Miracle Product!

Miracle Product!

Right now I’m working on a Young Indy style bullwhip (more on this when it’s finished) and I needed to dye some strands.  One thing that I never liked was braided strands that where hand dyed.  A bit of the coloring always rubs off on my hands and it’s a huge pain to try to get it off.  Usually I end up with color on my hands for a day or two.

Yesterday when I was picking up some Deglazer and dye I noticed a product on the shelf called DYE-OFF.  The company that makes it doesn’t have any internet presence and I can’t find anyone that sells it besides where I got it.  Ask you local leather supplier if they sell it.

dye off

This stuff works like magic.  My hands had a bunch of dye that had rubbed off while braiding.  I tried washing them with soap and water like I normally do and that didn’t work well.  So I put a bit of this on my hands added a bit of water and viola the dye disappeared from my hands!

I love this stuff…it’s made hand dying slightly less of a pain.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Whip Demo at SANCA

Whip Demo at SANCA

This morning Will Morgan, John Leonetti and myself did a little whip demo / workshop at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA).  We did a little talk about the history of the bullwhips and the different types of whips.  Then we did little demos of the different styles of whip cracking from what I do with a bullwhip in my show to more technical crack with one bullwhip or two stockwhips and two bullwhips.

Here’s John Leonetti doing a multiple cracks:
Gif Created on Make A Gif

He’s  using a Performance Hybrid made by Lauren Wickline at MidWestWhips. In July when I was passing through Nevada I visited midwestwhips and really like the way these whips cracked.  It was nice to get to crack another pair of Performance Hybrid whips!  For more information about these whips visit: http://performancehybrid.wordpress.com/

Here’s a bunch of pictures of John and Will cracking:

During the whip demo I also got the chance to crack a pair of stockwhips that is imported by David Morgan.  It’s a pair of stockwhips made by Eskaytee Bush Leathercraft:

stock whips

The pair of these Will had were great to crack at at $170 each you can’t go wrong!  I’m thinking of getting  a pair of them for myself the next time I stop by David Morgan’s shop.  You can get these at: http://www.davidmorgan.com/product_info.php?products_id=1151

Today’s whip demo was a ton of fun. We’ve done this every year for the last three years.  It typically happens on the Sunday after Christmas…so mark your calendar for next year!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

John Leonetti visits…

John Leonetti visits…

Yesterday John Leonetti came by for a visit.  Here he is taking a picture of one of my bullwhips:

John leonetti

We had a great time talking whips and while he’s in town John, Will Morgan and I are doing a whip demo at School For Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) in Seattle.   This whip demo is free and on 12/26/10 from 10 am to 12pm (noon) at the SANCA facility in Seattle.

Yesterday I also managed to finish the overlay and built the heel knot foundation for an 8 foot Indy bullwhip.

bullwhip

This morning I tied the heel knot:

Indiana Jones style bullwhip

Here’s the knot foundation built up.  This is the step a lot of people that try to make Indy Bullwhips miss.  It’s a small part of making an Indy Bullwhip…but it’s important step that contributes to the overall look.

Indiana Jones style bullwhip

Here’s the finished bullwhip:

Indiana Jones style bullwhip

Indiana Jones style bullwhip

Next up for me to work on is a six foot bullwhip.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Bullwhips I’m working on…

Bullwhips I’m working on…

Yesterday I made a little bit of progress on some of the four bullwhips that I’m working on.  I finished the Six Foot Beginners Bullwhip:

bullwhip for beginners

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

I also plaited the Eight Foot Indy Bullwhip to  the  12 to 10 strand drop:

bullwhips

I’m going to imagine that I’ll have time to finish plaiting the overlay of this bullwhip sometime today.  I still need to work on the five and six foot bullwhip, no progess has been made on those since yesterday.

The six foot bullwhip will be an interesting little experiment. It’s going to be a “Young Indy” bullwhip (Black whip with red handle).  However I’m going to dye it with a different process than most bullwhip makers.  Hopefully this will turn out a better finished product where the dye fading or rubbing off won’t be an issue.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Bullwhips in the Works…

Bullwhips in the Works…

I’ve got a lot of bullwhips started right now, and hopefully some will be finished soon.  Currently I’m working on:

1. Five Foot Bullwhip: I have all the internal layers finished.  I don’t know if this will be 8 or 12 plait.

Five foot bullwhip

2.  6 foot Beginners Bullwhip: This has the insides cut out and ready to make, but I still need to cut out the overlay.

Beginners bullwhip

3. 8 Foot Indy Bullwhip: This bullwhip has the insides finished and the  lace for the knots and wrist loops cut out.

