6 foot Bullwhip

6 foot Bullwhip

My current project is working on a 6 foot 12 plait bullwhip.  The first stop was a drive up to David Morgan to pick out a kangaroo skin for this.

veg tanned drum stuffed kangaroo

This kangaroo skin is 56 dm and will be the two bellies and the overlay.

Yesterday I got the two inner bellies braided.

bullwhip plaited belly

As far as internal layers go, all that’s left to do is the outer bolster.  The insides of the whip are assembled quickly compared to the outside.  The internal layers are about 5/6’s of the finished whip, however they represent a little less than 1/3 of the total labor, and they are the most important layers.  If you put a beautiful overlay on top of bad whip guts, the whip is going to suck.

Louie
http:/bullwhips.org

Bolster…

Bolster…

Right now I’m working on a 6 foot 8 plait bullwhip.  I’ve got the inner plaited bellies finished and just waiting on some grease to soak into the outer bolster.  One thing I’m doing with this whip that I used to do a long time ago, but stopped is I’m tapering the bolsters thickness.  So it starts out thick and gets skinnier towards the end, sort of like my weight when I’m getting ready for vacation.  Here’s a quick Q&A about this:

Question: How do you do this?

Answer: To do this while I’m running it through my splitter about 1/3 of the way down I simply deepen the cut about half turn.  Then about 2/3’s of the way I deepen the cut a little bit more.

Question:  Does this make a better whip?

Answer: Not necessarily.  The reduction of mass that I’m creating by tapering the bolster can done other ways like tapering the width of the filler strands.  Tapering the filler strands is an easier and equally effective way to do this.

Question: Why am I doing it this time?

Answer: Basically to make this whip more interesting for me the whip maker.

Before tapering the thickness of the bolster I had the super fun chore of sharpening my bench splitter’s blade!
bull whip

Normally I take my leather splitter to my local Tandy LeatherFactory and Andy will sharpen it for me (because he’s awesome!), however the last couple times I’ve been up there I’ve forgotten to bring it.  So I got to do it by hand (insert sad face here).

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

8 plait bullwhip

8 plait bullwhip

Today I got some work in on an 8 plait bullwhip.

Bullwhip Plaited belly
Inner Plaited belly
bullwhip
Outer bolster

I have the overlay cut out and it just needs to have the strand prep done before I can do any plaiting.  Today is Wednesday and I don’t think there is anything good on TV tonight, so I might end up watching an episode of V on my laptop while I work on the overlay of this bullwhip.

Kangaroo Bosal (with rawhide core)

Here are a couple of pictures of the bosal that I made yesterday:

Bosal
bosal

While this Bosal isn’t perfect I think it’s pretty good for a first try.  The next one will be better. I’d like to make a high plait count bosal in rawhide…eventually.

I also cut out some rawhide strips from a side of rawhide (cow):

rawhide

Each coil is about 30 feet of rawhide and about 3/4 of an inch wide.  Rawhide is soo much work to get ready to work with it’s easier to do a lot of the prep all at once, then use it as necessary.  It takes the same amount of effort to case as strip of rawhide and  a whole side of rawhide…and it’s just a bit more effort to do the cut out 10 strips instead of just one.

I cut out about half of the side of rawhide that I had…I would have done the whole side, but my arm got tired!

I’m going to try to do a bullwhip with a rawhide core for some of these strips and the rest will be bosal cores or cores for other types of of plaited things.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Veg Tanned and Rawhide kangaroo

Veg Tanned and Rawhide kangaroo

Yesterday was package day, and FedEx brought me a couple of kangaroo skins:

Kangaroo
kangaroo

The black kangaroo skin has a bit of funny shape to it. If you look at the bottom of the picture you will see the big “scallop” taken out of it.  A lot of the right side of the scallop will probably end up being cut off as I use the kangaroo skin.  So it’s more waste that I’m paying for.

These two kangaroo skins are for an 8 plait bullwhip that will be 6 feet long and two tone.  Then with the leftover roo I’ll probably make a 16 plait bullwhip 6 feet long.

Last night I started work on the 8 plait bullwhip.  I cut out the core:

how to make a bullwhip

And I attached it to the handle foundation.  This bullwhip is being built on a 12 inch spring steel rod.

bullwhip core

Today I should at the very least get both bellies plaited (unless something comes up).

