10 Foot Indy Bullwhip

10 Foot Indy Bullwhip

Yesterday I finished a10 foot Indy Style Bullwhip.  Normally I’d do the overlay for a longer whip like this over two days, however I did the overlay for this bullwhip in one day…and my hands are killing me this morning!

bullwhip
bull whip

This 10 foot bullwhip is listed for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.

Here’s something that I do when I’m making longer bullwhips like the one above.  At some point I need to get the part of the bullwhip that I’m plaiting closer to the hook.  So what I do is I have a loop of leather (it’s a fall) that’s hitched around the lash.  Then I run it through the middle of an old piece of cowhide:

how to make a bull whip

What the tube of cowhide does is soften the angle of the turn of the whip.  If I just had that lash of the bullwhip going through the loop of fall leather then it would turn at almost a 90 degree angle and put a kink in the whip.  This kink can be rolled out of it during the board rolling phase.   However by not putting a kink (or at least a less severe one) into the bullwhip saves me a bit of work later.

This 10 foot bullwhip was made using goat for the two bolsters and since goat skin is smaller than a side of kip I had to do a lot more splicing.   Normally for a 10 foot whip a  kip bolster would be in two parts and I’d only have to splice once.  However this whip’s boslter was in four pieces, so that meant four splices!   Here’s a picture of a splice about to happen:

bullwhip

I do my splices by cutting the end of the bolster at an angle, lining up that angle and using the layer of  plaiting on top of it to hold it in place.  This method doesn’t use anything extra to hold the two pieces of bolster together and is very quick to do…but takes a bit of practice to learn to do it correctly and quickly.

There are a lot of other ways to artificially hold a bolster together so that you can easily plait over them.  You could using a thin masking tape, thin them down at the edges and glue them, or you could even stitch them like Aldo does here: http://elasticrods.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/first-kangaroo-hide-american-style-bullwhip-v/.

One method I used to use a long time ago was to put a very short piece of tape on edge of the bolster seam that’s closest to you.  This will hold  the bolster together while you get it under the plait.  Once you’ve braided to your tape, pull all the strands tight, then remove the tape and keep plaiting.   This method gives you a nice seam with nothing extra added once it’s finished, but it’s slower (for me) than just  braiding straight over the seam.

Honestly there’s no specific right way to splice a bolster in a bullwhip ,but try to avoid anything that adds too much bulk, like more than one layer of tape (you don’t need to tape both sides of the splice).

Louie

P.S. My one day 20% off IN STOCK whips sale is going on now and ends at midnight tonight!  To see what’s on sale visit: http://bullwhips.org/bullwhip_store/viewcategory.php?groupid=4

One Day Bullwhip Sale!

One Day Bullwhip Sale!

I was listening to CNN while I was plaiting a 10 foot bullwhip and they were doing a story on “Cyber Monday”.  During the piece they said that any online retailer is nuts if they don’t offer a deal on Monday 11/29.  That got me thinking I’m going to have a one day sale that will be the best deal I’ll offer for the rest of 2010.

bullwhips for sale

All day Monday 11/29/10 every IN STOCK whip will be 20% off.  I’ve got a bunch of whips IN STOCK and ready to ship out, to see what I’ve got ready to ship visit:

http://bullwhips.org/bullwhip_store/viewcategory.php?groupid=4

This sale only applies to IN STOCK whips and I only have one of each of these whips, so don’t delay your order!  I’ll apply the 20% off to the prices before I go to bet tonight around 11pm, so check back then!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Roo Skins, White Bullwhip and an Indy Bullwhip

Roo Skins, White Bullwhip and an Indy Bullwhip

Yesterday was an busy day over here.  I had five kangaroo skins come in the mail from Mid West Whips:

kangaroo skin

I had two natural tan, two black and one red kangaroo skin come in.  I was almost out of kangaroo, so I’m glad to have more in stock.  Paul sent me some really good kangaroo skins.  The last batch I had in from another source were about .75mm and these are about 1mm thick, so these will be great for Indy Bullwhips!

Before I could cut any of them up I needed to finish the 16 plait white bullwhip that I started.  I had to tie the heel knot and redo the transition knot:

bullwhip
White kangaroo bullwhip

Now that that bullwhip was finish (It’s listed on my IN STOCK whips page) I could start cutting up my new batch of kangaroo skins.  Since the skins were thicker I decided to make an Indy Bullwhip.  Here’s the inner bolster attached and hanging out while grease soaks in:

bullwhip

Here’s the outer belly finished:

bullwhips for sale

And finally here’s the finished handle:

indy bullwhip

The outer bolster for this whip is in four pieces, so I get to splice it three times (Boo!).  I’m still using the goat for the boslters while I wait for more kip to show up.  I did have a piece of kip long enough to make the core out, so the core is kip.

