Bullwhips, fids and lace cutting

Bullwhips, fids and lace cutting

Yesterday I shipped out this pair of 8 plait bullwhips:


I think they came out really well and at 8 plait look pretty cool!

Now my current project is to work on two 4 plait snake whips  using the extra two shotbags that I had cut out for an order of four snake whips a few weeks ago.  The piece of leather I cut the four shotbags from was bit enough to cut six, so I had two surplus ones.

snake whip

When I was filling the shot bags I learned that on one of them I didn’t tie off the tip tight enough.  When I started to fill it the lead shot just dumped all over the floor.   It sucked to clean that up!

snake whips

A couple of days ago I stopped by a leather place in Seattle to pick up a couple of Osborne Fids (I keep setting mine down and losing them).  While I was there I noticed they had an Osborne Lace Cutter:

Osborne lace cutter

I’d only seen the picture above and was curious to see it in real life.  It was interesting, but not something that I could use.  It’s one of the lace cutters where you start with a hole in the middle of the skin and it cuts outward.  I guess if you had a perfect skin with no scars and you were cutting lace without any taper it might be useful, but it’s not for me.

While I was there the kid working the counter tried to sell me on an Aussie Strander

strand cutter

I told him that I cut by eye with a box cutter and didn’t need one.  His reply was my lace would be neater if I used a strand cutter.  I told him I cut plenty straight freehand, but he didn’t believe me.  We had a little contest with some scrap.  I cut and pared a  piece of lace about 2 feet long in the time it took him to just cut and my was much straighter than his!

But cutting free hand is a skill and not everyone wants to spend time to learn the skills made in whip making…which is fine, but by taking short cuts you will only get so far. There’s nothing wrong with using a lace cutter and I’m not saying I’m a “master whip maker” or any thing  like that, but by having a level of competency with doing things the hard way has made me more aware of the art of whip making, not just the manufacturing process of a whip.