Bullwhip Unbuild

Bullwhip Unbuild

If you’ve read my blog since it got started you’ll know I’ve taken apart many whips over the years.  These are whips made by the top whip makers in the USA and the world…and some by whip makers that aren’t top of their game.

Since the nylon bullwhip from Pakistan isn’t one I’m going to use I figure why not take it apart.  Here’s the whip before:

bullwhip

So far I’ve gotten just shy of about halfway through the unbraiding process. Before we get to the pictures here are a couple of things visually that I notice before taking apart the whip:

1:  The transition knot is larger in diameter than the heel knot. After taking apart the knots there is no real reason for this other  than style.  It makes me wonder why it’s done that way when most modern whips have equal sized knots or larger heel knots.

2. The strand drops are really strange looking.  Where the strands drop the strand to be dropped is on top of the strand next to it.  After seeing inside the whip I think the strand drops aren’t drops at all, they are “strand adds”.  Meaning the whip is braided from the point  towards the handle and strands are added instead of dropped.

Okay now here’s the photo gallery with some notes:

I’m very interested in this core that is wrapped in electrical tape.  From the tip that isn’t covered it looks like it’s paracord with a leather bolster on top then electrical tape.  We’ll see what’s up when we get there…

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Paracord Bull Whip #2

Paracord Bull Whip #2

Here’s my second attempt at making a paracord bullwhip. This whip has a shot loaded core, plaited belly, bolster and 16 plait overlay.

paracord whip

 

This one came out better than the first one.

bull whip

This paracord bullwhip is much lighter than the first one I made and I had a good time taking it out to test crack it!

I’m currently working on another paracord bullwhip with a different internal design…we’ll see how that turns out!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Quick Ebay Whip Rant…

Quick Ebay Whip Rant…

I was just poking on the ebay and notice a whip being sold that’s made by a maker that I’ve done a few posts about in the past.  He’s been gone from ebay for a while, but reappeared recently and if I’m not mistaken he’s using an new/different user name.  How do I know it’s the same person if they are using a different name?  Well I don’t, however based on the way the bullwhip looks and how the listing is written I’m guessing it’s the same person.  If I’m wrong I apologize to both people, however my personal issues with the listing are still valid.

Here’s the listing:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/11-pro-built-nylon-bullwhip?item=270959893407

Issue #1:  There are gaps or a misplait (possibly both) a few inches off the top of the transition knot.

Issue #2:  The title says 11′ pro built nylon bullwhip.  While what makes someone a professional is debatable.  Are you a pro if you sell one whip a year to sell,  make over 50% of your income, make over a certain dollar a mount?  I don’t know your definition of “professional” but the listing says it took over “24 working hours” to make this whip and they are selling it for $285.  Let’s assume between ebay fees and paypal fees the seller is out 4% and has $43.60 in material (I picked that amount to give me a nice round number for my math, I was going to figure in $50 in material) into the whip.   That nets them $9.59 1/3 an  hour making the whip to put that into prospective the state I live in (Washington) has a minimum wage of $9.04 and hour.  So this “professional” maker is barely making more than minimum wage which is a safety net for unskilled labor.

Keep in mind that hourly wage doesn’t take into consideration things like state and federal taxes the maker would pay (I’m assuming they are a legitimate business) which is typically somewhere between 5 – 15% depending on how much they make, and since they are a professional maker I”m going to assume they make enough to have to file federally.  That means that if this professional maker were to hire an unskilled laborer to sweep up after him (for the purposes of comparison) the unskilled laborer would be making the same wage as the professional that employed them!

Why did I tie the sellers use of the work professional with an hourly wage?  Simple in my opinion I think that this person is either inflating their skill level or the amount of time put into the whip.

Issue #3:  The description of the internal construction,  here’s what the seller says: “Inner layers are a 12 strand plaited half length bolster to give better taper, 10 strand plaited full layer and an 8 strand plaited layer…..all over a bb filled paracord core“.

Everything seems pretty standard except for the “12 strand plaited half length bolster”, I can’t imagine what that is.  OK, I can imagine, what I see in my head is the 2nd half of a bolster (the half towards the point of the whip) that at the halfway point it’s split to 12 strands which are then plaited backwards towards the handle.  Sort of like how I cut bellies with a yoke, but backwards?! That’s possible to make out of leather, but wouldn’t give you any advantage over plaiting a certain distance then leaving the strand loose as filler strands…but here’s the amazing part is how you’d do that with paracord!

Also the seller goes into detail telling how far the 12 and 10 plait layers are braided, but the 8 plait layer is just that.  Why would you over emphasize those two layers and be very vague with one?  I don’t know.

