From the Mail Bag…

From the Mail Bag…

I recently got an email from someone asking about nylon whips.  Now if they are a reader of this blog they know I’m not a nylon whip maker, however I have made a few nylon whips.  Here’s what they asked:

“what do you use for your bolster material in the paracord whips? I hear that using tape is not the correct method?”

The few nylon whips that I have made I didn’t use tape.  There are a couple reasons for that.  First over time the tape can loose its stickiness so it don’t actually hold tight.  I think a lot of people use tape because it temporarily will hold a whip tight, however once you years get down the road I don’t know how effective it will be.  Second is that tape doesn’t add much bulk or weight to the whip.  If you were to use tape to add taper or weight you’ll be adding an insane amount of tape.

Keep in mind I’m now a nylon whip maker, so there may be ways to overcome both of these problems with tape (using tape).

The few nylon whips that I’ve made were made with bolsters, however they were vinyl bolsters that were cut like a traditional leather bolster to add taper to the whip.  They turned out just fine with this method.  I’m trying to figure out why more nylon makers don’t use this technique, it’s way faster than taping a whip and gives you some control of the taper.  My best guess is that it’s either that a sheet of vinyl can be expensive, so it’s a cost thing.  Or many nylon whip makers aren’t that well versed in whip making techniques and are scared to make a traditional bolster.

However in my opinion at the end of the day there is no one right way to make a whip.  If it makes a whip that cracks like the maker intends it to and it lasts for what the maker intends to be the life expectancy of the whip, then that way is correct for that person.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

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

Nylon Bullwhip from Pakistan

Nylon Bullwhip from Pakistan

I frequently get emails from braiding companies in places like India or Pakistan that want to send me samples.  I’ve never taken them up on them  until recently.  My main reason for not taking the samples is that I didn’t have any intention of selling whips made overseas.

However with me messing with nylon whips recently I got another email from a company and I decided to take them up on their offer.  Mainly to see how mine compared and if they made something as good or better I’d consider selling them.

Here’s what they sent me:

bullwhip

Right after opening seeing this whip my first thought was the fall was too long.  Shortly after starting the whip cracking session this was confirmed.  I cut a few inches off of the whip and it handled a bit better.

I took it to the park earlier today and  had a little cracking session.  Here’s a sample of it:

Internally this whip isn’t effectively carrying energy to the end of the whip.  It does “closed loop” cracks like a circus crack or over head crack fairly well.  However for “open loop” cracks like a flick/forward crack or side arm the whip seems to stall out about halfway.

So in my opinion this whip would be good if you want to learn one crack and really don’t want to progress past a very basic crack, so if it were for someone like an actor that only needed to crack a whip once in a play.  I think a beginner trying to learn a forward crack is going to have a hard time with this whip.

Knowing my feelings on this being a good learning whip, there is one instance I would sell them.  That would be if I sold my whips in a booth at places like Ren Faires (which I don’t).  I’d use these to fill my booth to offer something cheap for “impulse buyers”.

Also I’ve changed how I think about all these companies offering to send me sample whips.  Since they are contacting me, not me asking them for something, I will take the free whip…just keep in mind when you contact me I have very little interest in reselling whips that I didn’t make, so when you email me offering a sample you’re probably wasting your money.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

650 Paracord…

650 Paracord…

I was going to take a break from experimenting with making nylon bull whips after I finish the roll of red that I bought a couple of weeks ago…then I get a 10% off coupon code in an email from UBraidIt and I’m thinking I might make a couple more.

FYI the coupon code is: JUNE14

One of the bigger differences for me between making leather and nylon is the nylon is really rough on my hands.  I can’t braid for extended periods of time like I can with leather.  It’s been years since I’ve gotten blisters on my hands from plaiting, however thanks to the paracord I’ve gotten them again.

Another thing is my elbows have gotten sore.  I don’t know if I’m pulling differently than with leather or maybe it’s  the resistance with the nylon being different, but I’m hoping it temporary.

Also there are only a few hours left on the eBay auction I have on a bullwhip right now: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-foot-BULLWHIP-12-plait-English-Calf-handmade-bull-whip-/221458916442?

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

Shrinking Paracord

Shrinking Paracord

Yesterday my roll of paracord showed up and I cut up a bunch and decided it was time to preshrink it.  I added in some extra length to compensate for the shrinkage when I cut it and then I soaked it in hot water:

nylon bullwhip

Once it soaked for a bit a I took it out and dried it in the sun:

bull whip

 

From what I’ve read on my paracord supplier’s website that’s how you shrink the paracord.  If I’m doing it wrong, feel free to let me know in the comments.

 

I also made the interior of the bullwhip out of vinyl and now the overlay is ready to be put onto the whip.  Hopefully I’ll get some work in on that today.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Paracord Bullwhip

Paracord Bullwhip

I’ve never really had any desire to make whips out of paracord however the other day I was at the hardware store and they have some 550 parcord on sale.  I bought a enough of it to make a 6 foot whip.

Here’s my first try, it’s not as pretty as I’d like, but I was mainly testing out my design:

bullwhip

 

Here’s me giving it a few test cracks:

I was amazed at how well the whip cracked…however I’ve got a few tweaks to make on the design.

From what I’ve read or been told by paracord whip makers is that most paracord whips have a multiple belly construction with no traditional (leather style) bolsters.  I wanted my whip to act more like a leather bullwhip and so my construction method was a bit different.

I started by making a shotbag out of vinyl and attaching it to the handle.   Then I put a 4 plait vinyl belly over that and a vinyl bolster over the belly.  That gave me an internal weight similar to a bullwhip, however due to the diameter of my shot bag it was a bit heavier than I would have liked.  Then I put on the 16 plait overlay, in retrospect I should have made it an 18 plait whip, I’ve got some gaps in the plaiting because of this.  The main reason for sticking to 16 plait was that’s all the paracord I bought.

Here’s what I’ve learned about paracord and what I would do a bit differently next time:

1. Use the wider 650 paracord.

2. Wear some sort of gloves while braiding.

Here’s what I don’t like about paracord:

1. The paracord tells you what to do.  For example with leather I can make whip that is 8 plait the whole length of the whip and have the whip of virtually any diameter.  With paracord the whips diameter tells you what the starting and ending plait count will be.

2. Tears up my hands.  It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten blisters from plaiting, but my hands have them today and they are sore!

So the big question for me is will I make another paracord whip?  I guess so.  I’m going to probably tweak my design a bit to see if I can dial it in to where I’d like the whip to be.  I just ordered some paracord from UBraidIt:  http://www.ubraidit.com and use the coupon code MAY14 which is good for 10% off till June 7th.

We’ll see if the future has more than a handful of paracord whips in it for me….

Louie
http://bullwhips.org