Eight Foot Indy bullwhip

4. 6 Foot Bullwhip: I have the two bellies cut out, but that’s all.  I have an interesting plan for how this bullwhip is going to be made.

Six Foot Bullwhip

With all of those bullwhips partially finished I also managed to finally put the heel knot on a snake whip that’s been hanging on a peg for at least a week:

snake whip

Hopefully later today I’ll be able to make some more progress on some of these bullwhips (without starting more!) later today.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

2 Hour Bullwhip!

2 Hour Bullwhip!

Well I think I did it, I made an 8 plait 5 foot Indy Style bullwhip in 2 hours.  Well it was 2 hours and 40 minutes, but I made two insides and subtracting the time for the second inside the finished bullwhip took 2 hours and 4 minutes…so it’s not exactly two hours but I’m calling that a win!

Also the two hour estimate was for a bullwhip without a wrist loop so if you take out the 5 mins for the wrist loop this whip comes in right at 2 hours.  I think I did a pretty good job keeping as much of an Indiana Jones look to it:

I’m happy with how this bullwhip turned out and it’s got a great crack to it!

Also I have one beginners bullwhip left and no more will be made in time to ship for Christmas, so if you are thinking of getting someone a beginners bullwhip now’s the time to order!  You can order beginners bullwhip or the 5 foot 8 plait bullwhip above on my IN STOCK whips page.

If you are looking for a bullwhip in time for Christmas there are a few of my bullwhips down in Nevada at MidwestWhips, you can see what they have in stock and order from them at: http://www.midwestwhips.com/InStock.html

I’ve got a busy weekend so I probably won’t update this blog until monday…till then follow me on twitter @bullwhips

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Cutting out falls and a Beginners Bullwhip

Cutting out falls and a Beginners Bullwhip

I’ve got a new little technique for cutting out falls.  When I cut them out I cut them at a taper for about 38-ish inches.   Then I soak them, knock off the corners and round them.  So far this doesn’t seem too special and it’s pretty standard.  However when making  a bullwhip you try to match the fall to the point of the bullwhip.  If it’s a smaller point you put a thinner fall on it and a thicker point has a wider fall.

By cutting the falls long it allows me to customize each fall to the whip.  Depending on the whips point I cut about 6 inches off either end (or a little bit off both) to get the desired width of fall without having to cut out differnet batches of light and heavy falls.

This saves me a lot of time because quite ofter I’ll be making whips with heavy points and all I have are skinny falls or the other way around.  So now I’m cutting out one batch that pretty  much covers both points.  Now it doesn’t cover 100% of the whips that I make there’s always a chance I could make an unusually fat or skinny point.  If that happens I’ll have to cut out a custom fall for that.

Yesterday I started work on two beginners bullwhips.  I have one finished:

bullwhip

The other one has it’s overlay finished I just need to do the knots.   Both of them will be listed shortly on my IN STOCK whips page.

After I finish the knots on the second beginners bullwhip I might have another go at making an 8 plait bullwhip in under 2 hours.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

5 foot bullwhip times…

5 foot bullwhip times…

The times shown are the what is shown on my stopwatch.  These times include getting out whatever I need and cleaning up.

Cutting out the Bolsters:  7:44

How to make a kangaroo bull whip

Cleaning up the spike: 8:34

How to make a kangaroo bull whip

Attaching the core to the handle: 11:38

How to make a kangaroo bull whip

Trimming the kangaroo and cutting  out the belly:  16:54

How to make a kangaroo bull whip

Strand Prep and attaching the belly to the handle: 21:32

How to make a kangaroo bull whip

Plaiting and rolling the belly: 32:58

bullwhip

Tweaking the size and attaching the bolsters: 40:57

bullwhip

At this point I’ve gotten everything internal finished, and all that’s left is basically what’s on the outside…but that’s the time consuming part!

Cutting out lace (knots, wristloop and overlay): 1:04:02

How to make a kangaroo bull whip

Strand prep for overlay, knots and wrist loop: 1:13:29

Right now I have about 45 minutes left to bring this in under 2 hours.  I’m thinking that I won’t be able to make it.  Lets say it takes me 30 minutes to do the overlay (which I think is unrealistic), that leaves me with about 15 minutes to do the wrist loop and two knots.  Oh, and I plan on plaiting an my normal pace, so I’m going to be going speedy…unless I start to get near the end and think I might be able to bring it in at 30 minutes.

