Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

For all of the readers of this blog in the USA, have a happy Thanksgiving!

Since my wife doesn’t let me do any of the Thanksgiving cooking, so I’m up in the shop working on a couple of whips:

bull whip

These are going to be two of the Beginner’s Bullwhips that I make.  I plaited both bellies a while ago and I cut out the overlays this morning.   I’m using some free time today to hopefully finish them up…or at least get the overlays finished.


Visiting David Morgan…

Visiting David Morgan…

On Monday I went on a little field trip up to visit with the folks at David Morgan and to pick up a kangaroo skin for an 8 foot bullwhip.  I like going up there because I get to chat whip making and I get to dig through their skins and pick out the perfect skin for the project I’m working on.  Here’s a bunch of strand sets for signal whips hanging at David Morgan:

david morgan whips
Since I’m making an 8 foot bullwhip I needed a skin that is in the upper 60 to lower 70 decimeter square range.  I picked out this 71 dm2 skin:

veg tanned drum stuffed kangaroo

I also had to stop at my local Tandy Leather Factory to pick up another side of cow for bolsters and maybe a couple of 4 plait whips.

how to make a whip

Now it’s time to start cutting up leather and doing some plaiting!


Leather (cow) Bullwhip

Leather (cow) Bullwhip

I recently finished making an 8 foot, 12 plait bullwhip from veg tanned (cow) leather.


This bullwhip was made with the Indiana Jones Bullwhip’s  look in mind, however it’s got a couple of small differences.

  • The fall is red latigo instead of whitehide.
  • The wrist loop is 5 plait instead of 6 plait
  • The transition knot is one pass instead of two.
  • The cracker is polypro instead of nylon.

Why is this not 100 % screen accurate?  Since it’s not for an order, I could make it how I wanted.  The main reason I made this was I looking  at a skin of veg tanned leather and said to myself that’s exactly enough leather to make an 8 foot bullwhip, and that’s what I did!

Here’s a quick test cracking video:

This bullwhip is available for sale on my IN STOCK whips page!

Making a cowhide whip has a lot of challenges that are different than kangaroo.  For example you can’t always see the scars (they heal over and are visually harder to spot than on kangaroo) so I broke a couple of strands while making it and had to fix them.  It’s been a while since I’ve broken strands and in a strange way it was a bit fun to fix them.


Stock Whip Kit

Stock Whip Kit

Today assembled a Make Your Own Stock Whip Kit that will ship out on Monday.



I just raised the price on these 10% from $80 to $88 and they will probably go up another $10 – $12 in the next month or two. So if you are interested in one right now is a good time to order.

Also this is a heads up that I’ll be out of town from 4/1/13 to 4/14/13.  If you place an order during that period work won’t start on your order until I return on 4/15/13.  I’ll start work on projects in the order received.



Kip vs. Roo as a whip making material for beginniners

Kip vs. Roo as a whip making material for beginniners

I recently got an email from someone that ordered my Bullwhip Making For The Beginner ebook.  He mentioned that he was going to start making a whip out of kip instead of kangaroo because it’s a cheaper material.  This is a thought that a lot of beginning whip makers have.

Personally I’m 100% against using kip/calf (for beginners) when it comes to making most whips.  The only exception is 4 plait work because on a 4 plait whip you still have wide lace even at the point greatly reducing breakage while braiding.   Also at 4 plait you aren’t dropping any strands, only tapering them.

Here are some things to consider, in my opinion:

  • Cow leather is typically thicker than kangaroo so learning strand drops can get tricky when you are trying to drop strands.
  • Cow leather is harder to pare/bevel than kangaroo is.
  • Cow leather is harder to hand cut than kangaroo is.
  • Kangaroo stretches better and holds its stretch better than other leathers like goat.
  • Kangaroo is easy to find that’s “drum stuffed” where I’ve personally never found veg tanned drum stuffed cow.
  • Kangaroo is stronger than cow leather.
  • Cow leather dulls my blades much faster than kangaroo, so you’ll spend more time changing blades or sharpening them.
  • A side of cow has a lot of waste that you’ll  have to cut off and throw away, where if you properly use kangaroo  you have a lot less waste.
  • Kangaroo is typically thinner than cow so you won’t have to split the leather if you want to do two bellies and two bolsters in your whip and not have the handle super thick!
  • A side of cow starts around 15 square feet (kip) but the average side is 20+ square feet.  That means you’re stuck making a lot of whips with that side, where kangaroo is usually 5-7 square feet or exactly enough for one whip.

