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