Braiding the overlay and attaching the fall: 2:18:14

How to make a kangaroo bull whip

I don’t think I’ve ever tried to make a 5 foot 8 plait Indy bullwhip before, so this one had some taper issues, so it took a bit longer to make it than it should have.  Now that I’ve got one under my belt I bet I could save off at least 15 minutes of braiding time…and it’d look a bit better.

Plaiting the wrist loop: 2:23:13

Buildling the heel knot foundation and attaching he wrist loop: 2:29: 34

Tying the knots: 2:42:23

5 foot bullwhip

So here’s my wrap of this little experiment.  It took me just shy of 2 hours and 45 minutes to make this bullwhip.  I could have done a better job, I cut the taper of the strands like this was an eight plait snake whip (not the taper I’d normally cut a bullwhip’s overlay with) so the plaiting isn’t very pretty.  I spent a lot of time making that taper work for this whip and I’m pretty confident I could shave off at least 15 minutes by cutting the taper correctly.  Also If I were to make two of these bet I could save 10 minutes off each whip in clean up and set up time.  However most of the time I’ll be making only one.

I think I was able to keep the “Indiana Jones” look while cutting  a few corners.  Main visual difference between this and my Indy Style Bullwhips are:

  • Plait count: This one is 8 plait where the Indy Style Bullwhips that I make are 12 plait
  • Heel Knot: This one has two passes where the Indy Style Bullwhips that I make has three…but it’s the same knot.
  • Point: This has an 8 plait point where the Indy Style Bullwhips that I make has a six plait point.
  • Wrist loop: This has a 5 plait wrist loop where the Indy Style Bullwhips that I make has a 6 plait wrist loop.

Even with those differences I think I’ve stayed true to the look.  I’ve listed this one for sale at $150 on my IN STOCK whips page.  I ever make another one of these I’d charge $200.

The  5 foot length is a great size for indoor cracking during the winter.  I was just doing arrowheads with this bullwhip in my living room (which isn’t that big)!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

5 Foot 8 Plait Indy Bullwhip…

5 Foot 8 Plait Indy Bullwhip…

Right now there’ s another whip maker that’s selling a 5 foot 8 plait bullwhip for $139 with free shipping…So after he ships the whip the whip maker is pocketing about $119 – $125.  Honestly I don’t  know how he’s making any real profit on it.  However out of curiosity I’m going to make a 5 foot 8 plait bullwhip and I’ll break out the stop watch to see how long it takes me start to finish.

Here’s what I know right now as far as costs go.

Handle: 55 cents if using a spike or $2.75 if I go with a spring steel rod

Kip:  I paid $5.50 a foot shipped for this, and I’m guessing I’ll use about 2 feet.

Kangaroo:  This was $1.30 per dm shipped and will be the largest chunk of the cost.

I actually have a couple great kangaroos skin for they both are 47 dm, which are too short for 6 foot whips, and I really don’t want to make a 10 foot whip from both of them, so this is the perfect size.

One difference is that I’m going to make this an Indy Style whip, so it will have the correct knots and wrist loop.  I haven’t decided if it’s going to be a straight eight plait or an eight plait dropping to six plait at the point.  A six plait point would be a more accurate Indiana Jones style bullwhip…but a straight eight plait would be faster and easier.

So right now before I’ve cut any leather if I make this whip with a spike my out of pocket cost is: $72.65

That cost doesn’t include things that would be hard to calculate the per piece cost like a fall, string, plaiting soap, shellac, etc…oh and you can’t forget the fees that I’ll have to pay to process payment through either paypal or though my credit card processor.  While individually they don’t cost much, their cost do add up, between all of that it’ll probably be about $5, so the out of pocket expense is $77.65

If I were to meet the other whip makers price my profit would only be $41.35.  That means I need to be able to make it start to finish in under two hours.  If I can do that my hourly wage would be $20.68 per hour…which is low for a skilled labor.  To put that in perspective my local auto shop charges $40-60 an hour labor depending on the skill of the mechanic.

If it takes me 3 hours my hourly wage drops to $13.78…now that’s still not a bad wage considering the unemployment numbers in the USA.  However I’ll put that in perspective, in my area the hourly wage for a checker at my local grocery store is $15.50 plus benefits.

Also as far as time goes I plait and cut at a respectable speed…I’m not the fastest in the world, but I do both of those at a good pace.

I’m guessing at the end of the day for something like this to be worth my time I’ll need to charge at least $200 plus shipping.

I’m very curious to see how long it takes me. I’ll be running the timer while I’m actually working on it, I plan on taking a  lot of pictures and doing updates, but I’ll stop the clock for those.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org