4th Annual Bullwhip Demo at SANCA

4th Annual Bullwhip Demo at SANCA

A couple of days ago John Leonetti, Will Morgan and I did our Fourth Annual Bullwhip Demo at SANCA Seattle.  This year we added Restita DeJesus as one of the instructors!  The demo ran about two hours, the first  half was classroom style and covered topics like:

  • Whip History
  • Different Types of Whips
  • Caring for a Whip
  • Safety
  • Short Demos

After the first half we broke into two groups and taught the basic cattleman’s crack to everyone and then the last few minute we regrouped and chatted about everyone’s whip cracking experience.

Here are the pictures that I took:

Here’s a video of Will doing a comedy body wrap, John doing some bullwhip cracking ending with a body wrap on me:

One piece of advice that was shared in this Bullwhip Demo was that if you are new to whip cracking or even a more experienced whip cracker you should try to find a whip group to crack whips with.  You can learn a lot and one of the best things is that you can try whips from all sorts of different makers!  Most major cities have some sort of whip enthusiasts group or western group.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Dog Leads!

Dog Leads!

I was cleaning up yesterday and I found a bunch of dog leads that I had made about a year ago.  All of these are cowhide leather except for one that’s kangaroo.  I had originally made about two dozen or so of these and sold them at a craft fair that benefited the preschool my daughter used to go to.  These are the ones that were unsold after the craft fair and I put them away and forgot about them.

These dog leads are made from veg tanned leather which is an environmentally friendly tanning process.  That’s something important to look for in any dog lead, something that’s not made with potentially poisonous chemicals that could potentially lead to health problems down the road for your dog.  So many of the leather dog leads that are mass produced and imported from places like India don’t tell you how the leather was tanned and you don’t know what you are getting.

Making dog leads is a good way to get use up smaller bits of leather that are left over from whip making.  I’ve listed these on my Dog Leads page.  All of these are in stock and ready to ship out!

One day I’ll make an in stock page for all the little odds and ends that I make with my left over kangaroo lace.  These are things like key fobs, bracelets, mini-horse tack, etc.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Finished Stock Whip!

Finished Stock Whip!

Yesterday before heading out to visit family for Christmas Dinner I managed to sneak in a few minutes to make the handle for the stock whip.  Here’s the finished stock whip on my handle:

stock whip

The handle is 20 inches and the lash is 5 feet.  I didn’t add lead or anything to this stock whip because with a 5 foot lash I didn’t think it was necessary.  The lash of a 5 foot stock whip is lighter than the lash of a 5 foot bullwhip even though the stock whip lash is longer (because of how I measure them).

Here’s what I am using to as my base line for making cowhide leather stock whips are two other stock whips that I have:

stock whips

These stock whip are:

  • Left: The one I made
  • Center: Peter Jack (The Whip Man) –  Stock Whip kit
  • Right: SKT Whips

By comparing the whip that I made to the one that Peter Jack cut out and I plaited and the one by SKT whips that was made entirely by SKT whips it give me a good idea as to how my stock whip compares.   I know I am using a very different method for making my stock whip than Peter Jack and SKT Whips, but method doesn’t concern me as much as the final results,  how it cracks.

I was also digging through my whips and it turns out I have and have made a lot more stock whips than I thought previously.  By “a lot more” it’s something like 5 or 6 stock whips instead of 2 or 3 stock whips.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Stock Whip…

Stock Whip…

Yesterday I made the lash for a cowhide stock whip.  This one is 5 feet long has a core, plaited belly and 4 plait overlay.   Also FYI if I recall correctly technically this is a yard whip not a stock whip.

For this stock whip I cut out the core at 2.5 feet and it flares out to approx 35mm at the 6 inch point then tapering to a point at 2.5 feet.

Stock whip

Next I cut out the set for the belly:

Stock whip for sale

These started at about 9mm and tapered to a point at about 6.5 feet.  Next I braided the belly:

stock whip plaited belly

After braiding the belly I cut a hole in the yoke and trimmed it to make it attached to the stock whip handle. Next I cut out the overlay:

stock whip

These were initially cut at about 19 mm tapering to a point at about 7.5 feet.  However in paring I took a good 2 mm off of each strand. Finally I plaited the overlay, attached the fall and stuck it on an SKT Stock Whip handle:

stock whip - skt whips handle

Stock whip - 4 plait cowhide with plaited belly

I still need to make my own handle for this stock whip.  I put my lash on the SKT stock whip handle was that I wanted to crack it right away!  This whip has a good crack, but I think it can be improved.  I’m going to have a bit more weight out in the  point of it.  That will give it a bit more oomph!

Currently I have something like 5 heavy cane handles and 3 slightly lighter cane handles.  So that means my I’ll get a handle for this stock whip, then two pairs of stock whips.  After that I’ll try to make one half plait handle with a kangaroo lash and finally a pair of kangaroo stock whips with half plait handles.

I was sort of amazed at how quickly I was able to make this stock whip lash.  Honestly I really shouldn’t be that amazed because there’s not much to it (compared to a bullwhip with two bellies, two bolsters and a higher plait count).

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Another 16 plait bullwhip is finished!

Another 16 plait bullwhip is finished!

