Bullwhip Pair Progress

Bullwhip Pair Progress

Yesterday I got a bit of work in on the pair of bullwhips that I’m working on.  I cut out the overlays and did all the strand prep early in the day.  Later in the day I braided both of the bellies.

bull whip

Today I should have time to get started on braiding the overlays.

One thing that I think is nice about these bullwhips is that the crack really well and I’m able to make them at an entry level price.  Part of the reason that I’m able to make them for such a low price is that I only make them when I can find a suitable leather at a very low price.   That’s the reason that you can only buy them when I’ve got them in stock, I don’t really make them to order.  You are welcome to email me and ask if I can make some when I don’t have any in stock and if I have some suitable leather kicking around I’ll gladly make them!  Just don’t take it personally if I don’t have any good cheap leather and can’t make them when you want one.  That’s why I suggest that if you are interested in one ordering one of these you do it when you see that I have them in stock.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Bullwhip Pair

Bullwhip Pair

In my last post I mentioned that I needed to make a bunch of bullwhips for a whip cracking workshop I’m doing a the end of June.  I’m planning on making most of them in pairs, for  no good reason other than it makes it slightly more interesting than doing them one and a time.  Making more than one at a time does make it a bit faster to make them, but by making them as pairs slows it down a bit as well, so what time is gained is lost.

So far I’ve got the cores cut out and attached to the handles:

bullwhips

I also have the bellies cut out, but not pared yet.  From a time saving point of view I should have cut out the overlays when I cut out the bellies.

These whips are being made for a workshop, however I’ll gladly sell whatever I make before then (hint hint).

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Deluxe Beginner’s Bullwhip

Deluxe Beginner’s Bullwhip

Today I finished up a four plait Deluxe Beginner’s Bullwhip. These bullwhips have a leather core and a  plaited belly.  I found a great deal on some sides of leather that were perfect for this kind of whip, so I bought about 50+ square feet of it and will be making a lot of these in the near future.

bullwhip

The bullwhip that I made today was six feet long, however I plan to make a bunch of them at 5 feet long for a juggling convention I’m performing and teaching a workshop at this summer.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Stock Whip

Stock Whip

Yesterday I  started a 4 plait stock whip with a latigo lash and finished up the handle this morning:

stock whip

stock whip

This whip has a great crack to it!  Since it’s made from latigo which is heavier than veg tanned leather it doesn’t have a plaited belly, but does have a latigo core.  Another thing I did was thin the latigo down as I went down the lash.  So it’s full thickness at the beginning of the plaiting, then about 1/3 of the way I thinned it down a bit and they about 2/3’s of the way down I thinned it down a bit more.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

More Whips I’ve Recently Met

More Whips I’ve Recently Met

Lately I’ve been running into a lot of bullwhips in my travels.  In the last 3-4 weeks I’ve come across four bullwhips (two were a pair).  The first I ran into on Saturday at a junk shop outside of Yakima WA:

The lovely bullwhip above was for sale for $19!

The next bullwhip someone brought to a show that I was performing at to show me.

bullwhip

I think the leather bullwhip above was purchased from this ebay seller: http://stores.ebay.com/Eaton-Ranchco-Saddle-Shop. For a whip with a long handle and a wide point it was amazingly light in the lash.  Personally I prefer more weight in the lash than this whip had, but its owner was happy with it.

And finally about a  month ago I ran into these two whips:

These whips are used the Bindlestiff Family Circus.  I was told they are about 15ish years old and they got them from Western Stage Props who told the Bindlestiff’s that the whips were Lil’ Indys and not made by Joe Strain.  However I don’t believe that to be the case.  First the whips are 5 feet long and WSP’s Lil’ Indy’s are 4 feet.  Also the knots and plaiting look very much like Joe Strain to me.

This summer I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling and hopefully I’ll run into a lot more whips during my summer performing tours.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Quick Ebay Whip Rant…

Quick Ebay Whip Rant…

I was just poking on the ebay and notice a whip being sold that’s made by a maker that I’ve done a few posts about in the past.  He’s been gone from ebay for a while, but reappeared recently and if I’m not mistaken he’s using an new/different user name.  How do I know it’s the same person if they are using a different name?  Well I don’t, however based on the way the bullwhip looks and how the listing is written I’m guessing it’s the same person.  If I’m wrong I apologize to both people, however my personal issues with the listing are still valid.

