Bullwhips – Handmade by Louie

5 Foot Bullwhip…

August 27th, 2011

My current project is working on a five foot bullwhip that will be 8 plait kangaroo.  Currently I have all the internal layers finished:


The step I’m working on right  now is cutting out the overlay:

bull whip

My performing schedule is pretty full until Thursday so I don’t know if I’ll get much work in on this bullwhip before then.  Oh, speaking of me as a performer I was recently voted the Best Live Entertainment for Kids by the Parent Map magazine!


Finished bullwhip

August 22nd, 2011

Here’s the 6 foot bullwhip before the overlay:


and the finished bullwhip:


Next up is going to be a 5 foot 8 plait kangaroo bullwhip.


6 foot 12 plait bullwhip

August 17th, 2011

My current project is working on a six foot 12 plait bullwhip. This bullwhip will be in black kangaroo with white interweaves on the knots.


Currently I have both plaited bellies completed, so my next step is the final bolster!


8 Plait Dog Lead…

August 15th, 2011

Here’s an 8 plait dog lead that I was working on:

kangaroo dog lead

And here’s the final product:

Kangaroo show dog lead

This will go out in the mail to its new owner very soon!

My next project is a six foot 12 plait bullwhip in black kangaroo and with white highlights in the knots!


I recently had someone email me for a quote for a 9 foot bullwhip that’d be made in the style of the one that Indiana Jones had in the Temple of Doom Movie.  I make bullwhips with the look of the ones that David Morgan made for the Indiana Jones movies…but I don’t make the movie specific.

There are several reasons for why I don’t make movie specific whips, but the main one is that more than one whip was used in each movie. So matching one whip to 7 or 8 whips of varying lengths and colors is close to impossible.

There is a certain formula that David Morgan used to make the bullwhips used in the movies and that is what my Indy Style bullwhips are made to.  These characteristics are what make and Indy Bullwhip and Indy Bullwhip and not every tan colored bullwhip is an Indy bullwhip.  Sorry but in my opinion most of the people on the internet are lying to you when they call every crappy bullwhip they sell and Indiana Jones bullwhip.

The same person who asked me for a quote on a 9 foot Indy Bullwhip (who didn’t end up buying from me) sent me an email saying they found a cheaper “8 plait tan Indy Bullwhip” and wanted my opinion on it.  Here’s the picture that was attached to the email:


And below is my email response:

That whip isn’t close to an Indy bullwhip.  It’s a tan bullwhip…but not an Indy bullwhip, in fact aside from color it misses out on just about everything that makes and Indy bullwhip an Indy Bullwhip!

Here’s just a few things wrong with that whip:

1. handle is 4 seam not checker board

2. Wrong number of passes on the heel knot

3. Heel knot is the same size as the transition knot (the heel knot should be much larger)

4. wrong number of plaits everywhere (including the wrist loop)

5. Fall is way to short for that bullwhip.  Assuming the handle is 8 inches (which is standard for a true Indy bullwhip) then that fall is about a foot long, where for it to be a well functioning bullwhip and an Indy bullwhip it should be closer to 24-30 inches long

And those are just the glaring things that make it not an indy bullwhip…I’m not even nit picking it, there’s a lot more that make is not an indy bullwhip.

However simply based on the fall length I wouldn’t recommend it as a plain ol’ bullwhip and definately not and Indy bullwhip!

So is my evaluation of that bullwhip a little harsh?


You see an Indy Bullwhip is a very specific type of whip.  Let’s break it down this way, you are buying an automobile.  That’s a very broad term, technically an automobile would include things like cars, pickup trucks, SUV’s, Vans, motorcycles.  Just like the broad term whips includes snake whips, signal whips, stock whips, etc.

Now we can get a bit more specific ans say we are buying a car.  An a car could be anything from a sedan to a smart car to station wagon.  It’s still a pretty broad term, just like if you were searching for a bullwhip.  You could be looking for an amercian style bullwhip, aussie style, mini-bullwhip, etc.

Alright, let’s narrow it down even further you want a sedan.  Great, but a sedan refers to a specific type of structure the car is built on, but there are still a lot of types of sedans like a compact,  mid-size, full size, sports car, etc.  And if you were to narrow down your bullwhip choice to a 12 plait bullwhip, you still have a lot of options within that classification.  Two tone, kangaroo, cow, handle length, western fall, aussie fall, swivel handle, fully plaited handle, plaited bellies, shot loaded, etc.

Ok, let’s get really specific we want to buy a 1973 Corvette Stingray.  Great we know exactly what we want.  A 1973 Corvette Stingray has very specific characteristics and those characteristics make the look of the car different from just any other car.  Just like and bullwhip made in the style of the bullwhip used by Indiana Jones has very specific characteristics that make it different from just any bullwhip.

Is this:


the same as this:

They both are white cars…both were even made in 1973.  However only one of them meets certain criteria to be a Corvette Stingray.  And just like the car an Indy Style bullwhip has certain criteria to be an Indy Bullwhip!

Here are the minimum requirements that a whip has to have to be an Indy Bullwhip:

  • 12 plait dropping to a 6 plait point
  • natural tan color
  • White hide fall
  • black nylon cracker
  • Diamond pattern on handle
  • 4 seam on lash
  • 6 plait wrist loop
  • 8 inch handle
  • large heel knot
  • 4 X 5 knots (3 pass on  heel knot and 2 pass on transition knot)

If a Indy bullwhip doesn’t meet those minimums, it’s just a bullwhip.



Inside of a Bullwhip

August 10th, 2011

Here’s a quick look at what’s inside a bullwhip:


The blue layers are bolster and the brown are plaited kangaroo layers.

I made that particular piece of bullwhip a long time ago, my current ones would look a bit different.




Yesterday my family and I went to the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire to see a friend of mine who was performing there.  A couple of the vendors there were selling bullwhips and snake whips:

bullwhips for sale

bullwhips for sale

I also started cutting up lace for the four 9 foot rods that I’m plaiting over.  I’ve cut up over 200 dm of kangaroo for them:

kangaroo lace

Later today I’m going to start the plaiting.  The pain in the butt when plaiting over something long and rigid is that you have to untangle the lace after every pull or two.  Making the first six feet really labor intensive, but he last few feet got pretty quickly!



Bullwhip Fall Replacment

August 3rd, 2011

I had a bullwhip come in for a fall replacement and a new point.  Here’s the before:


Here’s the after pictures:

bullwhip fall


This bullwhip is heading back to its owner this morning!


Plaited Rods…

August 3rd, 2011

My current project is plaiting over some metal rods:

plaited rod

I’ve got over a dozen of these rods varying in length from about a foot to about seven or so feet long.  Each one will get a little turkshead knot at both ends.

Also I know several readers of the blog are amateur and professional magicians, so I figured I’d mention this.  I the August 2011 issue of the M*U*M Magazine which is the magazine for members of the Society of American Magicians there is a two page article about me, so if you are a member check it out!


Crackers and Kangaroo…

July 31st, 2011

I just had a batch of 100 crackers come in:

bull whip cracker

I also got almost enough kangaroo for a plaiting project I’m working on:


Initially I thought these five skins would be enough kangaroo for 55 feet of 8 plait, but I think I’m going to need at least one more skin (probably two).  I just ordered a couple more  skins just in case.  It would be enough, but with this project being eight plait, I have wider strands and can’t use as much of the middles of the skins.


Copyright 2009 by Louie Foxx LLC http://bullwhips.org.