Yesterday I finished making the other 16 plait two tone bullwhip!  This bullwhip was cut out the same time as the last one, but I didn’t immediately bang it out.   This bullwhip is 6.5 feet long and made in black and saddle tan kangaroo.

bullwhip for sale

Here’s a close up of the handle:

Plaited pattern in handle

Another thing that I did with this bullwhip was putting a couple of plaited patterns in the lash.  I’ve never really don that aside from right off the end of the handle.  Here’s the birds eye plait:

Bullwhip for sale

And here’s the 2 X 2 squares:

Plaited pattern in whip's lash

With this bullwhip I took a lot of care as to how I got into and out of different patterns on the whip.  So that the plaiting flows well and symmetrically into and out of the different patterns on both the handle and the lash.

bullwhip

Here’s a close up of the coiled lash:

bullwhip for sale

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

The next few whips that I’m planning to make are going to be stock whips.  In the past I’ve only made a few stock whips and they are something that I’d like to make more of and eventually a pair for myself.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Plaited Kangaroo belt…

Plaited Kangaroo belt…

Yesterday I made a plaited kangaroo belt and today I put on the finishing touches.  The reason that I’m making this belt (which is for me!) is because we’re going on a cruise soon and my normal belt has a buckle.  I hate having to take my buckle on and off when going through the airport’s or the boat’s metal detectors.  So I picked up some plastic D Rings from David Morgan and this will be my travel belt.

Originally this started as a 15 plait belt:

15  plait kangaroo belt

However after getting about 4 inches into it and comparing it to the D Rings that I was using I decided the belt needed to be a bit wider.  I ended up adding two more strands to it making it end up as a 17 plait belt.

It’s a bit hard to see in the picture above, but this belt isn’t just a flat checkerboard plait.  It’s what Ron Edwards calls a Little Snake Plait in 15 plait and when I moved it  up to 17 plait Ron calls it a Brown Snake Plait.

To make a belt like this one the info in the books Little Snake and Stockmen’s Plaited Belts by Ron Edwards will teach you everything you need to know.

Ron Edwards

If you don’t have many of Ron’s books and do any plaiting you really should consider getting them.  You can find them at: http://ramsskullpress.com.  He’s got a lot more that’s of use to a whip maker than just the book How to Make Whips!

In the past I’ve only made a couple of plaited belts, so this was fun for me.  This belt was also the first time I’ve reversed the strands so that when the belt is threaded through the D Rings you don’t see the backside of the kangaroo.  Below are picks of the front and back side of the belt:

Plaited belt

Plaited belt

You can also see the attached plaited keeper on the belt.  When I was shellacing this plaited belt between coats I gave it a hit of Leather Honey.

This stuff is pretty cool, you put a bit on a sponge and wipe it on.  I’ve used Leather Honey on several things and it’s great for finishing  flat plaiting, on bullwhip falls and I’ve started using it on the bolsters and cores of the last couple of bullwhips that I’ve made.

Here’s the finished 17 plait belt:

17 plait Belt

stockmens belt

You may notice the variation in the color of the kangaroo lace in the belt. That’s because this was made from leftover kangaroo skin centers.  This plaited belt was made from three different kangaroo skins.  I kinda like the different shades of tan, it gives it a bit of texture!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

British Pathe – Old Tyme Newsreels!

British Pathe – Old Tyme Newsreels!

When I was looking for video of people taking tops off of bottles I found this cool website called http://www.britishpathe.com.

british path

It’s got old newsreel video and there’s a bunch on whip cracking.  Here’s what I found:

It’s interesting to see what people used to do for whip tricks, where pretty much everyone did very similar things and now with creative whip performers like Dante and Chris Camp there’s a lot more variety in whip performance!

Inspired by the old newsreels I tried opening a bottle of champagne (OK, it was sparkling wine) with a bullwhip…it’s pretty dramatic:


Louie
P.S. FYI the video in the last post isn’t 100% legit.  While technically the soda is sealed, I altered the cap and the bottle and resealed it with a bottle capper.   Still it looks great!

http://bullwhips.org

Opening a Soda Bottle with a Bullwhip!

Opening a Soda Bottle with a Bullwhip!

One of the classic tricks with a bullwhip that you read about are people “Knocking the top off a bottle with a bullwhip”.  The first time I remember reading that trick in my mind the person was opening a bottle, not merely knocking a a cap that was placed on top of it of.

Here’s a video of the Seattle Snapdragon’s bullwhip group and in the second half of it you see them trying to knock the top off of a bottle…but it’s an opened bottle with the cap set upside down on top:

And here’s a link to an old time news reel that shows a guy knocking the stopper (cork) out of a bottle: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=10509 The bottle trick is showN at the beginning and again in slow motion at the end. And this one has a clearer view of another performer knocking the cork out of a bottle: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=65287
Finally here’s Dan Hassett knocking the cork out of a bottle while on horse back: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=28283
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of actually opening a bottle with a bullwhip.  I don’t know what recently got me thinking about this, but it’s been in my head for the last few weeks. Unfortunately the Seattle weather has been to wet to go out and try it, but that gave me time to think it through.  I’m using a long neck Coke bottle instead of a beer bottle with a shorter neck.  Also the coke bottle is made from fairly thick glass on the neck compare to a beer bottle.  For a bullwhip I’m using  a fairly heavy four foot bullwhip that’s kangaroo and only 4 plait.  I use this bullwhip for a lot of tricks where there can be abrasive damage to the bullwhip.

Finally after a lot of thought I tried opening a bottle and here’s my first attempt:


Honestly I’m amazed that I got it on the first try, that’s why after I opened the bottle I stand there doing nothing, I’m stunned!

Hope you liked it!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Another Two Tone Bullwhip…

Another Two Tone Bullwhip…

My current project is another two tone bullwhip. This one is also black and saddle tan and 16 plait with some designs in the handle.

16 plait bullwhip

I’ve got it plaited to the 3 foot mark and today I should have time to get some more work on it done!

Also today is the last day to order anything IN STOCK if you want it delivered by Christmas (in the USA) and today is the last day that everything IN STOCK is 10% off.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org