Here’s the listing:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/11-pro-built-nylon-bullwhip?item=270959893407

Issue #1:  There are gaps or a misplait (possibly both) a few inches off the top of the transition knot.

Issue #2:  The title says 11′ pro built nylon bullwhip.  While what makes someone a professional is debatable.  Are you a pro if you sell one whip a year to sell,  make over 50% of your income, make over a certain dollar a mount?  I don’t know your definition of “professional” but the listing says it took over “24 working hours” to make this whip and they are selling it for $285.  Let’s assume between ebay fees and paypal fees the seller is out 4% and has $43.60 in material (I picked that amount to give me a nice round number for my math, I was going to figure in $50 in material) into the whip.   That nets them $9.59 1/3 an  hour making the whip to put that into prospective the state I live in (Washington) has a minimum wage of $9.04 and hour.  So this “professional” maker is barely making more than minimum wage which is a safety net for unskilled labor.

Keep in mind that hourly wage doesn’t take into consideration things like state and federal taxes the maker would pay (I’m assuming they are a legitimate business) which is typically somewhere between 5 – 15% depending on how much they make, and since they are a professional maker I”m going to assume they make enough to have to file federally.  That means that if this professional maker were to hire an unskilled laborer to sweep up after him (for the purposes of comparison) the unskilled laborer would be making the same wage as the professional that employed them!

Why did I tie the sellers use of the work professional with an hourly wage?  Simple in my opinion I think that this person is either inflating their skill level or the amount of time put into the whip.

Issue #3:  The description of the internal construction,  here’s what the seller says: “Inner layers are a 12 strand plaited half length bolster to give better taper, 10 strand plaited full layer and an 8 strand plaited layer…..all over a bb filled paracord core“.

Everything seems pretty standard except for the “12 strand plaited half length bolster”, I can’t imagine what that is.  OK, I can imagine, what I see in my head is the 2nd half of a bolster (the half towards the point of the whip) that at the halfway point it’s split to 12 strands which are then plaited backwards towards the handle.  Sort of like how I cut bellies with a yoke, but backwards?! That’s possible to make out of leather, but wouldn’t give you any advantage over plaiting a certain distance then leaving the strand loose as filler strands…but here’s the amazing part is how you’d do that with paracord!

Also the seller goes into detail telling how far the 12 and 10 plait layers are braided, but the 8 plait layer is just that.  Why would you over emphasize those two layers and be very vague with one?  I don’t know.

Issue #4:  Classic over hyping in the listing, the seller says, “loud cracking man sized monster bullwhip“.  First of all the loudness of a bullwhip has more to do with the person cracking the whip than the whip itself.   A good whip cracker can make loud or quiet cracks and pretty much anyone with a basic level of whip cracking abilities can get a solid loud crack out of a overhead crack with the crappiest of whips.

Here’s my favorite part of over hyping, the seller calls the whip “man sized”!   What does that mean?  The whip is 11 feet long, I don’t know anyone that’s 11 feet tall!  Oh wait, they are referring to the plaited part not the whole whip.  Wait a minute the whip has a plaited length of 8 1/2 feet, or 3 inches longer than the worlds tallest living person (according to the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records)!

What do all these issues mean?  Well it depends on you and your goals.   For me in my own personal opinion they would add up to someone trying do a sell a whip, not someone trying to make a nice whip to sell.

Louie

8 Plait Cowhide Bullwhip and a Guitar Strap

8 Plait Cowhide Bullwhip and a Guitar Strap

Here’s an 8 plait cowhide bullwhip that I finished up yesterday (it’s been hanging on a peg with out knots for  weeks!):

bullwhip

This whip is 5 feet long as is the 2nd part of an experiment to test two ways of making the insides for this particular bullwhip.

I’ve also started work on a guitar strap, it’s going to be a much bigger project than I expected.  Basically I’m messing around with edge braiding and was looking for a project, so here it is in its current state:

edge braiding

Its got a long way to go!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Bullwhip Trick Feature by Dube Juggling!

