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 

Bullwhip Buyers Beware!

Bullwhip Buyers Beware!

Every now and then I do a quick search on Ebay to see what whips are being sold and one caught my eye a few minutes ago.  Not because it’s an excellent deal, but how uneducated the seller is!  There is so much wrong with this listing, it’s making my head spin!

Does the seller not know who they bought it from?  I’m assuming it’s the original buyer because they are saying it’s only been cracked twice.  If they got it second hand you really couldn’t say that.

Ok, first here’s a link to the listing:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-12-Plait-Australian-Kangaroo-Hide-Bullwhip-Beautiful-/271055846007

Take a look at the pictures on the listing, this is supposed to be a 12 plait 10 foot Terry Jacka bullwhip.  Here’s the description from the ebay listing:

YOU ARE BIDDING “THE AUSTRALIAN BULLWHIP BY TERRY JACKA”; A BEAUTFUL PRE-OWNED (LIKE NEW) 10 FOOT 12 PLAIT KANGAROO HIDE BROWN BULLWHIP.

Description:  This is a beautifully crafted 10 foot 12 plait Australian Bullwhip hand crafted by Terry Jacka.  Made from the finest kangaroo leather this is a true work of art and one of a kind item.  The crack is truly thunderous!!

Condition:  This whip has been excellently cared for and is like new.  I’ve only cracked it twice and it has been mostly displayed in a temperature cooled cabinet.  I still have regularly treated it with Pecard’s leather dressing; as recently as last month.  The fall is brand new.

I’ve included PICS that I personally took which are completely accurate. (NOTE: I increased the sharpness to deliver clear images.)

Normally if you were to buy this whip new it would cost $800.00 USD.  I am starting the listing at nearly half that cost.  Buyer assumes all costs for shipping and handling.

Alright, so here’s my little list of what’s wrong with this listing:

1.  It’s not a Terry Jacka Bullwhip, it’s from EM-Brands Bullwhips (Bernie Wojcicki)

2. It’s not LIKE NEW.  The seller claims it’s only been cracked twice, but recently put a new fall on it.  Why would you put a new fall on a whip that’s only been cracked twice?  Did they crack it once, then change the fall?

Also look at the knot in the cracker after only one or two cracks you should be able to get it out pretty easily.  The knot in the cracker makes it not like new because no reputable whip maker would ship a whip with a cracker with a knot in it.  When a cracker has a knot in it you should change it out just like a windshield of a car that has a crack.  You wouldn’t sell a car with broken windshield as new…and you shouldn’t sell a bullwhip with broken cracker as new either.

3. If it’s a Jacka it’s got the wrong cracker on it, unless Terry Jacka has recently changed this he ships with Polypro crackers.  So by it not having the original cracker it’s got a replacment part and not like new.

4.  The listing says it’s 12 plait, it’s 16 plait…count the strands, there are 4 going under each strand in the four seam part of the lash right after the handle.

5. The listing says this bullwhip new would be $800.  I just checked and a 10 foot bullwhip from EM Brand Whips is $590 for 12 plait or $680 for 16plait.  Either way it’s over $100 below the price the seller is saying it would cost new.

Wait, maybe the seller actually thinks it’s a Jacka, what are his prices for a new 10 foot bullwhip.  I thought of that and from Terry Jacka a 10 foot bullwhip is $600 for 12 plait and $650 for 16 plait, or $150 below what the seller thinks it would cost new.

###

OK those are my main issues with this bullwhip’s listing.  Now it’s not a bad bullwhip, but if someone were to try sell you a used VW Bug and tell you it’s a Porsche and tried to tell you that it was worth more than a new Porsche you’d probably stay away from the seller because the seller doesn’t know what they are talking about.  If they don’t know what make / model of what they have and they are the original owner how can you believe anything they tell you about condition?

Another thing is the seller took a lot of pictures and made sure to make sure they are clear pictures so the buyer knows what they are getting.  However there’s one thing they didn’t take a picture of, the piece of metal on the end of the handle of the whip.  Why wouldn’t you show that?  It’s a decorative piece that Bernie personally hand engraves and the ones that I’ve personally seen look really cool.   I also know that some of them say something like “handmade by Bernie Wojcicki for______” and a whip number.  I wonder if this one is simply decorated or has an engraving with Bernie’s name and the whip number?

All I can say is if you are going to buy or sell a whip do your research and know what you are buying or selling.   An honest description will sell a bullwhip much faster than a misleading one especially from a “known maker” and you’ll end up with the other person on the other end of the transaction much happier!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Ostrich Leg Bullwhip Progress…

Ostrich Leg Bullwhip Progress…

I’ve made some progress on the bullwhip with the ostrich leg leather handle.  Yesterday I put the ostrich leg on it, built the knot foundations and tied the transition knot.

Bullwhip with ostrich leg handle
Bullwhip with ostrich leg handle

I really like the way this ostrich leg looks, the pattern on it looks pretty cool on a bullwhip.  Originally I was worried that this bullwhip was to slim for the width of the pattern on the ostrich leg, but I think the pattern to handle size ratio turned  out well.

All that’s left for this bullwhip is to tie the final knot and roll/shellac it.  Hopefully I’ll have time today to do that (but probably not).

I also made a couple more bullwhip belt hangers.

bullwhip belt holder
This are something that I really don’t enjoy making (like falls), but when I do make them I always do more than one at a time.  Make two isn’t much more effort than making one.

Finally here’s me on a local television show in Seattle promoting a fair that I was performing at a couple of weeks ago:

After the ostrich leg bullwhip is finished I plan on working on a few 5 foot 8 plait bullwhips that will be an “entry level” type bullwhips.  By doing them at five feet I can make them with only one belly which will reduce the amount of leather and at 8 plait that will cut down on time making them.  Those two factors together will hopefully put the whips into the price range of the beginning whip cracker who wants a good whip to learn on, but doesn’t want to spend a ton of money.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org