Making the Core of the bullwhip…

Making the Core of the bullwhip…

Alright time to get started cutting up leather for this 6 foot cowhide bullwhip. 


The first part we’re going to make is the core of the whip.  the core that I’m using for this whip will be attached to the handle and will be a “doubled core”.  That means that there will be two strips of leather that are braided inside the 1st belly (instead of just one strip).  this should give us a more dense core. 

Now if you look at the picture of the core below right now it’s one piece…but it consists of two shapes a rectangle and a triangle.  The rectangle will go around the spike and the triangle is the core that will be braided around.

bullwhip core

The rectangle measures 40mm x 10 inches. 

The Triangle is 50 mm where it touched the rectangle, so it extends 10mm above the rectangle.  The lenght of the triangle is 18 inches, so it extends 18 inches past the rectangle. 

STEP #2 

The next step it to cut the triangle into two strips to make it into a “doubled core”.  I cut the smaller strip at 10mm wide (or the part that extends past the rectangle). 

bullwhip making


Lube up the core with leather dressing / plaiting soap and pair all of the edges.  Paring is where you bevel the edges of the leather (more info on  how to pair leather can be found in Morgan’s or Edwards books)

Pairing the edges will make the core lay a bit smoother when it’s rolled inside 1st belly.


Now it’s time to attach the core to the steel spike (handle).  Use the artificial sinew to bind the core around the spike (from now on called the handle).   Bind it about an inch past the tip of the handle, rolling the core so that the smaller part is inside of the larger part of the core. 

bullwhip making core

Below is a close up of the core and transition when attached to the handle. 

how to make a bullwhip core

You’ve now finished the making the core and attaching it to the handle!

The next step is cutting out and plaiting the belly.


24 thoughts on “Making the Core of the bullwhip…

  1. hello louie

    how are you doing? first of all compliments on your site it gives much information about bullwhips. for a while now i’m working on the bullwhip from your tutorial, made from roofing rubber – it actaully costs more than leather but it’s available in good quantities for free as i work in constuction :)- i’f plaited the first belly and i’m nearly finished with the second (plaiting i’snt easy) so i began thinking about cutting the overlay, but when i chekked your site today only ‘making the core..’ is still there and the rest of the tutorial is gone :( is this is a technical problem or did you dicide to remove it? i know i need twelve strands of 5mm wide but i dont remember the lenght i’f read somewere (maybe even here) that i need 1.5 times the lenght of the finished product i’m making. if you can help me with this data i will be very grateful. i don’t know if the rubber is good whip making material but until now it looks like the pics. on your site only in black. if it does not work well, i have something nice to decorate my wall :) no w.i.p. pictures becuase i don’t have a great camera but if i ever get it finished -plaiting 12 strands :S- i send you some photographs of it :) finally some excuses for my bad typing in english i’m from the netherlands so speaking english is no problem but typing it i’m not so used to :)



    1. The page is still there, but you might have to use the search box to find it. When I updated the look of my site, it started holding back on the archives (I just noticed that two day ago) and I’m going to have to figure out how to fix it.

      Your 12 plait overlay will probably need to be wider than 5mm. Take the diameter of the whip that you want to put the overlay on and multiple it by 4.5 then divide that by 12 and you will have the approx strand width. For the length you need approx 1.5 times the finished length…so a 6 foot whip would need 9 foot strands. However if this is your first whip, I’d recommend cutting them at 1.75 or 2 times the finished length. By cutting a bit long you won’t have to worry about running out of lace.

      I’ve cracked a rubber bullwhip, personally I’m not the biggest fan of it (it’s not better than leather)…but it cracked.

    1. I hold it with my hand as I braid over it. It takes some practice and trial and error to figure out how to hold it and braid over it at the same time. Honestly I don’t know how to describe in words how I hold it and braid over it because it’s something that I just do without thinking about.


  2. Hello, I am interested in making a 9 ft. bullwhip from scratch. I could buy one, but I like to learn new trades. I found some info here on your site, but I’d like to find a great book with step by step illustrations. I see some books on your site that are for sale. Which one would you suggest that would give the best info on materials, steps, and tricks of the trade?

  3. do you have a book that can be down loaded on a home computer that shows you how to make a bull whip from begining to end sort of a bull whip making for dummies

  4. Louie, what is teh weight of your leather. It looks to be 4-6 oz. I would like to make a whip as i am into leather and someone asked m eabout making one

    1. When using cow leather to make a bullwhip I try to use the lightest I can find. Honestly I don’t remember what weight was used on this bullwhip. I’m pretty sure it was lighter than 4-6 oz.


  5. i am wanting to make my step son a real four strand leather braided bull whip can u give me step by step insructions on the braiding process

    1. Paul,

      There’s great instructions on braiding in the book How To Make Whips by Ron Edwards. The book is under $20 and he does a great job explaining everything. Plus what I’d charge you to write up a step by step tutorial would end up being more than what he charges and that book is ready now, where I’d need some lead time to write and take pics.


  6. Sir I want to thank you very much for posting that comment about the whips being sold on ebay. I have made up my mind that I am going to learn how to braid and or make a bull whips like yourself Berni who has given his videos on making a whip unselfishly and does not ask for a dime and others like Soucie whom are masters at this craft, but because of the high cost of kangaroo hide it made it nearly impossible to obtain. And last night I was going to contact you and ask if you sold kits which you do but after reading the post I went to ebay and low and behold there they were 10 to 12 ft kangaroo bullwhips for the ridiculous low price. At first I was skeptical but reading the ad convince me they were and are for real. Many thanks because I broke down and bought a black one that I fell in love with at first sight. etrevino

  7. You were right, it was not at all what they described it to be. It has been a nightmare in trying to return it. I am going to learn a make them myself. I wish I would of read your post sooner. I have purchased the books you suggest and they are great. Now all I need is to buy the leather.

  8. Thanks Louie but how do i know if I need to do that, and how do i judge how much to add?
    Do you know how I can decide how long the handle should be??

    1. The easiest way to find out how long a handle or how much weight to add is to make a whip and crack it. Then adjust it to how you want it to crack. A good starting point with handle length is what you like to crack. Do you like a whip with a short or long handle?


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