Issue #4:  Classic over hyping in the listing, the seller says, “loud cracking man sized monster bullwhip“.  First of all the loudness of a bullwhip has more to do with the person cracking the whip than the whip itself.   A good whip cracker can make loud or quiet cracks and pretty much anyone with a basic level of whip cracking abilities can get a solid loud crack out of a overhead crack with the crappiest of whips.

Here’s my favorite part of over hyping, the seller calls the whip “man sized”!   What does that mean?  The whip is 11 feet long, I don’t know anyone that’s 11 feet tall!  Oh wait, they are referring to the plaited part not the whole whip.  Wait a minute the whip has a plaited length of 8 1/2 feet, or 3 inches longer than the worlds tallest living person (according to the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records)!

What do all these issues mean?  Well it depends on you and your goals.   For me in my own personal opinion they would add up to someone trying do a sell a whip, not someone trying to make a nice whip to sell.

Louie

Crackers and Kangaroo…

Crackers and Kangaroo…

I just had a batch of 100 crackers come in:

bull whip cracker

I also got almost enough kangaroo for a plaiting project I’m working on:

kangaroo

Initially I thought these five skins would be enough kangaroo for 55 feet of 8 plait, but I think I’m going to need at least one more skin (probably two).  I just ordered a couple more  skins just in case.  It would be enough, but with this project being eight plait, I have wider strands and can’t use as much of the middles of the skins.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Nylon Whips…

Nylon Whips…

Yesterday the book Making Nylon Whips by Shannon Reilly showed up in the mail.  I read it yesterday…and reread it last night.  I didn’t reread it because it’s a fantastic book, I reread it because I felt like I missed something the first time.  After the second read I feel like I didn’t miss anything, but the book did!

nylon whip making

There’s a lot of this book that to me was not included.  For example Shannon plaited whips from the point to the butt, but doesn’t say why this method was chosen over braiding from the butt?  I suspect that her reason for doing it this way is that it’s technically easier to do it that way (but that’s just my guess).

Does doing something the easy way make it a better way?  Sometimes it does…but sometimes it doesn’t.  Personally in my opinion in this case it doesn’t.  I don’t think you can control the taper as well when you work from the point of the whip.

Another thing that I feel got glossed over is the core of the whip.  She mentioned it’s the most important part, but doesn’t really go into it much.  She tells you have to put ball chain into, but that’s about it.

Now this might be my ignorance talking here, but why the hell would you want to use ball chain in a whip core? The point of adding it is to put weight into the thong and from what I’ve read a lot of nylon whip makers use it.  Once again I think that ball chain is easier to put in than lead shot or BB’s, so the technically easier method was chosen.

Once thing I’ve learned from making leather bullwhips is that you want a dense whip and one where the weight tapers evenly to the point.  If you know anything about ball chain (it’s what is used on Dog Tags or to keep your bathtub stopper from getting lost) it’s hollow!  and between each ball is the thin chain.  So you are losing a lot of density in the whip by having a hollow core!

Using something like BB’s will give you a more dense core.  Also because the ball chain all sits nicely in a row single file, the weight goes up and down through the core.  By using something like small BB’s or lead shot you can really pack it in and fill up more air space between the BB’s giving you a more dense core where the weight flows more evenly.

One thing to keep in mind about the author is that she makes whips for “lifestyle” whip crackers and not sport bullwhip crackers, so the level of performance expected from the whip isn’t the same.

Now keep in mind I’ve never made a nylon whip before, but I do have a pair of nylon whips from Steve Huntress (Steve makes whips for sport whip crackers).  I also have read Steve’s ebook on how to make nylon whips.  Steve’s book is great…and it’s sort of my foundation of my knowledge on how nylon whips are made.

If you are interested in learning to make a nylon whip I’d recommend Steve Huntress’s book: http://amzn.to/TIbvfR over the one I just read.

Is there anything wrong with nylon whips?  Nope.  However just like leather whips with nylon whips there are people that just make whips and people that have a passion for making whips.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Nylon Snakewhip Book??

Nylon Snakewhip Book??

I found a book on how to make a nylon snakewhip:

The one review of this book wasn’t very good, but since I’m a bit of a whip nerd I ordered it. I’ll post a review when I get it and have a chance to go through it.

Here’s a quick video of a trick show with a signal whip I did the other day:

Louie

http://bullwhips.org

Nylon Crackers

Nylon Crackers

I just had a ton of nylon crackers arrive:

nylon crackers

The person that made these for me makes them for one of the top whipmakers and also for one of the top whip sellers in the USA.

Personally the two whip making jobs that I like the least are making falls and making crackers.  I’m very glad that I found someone to make crackers for me.  Now I just need someone to make falls for me…

Since I just had a ton of these come in, the Whip Deal of the Day (for 12/12/09 only) is 33% off all crackers; nylon or polypro.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org