My current project is working on an 8 foot Indiana Jones Style Bullwhip. I’m trying something that I don’t normally do when I make these whips. I’m trying to get a slightly lower profile on the heel knot.
Basically there are few ways to do this:
- Use thinner leather: This option will change the entire whips profile, not just the heel knot.
- Use less lead: This will also accomplish making the heel knot smaller, but may potentially give the whip an undesirable “in the hands” feel.
- Put the lead on sooner: By putting the lead on a lower layer, I can use the same amount and it will stick out less.
I opted for adding the lead on a lower layer of the whip. Normally the lead goes on top of the outer bolster. My thinking all the layers give me some meat to attach the lead to.
If you look at the picture above you will see the layer that’s cut short is the outer belly. By attaching the lead in that space, the lead will not be on top of two layers (the outer belly and the outer bolster). That’s going to reduce the profile of the heel knot, however visually I won’t know how much until the whip is done.
One thing that I used to do and stopped doing when making whips was that I used to cut out all the internal layers at the same time, before I did any plaiting. I don’t know why I stopped doing this, however recently I starting doing it again and it’s a huge time saver! I also find it’s easier to do one task several times than to constantly switch my brain to doing different things.
So for the whip I’m currently working on I cut out the core, bellies and bolsters before I did any plaiting. When I used to do this people would ask me how I knew how wide to cut everything. It’s pretty easy since everything is going to be approximately the same thickness withing fractions of a millimeter. I cut the bolsters a little bit wider, then tweak them when it’s time to put them onto the whip.
Here’s the whip I’m currently working on, this is the inner belly completed.
This whip has a spring steel handle. With the handle I think spring steel is the way to go over just a steel rod. The reason is that normal steel can be bent and spring steel cannot (except under very extreme circumstances).
Today I’ll finish up the interior layers of this whip and then move on to the cutting out the overlay.
My current project is an 8 foot bullwhip. Today I got the insides finished. This one started with a 10 inch handle:
Here’s the finished outer belly:
I’ve got the final bolster on it as well. Tomorrow hopefully I’ll find time to get some work on cutting out the overlay.
I just got a bullwhip in the mail that got chewed up by a dog. The handle is in rough shape:
It’s not just the overlay that got tore up, it’s the bolster under it as well.
Luckily it looks like the layers under the outer bolster are OK, which is a good thing.
The game plane is to cut off the bolster above where it’s damaged and replace that leather. This will be a little bit tricky as I’ll need to match up the thickness. For the overlay on the handle, I’m going to have to untie the transition knot, and secure the strands under it. Then I’ll have to cut off the strands below where I secure them. Then I’ll have to add in new strands and plait them and of course redo the knot foundation.
This will be an interesting project!
Yesterday I got some work in on the 6 foot bullwhip that I’m working on. I got the outer bolster finished. I also did something with the bolster that I don’t always do…but whenever I do it I wonder why I stopped. When I was running the bolster through the splitter as I got closer to the end I thinned it down a bit more. So the bolster didn’t just taper by width, but also by thickness.
Here’s the whip in it’s current state:
Currently I’ve got it braided to the end of the plaited belly. Unfortunately I don’t think I’m going to have any time to work on this whip the next couple of days, so it won’t be finished for a few days.
I’m doing some spring cleaning over here and I found a stock whip that I made a long time ago and never used.
This stock whip has a 5 foot lash and a 20 inch handle. The lash is 12 plait kangaroo and the handle is 24 plait kangaroo.
I just listed this on eBay and you can get this at an amazing price: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=221427874368
Something I’ve done in the past and occasionally do now when making a bullwhip is glue the layers together. I’m not using glue on the entire bullwhip, simply the non plaited layers on the handle. I do this using a Leather Cement:
It’s pretty easy to do I simply put some on the part of the core that touches the handle foundation, then tightly bind them together with artificial sinew. I repeat this with all non plaited layers of the whip. What that does in theory is if the artificial sinew were to ever breakdown hopefully the glue will keep the whip from twisting on the handle.
Is this a realistic concern?
Probably not. The artificial sinew on the handle doesn’t really take any stress, so it’s not going to break from that. And it degrading over time really isn’t a concern.
So why do I do it?
I’m not sure and I pretty much only do it on cow leather whips. My reasoning is that typically they have a slightly different construction than my kangaroo whips and there is 1-2 less layers on the handle tied down, so less force compressing it on to the handle. Also with cowhide generally being thicker the bindings on the outside of a layer of cowhide doesn’t necessarily translate to as much force on the inside as it would with kangaroo.
A couple of months ago I made a bullwhip from some English Calf Leather that I had come across:
When I made the bullwhip above I also cut out core and belly for another bullwhip. Yesterday I started to make that bullwhip, first I attached the core to the handle:
Next up was fitting the yoke of the belly to the handle:
And attaching the 4 plait belly to the handle:
Hopefully I’ll find time today to finish up all the internal parts of this bullwhip and maybe get started on the overlay.
I’ve gotten a lot of progress into the bullwhip with the shark spine handle. Here’s the belly inserted into the handle:
I put the handle (with belly attached) into the hollowed out shark spine. Then I filled it with epoxy and let it dry.
The next step was attaching the inner bolster. To do this I put a bit of leather cement on the inch of handle and belly that extended past shark spine and tightly bound the leather in place and let everything dry.
On top of that boslter I put a second bolster with basically the same process. Right now I’m working on the overlay and I’ll post pics of it when I’m finished with it.
I love making bullwhips with different things for handles besides plaiting. In the past I’ve used stingray, snake skin, shark skin and alligator. The other day I was walking through a junk shop and found a Mako Shark Spine!
This is about 18 inches long right now and I’m hoping to make an 8 inch handle out of it. I’m going to have to drill it out and put a piece of spring steel into it to make it stronger and make sure the vertebrae don’t come apart.
I’m not positive if this will work, but it should be a fun little experiment!