I was looking at what was left of a side of veg tanned cowhide that I had kicking around and realized it was just big enough to make a few signal whips. So yesterday I made some shot bags and plaited up one of the signal whips (it still needs a turkshead):
This Economy Signal Whip is 4 plait and four feet long. I just gave it a few cracks in my living room and it’s got a great crack!
I’m trying to come up with interesting whip related content right now because I’m keeping all the updates for the current bullwhip that I’m working on for the Choose Your Own Bullwhip ebay auction exclusively on the auction listing. You can view this whip’s progress at: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220965764135
Here’s a video of a very unique bullwhip, it’s used by Mel B of the Spice Girls:
I had the same idea of putting a mic in a bullwhip while ago and I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t do it because it had already been done!
You can also see her rockin’ a bullwhip on Dancing with the Stars. It’s at the 3:13 mark:
I’m running low on plaiting soap, so I picked up a few ingredients at the store today:
If you’ve never made plaiting soap to lubricate the strands of lace while making a whip it’s pretty easy. I have a container that I fill with water and dump into a stock pot. I have no idea how much water it holds, it’s pretty much the unit of measurement I’ve used ever since I started to customize David Morgan’s plaiting soap recipe for what I liked. I start heating that up and then I cut up about half of the box of lard and toss it into the stock pot. Then I take three bars of the Ivory soap and grate it in to the stock pot. I let it boil until everything is melted occasionally hitting it with a hand mixer.
Finally I let it cool off, but every now and then I give it a quick stir with the hand mixer to keep it from separating. Once it’s a solid it’s good to go!
Choose Your Own Bullwhip Update
My Choose Your Own Bullwhip experiment on ebay is moving along. I have the outer belly cut out and attached to the handle, you can see pics of this on the auction listing at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220965764135. Today I’ll plait the outer belly and probably some time tomorrow I’ll cut out and attach the outer bolster.
My ebay experiment where I make a bullwhip to the spec’s of the current highest bidder is still going on.. For me one of the biggest challenges is making this whip over 7-10 days. Normally I can do an 8 foot 12 plait bullwhip in about 1 1/2 to 2 days.
While this auction is going on I’m going to answer some emails that have come in:
Question: How can i get those bullwhips? I’m from philippines.
Answer: Simply order whatever you want from my online bullwhip store and choose the International Shipping option. You can view the online catalog at: http://bullwhips.org/bullwhip_store/
Question: I have a question when it a good time to call you?
Answer: Anytime! I have an irregular schedule so no time is better than any other. If I don’t answer leave a message.
Question: I just bought a leather rounder on Ebay and I was hoping you could tell me how I should use it?
Answer: Basically you pull leather through it. I’ll try over the next couple of days to make a little video of how to use a leather rounder and post it here on my blog.
Question: Regarding the spring steel, I tied on a core to one of the spring steel rods the other day, and it was quite difficult to get it secure! What I’ll do next time is use a file or something similar to rough the steel up…the file thing would be much quicker. You’ve mentioned before gluing the core on, do you just use leather cement like you can get at Tandy or something else?
Answer: When securing the core to a smooth steel handle foundation I currently use artificial sinew only. I pull it very tight! I’ve heard I have a fairly unique way that I pull my string tight and I talk about this briefly on the DVD that comes with my Stock Whip Kit. However my string pulling method isn’t necessary, just pull very tight!
You can try using leather cement and I used to do that and occasionally still do.
As for roughing up the steel, I would advise against it. Inside no matter how tightly you bind it there will slight bits of movement inside the whip and the roughed up steel will wear away at the leather. Over time the amount sanded off the leather could then lead to what was once tightly bound to be loosely bound do to the sanded down material. Is this a realistic concern? Depends. If you intend a whip to be used for 3 year or so then no, it’s not a big deal. However if you want to think ahead to a whip that might be around and still in use for 30 years then it is.
There are a few differences between my finished project and the one above, however the main one is that I removed the “barbs” from the sting ray barb. This for me was purely a safety issue, the guy who I got the sting ray barb from sent me a long email warning me about how nasty getting one of them in your hand can be. I didn’t want anyone to accidentally stab themselves with a barb while opening the cable bill!
Also the plaited hand grip was achieved not by braiding in the traditional whip making sense. It’s actually tied like a turks head. For me that was a fun challenge because I don’t do long knots very often. The know is a 6 bight knot and I didn’t count the parts before I put the turks heads on the ends, so I don’t now the number of parts. However I do know that it’s be a 24 plait if I was counting like it was braided.
For me covering it with lace tied as a knot took a lot longer than if I were to plait over it, however I was making this for fun, not to see how fast I could make it!
The overall length is a hair shorter than 11 inches with the sting ray barb being about 5 inches.
Today I started a very unique and interactive bullwhip auction on ebay. Here’s the idea:
During the course of a 10 day auction I will build a bullwhip based on an 8 foot 12 plait framework. The highest bidder can choose spec’s that they want for their custom bullwhip. So if the highest bidder would like it 16 plait with no wrist loop and a plaited pattern on the handle they simply contact me and I update the current listing. However if you don’t like what the current high bidder has set for the spec’s you outbid them and contact me with what you want for the new spec.
Honestly I don’t know how people will react to this listing and I think it’s a fun experiment to see what people want in a bullwhip. The ebay listing is live now and you can start bidding now, but work won’t start until tomorrow (3/1/12) so that people can have a chance to bid and pic things like handle length or overall bullwhip length.