Rawhide Update

I’ve got all my kangaroo rawhide cut into even strips that are ready to be resized whenever I need them:

rawhide

I also learned a lesson about rawhide while working on my quirt.  At one point my strands had dried out and I had stopped work for the day.  So the next  day I took the whole quirt and cased it for a little while.  When I started work the core had also taken in moisture and swelled.

Well when the plaiting was finished and dried the core shrunk more than the plaiting, so now the plaiting is loose!  Next time I’ll have to rewet the strands with a spray bottle, and carefully case just the strands and not the core.

One thing I did learn is the type of plaiting that I like best with rawhide.  I like the chevron pattern going down the handle.  On the quirt I did several patterns and the chevron’s look the best.  Having made that determination and then looking at a lot of rawhide work I’ve noticed it’s a fairly common pattern with rawhide.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Indy Bullwhip Progress

Indy Bullwhip Progress

Today I did all the strand prep for this bullwhips 12 plait overlay:

Indy bullwhip

And I braided the overlay:

Bullwhip

I needed to cut out some falls before I could do the fall hitch.   Right now the falls are soaking up a bit of grease before I tie one on:

Bullwhip ready for fall hitch

I should have the fall hitch tied on tonight and maybe get the knot foundation built.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

16 plait bullwhip

16 plait bullwhip

Right now I’m working on a six foot 16 plait Australian style bullwhip.  It’s got a 12 inch spring steel handle, I’m using a thicker spring steel than I used to use, so there is less flex to the handle and more weight.

I’ve got the insides of the bullwhip finished and I’m working on the overlay now.  Here’s the finished handle:

Australian bullwhip

bull_whip_whiskey_2_102709

Currently I have about 2 feet of this bullwhip.  It has the zig zag plaiting on the handle, then it goes to a six seam (chevrons) at the transition and regular four seam (whip maker’s plait) for the thong.

Doing different patterns feels like a lot more work than doing 12 plait…but I think it just feels that way.  My hands have the muscle memory for 12 plait work, with this bullwhip I have to keep going back to fix misplaits from my hands wanting to braid it like a 12 plait bullwhip.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

6 foot Bullwhip Finished!

6 foot Bullwhip Finished!

Today I finished this 6 foot bullwhip.  Here’s the beginning of the 12 plait overlay:

bullwhip

Currently I’m starting my braid by doing about 2 inches of the overlay without the rest of the whip inside it.  I braid just enough so that I the underside of the braid is built up, then I stick in the handle of the bullwhip and tighten  up the braid.

bull whip - how to make a bullwhip

Below is the finished overlay (not rolled and no heel knot):

bull whips

And here’s the finished bullwhip:

Bullwhip
Bull whip

I just boxed up this bullwhip and it’s going out to its new owner tomorrow.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Bullwhip Core…

Bullwhip Core…

Yesterday I was about to cut out a core for a 6 foot bullwhip from a side of kip, when I had an idea.  In my head I want to have the core of my bullwhips as desnse as possible. That’s why I my cores (currently) are more than just a tapered piece of kip, then flare out then taper to a point.  That’s gives me a firm core off the handle foundation which will hopefully make the transition last longer.  

If you’ve never handled kip before it’s a the leather from a teenage cow and it’s very flexible compared to a grown up cow’s hide.  Because kip if fairly flexible you can really get it into a tight dense core.  The problem I”ve run into in the past when using cowhide for the core is that because it’s a bit heavier it’s also less bendy, and hard to get a tight core from.  

Not too long ago I found a really neat cowhide that’s been split down fairly thin, so it’s not much thicker than a side of kip.  I’m using this in the core of the bullwhip, but I’m rolling it differently.  Usually I have the core (and bolsters) grain side of the leather out.  The reason for that is becuase it makes it easier to braid over.  If you have two layers of the whip with the flesh sides touching it like pulling against sandpaper (muhc harder than it needs to be).  However you can roll the core much tighter with the flesh side out.  

Now my problem is how to get a tight belly over the top of the inside out core. The easiest and probably the best solution will be to apply dressing to the core, let it soak in then grease it again right before braiding.  Since I’ll only be braiding a short distance, I’m hoping it won’t kill my hands braiding this way.  

We’ll see how it turns out.

Louie

http://bullwhips.org