Today I was in Idaho city (I’m still on the road) and at the Idaho City Museum they had a couple of old snake whips. These were old snakewhips that has sewn covers. I’ve never seen one of these in person until today:
Here’s a close up of the top one:
Here’s a close up of the bottom one:
Both of them once had plaited points, but sadly they are gone. This style of whip is a part of American History that is long gone. I don’t think anyone makes a snake whip sewn cover. Also from the few old cowboys that I’ve met they all say that they used “black snakes” not bullwhips.
I’m still working on the 16 plait bullwhip. Yesterday I got the final bolster finished, the overlay cut out, strand prep finished and about 2 inches of the handle plaited.
For the handle I’ve gone with the chevron pattern (U2 O2), which is a pattern that’s very common with rawhide braiding.
See Me Work the Bullwhip
On June 1st, 2010 I’ll be performing at Egan’s Ballard Jam House. The first Tuesday of the month they have a magic show called That’s Impossible. I’m the headline act on 6/1 and besides some great magic my show will feature my Whip Act. Egan’s is a cool little music club (seats 43 people) in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. I’ll be doing two shows a 7 and 9 pm, and admission is $10.
Currently I have both plaited bellies finished. Today I have some morning shows and should be able to at least get the outer bolster cut out and attached. Realistically I’ll probably be able to get the overlay cut out today.
While I was making the bellies of the bullwhip I kept hearing in my head something that Joe Strain told me years ago when I visited him the first time: “I like a hard hitting whip, so I…” Well it’s not my place to say how Joe makes his whips, but it’s something that he told me years ago and it’s only started to make sense to me in the last 9-12 months.
That’s one of the things that I think makes whip making an art. Someone can tell you something simple, but you may not really understand it until years later. Where for something like changing the oil in you car, it’s step one, step two, etc.
Yesterday I finished work on a 4 foot 16 plait signal whip. Here’s the beginning of the plaiting:
I made this signal whip slightly differently than how I normally make them. I added an extra short bolster to the whip to give it a slightly larger diameter by the turkhead knot. Visually I think I like them thinner, but it’s good to know what they look like a bit wider.
Today I did a fall replacement on a bullwhip that I made awhile ago. It’s one that was made with no bolsters, but 4 plaited bellies (I think it was four…but it might have been three). Here’s the bullwhip with the old fall:
And the new fall:
This bullwhip already on its way back to South Carolina to it’s owner.
Yesterday I did all the strand prep for the overlay for the kangaroo signal whip that I’m working on. The roo hide that I’m using is brandy in color, but it was a dry hide (not drum stuffed) so I had to grease it up.
There are several ways to grease up a skin or hide. Normally what I do is lay the whole skin flat on the floor and give it a coat of dubbin’. However this time I cut the strands out and put a coat Fiebing’s Aussie Dressing on the strands. Once that had soaked in I did all my strand prep.
The reason I think it’s important to grease before the strand prep is the strand will pare much easier and won’t break as easily when stretching.
Yesterday I finished putting together the insides of a signal whip and I cut out the overlay:
At the very least today I should be able to do all the strand prep. There’s a low tide of -2.9 feet this afternoon, so I imagine I’ll be spending a good chunk of my day turning over rocks with my daughter.
Sorry I haven’t posted much lately, I’ve been busy performing, fishing and living life. today I did a bit of work on the bosal that I’ve been working on:
The nose button is finished and I’m debating whether to leave the black knots black or to cover them with red knots to match the rest of the bosal. I think I’m going to leave them black (I guess I’m lazy). If you compare this bosal to other bosals you can see how being a whipmaker and an urban whipmaker has influenced the look of this bosal.
Up next for me is to work on a 6ish foot bullwhip. I already have the bellies cut out so until I get to the overlay it’s not too much work. Also sometime I’m supposed to start work on a 5 foot bullwhip for underground magic legend and friend of mine Steve Dobson!