Plaited Kangaroo belt…

Plaited Kangaroo belt…

Yesterday I made a plaited kangaroo belt and today I put on the finishing touches.  The reason that I’m making this belt (which is for me!) is because we’re going on a cruise soon and my normal belt has a buckle.  I hate having to take my buckle on and off when going through the airport’s or the boat’s metal detectors.  So I picked up some plastic D Rings from David Morgan and this will be my travel belt.

Originally this started as a 15 plait belt:

15  plait kangaroo belt

However after getting about 4 inches into it and comparing it to the D Rings that I was using I decided the belt needed to be a bit wider.  I ended up adding two more strands to it making it end up as a 17 plait belt.

It’s a bit hard to see in the picture above, but this belt isn’t just a flat checkerboard plait.  It’s what Ron Edwards calls a Little Snake Plait in 15 plait and when I moved it  up to 17 plait Ron calls it a Brown Snake Plait.

To make a belt like this one the info in the books Little Snake and Stockmen’s Plaited Belts by Ron Edwards will teach you everything you need to know.

Ron Edwards

If you don’t have many of Ron’s books and do any plaiting you really should consider getting them.  You can find them at:  He’s got a lot more that’s of use to a whip maker than just the book How to Make Whips!

In the past I’ve only made a couple of plaited belts, so this was fun for me.  This belt was also the first time I’ve reversed the strands so that when the belt is threaded through the D Rings you don’t see the backside of the kangaroo.  Below are picks of the front and back side of the belt:

Plaited belt

Plaited belt

You can also see the attached plaited keeper on the belt.  When I was shellacing this plaited belt between coats I gave it a hit of Leather Honey.

This stuff is pretty cool, you put a bit on a sponge and wipe it on.  I’ve used Leather Honey on several things and it’s great for finishing  flat plaiting, on bullwhip falls and I’ve started using it on the bolsters and cores of the last couple of bullwhips that I’ve made.

Here’s the finished 17 plait belt:

17 plait Belt

stockmens belt

You may notice the variation in the color of the kangaroo lace in the belt. That’s because this was made from leftover kangaroo skin centers.  This plaited belt was made from three different kangaroo skins.  I kinda like the different shades of tan, it gives it a bit of texture!


Visiting David Morgan’s Shop…

Visiting David Morgan’s Shop…

Yesterday I happened to be in Bothell and popped by David Morgan’s shop.  It’s been a while since I’ve been there for more than a few minutes and the first time I’ve hung out in the braiding area since they remodeled.  I have a great time talking to Meagan, Will, Mike and Alex while I was there.

I’m planning on making a plaited belt that will have plastic D’s instead of metal ones for going through  metal detectors when I travel.  So I picked up a few plastic D’s while I was there.  Also about a year ago I cracked Will Morgan’s  pair of SKT stockwhips and liked them and while chatting with Alex somehow the SKT stockwhips came up in the conversation and I ended up buying one.

stock whip

They still have a few of these left in stock over at David Morgan’s shop and they would make a great Christmas present.  For more info on these stockwhips visit:

Yesterday I also managed to get the handle plaited on the 16 plait bullwhip that I started a couple of days ago and today I should be able to get a bit more of the lash finished.  I’ll post pics later today or tomorrow.


Morgan Style Indy Bullwhip!

Morgan Style Indy Bullwhip!

Currently I’m working on an Indiana Jones style bullwhip built with David Morgan’s construction.   You can find out more about David’s method in his book Whips and Whip Making.

whips and whip making

There are some differences between how they make bullwhips at David Morgan and how I normally make mine.  For example the lead load is one of the first thing they do at David Morgan and it’s one of the last things that I do.  Neither way is right or wrong, just how we do it.

Here’s the bullwhip with both bellies finished:

indiana jones style bullwhip

And here’s the bullwhip as it is currently:

bull whip

It still need to have the wrist loop added:

bullwhip for sale

The knots need to be tied and a few finishing touches. So far I’m happy with how this has turned out!  Next up I’ll be finishing up a 16 plait riding crop that I started a while ago.


Morgan Style Indy Bullwhip…

Morgan Style Indy Bullwhip…

Currently I’m working on an Indy bullwhip made the way that David Morgan makes them.  There are a several differences in construction in how David Morgan makes his whips and how I normally make mine.  The main ones are:

  • When the lead is put on the handle foundation.
  • How the wide end of the bolster is shaped.
  • How the filler strands are shaped.
  • Wear leather.
  • Core shape
  • How the lead is capped

Currently I’ve got the inner belly plaited:


Today at the very least I should be able to get the inner bolster finished.


A Tan Colored Whip Isn’t Automatically an Indiana Jones Style Whip

A Tan Colored Whip Isn’t Automatically an Indiana Jones Style Whip

I recently had someone email me for a quote for a 9 foot bullwhip that’d be made in the style of the one that Indiana Jones had in the Temple of Doom Movie.  I make bullwhips with the look of the ones that David Morgan made for the Indiana Jones movies…but I don’t make the movie specific.

There are several reasons for why I don’t make movie specific whips, but the main one is that more than one whip was used in each movie. So matching one whip to 7 or 8 whips of varying lengths and colors is close to impossible.

There is a certain formula that David Morgan used to make the bullwhips used in the movies and that is what my Indy Style bullwhips are made to.  These characteristics are what make and Indy Bullwhip and Indy Bullwhip and not every tan colored bullwhip is an Indy bullwhip.  Sorry but in my opinion most of the people on the internet are lying to you when they call every crappy bullwhip they sell and Indiana Jones bullwhip.

