I recently had an order come in for a 24 plait riding crop in brown kangaroo. Here’s the riding crop before a coat of shellac:
And after a coat of shellac:
Here’s a close up of some of the plaiting:
The core of this riding crop is cane that was wrapped in rawhide. Next up is making an 8 foot 4 plait cowhide bullwhip.
So if you’ve been following my little blog you’ve noticed that recently I’ve been expanding from bullwhips to also include stock whips. I’ve always made more than just bullwhips it’s just that I’ve been focusing a bit on really learning more about stock whips lately. One thing that makes a stock whip a stock whip is the stock of course. In Australia it seems that most whip makers use Toheti Cane for the stock and that is also true for most whip makers in the USA. The makers in the USA import it from Australia.
I’d thought about using Rattan Cane for stock whip handles in the past, but never really did much investigation. Recently Jeff Roseborough turned me onto a website that sells 24 inch Rattan Cane lengths for $2.10 – $3.15 each (depending on quantity). These are a tad long for stock whip handle with most stock whip handles being in the 20 – 21 inch range, but could be any length.
I picked up a few of these to try them out. In fact I used Rattan Cane for this stock whip:
The main difference I notice between Rattan Cane and Toheti Cane is that Rattan seem to have just a bit more flex to it than Toheti Cane. Also after looking at both I suspect that both types of cane might be the same thing grown in different places so have different names or are very closely related in the vine family.
Here’s a visual side by side comparison of the Toheti and Rattan Canes:
Another thing I notice is that the Rattan Cane was much easier to shape the keeper end than the Toheti Cane was. I think that’s because the Toheti Cane is a bit more dense which is also probably why it’s has less flex to it.
The skin on the Toheti Cane also a bit harder. However having a firmer skin doesn’t really matter much, I think the Toheti Cane’s skin might repel moisture a bit better, but that’s just a guess.
Another factor is price. Rattan Cane much more easily available in the USA than Toheti Cane is. Rattan Cane at retail is $3.15 and Toheti at retail $4.95 or about $1.80 more. But then you have to figure in shipping with one coming from the USA and one from Australia. The shipping on the Toheti Cane is about double the Rattan Cane.
What all that means to the end product of the stock whip…not much. Because both types of cane are natural products and no two will be exactly the same you’ll probably find some Rattan Cane with the same or less flex than Toheti Cane. For me I think I’m going to use the Rattan Cane for yard whips (cowhide leather stock whips) and the Toheti Cane for nicer kangaroo stock whips. Going with a Toheti Cane handle for the price of a kangaroo stock whip is a drop in the bucket where on a cheaper whip it makes a bit more difference in the margin.
Maybe I’ll offer a choice on cheaper yard whips where someone could upgrade to a Toheti Cane handle from the Rattan Cane for an extra few bucks.
Yesterday I made the lash for a cowhide stock whip. This one is 5 feet long has a core, plaited belly and 4 plait overlay. Also FYI if I recall correctly technically this is a yard whip not a stock whip.
For this stock whip I cut out the core at 2.5 feet and it flares out to approx 35mm at the 6 inch point then tapering to a point at 2.5 feet.
Next I cut out the set for the belly:
These started at about 9mm and tapered to a point at about 6.5 feet. Next I braided the belly:
After braiding the belly I cut a hole in the yoke and trimmed it to make it attached to the stock whip handle. Next I cut out the overlay:
These were initially cut at about 19 mm tapering to a point at about 7.5 feet. However in paring I took a good 2 mm off of each strand. Finally I plaited the overlay, attached the fall and stuck it on an SKT Stock Whip handle:
I still need to make my own handle for this stock whip. I put my lash on the SKT stock whip handle was that I wanted to crack it right away! This whip has a good crack, but I think it can be improved. I’m going to have a bit more weight out in the point of it. That will give it a bit more oomph!
Currently I have something like 5 heavy cane handles and 3 slightly lighter cane handles. So that means my I’ll get a handle for this stock whip, then two pairs of stock whips. After that I’ll try to make one half plait handle with a kangaroo lash and finally a pair of kangaroo stock whips with half plait handles.
I was sort of amazed at how quickly I was able to make this stock whip lash. Honestly I really shouldn’t be that amazed because there’s not much to it (compared to a bullwhip with two bellies, two bolsters and a higher plait count).