This morning I finished shellacing a 6 foot 8 plait bullwhip made from English Kip. This bullwhip was made with two plaited English Kip bellies and two veg tanned goat hide bolsters.
My previous English Kip bullwhip had only one one bolster. It’s a bit more work to add the second bolster and I think it makes a difference in the whip. My goal for them was to make an inexpensive bullwhip that someone could learn the basic cracks on. While having that second bolster gives the whip more weight and allows me to play with the taper a bit more. In the end for someone starting out or on a budget is the 2nd bolster worth a few extra bucks…probably.
Here’s the bullwhip before shellacing and rolling:
And here’s the finished 8 plait English Kip bullwhip:
This bullwhip is for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.
I’m on the road performing Monday and Tuesday, so if you email me don’t expect me to get back to you until Wednesday.
Right now I’m finishing up the thong of a 6 foot 8 plait bullwhip made from English Kip.
I have enough of the English Kip left to make one more 8 foot 8 plait bullwhip. I’ve already got the two bellies cut out for it.
I like this stuff I’m using however I got a good deal on the two hides that I got a week ago, but buying it at retail prices it’s just too expensive. My supplier wants $6.45 – $7.99 a square foot for it. Compare that to about $12 a square foot for kangaroo, and for an extra $30 I’d rather buy kangaroo. When I can get the English Kip in the $4 – $5 a square foot it makes more sense.
A lot of people assume that a kangaroo bullwhip costs more than a cowhide because kangaroo is more expensive to buy. While that is true, the bulk of the cost of any whip is the time it takes the whipmaker to make it. If people would be willing to buy a cowhide whip for almost the same cost as a kangaroo, I’d consider making more kip whips, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Most whip buyers expect to pay at least $100 less than a kangaroo whip for a cowhide whip.
With these kip bullwhips I’ve tried to make them more affordable by doing them in 8 plait instead of 12 plait. While an 8 plait is a bit faster to make, it’s not that much faster to make. By doing the English Kip whips in 8 plait, I’m able to offer them a bit cheaper than a 12 plait kangaroo.
I’ve got a few sides of leather coming in that I’m going to be making more 4 plait beginners bullwhip.
When I make my bullwhips I prefer the hide I’m using to be greased up. Some hides come pregreased and some are dry. Before I do any cutting I try to grease up the dry hides. Here’s a dry hide:
Then I give one side a coat of grease:
Once that has soaked in, I flip the hide over and grease the other side and let it soak in. You might notice in the picture above the I leave the edge dry. I don’t worry about greasing the very edge because I’ll be trimming that away to make a smooth edge.
Yesterday morning I was on the phone with the company that supplies the leather that I use for my Beginners Bullwhips. I was expecting a shipment of the cowhide last week, and it never showed up. I’ve found out that the two kinds of leather that I’ve used are unavailable (of course they didn’t tell me that when they took my order!).
So I’m trying out a couple of different types of leather that are more expensive than what I was using, but hopefully will make a decent whip. I’m trying a few more sides of English Kip and some Veg Tanned Goat. I’ve used English Kip to make bullwhips before, but honestly I think it was mislabeled because it was horrible. Supposedly the English Kip braids well, what I had in the past didn’t. As for the goat it’s something new to me, and I’m excited to try it out.
Since I’m paying more for these hides than was I was for the previous cowhide, the price of the beginners bullwhips will go up a bit. I’m thinking I”m going to try make 8 plait bullwhips out of these hides, that way you get a little more value out of the price hike.
We’ll see how well they braid an 8 plaits, if I keep breaking the English Kip or Veg Tanned Goat, I may go back to doing the bullwhips as 4 plait.
I’m expecting these hides to come in next week, so we’ll see what I think of them then.