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!
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.
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:
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 cracking…however if you want and exact pair, spend the extra money and get a nice kangaroo set.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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…
Currently I have both plaited bellies finished. Today I have some morning shows and should be able to at least get the outer bolster cut out and attached. Realistically I’ll probably be able to get the overlay cut out today.
While I was making the bellies of the bullwhip I kept hearing in my head something that Joe Strain told me years ago when I visited him the first time: “I like a hard hitting whip, so I…” Well it’s not my place to say how Joe makes his whips, but it’s something that he told me years ago and it’s only started to make sense to me in the last 9-12 months.
That’s one of the things that I think makes whip making an art. Someone can tell you something simple, but you may not really understand it until years later. Where for something like changing the oil in you car, it’s step one, step two, etc.