Another exciting thing about trying to split down the goat is because it’s spongy it’s hard to split with a blade that’s not super sharp.  I had to sharpen my blade twice for the boslters in the whip.  Once the blade loses its edge instead of cutting at the thickness you set the splitter to, it compresses the skin and shaves off a very thin layer.  That is not desirable.  When the blade is super sharp it properly cuts the goat.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Ordering a Bullwhip For Christmas?

Ordering a Bullwhip For Christmas?

If you are ordering a bullwhip and would like it to arrive by Christmas my shipping deadline for IN STOCK bullwhips delivered to an address in the USA the order must be placed by 6am (Seattle, WA time) on December 20th, 2010.

If you are ordering a custom or made to order bullwhip my current wait time is 10 days before the bullwhip ships.  I’ll keep this  updated if/when my wait time change.

Louie
P.S. I’ve made this page a “sticky” so it will appear as the top post of my blog.  Newer posts will appear below.

White and White don’t mix…

White and White don’t mix…

I’m working on the knots on the white bullwhip that’s made with the matte white kangaroo.  I figured it’d would save some lace if I tied the knots in the glazed white, then I’d have a bit more of the matte white to use for plaiting.  After tying the transition knot I’ve realized the two whites don’t really look good together:

bullwhips

When I retie it and do the heel knot I think I’m going to do a red interweave into matte white kangaroo both knots.

The glazed white I can still use for other things…just not on a  whip that’s the matte white.

This morning I’m going to run up to my local Tandy Leather Factory and pick up some of their #9157 cowhide that’s on sale for $39.99 a side (sale ends today!).   This stuff is great for 4 plait bullwhips, but I wouldn’t use it for anything finer than that.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Save 50% on a splitter?

Save 50% on a splitter?

Years ago when I got my Osborne splitter I got an amazing deal, it was a year end sale and I got the splitter for less than $200 (which was an amazing deal!).  I just got an email from Tandy Leather Factory that has a coupon for 50% off one item:

tandy leather factory

The coupon is good from 11/26-11/27 and you can use it online or in person (for more details visit: http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/media/tem/2010-11-25-Tand-E-mail-After-Thanksgiving.html?tcd=10L25TEM).   It says it’s not good on leather or machines, I don’t know if they classify a leather splitter as a machine or a tool.  However if you can use this coupon on a splitter you will get an amazing deal!

In the past I’ve  had the cheaper leather splitter that tandy sells and wasn’t impressed with it…but the Professional Leather Splitter looks good…and you might be able to save $300!

leather splitter

If I was in the market for a splitter I’d give the coupon a try this weekend!    Honestly I think using a leather splitter  has helped improve my bullwhip making.  Keep in mind it’s not a magic tool that will instantly turn crappy whips into good bullwhips.   However having to ability to even out or thin down leather is very helpful!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Bullwhip’s overlay is finished…

Bullwhip’s overlay is finished…

My current project is working on a six foot 16 plait bullwhip in white kangaroo.  Yesterday I finished the overlay:

bullwhip

While I was working on this bullwhip I had a part that wasn’t as round as I’d like it.   Usually if there’s a part that’s more oval  than I’d like I can correct it when I give it a  board roll, or in extreme situations I can whack it with a rubber mallet and then roll it to get it round.   What typically gives the whip a round (or non round) shape is  how the insides of the whip end up piling up when you plait over them.  So rolling or whacking it with a hammer move those strands around inside the whip.

What I did differently was right after I  noticed the oval part I ran my rein rounder over it:

rein Rounder

This tool normally sits in a vise and you find the  hole closes to the size you want to round and pull the work through it.  Since the whip was still on the hook at the time I closed the rein rounder over the lash of the whip and pulled it over the oval area.  Not only did this make the trouble area nice and round it also smooths out the plaiting (like board rolling does).

What was really interested was being able to watch the lash go in one side and come out the other round and smooth.  Normally when I board roll I can’t see this process (because it’s under a board).   One of the surprising things that happened was the angle of the plaiting changed.  I’m guessing because the pulling action pulled any slack towards me. So an area that I thought would be to thick for the lace size to do  strand drop might have worked to drop at that point.

