5 Foot Beginner’s Bullwhip…

5 Foot Beginner’s Bullwhip…

It’s been a while since I’ve made any of my “Beginner’s Bullwhips”.  This one is one of the deluxe models which has a plaited belly.

Bullwhip

This particular bull whip is 5 feet long and would make a great first whip to learn the basic whip cracks on.  This whip is for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.

I’m planning on making a couple of more of these, probably a 6 foot and an 8 foot in the near future.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Whip Pitchman…

Whip Pitchman…

I’m back in town and one of the stops on my trip was in Cozumel, Mexico.  While there I saw many shops selling simple 4 plait leather bullwhips:bullwhip-mexico_1_110214

Here’s a quick video of a guy who was pitching whips to tourists.

Did you notice how when he’s cracking the whip no one even stops to look?  That sort of amazed me, you’d think it’d at least make people turn their heads.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Low Plait Count Whips

Low Plait Count Whips

One thing I’ve noticed is that I really appreciate lower plait count whips.  By lower count I mean four and eight plait bull whips.  To me there is something elegant about a well made whip that is only four or eight plait.  It’s a working class whip…it’s a rugged whip…it’s a whip that is what it is.

With that said I just made a 4 1/2 foot 4 plait bullwhip for myself to use in shows.  I wanted something a bit longer than the 4 foot bullwhip that I currently use and the extra six inches makes a big difference!

The cool thing about lower plait count is that they are pretty fast to make (but they have a unique set of challenges. For this whip I started with a 10 inch spike for the handle and a leather core.
kangaroo bull whip

Then I put on a 4 plait belly. This belly is made of cow leather and not kangaroo.  The main reason I used cow and not kangaroo for the belly is that I had enough leftover of a kangaroo skin for the overlay, but  not enough for the belly.  Using cow leather for a belly inside of the whip doesn’t really change how the whip will perform.  Inside the whip the cow leather won’t take much in the way of stress because it’s held together by the layers above and below it.  Also since it’s a 4 plait belly it has wider strands than a 16 plait overlay, so I can still pull hard while plaiting and  not have to worry about breaking strands.
kangaroo bull whip

 

Over the belly I put a bolster then a 4 plait black kangaroo overlay and a latigo fall.

 

kangaroo bull whip

For this bull whip I wanted a little more weight in the handle so I added a tiny bit of lead and capped it off.

 

kangaroo bull whip

 

Then I put on the knot on the transition in black kangaroo.

 

kangaroo bull whip

To add a touch of flair to the whip I did an interweave in red kangaroo on the transition knot.

kangaroo bull whip

 

Then I put a matching knot and interweave for the heel knot.

kangaroo bull whip

And here’s the finished whip.

kangaroo bull whip

I think one of the reasons you don’t see many 4 plait kangaroo whips is that it’s hard to cut out the overlay from a kangaroo skin. You need to cut the strands very wide at the beginning which means you need a fairly large skin to get strands wide enough.  However if you were to cut the overlay out of the outside of the skin you have to deal with the stretchy parts of the skin which takes a bit more skill to make.

For me this whip is going to be used for shows or tricks where the whip will face some abrasion.  For example the trick where I toss playing cards into the air and strike them with a bull whip, this will ding the heck out of the strands of a 12 or 16 plait whip.  Another place I will use this whip is for some fairs / festivals I’ll be performing at this summer where I’ll be performing on concrete.

I don’t offer a 4 plait kangaroo bullwhip on my online store, however if you contact me I can give you a price quote for one of these.

Deluxe Beginner’s Bullwhip

Deluxe Beginner’s Bullwhip

Today I braided the overlay for a 6 foot Deluxe Beginner’s Bullwhip and put the knots on it, so it’s ready to go!

bullwhip

My Deluxe Beginner’s bullwhips are a 4 plait leather bullwhip with a leather core and plaited belly inside.  These are excellent for learning the basic whip cracks on.  This one is listed for sale on my IN STOCK whips page and if ordered before 12/19/12 for delivery in the USA it will arrive by Christmas.

