I’ve got another Beginner’s Bullwhip in the works.
These whips have a plaited belly and a 4 plait cowhide overlay. They are designed for someone who wants to try out whip cracking without investing in a kangaroo whip. I’ll finish this whip up when I have some more free time and I’ll list in on my IN STOCK whips page.
I just went up to David Morgan to pick up some veg tanned, drum stuffed kangaroo!
Personally when I get kangaroo, I prefer the drum stuffed kangaroo. What drum stuffed means is that they have grease/oils worked into the skins in a large drum. You get even penetration of the grease into the skin and it gets worked in deeper than when you buy a dry skin and have to work it in by hand.
The end had been broken off, if I remember correctly this was a dog that chewed through the whip.
After chatting with the owner and giving them some options they decided to put the new end of the whip where the whip was chewed off. I had to unbraid the whip a bit and taper the inside a little bit, the put a new fall on it.
I also added in a pack of polypro crackers.
This whip shipped back to its owner cracking a lot better than it did when they shipped it to me! If you’ve got a whip that needs repairs feel free to contact me!
About a year ago I made an instructional DVD that teaches you how to make a 4 plait cowhide bullwhip with a plaited belly. This DVD takes you step by step through the whip making process and even includes a shopping list with Tandy Leather Factory item numbers to make getting your supplies easy!
This is a great resource for learning to make your first whip.
I never really promoted the DVD or had it listed on my website…why…because I forgot to. So I’m re-launching the Make a Bullwhip DVD. It will sell for $30, however during the relaunch you can get it for $20 shipped in the USA.
My current project is working on an 8 foot Indiana Jones Style Bullwhip. I’m trying something that I don’t normally do when I make these whips. I’m trying to get a slightly lower profile on the heel knot.
Basically there are few ways to do this:
Use thinner leather: This option will change the entire whips profile, not just the heel knot.
Use less lead: This will also accomplish making the heel knot smaller, but may potentially give the whip an undesirable “in the hands” feel.
Put the lead on sooner: By putting the lead on a lower layer, I can use the same amount and it will stick out less.
I opted for adding the lead on a lower layer of the whip. Normally the lead goes on top of the outer bolster. My thinking all the layers give me some meat to attach the lead to.
If you look at the picture above you will see the layer that’s cut short is the outer belly. By attaching the lead in that space, the lead will not be on top of two layers (the outer belly and the outer bolster). That’s going to reduce the profile of the heel knot, however visually I won’t know how much until the whip is done.
One of my least favorite parts of any whip to make it to put on the heel knot.
I think it’s because at that point all of the plaiting is finished and I just want to be done and making the heel knot isn’t fun. However it’s something that’s got to be done and in comparison to plaiting, or cutting out the leather it’s pretty quick!
Right now I’m working on a six foot 12 plait bullwhip in natural tan kangaroo. I had some natural tan in stock, so I didn’t need to drive up to David Morgan to pick up a kangaroo skin. I’m using a 57dm skin, however I also found a belly that I had cut out a while ago for something else, but for whatever reason didn’t use in black kangaroo. Since this will be in the inside of the whip you won’t see it.
Currently I have both bellies and bolsters finished.
Next up is to put some lead on for the knot foundation on get to work on the overlay.
People always ask how I can cut out the overlay before I’ve got the inner layers finished. It’s pretty simple, I know about what the strand widths should be and cut them a smidge wider than that. I then will resize them once the inner layers are finished.
On the surface it sounds like it’s more work than cutting it later, however it actually saves me time. By doing all of one task at the same time (i.e. strand cutting) it saves time in set up and clean up. Regardless of what point I cut the strands they still need to pared which also accomplishes the resizing.
The more I make whips, the more I’m looking for ways to save time…not cut corners, but to save time by eliminating steps that are duplicate, like sweeping the floor twice or putting away the leather only to take it back out an hour later. While these are small amounts of time, when you add them all up they can add up to a decent chunk of time.
One thing that I used to do and stopped doing when making whips was that I used to cut out all the internal layers at the same time, before I did any plaiting. I don’t know why I stopped doing this, however recently I starting doing it again and it’s a huge time saver! I also find it’s easier to do one task several times than to constantly switch my brain to doing different things.
So for the whip I’m currently working on I cut out the core, bellies and bolsters before I did any plaiting. When I used to do this people would ask me how I knew how wide to cut everything. It’s pretty easy since everything is going to be approximately the same thickness withing fractions of a millimeter. I cut the bolsters a little bit wider, then tweak them when it’s time to put them onto the whip.
Here’s the whip I’m currently working on, this is the inner belly completed.
This whip has a spring steel handle. With the handle I think spring steel is the way to go over just a steel rod. The reason is that normal steel can be bent and spring steel cannot (except under very extreme circumstances).
Today I’ll finish up the interior layers of this whip and then move on to the cutting out the overlay.