A few months ago my friend and sideshow historian James Taylor had seen a mini bullwhip that I had made and wanted one for his collection. I finally had some time to make him one. This mini bullwhip construction had a core, plaited belly, bolster then overlay.
One of the challenges with making this type of whip is that you have to really thin down the leather, so it’s very fragile if you aren’t careful about going around the scars on the leather when you are cutting the lace.
The overlay of this whip is 12 plait.
Making these mini whips which are about a foot long are a lot of work, but fun to make and you can get little cracks out of them!
My current project is working on a dozen whips! Six of them will be six foot 12 plait bullwhips and the other six will be four foot stockwhips. The most labor intensive will be the bullwhips, so I’m working on them first.
For me, when making a lot of whips that are the same, the easiest way to save time is to do the same layer of all of them at the same time. This is “production line” style, where you do only one task at a time. This way your brain isn’t constantly shifting gears. For example, I cut out all of the bellies at the same time:
Then I went through and attached all of the inner bellies at the same time. Once they were all attached I plaited all six of them.
This way works great, but when I’m doing the overlays will be really rough on my hands.
Recently I was contacted to make a Martinet Whip. I’d never made one of these whips before or knew what they were. You can learn about them by clicking here. Basically it’s a flogger with multiple lashes.
The customer wanted 10 lashes, so I had a plan. I did a six plait braid over a tapered rod, then at the end of the rod, I did a 4 plait section that the six plait when over. That gave me 10 lashes.
However these 10 lashes being kangaroo didn’t have much weight to them, making them ineffective at transferring energy. I didn’t like this. So I tied them off below the rebate in the rod that was the handle.
I took some five latigo strips and thinned them down in the middle. I folded them in half and bound them to the end of the handle. Doing it this way gave me very little bulge at the end where the lashes were attached and also gave the lashes a very firm foundation.
I braided the 12 plait overlay over the top of that and here’s the finished Martinet Whip.
I got an Apple Watch recently and I don’t like the band it comes with, so I decided I’m going to try to make my own. I remember seeing David Morgan wear a watchband that was kangaroo and I remember seeing it an old David Morgan catalog, but couldn’t find it on their website.
A quick drive up to visit everyone at David Morgan and we found an old catalog that had it listed:
For some reason I thought they made them in house, but they were imported from Australia. Not only did they find the catalog for me to look at, they also managed to find a couple of the watch bands! One was new and one was used:
Here’s the front and back of the used one:
And here’s the new one:
As you can see it’s a pretty simple design. It’s got the plaited strap, then the flat leather part. I don’t know the technical name for the leather part that’s not plaited, so I’ll just call it the flat leather part. You can see it’s got some edge plaiting on the flat leather part. I don’t do a lot of edge plaiting, so I looked it up in Bruce Grant’s book Encyclopedia of Rawhide and Leather Braiding and to my surprise I found the same watch band and the picture was supplied by David Morgan!
Will Morgan was nice enough to show me an early edition of the book that Bruce autographed to David Morgan:
Now that I had my foundation, it was time to make the actual watch band, we’ll get into that in another post.