Bullwhip Trick Feature by Dube Juggling!

I just heard that last week my video Bullwhip, Two Cups and Confetti was featured on Dube Juggling’s YouTube channel!   If you don’t know Dube is the biggest juggling prop manufacturer in the USA (and most of  the world).  For more info about Dube click the image below

Here’s the video they featured:

Whip cracking is a distant cousin to juggling and it falls more into the “manipulative skills” area like flair bartending or plate spinning.  In the past I’ve performed my whip act at several juggling conventions and will be at the 2012 PNWJC this summer.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Kip vs. Roo as a whip making material for beginniners

Kip vs. Roo as a whip making material for beginniners

I recently got an email from someone that ordered my Bullwhip Making For The Beginner ebook.  He mentioned that he was going to start making a whip out of kip instead of kangaroo because it’s a cheaper material.  This is a thought that a lot of beginning whip makers have.

Personally I’m 100% against using kip/calf (for beginners) when it comes to making most whips.  The only exception is 4 plait work because on a 4 plait whip you still have wide lace even at the point greatly reducing breakage while braiding.   Also at 4 plait you aren’t dropping any strands, only tapering them.

Here are some things to consider, in my opinion:

  • Cow leather is typically thicker than kangaroo so learning strand drops can get tricky when you are trying to drop strands.
  • Cow leather is harder to pare/bevel than kangaroo is.
  • Cow leather is harder to hand cut than kangaroo is.
  • Kangaroo stretches better and holds its stretch better than other leathers like goat.
  • Kangaroo is easy to find that’s “drum stuffed” where I’ve personally never found veg tanned drum stuffed cow.
  • Kangaroo is stronger than cow leather.
  • Cow leather dulls my blades much faster than kangaroo, so you’ll spend more time changing blades or sharpening them.
  • A side of cow has a lot of waste that you’ll  have to cut off and throw away, where if you properly use kangaroo  you have a lot less waste.
  • Kangaroo is typically thinner than cow so you won’t have to split the leather if you want to do two bellies and two bolsters in your whip and not have the handle super thick!
  • A side of cow starts around 15 square feet (kip) but the average side is 20+ square feet.  That means you’re stuck making a lot of whips with that side, where kangaroo is usually 5-7 square feet or exactly enough for one whip.

Personally I think everyone who is thinking of using cow to make a 8 plait or higher plait whip out of cow leather should look a the picture in Braiding Fine Leather by David Morgan where he shows all the good and bad parts on a side of cow.  You’ll see how much stuff you have to cut out to get to the good part!  Sure you could use the less desirable parts for bellies, but for a beginner to look at a side of leather and know how many bellies to cut out the bad part and about how long or how many whips the good part will yield is unrealistic.

However with a kangaroo skin they almost seem to be made to make bullwhips out of.  Cutting out two bellies almost exactly uses up the stretch parts leaving you with the prime skin for the overlays!

In the interest in full disclosure I’m going to mention that I made a lot of 12 plait bullwhips out of cow when I first started.  Look at the early posts in this blog and you’ll see them.  Knowing what I know now I wish I hadn’t made as  many whips in cow leather when I first started out.

Keep in mind there is no right or wrong material to start making whips out of.  This is just my opinion based on my experience.  

Now for a little tip if you are going to make a whip out of cow instead of kangaroo.  When I make whips from cow leather I generally don’t make them with two bellies and two bolsters.  The thickness of the leather give you a hefty handle that I don’t like, I’d go with one plaited belly and one bolster.

Hope that helps!

Stock Whip Kit Sale Ends Soon!

I’m finishing cutting out the last of the current orders for the Make Your Own Stock Whip Kits plus two extra kits for me to have a couple on hand.  I’ll have them all finished sometime this afternoon, and once I’m finished I’m going to end the $10 off sale, so if you’ve thought about trying your hand at braiding a whip now’s the chance to get a great deal on a Make Your Own Stock Whip Kit.

To order visit: http://bullwhips.org/bullwhip_store/viewitem.php?productid=193

Louie
http://bullwhips.org