Earlier this week I had a visit with Joe Strain and as always after those visits my technique improves a little bit by some of the techniques that I pick up from him.
One thing that Joe helped me fix was the width of my strands. I was cutting pretty wide on my handles and beginning of the thong. The reason I started cutting wide was that I was trying to reduce gaps in the handle/thong transition area. I was starting to get a gaps that I had to go back and fix. Now how I think, if I have a gap in the plaiting, that means my strand was too thin…right?
Joe suggested that I cut thinner and guess what, I had no problem with gaps on the whip that I just made!
Another thing I noticed about Joe Strain is that he’s an artist! For example when I make a whip I measure a lot of stuff (bolsters etc) he does much of his work by eye and it’s perfect! The whip that I just finished I cut all my bolsters by eye and I was very much surprised that I was faster and more accurate than the labor intensive measuring that I’ve been doing.
Right I’m trying something new to reinforce the handle thong transition. Normally the core of my whip flares out, so it’s the diameter of the handle, the once it gets to the end of the handle foundation it gets about 10mm wider. With this bullwhip what I did was put a piece of wear leather below that. That seems to really smooth out that sharp drop off the handle and give a very stiff transition.
I also used a piece of spring steel for the handle of this bullwhip. Keep in mind that spring steel is different from a regular steel rod that you’d get at a hardware store. If you take a thin piece of a regular steel rod from your hardware store and try to bend it with your hands you can. Now if you use just a piece of plain ol’ steel as a whip handle it could bend over time. Spring steel will always return to it’s original shape unless it either snaps in half or your heat it to over 600 degrees and reshape it. There’s very little chance that you are going to exert enough force on your bullwhip handle to snap the steel, or get it over 600 degrees, so spring steel is a superior choice for bullwhip handle (over a comparable regular steel rod).
This comparison doesn’t apply to using a spike because the spikes that are most commonly used are soo thick that bending or snapping isn’t an issue.
Here’s the wear leather on the spring steel rod:
Next is the inner 4 plait kangaroo belly:
And then the inner bolster is attached:
And the outer 4 plait kangaroo belly is finished:
Of course I roll the bullwhip between two boards after each plaited layer to get a nice round bullwhip. Then I add the final bolster and start braiding the overlay:
The finished overlay with fall attached:
After the overlay is finished, I put some lead in the butt and add the wrist loop:
The heel knot is tied:
Then I build up a foundation for the transition knot:
and tie the transition knot:
At this point all that is left is to roll the knots and shellac the bullwhip. Here’s the finished bullwhip:
I’ve listed this bullwhip for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.