Personally I think everyone who is thinking of using cow to make a 8 plait or higher plait whip out of cow leather should look a the picture in Braiding Fine Leather by David Morgan where he shows all the good and bad parts on a side of cow.  You’ll see how much stuff you have to cut out to get to the good part!  Sure you could use the less desirable parts for bellies, but for a beginner to look at a side of leather and know how many bellies to cut out the bad part and about how long or how many whips the good part will yield is unrealistic.

However with a kangaroo skin they almost seem to be made to make bullwhips out of.  Cutting out two bellies almost exactly uses up the stretch parts leaving you with the prime skin for the overlays!

In the interest in full disclosure I’m going to mention that I made a lot of 12 plait bullwhips out of cow when I first started.  Look at the early posts in this blog and you’ll see them.  Knowing what I know now I wish I hadn’t made as  many whips in cow leather when I first started out.

Keep in mind there is no right or wrong material to start making whips out of.  This is just my opinion based on my experience.  

Now for a little tip if you are going to make a whip out of cow instead of kangaroo.  When I make whips from cow leather I generally don’t make them with two bellies and two bolsters.  The thickness of the leather give you a hefty handle that I don’t like, I’d go with one plaited belly and one bolster.

Hope that helps!

Stock Whip Kit Sale Ends Soon!

I’m finishing cutting out the last of the current orders for the Make Your Own Stock Whip Kits plus two extra kits for me to have a couple on hand.  I’ll have them all finished sometime this afternoon, and once I’m finished I’m going to end the $10 off sale, so if you’ve thought about trying your hand at braiding a whip now’s the chance to get a great deal on a Make Your Own Stock Whip Kit.

To order visit: http://bullwhips.org/bullwhip_store/viewitem.php?productid=193


Stock Whip…

Stock Whip…

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.

Stock whip

Next I cut out the set for the belly:

Stock whip for sale

These started at about 9mm and tapered to a point at about 6.5 feet.  Next I braided the belly:

stock whip plaited 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:

stock whip

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:

stock whip - skt whips handle

Stock whip - 4 plait cowhide with plaited belly

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).


Three Whips

Three Whips

Yesterday I cut out a batch of falls and got them soaking in grease:

whitehide fall

I also finished  plaiting two Deluxe Beginners Bullwhips and one short snake whips.

bullwhips and snake whips

I made the bullwhips with the same knots and general look as David Morgan’s iconic bullwhip that was used by Indiana Jones.  The two main differences is that these are 4 plait cow instead of 12 plait kangaroo and these have four plait wrist loops instead of six plait wrist loops.



I still need to roll these bullwhips…and they are available on my IN STOCK WHIPS page.

The short snake whip isn’t for sale, it’s for a friend of mine.


Deluxe Beginner’s Bullwhips and a Bracelet

Deluxe Beginner’s Bullwhips and a Bracelet

Yesterday I started plaiting two six foot deluxe beginners bullwhips.  I got the bellies plaited:


And one of the overlays finished:

bull whip

I’m out of falls, so I need to cut them out before I can finish either of these whips.  One thing I did because I couldn’t put a fall on the whip that’s overlay is finished is that I braided it an extra couple of inches and tied off the loose strands.  That way when it’s time to put the fall on I don’t have to undo  the point and replait it to make sure it’s tight.  This way I just unbraid about 2 inches and it should still be tight at that  point.

After these two Deluxe Beginners Bullwhips I’m going to start working on a few cowhide signal whips to use up the rest of this side of leather.

Here’s a bracelet that I made for myself a little while ago:

wrist band

plaited bracelet

The body of it is cowhide and the plaited portion is kangaroo.