I’m almost finished making an experimental bullwhip that has a plaited rawhide (goat) belly, then the 2nd belly is the usual veg tanned, drum stuffed kangaroo layer. The whip looks fine, but the test will be how it handles when I take it out for some test cracking (hopefully tomorrow).
Today I ordered a kangaroo rawhide skin and I’ll try using that. It’s much more expensive than the goat rawhide, so I’ll have to see if I like it.
From what I’ve heard and read about rawhide it’s normally soaked in water to loosen it up, then it’s plaited. When it dries it will harden up and give the whip a more “springy” action. From seeing the inside of a whip that I’ve taken apart I have a hard time thinking the rawhide will dry, I think it would soak up the leather dressing and become softer than dry rawhide. Using that notion instead of soaking the rawhide in water I soaked it in grease to make it soft. It got nice and soft and it braided easily, but it never really dried out and got hard.
I don’t know if that is good or not.
I may have to make a bullwhip with the rawhide layer out of rawhide that’s soaked in water to see if there’s a difference…I think that after all the grease that goes into making a bullwhip the rawhide will soak up enough grease and it won’t become rigid again.
One thing that about using the greased rawhide is that it seems to be much more dense than kangaroo, so it’s adding more weight to the thong…which can be good.