ve done in the past to reduce this:

  • Cut the filler in half or thirds: Basically I cut the filler strand down the length of it, splitting it into two or three strands that are all connected at one end.  If you cut them with the knife held like you are paring you will get a shape that’s like a parallelogram, and they won’t necessarily stack up in a square.
  • Plait tighter or not as tight: The amount of pull you use can change how the filler strands stack up.
  • Full length bolster: If the bolster in your bullwhip runs the full length of the whip it will wrap around the filler strands giving your whip a more round cross section.
  • Lube up the filler strands: Greased strands will change shape better than dry strands.
  • Roll promptly: Roll your whip immediately after finishing it.  The filler strands will still be a bit moist from the plaiting soap and any dressing and will hold a shape better.

Hope that helps!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org