There are many different types of whips, from snake whips to floggers to bull whips. This post is going to talk about the differences of the four of the main types of whips used by whip crackers. Notice I said whip crackers, that means I’ve narrowed it down to whips typically used by Sport Whip Crackers. So I’m not going to get into things used by lifestyle whip community like floggers etc.
The four whips that I’m going to show are Snake Whips, Signal Whips, Stock Whips and Bullwhips. Also a quick not to mention that quite often Signal Whips are called Single Tail Whips by people in the lifestyle whip community, however technically any whip with one lash is a single tail whip. So a bullwhip is a Single Tail Whip, however most sport whip crackers don’t refer to them as single tail whip.
A little while ago I made what I’m calling a Whip Sampler Pack which was a snake whip, signal whip, bull whip and a stock whip. All four whips are 4 feet long and made in 12 plait kangaroo. Here are all four of them together:
Now lets talk about the qualities of each whip.
Bullwhip: A bull whip has a rigid handle, plaited lash which is permanently attached to the handle, fall and cracker. These are typically measured from the end of the butt of the handle to the end of the fall hitch. So the fall and cracker are not included in its length
Signal Whip: A signal whip has a flexible handle, plaited lash that is permanently attached to the handle and a plaited cracker. I’ve found there is a lot of variation in how these are measured. Some whip makers measure the entire length from the butt of the handle to the end of the cracker. Others only measure the braided leather portion. This slight variation in measurement can give you a variation of 6 ish inches in the overall length of the whip. So if the exact size is very important, talk to you whip maker to see how they measure it.
Stock Whip: A stock whip has a rigid handle, plaited lash that is NOT permanently attached to the handle, fall and cracker. So you can remove the handle or lash and put a new one one when the old gets worn out. The longer handle gives you a lot more leverage than a shorter handle when whip cracking. These are typically measures by the length of the lash only. For example 4 foot signal whip is the 4 foot lash, plus the handle, fall and cracker giving you a whip with an overall length much longer than four feet!
Snake Whip: A snake whip has a flexible handle, plaited lash that is permanently attached to the handle, fall and a cracker. These are typically measured from the butt of the handle to the fall hitch.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of whips? Mainly length and leverage. For a example a stock whip is going to have a 20ish inch handle which will give you a lot more leverage in your crack than the shorter bullwhip handle. However the bullwhip’s shorter handle will give you more leverage than the non existent rigid handle in a snake or signal whip. However if portability is a concern then the snake or signal whip with no handle will easily coil up and fit into a handbag. If space is an issue, like for lifestyle whip crackers then the shorter whip like a signal whip is a better choice than a something like a stock whip.
What does that all mean to you?
Honestly I don’t know what your goals with whip cracking are, so I don’t know what you want to use it for. If it’s for sport cracking and you have been bitten by the whip bug then at some point you will probably try all of these whips. Since they are all different they will all give you different whip cracking challenges!