These whip’s overlays are made out of leftover centers of kangaroo that I had kicking around. That leather just happens to be the best leather on the kangaroo skin, but sometimes you end up with bits that are only good for a lace or two. Once you have a bunch of these, you can make whips out of them!
I just finished a 3 foot signal whip (AKA single tail whip).
A signal whip is different from a bullwhip in several ways. A signal whip doesn’t have a rigid handle, it’s flexible. It doesn’t have a fall and the popper is braided into the end of the whip. They are also measured differently, a signal whip that is 3 feet long, is actually 3 feet long. Where with a bullwhip the fall and cracker isn’t included in the measurement, so a 6 foot bullwhip is closer to 8 feet long.
These differences make signal whips ideal for indoor use.
I don’t have a category for signal whips to order simply because most people want something fairly specific and I would say most of the signal whips I’ve made were custom orders. If you’d like a signal whip, feel free to contact me with what you want and I’ll send you out a price quote.
Currently I’m working on a plaiting project. I’m braiding over copper tubes. This is the second time I’ve done this specific project. Basically I have 95ish copper tubes of various diameters and lengths (2 inches to 15 inches). I then do an 8 plait braid of the top of them.
The key to this is finding the most efficient way to do plait them. I’ve found that I first sort them by size and leather color. Then I work with them as a batch of that color. If I was cutting out and braiding them one at a time, it would take forever.
Once I have a group of the same width and color I cut the lace and start plaiting:
When I get to the end of the first tube, I put the second tube end to end with it and keep braiding. The goal is to not really stop braiding. Every time I stop, or change tasks I slow down, and as they say “time is money”.
Once I have all of the tubes braided over, I then use tape to mark off where the ends are:
Then cut the leather through the tape to leave some of the tube exposed.
The final step is tying the knots. Unfortunately the knots are very labor intensive and I really haven’t found a way to speed them up. As Lauren Wickline once told me, “Knots are a time suck”. And fully agree!
The best way I’ve found is to cut the lace I’ll need for the knots, so it’s one long strand. The I tied the first knot and tighten it, then using the other end of the lace I tie the second knot and tighten it. Finally I cut the knot off the lace and trim the loose end.
Doing the cutting two at a time instead of after each knot save me about 10 seconds per tube. While not a ton of time, when you multiply it by 95+ knots it will save me about 15 minutes over the course of the project.
Once this is finished the next project will be a bullwhip!
Right now I’m finished up my last project before I head out of town for a couple of weeks to perform my show in California. I am helping out someone that is restoring a bag and needed someone to recreate the plaited straps. Here’s what one of the straps look like:
This was an unusual pattern, where it over two on opposite sides and checkerboard on the other two opposite sides. Also this strap didn’t have a core. Between it being hollow and the pattern it gave the original strap a rectangle like profile.
My version of it has a core and is much more round looking.
I finally finished the bullwhip that was made with English Calf. It’s a 5 foot 8 plait bullwhip. This particular bullwhip has a 10 inch handle and was made with a core, plaited belly, bolster and overlay.
Using only one belly and bolster gave this whip a slimmer profile and I like that look on a shorter whip.
After making and cracking a bullwhip made from English Calf I love the material…but I don’t love the price. It comes in pretty close in price to kangaroo. If the kangaroo supply in the USA ever dries up this is the material that I will switch to!