Paracord Bullwhip

Paracord Bullwhip

I’ve never really had any desire to make whips out of paracord however the other day I was at the hardware store and they have some 550 parcord on sale.  I bought a enough of it to make a 6 foot whip.

Here’s my first try, it’s not as pretty as I’d like, but I was mainly testing out my design:



Here’s me giving it a few test cracks:

I was amazed at how well the whip cracked…however I’ve got a few tweaks to make on the design.

From what I’ve read or been told by paracord whip makers is that most paracord whips have a multiple belly construction with no traditional (leather style) bolsters.  I wanted my whip to act more like a leather bullwhip and so my construction method was a bit different.

I started by making a shotbag out of vinyl and attaching it to the handle.   Then I put a 4 plait vinyl belly over that and a vinyl bolster over the belly.  That gave me an internal weight similar to a bullwhip, however due to the diameter of my shot bag it was a bit heavier than I would have liked.  Then I put on the 16 plait overlay, in retrospect I should have made it an 18 plait whip, I’ve got some gaps in the plaiting because of this.  The main reason for sticking to 16 plait was that’s all the paracord I bought.

Here’s what I’ve learned about paracord and what I would do a bit differently next time:

1. Use the wider 650 paracord.

2. Wear some sort of gloves while braiding.

Here’s what I don’t like about paracord:

1. The paracord tells you what to do.  For example with leather I can make whip that is 8 plait the whole length of the whip and have the whip of virtually any diameter.  With paracord the whips diameter tells you what the starting and ending plait count will be.

2. Tears up my hands.  It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten blisters from plaiting, but my hands have them today and they are sore!

So the big question for me is will I make another paracord whip?  I guess so.  I’m going to probably tweak my design a bit to see if I can dial it in to where I’d like the whip to be.  I just ordered some paracord from UBraidIt: and use the coupon code MAY14 which is good for 10% off till June 7th.

We’ll see if the future has more than a handful of paracord whips in it for me….


4 thoughts on “Paracord Bullwhip

  1. Nice Louie. I’m happy to see you make something in synthetic.
    It’s a stretch to say that Most nylon bullwhips don’t have bolsters, though I prefer to make them without a lot of people use various materials, including vinyl, nylon cloth or tape, etc. If you ever decide to wax your synthetic whips, the vinyl may block the wax from penetrating to the core of the whip.
    If you decide not to wax them, consider pre-shrinking the paracord as many colors will shrink when they get wet, and different batches and colors do not shrink the same amount, creating a twist in the thong, or a stiff thong.

    1. Hey Jonathan,

      I’ve never talked to a nylon whip maker that uses a more traditional leather style “giant triangle” type of bolster which lead me to think it was uncommon. I know a lot of people that use tape.

      According to UBraidIt if you remove the core then you don’t need to preshrink:
      “Paracord — The Shrinkage Factor
      It is worthwhile to note that parachute cord will shrink if it gets wet (approximately 10% to 12% for black and kelly green). To avoid the heartache of items being drastically reduced in size or the appearance of an uneven braid, we recommend pre-shrinking all of the cord before braiding. Note: It is the inner filler cord that shrinks, therefore it is not necessary to pre-shrink when filler cord is removed.”

      Is that correct? Or should I soak it anyway to be safe?


  2. You should definitely soak it to be safe. We’ve done a lot of experiments and although everyone that sells paracord says it’s only the inner strands that shrink, testing has proven conclusively that it just ain’t so.
    I almost always wax mine, which pretty much takes care of the problem, but if you prefer un-waxed, better to pre-shrink it.

    In one test, on “sand” colored cord, I took two 12 inch sections off the spool and removed the inner strands, soaked one, and left the other alone.
    The soaked one shrank to 11 and 5/8 inches.
    Pulling on both strands as hard as I could, I was able to stretch the un-shrunk 12″ section out to 13 and 1/4 inches.
    The shrunken strand I was only able to stretch out 12 and 3/4 inches.

    Shrink tests on various colors (all from the same manufacturer) gave results anywhere from half that effect to about twice that effect.

    In general, so far I have found that the “Acid” colors tend to shrink less than the other colors, and black seems to shrink more than most others.

    Re: triangle shaped bolsters, yes, I’m sorry, you are correct. Not many people that I know of use that. The one person that I knew to use that method regularly (using a nylon material) is no longer making whips. A couple of other people use it it but I believe they only do it occasionally.

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