This four foot bullwhip recently shipped out to its new owner!
I’ve got a few more whips listed and ready to ship out on my IN STOCK whips page!
Recently I got an email from someone who wanted to know the names of the different parts of a bullwhip. There is some variation in the terms that people use. The variation is usually a geographic thing, but it can also be a generation thing.
We’ll start at the end you hold and work our way to the end that makes the noise.
The knob on the end is called a heel knot.
Moving up the whip, you then have the handle. Despite it being called the handle, most whip crackers hold the whip in their hand by the heel knot. Holding the whip by the heel knot allows you to use the full length of the handle as leverage to put more energy into the whip with less effort on your part.
Here’s the handle:
Visually at the end of the handle is the transition knot. This know is mostly decorative. There are specific instances where this knot has a function, but is most whips it’s purely for aesthetics. A whip doesn’t need this knot to function, in fact I’ve made many by whips by request that don’t have that knot.
This knot typically sets at about the spot where the rigid handle ends. It’s main purpose it to hide the transition from the plaiting pattern of the handle to that of the lash.
Past the transition knot is the Lash or Thong of the whip. The lash is the flexible part of the whip that’s braided.
Extending past the lash is the fall. The fall is attached to the lash by a knot called a “fall hitch”. The way a bullwhip is designed the fall which takes a lot of stress is easily replaced.
Finally we to the end of the whip that makes the noise and that’s the crackers. Like the fall the cracker is designed to be replaced, and replaced very easily. The cracker takes the most abuse out of all the parts of the whip, it’s also cheap to replace.
There you have it, all the parts of the whip.
The 6 foot bullwhip has been finished!
Here’s a peek at the overlay and the finished transition knot:
And here’s the whip with both finished knots:
Once the knots are done, the whip will get a couple coats of shellac and rolled a couple more times. Here’s the whip right before I boxed it up:
It’s on the way to it’s new owner!
Work is starting on a six foot, 12 plait bullwhip in whiskey colored kangaroo.
I got this skin from David Morgan, and at 55dm it’s the perfect size. Currently all the interior layers are finished and I just need to do the outside of the whip.
Here’s the set for the overlay after being cut, stretched and pared:
I’ll get started on plaiting soon.
Here’s a 5 foot 12 plait bullwhip that’s shipping out to Europe to its new owner!
The National Cowboy Museum has some cool whips in their collection.
Here’s Lash LaRue’s Whip:
Here’s Tim McCoy’s stockwhip:
Yesterday I got started working on an 8 foot bullwhip. I started by trimming the kangaroo skin.
Then I cut off some thin strips of leather to make a 5 plait wrist loop
Then I got started on the main body of the whip.
The inner plaited belly is made from a different skin from the outer belly and overlay. Normally this would be made from the same skin as the rest of the whip’s braided layers. The reason for that is to economically using the kangaroo skin and reducing waste.
Today I’ll get started on the inner bolster and outer belly.
I’m starting work on an 8 foot, 12 plait bullwhip. It’s going to be made with whiskey colored veg tanned, drum stuffed kangaroo. I ran up to David Morgan this morning and picked up this skin.
One great thing about buying my kangaroo skins from them is they always have great skins. Right now with the current COVID restrictions is that while I couldn’t go in to pick out my own skin, the crew there knows what a whip maker wants in a skin.
The largest they had was a 58 dm skin and for an 8 foot whip, ideally I’d have at least a 65dm skin. That means that I’ll have to cut up a leftover kangaroo center for one of the bellies. I really hate wasting prime kangaroo skin on a belly, but sometimes that’s what has to happen.
Right now I have more whips in stock that I think I ever have!
It’s because I had a lot of pretty big kangaroo skin “centers” and wanted to use them up. That’s also why most of these whips are in the 4-5 foot range is that I could easily make them from the centers.
Right now I have one center left in natural tan. I’m thinking I’m going to make signal whip out of it.