When plaiting a bullwhip you are actually braiding in two places. You are braiding on the whip:
and at the same time you are braiding on the other end of the lace:
There is no way to avoid this. The only time is doesn’t happen is when the loose end of the lace is very short. Normally the only time this happens is at the end of the whip. There are also typically less strands at that point, so less to tangle from a length and quantity standpoint.
I remember years ago talking with Bernardo Del Carpio and Will Morgan about the different ways to untangle loose ends. Will has a very interesting solution to this (but I won’t tip what his is…it’s very creative!).
This is the most efficient way that I’ve learned to do it:
Yesterday I started work on an 8 plait bullwhip with the Kip that I got from Bernardo Del Carpio. This bullwhip is made with the following layers: Wear Leather * Core * 4 Plait Belly * Bolster * 8 Plait Overlay
I’m planning to make this bullwhip with the Indiana Jones bullwhip’s look. I’ll do the same knots and put a wrist loop on it. While I was braiding last night I realized it’s been a little while since I’ve made and Indy Bullwhip, so I might make a 12 plait roo Indy bullwhip soon.
Right now I’m about 4 feet into the overlay, and if I can find a bit of time today I might be able to finish it before I head out to Spokane to perform in the city’s First Night Arts Festival.
My impressions of this Kip so far is that it’s far superior to the Kip sold by Tandy. I like the weight and I’d get it again some time in the future.. The one thing that I’d change if I ordered more would be that I’d get probably 5-10 hides instead of two. That way would offset the shipping from Peru a little bit. The cost of two hides plus shipping makes a bit too expensive to order small quantities of it.
Here’s a question about shopping for a bullwhip that was emailed to me:
“Hi Louie , I’ve come across your site with interests in whips.What do you recomend for a starter ? Is a used or inexpencive whip a bad idea ? I have a double whip variety act in mind.”
When you are starting out with bullwhip cracking getting the best bullwhip you can afford is a good idea. Now keep in mind the best doesn’t always mean the most expensive bullwhip. Figure out what you want to do with it…are you to be doing a faster mulitple cracking routine, or are you just wanting to make the thing crack?
There’s nothing wrong with a cheap whip, but usually a cheap bullwhip is made with inferior materials (like cow) or with inferior methods (like less bellies or no bellies!). Those are things to consider when shopping for a cheap bullwhip and before you buy you can ask what’s inside the bullwhip. You don’t need super detailed info, but a quick answer like two bellies and two bolsters is all you need.
I’ve heard that one particular guy that sells bullwhips on ebay uses felt as the core for his whips…personally I’d steer clear of any bullwhip that had felt for a core! A little bit of homework will take you a long way, but also don’t necessarily buy into the seller’s hype.
The guys who really “pimp” thier whips on either thier websites or ebay generally aren’t top notch (there are probably execptions to this)…however if you look at guys like Paul Nolan, Joe Strain, David Morgan, Bernard Del Carpio’s websites they don’t whore out thier work like other people. In fact any of the guys I just mentioned make fanstatic whips and you can’t go wrong getting one from them!
My first whip was a cheap-o bullwhip, but I learned to crack it and that carried me onto the next level. I may have learned faster with a nicer bullwhip, but at first I all I could afford was an $80 whip. Once you move your bullwhips skills into some type of performance you will need to start thinking of investing in a higher quality whip. If you are using your bullwhip in a show, you need to rely on it, and it needs to do what it is supposed to every time. In my show’s I use a bullwhip that was made by Paul Nolan and it’s been in close to 2,000 shows (in addition to practice sessions) over the years! That’s how a show bullwhip is an investment, it’s never failed me!
Thursday night I had dinner with Bernardo Del Carpio and Will Morgan. I learned a lot about whipmaking and the whipbiz chatting with them.
As a result of talking to Bernardo I’m doing the plaiting differently on my current whip. I used to pull the strand off the top tight, then wrap it around. That’s how I interpreted plaiting from Ron Edwards book, but now I’m doing it the way David Morgan teaches in his book Braiding fine leather. I’m getting more crossed strands or missed plaits that I have to go back in fix, but it’s much faster. I imagine with a bit of practice the mis-plaits will lessen.
We did some whipcracking as well and Bernardo and Will do a slower style with longer whips than I do. Bernardo’s bullwhips are fantastic, I cracked an 8 foot Indy bullwhip that he made and it’s an amazing whip, I highly recommend them!
Here’s Will using a 10 foot Morgan bullwhip:
I also got a chance to crack a pair of 5 foot morgan bullwhips and a 4 plait stock whip that Mike Murphy made. The Murphy stockwhip was very cool and I’m thinking of getting one.
I’m out of town this weekend so no work on any bullwhips will be done until Monday and I won’t have any internet access so I can’t respond to any emails until Monday as well.