16 Foot Bull Whip!

16 Foot Bull Whip!

Currently I’m working on a 16 foot bullwhip.  I’ve got the insides finished and the overlay cut out.

bullwhip

The biggest pain when making a longer whip is that as you are plaiting the strands, the ends are just tangling.  I’ve tried tying them in “tamales” and am not a fan of that method.  I don’t think it saves much time, as you have to untangle each strand as you braid it.  It really slows down my rhythm.  Personally I’d like to braid a bit, then stop and untangle over pull, untangle, pull, untangle…

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Kangaroo Skins at David Morgan!

Kangaroo Skins at David Morgan!

Last week I swung by David Morgan to pick up some kangaroo skins.

kangaroo

I always love visiting them!  I picked up two black kangaroo skins for a 16 foot whip I’m making and a saddle tan kangaroo skin.

Saddle Tan Kangaroo

bull whip

bull whip

bullwhip

I was also surprised to see that they now stock the veg tanned drum stuffed kangaroo in “whiskey” color now!  So they have more than just black and natural tan…that’s great news!  If you need kangaroo for making whips, I always recommend getting it from David Morgan, you’ll always get a great skin!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

From the Mailbag…

From the Mailbag…

Here’s an email I got about whip making:

I am also a whip maker, though so far I have only made paracord whips. I am interested in getting started on leather whips but lack some of the tools. I am in the process of getting what I need, though, I don’t know the names of what I am supposed to be buying and I was wondering if you can point me in the right direction.
I am seeking the jig that is used to thin, cut and angle the lace.
I was wondering if you can lead me to a website, that would have the proper tools to get started on this craft.

If you are getting into leather whips I highly recommend getting David Morgan’s book Braiding Fine Leather.

It does a really good job of taking you through all the steps of how to prepare cut and prepare lace for braiding along with a few simple projects to work on.  I also recommend reading David’s book Whips and Whip Making which gives a nice overview into what goes into a bullwhip including a how to make the famous Indiana Jones Bullwhip.

I recommend learning to cut and pare lace by hand with a knife instead of using a jig.  Hand cutting is much faster to do and you will get better results because you can taper the lace much more easily.  With paracord your lace doesn’t taper simply because it can’t, however being able to taper is one of the HUGE advantages to using leather.

I do own a lace cutter / beveler and occasionally use it, however that’s only for very specific project and usually after I’m done using it, I think to myself it would have been faster by hand.  The guy that made mine I don’t think makes them anymore (his website is gone).   If you have your mind set on getting a lace cutter / beveler there’s always something like: http://www.gfeller.us/lacemaster.html  However for the price, personally I would (and did) put the time in and learned to do it free hand.

One of the huge disadvantages of only using a machine to cut and pare your leather is that you can’t easily resize it once you start braiding.  For example lets say I’m making a whip and the strands are a bit too wide for where they are on the whip, but I don’t want to drop them yet. The simple solution is to simply grab a knife and resize them while the whip is on the hook.  If you are using a machine logistically it gets complicated.

If you want something to cut there’s the Australian Stranders, however you won’t automatically be cutting great lace with them.

These do still have a bit of a learning curve and personally I think that time is better spent learning to do it by hand.  The safety bar on these makes it hard to switch between pieces of lace as well.  If you are making a whip you need to cut one piece for a little bit…disassemble the strander, reassemble it around the next piece and cut for a bit.  You’ll be repeating this process over and over and over again.  It’s really not a very good way to cut lace from a time stand point.

To sum it all up, if you are starting out as a leather braider I would recommend getting a box cutter and a box of blades.  I’d then call the David Morgan Company or Midwest Whips to see if they had a lower grade kangaroo skins that I could buy hack up while I’m learning to cut lace.  I know kangaroo costs more than cow, however kangaroo is easier to work with than cow.  Cutting cow leather and braiding it is EXTREMELY difficult compared to kangaroo, especially if you are doing anything over 12 plait.

Hope that helps!

Louie

 

 

 

 

Trimming a Kangaroo Skin

Trimming a Kangaroo Skin

Yesterday I got the kangaroo skin trimmed and the core of the whip attached to the handle.  I hurt my left wrist on Friday, so work on this whip will be going slower than normal as I can’t do much before it gets very painful.

Here’s the initial trim of the skin:

bullwhip kangaroo

The purpose of this is to simply take off the jagged edges of the skin.  This gives me smoother edges to cut around.  Then I cut out the two bellies:

whip kangaroo

These two bellies are for two different 4 foot whips.  I bought a kangaroo skin that would make two whips.

Next today is hopefully getting the belly and bolsters of the first whip finished (before my wrist starts hurting too bad).

Louie

4 Foot Bullwhip

4 Foot Bullwhip

I’m currently working on a four foot 12 plait bullwhip in black kangaroo. I went up to David Morgan and picked out this skin for it:

bullwhip

This skin is a lot bigger than what I need, it’s 64dm, which would almost make an 8 foot whip.  The amount of skin needed to make a 4 foot whip really isn’t that much and if I bought a smaller low 50’s dm skin, the leftover wouldn’t be enough to do anything meaningful with.

While I was up there the Meagan and Will showed me a bullwhip that came in for a repair. It was a black bullwhip made in the 1990’s at David Morgan.  At 20 years old this whip was in great shape, no broken strands and the braiding was still very tight.  It had been used, so it wasn’t something that someone used as a “wall hanger”.  When you buy a well built whip (and you take care of it) you are buying something that will last for decades!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

6 Foot Bullwhip Progress…

6 Foot Bullwhip Progress…

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:
how to make a whip bull whip handle

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.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

6 foot Bullwhip

6 foot Bullwhip

My current project is working on a 6 foot 12 plait bullwhip.  The first stop was a drive up to David Morgan to pick out a kangaroo skin for this.

veg tanned drum stuffed kangaroo

This kangaroo skin is 56 dm and will be the two bellies and the overlay.

Yesterday I got the two inner bellies braided.

bullwhip plaited belly

As far as internal layers go, all that’s left to do is the outer bolster.  The insides of the whip are assembled quickly compared to the outside.  The internal layers are about 5/6’s of the finished whip, however they represent a little less than 1/3 of the total labor, and they are the most important layers.  If you put a beautiful overlay on top of bad whip guts, the whip is going to suck.

Louie
http:/bullwhips.org