Now pulling it through a rein rounder has a different effect on the whip that board rolling.  When pulling the lash through the rounder I”m PULLING the lash…so I’m guessing there is more stretch than with just board rolling.  However when I do my board rolls I start at the thick end and work my way to the point, so there is a downhill pulling action to the board roll, but it’s probably not as much as pulling the rein rounder over it.

A long time ago I had a theory to get a tighter whip by board rolling it every few feet as you are plaiting.  Logistically it was a lot of work and I gave up on it.  However now I see the idea had some merit, but probably wasn’t worth the amount of work it took.  Now knowing how it stretches a bit, I might change the order I do things a bit.

Normally I plait the whip’s overlay and tie the fall hitch, then roll it.  I’m thing I might plait the overlay, then board roll it and finally tie the fall hitch…possibly backing up a hitch to two before tying the fall hitch to compensate for any stretch.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

White Bullwhip

White Bullwhip

The current bullwhip that I’m working on is a 16 plait bullwhip that’s made with white kangaroo. The first one I did (http://bullwhips.org/?p=4018) was made with glazed kangaroo and the current one is being made with matte white kangaroo.  The main difference is the glazed has a coating on top of the kangaroo where the matte doesn’t.

Personally I like the matte kangaroo skin, the coating on the glazed skins cracks when you plait it where the matte doesn’t (because there is no coating).  I have one more white glazed kangaroo skin and I”m going to use it for lace for knots.  I’ve got about 18-20 inches of the overlay of this bullwhip finished:

bullwhips

I should be able to finish the plaiting on this bullwhip today.  After I finish this bullwhip I still have one more Beginners Bullwhip that’s cut out and ready for me to start plaiting.

I also have a bunch of kangaroo skins coming in the mail soon from Paul Nolan!

Louie
P.S. I added three bullwhips to my IN STOCK whips page.

Finished Bullwhip with goat bolsters…

Finished Bullwhip with goat bolsters…

Yesterday I put the knots on the bullwhip with the goat bolsters:

bullwhip

I think it came out pretty well,the only thing I might change is the heel knot.  I’m thinking of cutting out new lace and tying one like the transition knot.

Right now I have three bullwhips in the works.  I have two beginners bullwhips cut out and the insides finished and I’m working on a 16 plait bullwhip.  The 16 plait bullwhip has the inner belly and boslter finished:

how to make a bullwhip

Currently I’m cutting out the outer belly and overlay:

kangaroo

The lace on the upper right side is the outer belly and the strands going across the bottom and moving to the left are going to be the overlay.  The reason I’m cutting two layers right now is to get more use out of the skin.  The leg on the right of the skin will be the yoke that covers the heel knot of the whip and this isn’t the best leather, so I’m using it for the yoke.  However if I waited to cut out the outer belly completely to cut the overlay, I would have cut off and thrown away a lot of that leg…that should let me get  a bit more out of this skin.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Goat Bolster Surprises…

Goat Bolster Surprises…

The bullwhip that I”m working on that has goat instead of kip for it’s bolsters is almost finished.  Here’s the final bolster attached:

bullwhip

And here’s the bullwhip with the overlay cut out:

bullwhip

The thing about about goat is that it’s spongy, so I was figuring that when I started plaiting it would really fill in all the space between layers and give me a very dense heavy whip.   However I quickly noticed (after plaiting about 18 inches) that this bullwhip was going to end up fairly light.  I plaited it tight and for it’s diameter it feels a bit light.  It’s dense like I thought…but lighter than I thought.

kangaroo bullwhip

However I think  that over time as this whip soaks up leather dressing it will end up feeling a bit heavier.  What is happening is that I think that because kip is a bit denser than the goat when I braid over it  compresses and fills the air space between the layers, but it doesn’t compress much.  But with the goat it’s still compressing to fill the holes, however it’s still lighter in its compressed form than the kip.  Also I only gave the goat a quick coat of grease and I’d bet it can absorb much more…which will give it more weight.

I cracked this whip a bunch in my living room last  night and it’s got a different feel than most of my whips…it’s not a bad feel, it’s different.  It’s got a lighter crack, but I really enjoyed doing volleys with it!

So all in all I like how it turned out…goat isn’t a substitute for kip because it gave me a different result, it’s its own thing.

Another fun thing I did with this bullwhip was that I did some fancy plaiting on the handle:

16 plait kangaroo bullwhip

If you click on the picture above it will open a larger picture and you can see the pattern better.  I haven’t done too much in the way of plaited patterns in one color (most are two tone), but I think this turned out looking alright.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org