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!
I’m working on a 12 plait two tone bullwhip right now. I wanted it to have a two tone handle that I could do some patterns with, but I wanted the lash to be less formal looking of having the two colors separated.
What I did was start with the colored strands alternating and plaited the patterns on the handle, then I took two sets of two strands and switched their places. Here are a couple of pics of the switched lace:
I’m going to put a knot over the gap on the handle that was created by the swaping of the lace. I have a feeling I’m going to be using this technique more in the future!
Sorry that I haven’t been updating this blog as often as I normally do, I’ve been swamped with getting orders out and performing. I’m staring work on one last 5 foot bullwhip and this one will be a 12 plait bullwhip. Here’s the core attached to the handle and the kangaroo skin that I’m using for it:
I’m going to do something that I’ve always wanted to do with a kangaroo skin when I make this bullwhip. I’m going to weigh the skin and keep track of the weight used, thrown away and leftover. I’ve always wondered what percentage of a skin ends up in the trash. This particular skin might not be the best for this because it’s a 5 foot whip and a 46 dm skin which is way more than I’ll need to make the belly, overlay and knots for this whip. Something like a 55dm and a 6 foot bullwhip would be better because there’d be a lot less leftover.
Yesterday while I was out performing I drove by a Tandy Leather Factory store and popped in. Some Ostrich legs caught my eye. I’ve thought about making a bullwhip with an Ostrich leg handle before, but I finally bought a leg.
There should be enough of this Ostrich leg for me to get two handles from it. This stuff is very expensive at $50 retail, however I don’t pay that much, but it still isn’t cheap!
Now my next choice is what color to make the lash of the whip from. If I do the lash in black the Ostrich leg handle visually be lost in a sea of black, however there is something elegant about an all black whip.
Over the weekend I started work on a shorter bullwhip which was originally intended to be 4 feet long, but I ended up making 4 1/2 feet long. The inspiration for this bullwhip internally was the Terry Jacka bullwhip that came in for repair. I was thinking about how he uses a split leather for the internal layers of his bullwhips and how that’s one of the reasons why his whips can get so heavy.
So this bullwhip that I made has a core, belly and bolster from split leather, however the 2nd bolster is veg tanned cowhide with a kangaroo overlay. The reason the last internal layer wasn’t split was that I wanted a smooth surface to plait over to allow me to pull a bit tighter when making this whip, while still getting the “rough on rough” effect on all the internal layers.
This bullwhip has a slightly thicker profile than my shorter bullwhips normally have, but it’s not that thick. I think this bullwhip’s in the hand weight feels closer to a 6 foot whip, however it’s actual weight is no where near a 6 foot bullwhip.
It’s got a great crack as well:
I also wanted to do some patterns on the handle of this bullwhip:
However I wanted a two tone handle and I had several options for methods that I could think of:
Hand dye the handle portion of six of the strands.
Braid the handle with 6 red and 6 black strands, then secure the 6 black at the end of the handle and add in 6 additional red strands at the end of the handle for the 12 plait overlay.
Add black strands on top of some of the red strands on the handle.
I chose to go with the last option mainly because it’s something that I hadn’t done before. I cut 6 pieces of lace and using a fid I followed the pattern going one way. Here’s a pic of adding the black after a few strands were added:
And the handle with all the strands added:
I did learn a few things that I didn’t anticipate when I started adding the second color to the handle. Mainly that I should have cut everything a hair wider to deal with the slightly increased diameter of the handle once the extra layer was added. Also that adding lace over something that is already plaited is a pain in the butt, and it probably would have been easier to plait two piece of lace on top of each other from the beginning.
Here’s the finished bullwhip:
This bullwhip is available on my IN STOCK whips page!
I was cleaning up the other day and found a small piece of stingray that I had bought a long time ago. It was only about 6 inches long, so I’m not sure what my original plan was for it because it’s not long enough for an 8 inch bullwhip handle. After finding it I decided to make a Mini Bullwhip.
This Mini Bullwhip is 4 feet long has a plaited belly, a shot loaded core and a 5.5 inch handle. Originally I was going to do a two tone knot on this Mini Bullwhip like the transition knot in the picture below.
My original thinking was a white highlights would compliment the stingrays white pearl. After I tied that knot I realized it overpowered the white in the stingray. So I decided to go with all black knots.
I still need to roll this whip and shellac it. It should be listed for sale on my IN STOCK whips page later today.
The pair of stock whips that I’ve been working on have been having some slow progress. Right now I have one of the lashes finished:
If you look at the keeper you can tell I used a natural tan kangaroo inside. In the future I’ll be sure to use a belly that matches the outside. On this pair I may simply dye the part that’s showing black and then it won’t show.
I also have starting plaiting one of the handles:
Before I started plaiting the handle I put the lash on it and took it outside to crack it. As a test I tried making a kangaroo fall.
This kangaroo fall was cut around the tail of the kangaroo skin where it’s typically the thickest. I’m not 100% positive that I’m on board with the roo fall. On the other stock whip of this pair I’ll put a whitehide fall and see which that I like better.