The same person who asked me for a quote on a 9 foot Indy Bullwhip (who didn’t end up buying from me) sent me an email saying they found a cheaper “8 plait tan Indy Bullwhip” and wanted my opinion on it.  Here’s the picture that was attached to the email:


And below is my email response:

That whip isn’t close to an Indy bullwhip.  It’s a tan bullwhip…but not an Indy bullwhip, in fact aside from color it misses out on just about everything that makes and Indy bullwhip an Indy Bullwhip!

Here’s just a few things wrong with that whip:

1. handle is 4 seam not checker board

2. Wrong number of passes on the heel knot

3. Heel knot is the same size as the transition knot (the heel knot should be much larger)

4. wrong number of plaits everywhere (including the wrist loop)

5. Fall is way to short for that bullwhip.  Assuming the handle is 8 inches (which is standard for a true Indy bullwhip) then that fall is about a foot long, where for it to be a well functioning bullwhip and an Indy bullwhip it should be closer to 24-30 inches long

And those are just the glaring things that make it not an indy bullwhip…I’m not even nit picking it, there’s a lot more that make is not an indy bullwhip.

However simply based on the fall length I wouldn’t recommend it as a plain ol’ bullwhip and definately not and Indy bullwhip!

So is my evaluation of that bullwhip a little harsh?


You see an Indy Bullwhip is a very specific type of whip.  Let’s break it down this way, you are buying an automobile.  That’s a very broad term, technically an automobile would include things like cars, pickup trucks, SUV’s, Vans, motorcycles.  Just like the broad term whips includes snake whips, signal whips, stock whips, etc.

Now we can get a bit more specific ans say we are buying a car.  An a car could be anything from a sedan to a smart car to station wagon.  It’s still a pretty broad term, just like if you were searching for a bullwhip.  You could be looking for an amercian style bullwhip, aussie style, mini-bullwhip, etc.

Alright, let’s narrow it down even further you want a sedan.  Great, but a sedan refers to a specific type of structure the car is built on, but there are still a lot of types of sedans like a compact,  mid-size, full size, sports car, etc.  And if you were to narrow down your bullwhip choice to a 12 plait bullwhip, you still have a lot of options within that classification.  Two tone, kangaroo, cow, handle length, western fall, aussie fall, swivel handle, fully plaited handle, plaited bellies, shot loaded, etc.

Ok, let’s get really specific we want to buy a 1973 Corvette Stingray.  Great we know exactly what we want.  A 1973 Corvette Stingray has very specific characteristics and those characteristics make the look of the car different from just any other car.  Just like and bullwhip made in the style of the bullwhip used by Indiana Jones has very specific characteristics that make it different from just any bullwhip.

Is this:


the same as this:

They both are white cars…both were even made in 1973.  However only one of them meets certain criteria to be a Corvette Stingray.  And just like the car an Indy Style bullwhip has certain criteria to be an Indy Bullwhip!

Here are the minimum requirements that a whip has to have to be an Indy Bullwhip:

  • 12 plait dropping to a 6 plait point
  • natural tan color
  • White hide fall
  • black nylon cracker
  • Diamond pattern on handle
  • 4 seam on lash
  • 6 plait wrist loop
  • 8 inch handle
  • large heel knot
  • 4 X 5 knots (3 pass on  heel knot and 2 pass on transition knot)

If a Indy bullwhip doesn’t meet those minimums, it’s just a bullwhip.



Bullwhips in progress

Bullwhips in progress

Yesterday I finished the overlay of a six foot bullwhip that I started work on a few weeks ago.  Right now the first coat of shellac is drying.  I’ll take a picture of it later.

29 foot 2 inch bullwhip on ebay

Honestly I’m a bit surprised that people are bidding on the long bullwhip…not because there is anything wrong with it, but because I didn’t think there’d be much market for it.  This whip was something that I made for myself and it is very fun to crack, but honestly I didn’t think anyone would buy it.

So I guess since I’m pretty much a whip nerd, what I think is cool other people will as well!

Extreme Marksmen on History Channel

I was flipping channels last night and came across Meagan from David Morgan’s shop on Extreme Marksmen talking about how a whip is made.  Here’s the clip of DeLongis on the show:

I couldn’t find a clip on youtube with the part filmed at David Morgan’s shop.


Still Rereading Whips and Whipmaking

Still Rereading Whips and Whipmaking

Right now I’m reading several books, one of them is Whips and Whipmaking by David Morgan, but what I’m reading is the first edition.

bullwhip book

Personally I think that the first edition while containing less information is laid out much better and easier to follow than the second edition.  A lot of the added information in the second edition feels like it was crowbarred into the text which makes some of it hard to follow.  One of the things the first edition is missing is the formula for making the 455 bullwhip (Indiana Jones bullwhip).

One whip that I thought looked cool in the Whips and Whipmaking (I believe the picture is in both editions) is the Elephant Goad whip.  Basically it’s a bullhook with a lash and a stockwhip like connection on one end.  I might have to email my buddy Andy over at the  PitBullArmory to see if he can make me the point/hook end.


Whips and Whipmaking

Whips and Whipmaking

One of the things that I’m doing right now is rereading David Morgan’s book Whips and Whipmaking.

I’ve read it many times, but it’s been about a  year since I’ve read it. It’s one of those books that every time I read I get something new out of it. For example towards the back of the book David writes about how to pare different thicknesses of leather…and how to tell if a strand of leather doesn’t need any paring at all!

This book is fantastic, while it may seem a bit cryptic when you are a beginner, everything you need to learn to make a bullwhip is in there!