Over the weekend I started work on a shorter bullwhip which was originally intended to be 4 feet long, but I ended up making 4 1/2 feet long. The inspiration for this bullwhip internally was the Terry Jacka bullwhip that came in for repair. I was thinking about how he uses a split leather for the internal layers of his bullwhips and how that’s one of the reasons why his whips can get so heavy.
So this bullwhip that I made has a core, belly and bolster from split leather, however the 2nd bolster is veg tanned cowhide with a kangaroo overlay. The reason the last internal layer wasn’t split was that I wanted a smooth surface to plait over to allow me to pull a bit tighter when making this whip, while still getting the “rough on rough” effect on all the internal layers.
This bullwhip has a slightly thicker profile than my shorter bullwhips normally have, but it’s not that thick. I think this bullwhip’s in the hand weight feels closer to a 6 foot whip, however it’s actual weight is no where near a 6 foot bullwhip.
It’s got a great crack as well:
I also wanted to do some patterns on the handle of this bullwhip:
However I wanted a two tone handle and I had several options for methods that I could think of:
Hand dye the handle portion of six of the strands.
Braid the handle with 6 red and 6 black strands, then secure the 6 black at the end of the handle and add in 6 additional red strands at the end of the handle for the 12 plait overlay.
Add black strands on top of some of the red strands on the handle.
I chose to go with the last option mainly because it’s something that I hadn’t done before. I cut 6 pieces of lace and using a fid I followed the pattern going one way. Here’s a pic of adding the black after a few strands were added:
And the handle with all the strands added:
I did learn a few things that I didn’t anticipate when I started adding the second color to the handle. Mainly that I should have cut everything a hair wider to deal with the slightly increased diameter of the handle once the extra layer was added. Also that adding lace over something that is already plaited is a pain in the butt, and it probably would have been easier to plait two piece of lace on top of each other from the beginning.
Here’s the finished bullwhip:
This bullwhip is available on my IN STOCK whips page!
Recently someone who had bought one of my Make Your Own Stock Whip Kits emailed me to let me know that they they so much fun making their first stock whip that they wanted to make another one. They had bought a kangaroo skin, but hadn’t cut it up yet. They asked if they could send it to me and if I could cut it up for an 8 plait stock whip and send it back. I agreed and this is what showed up in the mail yesterday:
This kangaroo skin is veg tanned and based on the finish I’m pretty sure it’s the stuff from Tandy Leather Factory. The kangaroo from Tandy isn’t drum stuffed (which means has dressing worked into it while spinning in a giant drum) so it need an even coat of dressing.
Putting dressing on kangaroo can be a bit tricky, if you put to much in one spot it can give you a darker more discolored patch. Since this skin has now been cut up I would put a bit of dressing on my hand and run the lace through my hand applying a light coat and let that soak in before applying more (if needed). By adding some dressing that will reduce a bit of stretch when plaiting and increase the life of the finished whip.
Yesterday I cut up the kangaroo skin into all the kangaroo parts for an 8 plait kangaroo stock whip:
And after cutting it out there was still a good chunk of kangaroo leftover (probably enough for a 3 or 4 foot signal whip) and this is getting shipped back along with the kangaroo stock whip kit.
I just had a Jacka bullwhip come in for a repair. The bullwhip’s owner said a mouse had chewed through several strands on the lash of the bullwhip. The bullwhip’s owner agreed to lashing over the damaged portion after being presented with several options to fix the strands.
Here’s the bullwhip after having the lashing applied:
While lashing is something that you can visually see, I did some shopping around to try to find an appropriate waxed cord that was a close color match to the color of the lash of the bullwhip. The waxed cord I found was a couple of shades darker brown than the lash of the whip, however it looks better than using the standard colors of white or black.
I was cleaning up the other day and found a small piece of stingray that I had bought a long time ago. It was only about 6 inches long, so I’m not sure what my original plan was for it because it’s not long enough for an 8 inch bullwhip handle. After finding it I decided to make a Mini Bullwhip.
This Mini Bullwhip is 4 feet long has a plaited belly, a shot loaded core and a 5.5 inch handle. Originally I was going to do a two tone knot on this Mini Bullwhip like the transition knot in the picture below.
My original thinking was a white highlights would compliment the stingrays white pearl. After I tied that knot I realized it overpowered the white in the stingray. So I decided to go with all black knots.
I still need to roll this whip and shellac it. It should be listed for sale on my IN STOCK whips page later today.
I’ve had this idea kicking around in my head for a while for a bullwhip trick and today I finally went out and got some of the stuff needed to do it. The idea is based on the old science stunt that used a bottle, hoop and bean. Here’s a quick video of the basic inertia stunt: http://youtu.be/uOSBC0SXVR4
However my idea was to use a whip instead of your hand to knock the hoop off the bottle. Also using diet coke instead of water in the bottle and putting a Mentos candy on top. In case you don’t know what happens when you put Mentos into diet coke here’s a quick video: http://youtu.be/9vk4_2xboOE
So the idea is to do the old science inertia stunt and have the foamy payoff of the Mentos and Diet Coke stunt. Combining two things unrelated stunts to create one new stunt was shown to me by a Magician named Billy McComb when he was in the Seattle about 15 years ago. I’ve carried that thinking from creating magic tricks to tricks with a bullwhip.
Tomorrow I’m going to go out and buy some Diet Coke and Mentos and do it for real!
P.S. Sorry for not embedding the videos, my blog is behaving strangely this morning and doing weird things when I try to embed video, so for (hopefully only) this post you’ll have to click links.