I’m going to try to bang out at least one more of these this week.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Pair of bullwhips

Pair of bullwhips

Yesterday I started working on a pair of 6 foot bullwhips.  These are 4 plait cowhide bullwhips with one plaited belly.  I did do one thing different with these whips while making them, I used veg tanned split leather for the bellies.  If you don’t know what split leather is, it’s leather that  has no grain.  Basicially it’s the flesh side of a piece of leather after then split it to thin it down.

I’ve been told that Terry Jacka uses split chrome tanned leather for his bellies, so this isn’t completely new territory for whip making.  However after doing a bit of plaiting with it, I’m starting to realize why his whips are the way they are.   As far as I know most whip makers (me included)  just bind the heck out of the transitions of their whips when trying to make a “jacka-like” transition.  That will give you a stiff transition, but it’s still not like Jacka’s transition.  I think the combination of materials and binding are what make it so unique…not just the binding which is the common thinking.

I do have enough of the split cowhide to make the insides of an 8-ish foot bullwhip and I do have kangaroo in the correct  colors to make an Indy IV style bullwhip…

Here are the two 4 plait bullwhips that I started yesterday:

bullwhips

I should have time to finish the heel knots on these later today.  My idea for them is to have a pair of whips that are inexpensive that someone could use to learn two handed whip cracking…without spending $700-$800 for a pair of roo whips.

I made them as a pair…but not a matched pair.  What I mean by that is that the core, belly, filler and overall lengths are the same and they were cut from the same hide right next to each other.  However there are  a couple of things that I didn’t do like make sure the strand are exactly the same width at every spot or split them to the same thickness.

The goal for these whips is to have whips that are close enough but keep the cost low so that they are affordable for someone to try out two handed crackinghowever if you want and exact pair, spend the extra money and get a nice kangaroo set.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Leather Thickness

Leather Thickness

Currently I have a Red Latigo bullwhip in the works.  This stuff is fairly thick at about 3.8 mm and very dense when compared to something like kip.  Here’s the bullwhip I’m currently working on:

bullwhip

I made one whip where I only thinned down the leather near the point so that I could get a nice tight braid at the end.  However for the whip that I’m working on now I thinned down the entire length of all the strands.   I split them down to 3mm thick.

By thinning down the strands I’m able to get a tighter braid without killing my hands.   The thinner strands bend a bit easier than the thicker, so I have to use less energy plaiting to get the whip braided to about the same tightness.

I don’t think the whip is losing any “toughness” because the strands are still 3mm thick!  So far this bullwhip is turning out well, I should at the very least have the overlay finished today.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

29 foot bullwhip on ebay

29 foot bullwhip on ebay

I’m cleaning out my closet of one of a kind whips that I made as fun projects and I just listed my 29 foot 2 inch bullwhip on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220619008201#ht_2176wt_943

Here’s a couple of pics of it that I took today:

giant bullwhip
long bullwhip

This was a fun whip to make and learn to crack, but I don’t really use it, it’s just taking up space (a lot of space!).

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Back home and back to braiding

Back home and back to braiding

It’s good to be home after the extra long holiday weekend.  I got home yesterday afternoon and in the evening last night I got some plaiting done on a 16 plait bullwhip:

bullwhips

It’s braided to about the first strand drops, and today I should get some work in on it.

Tonight I’m performing at Egan’s Ballard Jam House which is a small music club (seats 43ish) in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

bullwhip show

The first Tuesday of the month they have magic night and I’m the headline act tonight.  Shows are 7 pm and 9 pm, the early show is almost sold out and the last one is half full, so if you are in the Seattle area and would like to check me out visit http://www.ballardjamhouse.com/ to learn how to make reservations.

Here’s a picture of a 5.5 foot bullwhip that I made a while ago, but never posted it:

bullwhip

Also after seeing the old snake whips in Idaho City, I really want to try to make one.  I don’t imagine it’d be too hard to make…

Louie
http://bullwhips.org