I recently remembered a source I have locally for kangaroo skins. They only have a couple in stock and they’ve had the same skins for years. These skins were expensive at $22.69 a square foot and that’s the price they’ve been at for several years. Lucky for me I remember this place had them and I bought them all them out and got them for $18 a square foot.
These are nice clear skins from packer and all are in the upper 70dm size range. It’s funny when they first got them in stock and priced them at $22.69 I thought that was insanely expensive (at the time I was paying in the ballpark of $11-$13 a square foot) and back then I wouldn’t believe that now I’d be excited to pay $18 a square foot for them!
Here’s one of them:
These kangaroo skins are a great size, shape and thickness for making Indy style bullwhips! This particular skin’s thickness is in the 1.25 mm range. David Morgan used to sell skins this thick, but no longer does and I’m exciting to have some again!
Right now I’m on the road performing, and right now I’m in Spokane, WA and I’m heading out to Rockford, WA in about an hour. I’m staying at a pretty nice hotel (thank you priceline.com!) and when I left my house yesterday I brought a kangaroo hide and some kip with me. Unfortunately I forgot to bring a steel spike, so I couldn’t start assembling a bullwhip.
I did manage to cut out the two bellies and an a 12 plait overlay for an 8 foot indy bullwhip. I also managed to pare the two bellies.
Lately my kangaroo hides have been under 60 dm in size, but the one that I cut last night was 65dm! However all the other natural tan kangaroo skins that I got with that shipment were in the low 50dm’s. One thing that these smaller sized kangaroo hide are doing is making me really think about the best way to cut the hide to eliminate waste. Also I’m doing something that Meagan and Alex at David Morgan’s shop showed me to help get longer bullwhips out of smaller kangaroo hides.
A few minutes ago I finished tying the knots on a 10 foot Indiana Jones (Morgan) Style bullwhip.
It still needs a coat of shellac, but I’ll give it a few test cracks first.
This morning I had a show about 10 minutes from David Morgan’s shop, so I chatted with him a little bit. I told him about my new way of paring my strands and he confirmed that it will give me the desired results. What I’m doing is paring the top right and bottom left of the odd numbered strandsof the set. Then I’m doing the even numbered strands on the top left and bottom right. What that does is has all the downward angled on the leading edge of the seam when the strands are plaited. That gives a slightly smoother look to the bullwhip.
My next project is an 8 foot 8 plait bullwhip with a long handle. I’m enjoying making the long handle bullwhips and the hides for this bullwhip just showed up today, so I can get to work first thing monday.
I’ve been waiting for a shipment of kangaroo to arrive so that I could finish up the overlay on one of my orders. It’s an 8 foot KotCS, but it will have black knots instead of the usual Brandy colored Kangaroo.
I’ve got about 4 feet of the overlay finished and I should be able to get the other half done today. With a bit of hustle this bullwhip should ship out tomorrow or the next day. while I was waiting for the kangaroo skin for this bullwhip to show up I cut out the two bellies for a 10 foot KotCS and about half the overlay for a 6 foot Indy. So I’m a bit ahead on my next two projects.
Also last night I put a new butt knot on this bullwhip:
This bullwhip had a Natural Tan butt knot, and it’s owner wanted a different color. This bulllwhip will ship back to it’s owner today! It’s nice to see how my whips hold up after use.
Today I got some work in on an 8 foot KotCS style bullwhip. I finished up the overlay, plaited and attached the wrist loop, tied the knots and rolled everything. So all that is left is for me to shellac it and it’s finished!
Above is the bullwhip before rolling it and bellow is after it’s first roll (right now I roll my whips twice).
Below is the bullwhip with the wristloop attached.
I haven’t taken any pictures of the whip with the knots on it yet. I’ll try to remember to take the pictures before and after the shellacing.
My next project is another 8 foot KotCS bullwhip. I should be starting to cut up the hide for that either later tonight or tomorrow. Here are my last two hides before my next shipment arrives…hopefully Wed or Thurs of next week.
I’ve done a few forward throws with the 8 foot bullwhip on my deck and that bullwhip’s got one heck of a crack!
Yesterday I got a lot more work done on the 8 foot Indy bullwhip than I though I would. I’ve got about 4 feet of the overlay finished. I’m going to do the 12 to 10 plait drop soon.
After having a hard time making the 7 foot indy bullwhip the last two bullwhips have been much easier and are coming along very well. I think my was working something out and gave me a bad whipmaking day when I made the 7 footy.
On Thursday I ordered some more kangaroo skins to make a few more KotCS bullwhips. And I’ll probably head up to visit David Morgan this week to get some more natural tan kangaroo skins.
The 8 foot KotCS Bullwhip is almost finished all it needs is a wrist loop and knots. I’ve also started work on an 8 foot Indy Bullwhip (morgan style). Here’s both bullwhips:
The Morgan style Indy bullwhip has two finished belllies. The KotCS Bullwhip has a Jacka-like transition.
My cutting time for the overlay has gotten much faster. I think the last time I timed myself it took about an hour and a half to cut the overlay for a 6 foot bullwhip. The last two bullwhips I’ve made have taken about an hour and change for an 8 foot bullwhip. When cutting the overlay I made a little pile of all the pieces I cut off the kangaroo skin to make the corners wider (see picture below):
I should get the bolster cut out tonight. Tomorrow my daughter and I are hanging out all day with a friend of mine (an amazing comedian) that is spending the day with his niece, so I probably won’t get much work done. But I should find time on Sunday to get most of the overlay plaited.
Many bullwhip makers make “matched” pairs, so to stand out from the crowd I make a “similar” pair. Well that’s not why I made them. I mader the bullwhip on the left as a test and I liked it so I kept it for my personal whip. then I made the second one to make a pair for me to do two handed cracking with them.
A lot of people say that for two handed cracking you need a matched pair, but Gery Deer has written a FAQ about why it’s not necessary to have an exactly matching pair. I agree with him.
The older whip is about 2 months old and the one on the right’s first trip out was today. They were a ton of fun!