Cutting out a Bullwhip

Cutting out a Bullwhip

Yesterday I cut out the strands for an 8 plait bullwhip.  Here’s what the process looks like:

It looks like my schedule should allow me to do most of the plaiting today and with a bit of luck probably get the whole bullwhip finished.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Finished Bullwhip and Bullwhip in Progress!

Finished Bullwhip and Bullwhip in Progress!

Yesterday I put the knots on another five foot 8 plait bullwhip:

bullwhip

This bullwhip has a 10 inch handle and my goal with these is to make a nice entry level kangaroo bullwhip. These five foot bullwhips would be great for beginners to learn on. Normally I’ve got them price at about $240, but right now I have them on sale for $199.97 on my IN STOCK whips page.

Yesterday I also started work on two more 5 foot 8 plait bullwhips.  I’m cutting them out at the same time, but making them one at a time.  The one I’m currently making has all the internal layers finished and is waiting for me to cut out the overlay:

bullwhip

I should at least get the overlay cut out today and hopefully get all the strand prep finished as well with plaiting starting tomorrow.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

You Can’t Believe Everything on the Internet!

You Can’t Believe Everything on the Internet!

Every now and then I post links to youtube videos of people cracking whips.  Some are good videos, but mostly I post links to the less than good ones to point out misconceptions about whips and whip cracking.  The person in today’s video sure thinks he knows a lot about whips, and is doing whip cracking a disservice by spreading these inaccurate “facts”.

Before I get to the video, here’s what’s in the description of the youtube listing:

A bullwhip is a single-tailed whip, usually made of braided leather, which was originally used as a tool for working with livestock.

Bullwhips are pastoral tools, traditionally used to control livestock in open country. A bullwhip’s length, flexibility, and tapered design allows it to be thrown in such a way that, toward the end of the throw, part of the whip exceeds the speed of sound—thereby creating a small sonic boom.[1] Many modern “sport” whip crackers claim that the bullwhip was rarely, if ever, used to strike cattle, but this is a matter for debate.

All those faces make it seem like the person in the video will know what they are talking about.  The video is under 3 minutes, but it feels much longer than that when you are watching it.  Here’s the video:

Here’s what is way wrong in my opinion:

1.  Length:  He says it’s a 6 foot whip that’s worn down to 4 foot.  Well in total length yes…but how a bullwhip is typically measured it’s started a 4 foot whip and is still a 4 foot whip.

2. Durability:  He says a leather bullwhip will “destroy itself the more you use it”.  This is 100% false, a poorly maintained bullwhip will get ruined…but that’s not the bullwhips fault.  Also keep in  mind that a bullwhip like anything, you car, your home, your pants, your body, pretty much anything will wear itself out the more it’s used.  That’s where proper care comes in.

3.  Cracker:  He says “it’s been reduced to one cracker”, I don’t even  know what the heck that means.  Typically the highest number of crackers a bullwhip can have is ONE!   Also he’s referring to the bullwhip’s fall as a cracker and the whip has no cracker, so technically this bullwhip has been reduced to ZERO crackers.

4. Practice Makes Perfect:  He says, “practice makes perfect and you can see I’ve been practicing”.  Here’s the thing about the saying practice makes perfect, it’s wrong.  There’s a better saying, “perfect practice makes perfect” which means you have to be practicing correctly.  If I want to practice my golf swing and I swing the club like it’s a baseball bat.  I can practice that all day long, but it’s not going to help me once I get out on the golf course and put the ball on a tee on the ground.

Also do you think me mentioning this now before the demo might be foreshadowing some awesome technique later?

5. Safety:  Tells how dangerous it is and uses no safety equipment!

6. Technique:  No wonder he’s hit himself in the face, in fact it’s a wonder he’s only done that once!  He’s “dishragging” the whip which is the least safe way you can use a whip and the least practical.  Also there’s really only one or two actual cracks he’s getting with the whip, the rest are the whip hitting the floor.

7. His closing statement:  It cracks me up when he says, “there’s nothing like the sound of a whip cracking…”, if he like how his sounds now can you imagine how jazzed he’d be if he actually learned to crack it!

That’s the end of my little rant and here’s the moral, don’t take lessons from idiots on youtube to learn to crack a whip.  It’s unsafe and will lead you to hurt yourself or your whip.  Invest $10-$30 on a book or DVD to learn the actual foundations of whip cracking.  $30 for a DVD might sound expensive, but it’s cheaper than losing an eye because you didn’t follow proper safety procedures or whip technique.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

 

Bullwhip and a whip holder…

Bullwhip and a whip holder…

Here’s a 5 foot bullwhip that I finished recently:

bullwhip

This bullwhip is 8 plait kangaroo with a 10 inch handle.  This bullwhip is for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.

I also made some whip holders today:

bullwhip holder

These are the two that were left after I sent out the rest to the people that ordered them.

Currently I’ve got another 5 foot bullwhip in the works.  I’m planning on making a 5 or 6 of these 5 foot bullwhips in the next month or so.  I think at 5 foot 8 plait I can keep these at a fairly cheap rate and that they’re a great entry level kangaroo bullwhip.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Fall Cutting Trick!

Fall Cutting Trick!

I love figuring out new things!  While this is new to me, I’m sure someone else has thought of it before.  I was cutting out falls and  I’ve got a pretty simple process for cutting falls, but it’s fairly time consuming and a pain in the butt.

