Bullwhips – Handmade by Louie

Making the 1st plaited belly…

December 22nd, 2007

It’s time to make the 1st plaited belly of this bullwhip. 

STEP #1

We need to cut out the set for the 1st plaited belly.  The set for this will consist of a yoke and 4 strands.  the yoke will measure 52 mm x 9 inches and each strand will be 13mm. 

What I do first is mark out on the  hide the yoke and put little dots where the belly strands will be.

making a bullwhip belly

If you look at the picture above you can see the outline for the yoke and the dots that mark the widths of the strands.  The line on the right of the pictures is about where the core will end when the belly is plaited.  This mark is 27 inches past the end of the handle yoke. 

In theory a strand needs to be 1.5 times as long as the thing that they are braided around.  So the core is 18 inches and 18 times 1.5 is 27 inches.  The mark gives  me a visual guide while cutting, so I know when it’s save to taper a bit more when cutting. 

the strands total length is going to be at least 45 inches.  27 inches to cover the the core and 18 inches to extend past the core for the filler for the 2nd belly.  I try to cut my strands a bit longer than I need to because I can always shorten them, but once they are cut out, you can never make them longer. 

4 plait bullwhip belly

So the strands start at 13mm each and taper to a point at 45 inches.  Make the taper for the first 27 inches fairly slow…and for the rest of the strand too.  You can always trim the strands to make them thinner if they are too thick, you can’t make them wider once you cut them out.

STEP #2

Lube up the set for the 1st belly with plaiting soap or leather dressing and let is soak in and wipe off any excess.

STEP # 3

Pare the 4 belly strands on opposite corners.  In this little tutorial I’m not going into detail into things like paring because I’m assuming you already know how to do it.  you can learn it from the whipmaking books currently on the market.

STEP# 4

It’s time to attach the 1st  belly to the handle of the whip. Bind this layer over the core layer to the handle with the artificial sinew. 

4 plait belly attached to bullwhip handle

STEP #5

Now it’s time to braid the 1st belly.  I’m going to assume that you already know how to braid, or at least have access to a book that will teach you how to.  In the future I may do a quick video on how to braid…but now now.  You can learn how to braid from David Morgan’s book braiding fine leather

Bullwhips making for sale

Plait the 4 strands until you get to the end of the core then tie them off.  We’ll be untieing them later, so tie them firmly, but loosely. 

STEP #6

Roll the 1st belly between two boards to make the plaiting round and it will also smooth out the belly. Board rolling is very important because if you skip it your will will end up being oval or spiral shaped.  Those aren’t good characteristics in a whip.

Congratulations you’ve just made the 1st belly of a bullwhip. 

2 Responses to “Making the 1st plaited belly…”

  1. Anna Wall

    Hello.. I would really like instructions on how to braid a whip in the way you have.
    would really appreciate it // Anna

  2. admin

    Get David Morgan’s book called Braiding Fine Leather to learn to braid. Learn the simple projects in that book. Once you have some braiding experience my book will help you out: http://bullwhips.org/bullwhip_store/viewitem.php?groupid=6&productid=20

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