A couple days ago I popped by David Morgan again to pick up another kangaroo skin. This skin is 58 dm and will be for a 6 foot bullwhip:
Here’s the skin after the initial trim:
Today I’ll be making the internal layers of the whip and tomorrow I’ll start work on the overlay.
Seems like I always need a kangaroo skin that’s a color I don’t have in stock. So that means a quick drive up to David Morgan to pick one out.
I picked out a 70 dm heavy kangaroo skin in black.
This is going to be parts of several different whips.
I’m very fortunate to live in the Seattle area where I’m very close to David Morgan. Whenever I need to buy kangaroo leather I can simply drive up there and dig through what they have in stock and pick up what I need!
Everyone up there is awesome and very helpful. One of the nice things about buying kangaroo from a whip maker that you know is they don’t sell you bad skins. I’ve ordered kangaroo from leather supply places and gotten skins that were horribly scarred, strangely shaped or a size that wasn’t ideal for the project.
This 64dm veg tanned drum stuffed kangaroo skin is for an 8 foot 12 plait bullwhip that’s going to end up in a stunt show at a theme park in Germany:
I’m currently working on an interesting little project, it’s a six foot 4 plait bullwhip in kangaroo. You don’t see a lot of 4 plait kangaroo bullwhips, it’s more common on stock whip lashes. I think they are less common in bullwhips because the lash is thicker and it can be harder to get the wider strand out of a kangaroo skin.
Personally I have two 4 plait kangaroo bullwhips that I use, one four feet long and I use it for throwing cards because the edge of the cards ding the strands on the whip and the wider strands hold up better. The other is four and half feet long and I made it to use on a TV show to grab bottles with:
A four plait whip for a beginner will hold up a lot better to abuse like using it on abrasive surfaces than a 12 or 16 plait will.
To start this bullwhip I went up to David Morgan to pick out a kangaroo skin:
This skin is 66 dm2 which is much larger than I’d normally need for a 6 foot bullwhip, but due to the wider strands in a 4 plait whip I figured it’d be helpful to have a larger skin to cut around. Currently I have all the internal layers finished and today I’ll start working on the overlay.
One thing about visiting David Morgan, besides getting to pick out the perfect skin for the job I’m working on is getting to peek at all the cool whips kicking around:
The bullwhip in the upper right corner is probably one of the most beautiful bullwhips that I have ever seen!
I’ve posted about this before and I’m always amazed at how many email me to ask why are my Indy Bullwhips so expensive compared some whips being sold places like eBay as “Indiana Jones Whip. One of the reasons is that my Indiana Jones style whips have all the technical specifications that David Morgan built into the original Indiana Jones bullwhip. These are:
* 6 plait wrist loop
* 5 X 4 three pass heel knot
* 5 X 4 two pass transition knot
* Checker board handle
* 12 plait overlay ending at a 6 plait point (4 Seam pattern)
* Whitehide fall
* Nylon Cracker
I was learning to use a new video program, so I quick video using it pointing the different specs of and Indy bullwhip:
And I made another video pointing out why a whip that’s frequently sold on eBay as an “Indiana Jones” whips is not an Indiana Jones whip, but simply just a whip:
You can view the auction here and see how the seller uses a lot of hype to try to make you not see that this isn’t an Indiana Jones whip.
So if you’re in the market for an Indiana Jones style bullwhip hopefully you can make an informed decision.
I’m currently working on an 8 foot 12 plait “Indy” bullwhip. Lately my Indy bullwhips have had a thicker handle that resembles a more Modern David Morgan 450 series bullwhip. After visiting Paul Nolan a couple of months ago and looking at the slimmer handle profiles he puts on his Indy bullwhips I kinda liked that look. The look on Paul’s resemble a more “vintage” Morgan bullwhip.
One of the reasons that mine end up with a thicker handle, and a thicker general profile is that I like using the thick kangaroo skins on the overlays. It gives good chunky look to the strands one the whip. When making the whips I usually even out the bellies on my bench splitter, but not thin them down very much. For this whip I thinned down the bellies quite a bit. I also thinned down the yoke more than the strands, that’s going to give my handle a slightly thinner profile. I also adjusted my core a bit to be thinner on the handle foundation.
Here’s the inner belly finished:
And here’s the outer bell finished:
I also made a little adjustment in how I put the lead on. I normally add the lead on top of the final bolster. For this whip I added the lead, then put the bolster on the whip. That’s goingn to reduce the size of the heel knot a little bit.
I’ve gotten a bit of work on the overlay in and I’m liking the little differences that this is making the the overall look of the whip (so far).
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:
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:
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.
Now it’s time to start cutting up leather and doing some plaiting!
I was working on making some cheapo 4 plait cowhide bullwhips when an order for an 8 foot Indy style bullwhip came in. The 4 plait bullwhips were put on hold and I made the drive up to David Morgan to pick up a kangaroo skin for the bullwhip. What I love about being so close to them is that I can dig through their skins to find what I need for the project. I picked up this heavy 70 dm2 kangaroo skin:
If you haven’t ever gotten a kangaroo skin from David Morgan and you make Indy Style Bullwhips you really should give them a call and order one of the Heavy Kangaroo Skins for the overlay of the whip. I think the thick skin really contributes to the look of the whip!
Here are a couple of the other sights from my quick visit:
I had a great time chatting with Alex and Will, and unfortunately I was in a rush so I really didn’t get to chat with Meagan. I’m very fortunate to live so close to their shop, they’ve been a great help to me!
I always love it when I get a catalog in the mail from David Morgan! They are probably one of the last whip shops that still send out a physical catalog.
I think every whip maker should at some point have owned a David Morgan whip. They made probably the most well know whip in the world (the Indiana Jones Bullwhip).
They also sell parts for leather goods, for example I bought the plastic D Rings for my non-metal belt that I wear when travelling from them.
I got an email the other day from Weaver Leather (who I’ve never done business with before) saying that all leather on their website is 25% off and has free shipping on orders over $50.
Normally when leather places have sales they exclude exotic leather (which kangaroo is generally considered), however I decided to check it out and the coupon code USAVE25 worked on kangaroo, so I ordered a kangaroo skin which should arrive sometime in the next week.
Normally kangaroo is $145 a skin which is expensive, especially when they sell it by the skin not by the square decimeter or square foot. Personally I like buying my kangaroo (or any leather) by the actual size, not by the piece. Weaver’s website says they average 6 square feet, but that doesn’t guarantee I won’t get the odd 48dm kangaroo skin making this kangaroo skin really expensive!
Years ago I used to bring in kangaroo from Australia and it was a lot cheaper because there was no middle man reselling it. However there were problems bringing in larger quantities. You get what you get, so I could get a ton of small skins, scarred skins, etc. And somehow I always had a run on the color of kangaroo skin that I ordered the least of, so I would have to reorder a lot more skins when I already had a lot on hand just to get one skin of a certain color for an order. So now I order in smaller quantities from a couple of suppliers in the USA that give me exactly what I want for whatever project I’m working on.
I’ve never gotten a bad skin from the two suppliers I use, which are:
I trust them to pull an awesome kangaroo skin for me and they always come through! Both of those suppliers sell by the skins actual size and will pull me exactly what I want for whatever project I’m working on!
I have a feeling that the kangaroo from Weaver will be a purchase I only make when they are having a sale to build up my general stock of kangaroo (I always have a few skins on hand!) and not when I need a skin of a specific size for a specific purpose!