This afternoon I was at my local Tandy Leather Factory and they let me know that they now sell veg tanned kangaroo! I picked up a skin, it’s tanned by Packer, and it’s a good skin…but it’s a dry skin. So that means you’ll have to grease it before you can use it for whip making. It’s also expensive at about $20 a square foot, so the 5.6 foot skin would be over $100 (I get a slightly cheaper price, but it’s still expensive).
I don’t see them as my new supplier for kangaroo based on price alone, I’m currently getting veg tanned drum stuffed for less. However it’s nice to have a local supplier and if I need just one kangaroo skin after you factor in not having to pay shipping it’s not that much more.
Also today I was at my local Tandy Leather to pick up a side of kip and they had some stingray skins on the counter. I picked one up, I’m thinking of using it for the handle of a bullwhip. There will be a little bit of an engineering challenge to attaching and stitching the stingray to the handle, but I think it will end up looking pretty cool!
The current batch of leather that I’m using for the overlay of the 4 plait cowhide bullwhips is from Tandy Leather Factory. Right now they have a 3-4 ounce cowhide for sale for just under $50 a side (these are over 20 square feet). Normally these sides are just over $100, so the sale price is really good!
Yesterday I went up and bought two more sides. The thing about this cowhide is that it’s very dry and if you want to plait bullwhips out of it you need to grease it up before you cut it. One of the reasons that leather breaks while you are braiding it is that it’s too dry. When you are pulling on the leather you want the nice and flexible. If it’s dry the fibers will break instead of bend, weakening the leather at a spot, leading to a broken strand.
when I get these hides I give them a coat of grease and roll them back up until I need them. Then I cut the strands and give them another coat of grease and let that soak in before I do any strand prep. Then when braiding I use plaiting soap to help give me a nice tight braid. This process seems to give me good results (but I’ve only made two bullwhips with this stuff so far).