Trimming a Kangaroo Skin

Trimming a Kangaroo Skin

Yesterday I got the kangaroo skin trimmed and the core of the whip attached to the handle.  I hurt my left wrist on Friday, so work on this whip will be going slower than normal as I can’t do much before it gets very painful.

Here’s the initial trim of the skin:

bullwhip kangaroo

The purpose of this is to simply take off the jagged edges of the skin.  This gives me smoother edges to cut around.  Then I cut out the two bellies:

whip kangaroo

These two bellies are for two different 4 foot whips.  I bought a kangaroo skin that would make two whips.

Next today is hopefully getting the belly and bolsters of the first whip finished (before my wrist starts hurting too bad).


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.


Six Bullwhips…

Six Bullwhips…

I’m currently working on making three bullwhips that will be six feet long and three bullwhips will be eight feet long.   Making them all at once, or at least doing parts of all six at the same that when it’s possible saves a lot of time.

I just cut out six cores and attached them to handles:


And I cut out six bolsters:



I cut them out a bit wider than they will need to be and when I get the bellies plaited I will trim them down so they are a custom fit for each whip.

Tomorrow I’ll start working on cutting out the bellies and doing the strand prep. cutting out the bellies are another part where I can save a lot of time working on them all at the same time.


From the Mail Bag…

From the Mail Bag…

I get people who email me with whip making questions all the time.  Here’s a recent one and my answers will be in bold:

… I am looking into tackling my first whip making project…. I was wondering if I could ask a few questions in this email about some of the specifics of making an Indiana Jones style 2 belly 12 plait bullwhip that is 10ft long. I am planning on doing the first belly as a 4 plait and the second as a 6 plait with a bolster running down the outside length of each belly.

Both bellies don’t need to be more than 4 plait. I know some people say that using an increasing number of plaits on each belly makes a better whip.  In my opinion if your internal construction is core – belly – bolster – belly – bolster and you think of a bolster as a 1 plait it totally destroys the increasing number of plaits in a belly theory.  

I’ve talked with some of the people at David Morgan regarding materials and they have directed me to your site as a great resources for my project. After reading through your site, I still have a few questions about what I would need to do to prepare for my project. Firstly, for a 10ft long 12 plait bullwhip, how much would I need to taper each of the strands for the bellies/overlay? I have heard that for the overlay some people go from 6-4mm, but I was wondering if you had any recommendations as to how much to taper each strand for the internal bellies and the overlay itself.

When I make a whip I cut the strands to fit the whip. What that means is that I don’t start with a specific width.  I measure the circumference of the whip, multiply it by 1.5 and then divide that by the number of plaits.
So for example my whip after adding the final bolster measures 60mm around and I’m making a 12 plait w
hip. My math would look like:

60 X 1.5 =90  
90 / 12=7.5

So 7.5mm would be my strand width assuming there’s no stretch in the skin.  So you’ll cut wider on the stretchy parts. 

If this was my first whip I’d probably try to cut at 7.5mm all maybe taper down to 6mm at the point of the whip.  Then resize as I’m plaiting.  

I understand I also need to bevel the edges of the leather to get the best plaiting, so that will also be accounted for when preparing my leather straps. Secondly, how long (approximately) would you recommend each of the bellies to be? I am unsure about how long to make each belly as from what I have been able to find online, each belly does not go all the way down the length of the whip.

The general formula most people use is approx. 1/4 and 1/2 the final length of the  whip.  

And lastly, is there a set time when I should begin to drop strands in the 12 plait overlay?

Start dropping at the end of the final belly.  However you can resize if necessary at any point. 

I have read that one needs to bring the 12 strands down to about 6 strands by the end of the whip. Do you have any recommended times to begin dropping strands from 12 to 10, 10 to 8, and then 8 to 6?

You drop when necessary.   The width of the strand will tell you when to drop.  If you drop too early you’ll get gaps and if you drop to late you’ll get bunched up strands and in a worse case scenario a big air pocket inside the whip. 

I am sorry for all of the questions being placed in one email. I really appreciate the time and consideration for reading this! Thank you so much for your time and help.

Hope that helps!


Bull whip progress…

Bull whip progress…

I got a bit of work into the English Calf Bullwhip that I started the other day.  I got the belly plaited:
plaited belly

Then I cut out the belly:

plaited belly bullwhip

And attached the bolster to the handle:


I should be able to get some more work in on this tomorrow!

Also I just listed the Shark Spine Bullwhip on ebay, you can check it out (and bid) at:


English Calf Bullwhip

English Calf Bullwhip

A couple of months ago I made a bullwhip from some English Calf Leather that I had come across:


When I made the bullwhip above I also cut out core and belly for another bullwhip.  Yesterday I started to make that bullwhip, first I attached the core to the handle:

Next up was fitting the yoke of the belly to the handle:

And attaching the 4 plait belly to the handle:
English Calf Bull Whip

Hopefully I’ll find time today to finish up all the internal parts of this bullwhip and maybe get started on the overlay.


Shark Spine Bullwhip Progress…

Shark Spine Bullwhip Progress…

I’ve gotten a lot of progress into the bullwhip with the shark spine handle.  Here’s the belly inserted into the handle:

bull whip

I put the handle (with belly attached) into the hollowed out shark spine. Then I filled it with epoxy and let it dry.

The next step was attaching the inner bolster.  To do this I put a bit of leather cement on the inch of handle and belly that extended past shark spine and tightly bound the leather in place and let everything dry.


On top of that boslter I put a second bolster with basically the same process.   Right now I’m working on the overlay and I’ll post pics of it when I’m finished with it.