Here’s the old process:

1. Score a line with a straight edge and box cutter on the side of fall leather.  I make lines for the amount of falls I’m going to cut out.  So basically I draw out the falls with a blade using the straight edge as a guide.

2. Cut the falls out of the side of fall leather as a block.

3. One at a time cut the falls off the block using the score line as a guide.

4. Pare them.

5. Grease and round them.

The part I hated was the cutting them off the block of scored falls.  This was a pain because I had to hold the box cutter very firmly and work pretty slowly.  I also had to make sure the blade was as close to a 90 degree angle to the fall leather as possible.

Here’s my new process:

1. Score a line with a straight edge and box cutter on the side of fall leather.  I make lines for the amount of falls I’m going to cut out.  So basically I draw out the falls with a blade using the straight edge as a guide.

2. Cut the falls out of the side of fall leather as a block.

3. Cut the individual falls out of the block using my Lace Cutter

Latigo Bullwhip Falls

This made the cutting out process really easy for a few reasons.  First the blade is fixed at a 90 degree angle, so I don’t have to worry about keeping that angle.

Second I normally hold the blade with my right hand, but with the lace cutter I could pull with  my right hand and guide with my left instead of pulling and guiding with only my left hand.

Finally I have the blade set so it’s at an angle so the top end is further forward from the bottom.  What that does is have the blade grab the score and ride it through the leather keeping it lined up with the score.

Here’s the cut out latigo falls:

Latigo Bullwhip Falls

4. Pare them.
Latigo Bullwhip Falls

5. Grease and round them.

Latigo Bullwhip Falls

I’m always amazed at how much the falls stretch and shrink during the rounding process.  These stretched about 2 1/2 inches!   If you need a latigo fall you can get them on my Whip Accessories Page!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Kangaroo, Water and Concrete…

Kangaroo, Water and Concrete…

There’s a strange myth that kangaroo leather is very delicate and if it gets wet it will immediately be ruined.  In my opinion this is 100% not true…provided you properly take care of your whip.  Water itself is not harmful to your whip.  In fact plaiting soap is usually half water and your whip gets coated in this while it’s being made.

In regards to water after your whip gets wet (like if you use it in the rain) you want to dry it off and possibly give it a hit of leather dressing.  Mainly this is to combat mold, the water itself in reasonable amounts won’t do anything to the leather.  Now if you were to soak your whip in a bath tub for two weeks that’s a different story.

The other thing is people think they need to use a their whip only on a patch of grass with no debris whatsoever.  While that’s the ideal situation in the real world that’s almost never the case.  My leisure whip cracking happens at a local park and while it’s fairly clear there are sometimes small rocks twigs etc.  If you crack your whips into the ground onto these you are risking damaging the strands of your whip.  However keep in mind that pretty much every crack when properly executed happens in the air (except for things like the snake killer).

As a general rule concrete or gravel isn’t the best surface to crack your bullwhip on because it’s abrasive.  Keep in mind that any abrasive surface isn’t good to crack a whip of any material on (kangaroo, cow, nylon) and that over time it will wear it a lot faster than if you only crack on a gym floor.  Some materials like nylon handle it a bit better than leather, but it’s still going to wear it out.

Here’s one of my favorite whip crackers Chris Camp cracking his whip on WET CONCRETE:

Should your whip last a lifetime?   With proper care the answer is YES…but then so should a car.   Keep in mind that no one drives their car in ideal situations, you could park your car in climate controlled garage or you could actually use it.  Sure maybe you’ll have to get a new whip every now and then, but isn’t new whip day fun, and you need at least a few of those during your life time!

So you need to decide what you want a whip for, hang on your wall to look at forever or to actually go out and use.  If you pic the latter use it and  have fun…just properly maintain it and try your best to minimize using it on abrasive surfaces.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Pair of Bullwhips…

Pair of Bullwhips…

The pair of bullwhips that I’ve been working on are ready for their overlays!  Here’s the plaited bellies:

bullwhip

and then here’s the final bolster:

bullwhip matched pair

I’ve already cut out the overlays and so today I’ll at least do the strand prep and probably find some time to get some plaiting in as well.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Signal Whip and Pair of Bullwhips

Signal Whip and Pair of Bullwhips

My performing schedule is finally slowing down and I’m getting more whip making time in. I just finished making a three foot eight plait signal whip:

signal whip

This whip is fairly skinny compared to how thick a four foot signal whip would be.  I don’t make a lot of 3 foot signal whips, so this was a fun little project for me.  I’ll have this listed on my IN STOCK whips page shortly.

My currently project is a pair of five foot bullwhips.  For fun I’m making these for as a matched pair instead of simply two bullwhips.   Right now I have the cores cut out and they have grease soaking in:

bullwhips matched pair

Hopefully I’ll have time to get these completed this week.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Finished Ostrich Handle Bullwhip Pics!

Finished Ostrich Handle Bullwhip Pics!

This has taken me way to long to finish work on, but I think it turned out pretty cool looking!  Here’s the finished 6 foot bullwhip with ostrich leg handle and 12 plait kangaroo lash:

I gave this bullwhip  a couple of cracks and it’s got a nice crack to it!

Also if you look at the cracker on this bullwhip this is what a cracker that’s only been cracked two times should look like, not like the one on the whip that I reference in this post: http://bullwhips.org/?p=5703

Louie
http://bullwhips.org