After I posted (original post here) about the kangaroo that Tandy LeatherFactory had recently started selling I got this email from Graham Packer Leather in Australia:
When we looked at the Tandy advert – we noticed that they had described the leather as “Finished Kangaroo Leather”.. This wording is important as I understand that the leather was from an Italian producer. This producer offers a Glazed Aniline leather – this leaner is produced with a veg retan process and then is lightly finished with Pigment. The leather is made for really footwear.
You say that you will soak the leather in grease to soften it.
In reality – it will never feel like the Drum Stuffed whip leather that you normally use.
Your comment are correct as to its origin and possible processing.
If you don’t know Packer makes what is in my opinion the best drum stuffed kangaroo you can get for whip making!
I agree with Graham’s assessment of the leather that Tandy is selling, it’s really unsuitable for whip making or braiding in general!
I just finished packing up a Make Your Own Stock Whip Kit:
These are a great way to learn to braid a whip, without the time commitment of learning to cut and pare leather. I’ve got a few more cane stocks left, once they are gone, I’m considering discontinuing the Make Your Own Stock Whip Kit. They take a lot of time to pack everything up and I don’t make enough of them to justify the time commitment…or maybe I’ll just raise the cost.
I haven’t posted much recently because I was on the road travelling with my show, so I haven’t been doing much plaiting. However one day I got into an invitation only museum in Fresno, CA and they had some really cool plaited rawhide (maker unknown)!
First is a set of rawhide reins:
Then a rawhide Reata:
Finally a rawhide quirt:
It’s always fun to run into plaited stuff when I’m travelling!
Currently I’m working on some beginners bullwhips that are 4 plait cowhide with plaited bellies. I’m hoping to get some of them done and listed on my IN STOCK page in the next few days.
I’ve gotten some work in on the overlay of this 8 foot bullwhip:
I’m about at the 6 foot mark, so I’ve got another about 2 feet to go before the overlay’s plaiting is finished. I’m hoping to get the overlay done today and get the rest of the lace for the knots and wrist loop cut out.
Yesterday I was plaiting a bullwhip and about 5 inches past my first strand drop (12 to 10 plait) I broke a strand. When that happens there are typically three options:
- Add a New Strand: I could cut out a new piece of lace and add it into the plaiting as I drop out the broken strand. To to this I would have to unplait some of the whip to properly anchor the new strand.
- Swap Out a Filler Strand: This is a pretty easy procedure, simply drop the broken strand and add in one of the filler strands from inside.
- Unplait to the Strand Drop and Switch Strands: To do this I would unbraid the whip to the strand drop and switch the dropped strand for the broken one. So the broken one gets dropped and the one that was previously dropped ends up as part of the overlay.
Since I was fairly close to the strand drop I figured I might as well back it up and swap out the broken strand for the dropped strand. In this particular situation that was the best option and basically it’s like the strand was never broken!
A couple of weeks ago I had a dog lead sent to me for repair and I’ve finally gotten caught up on everything and this was the last project to finish! It had gotten chewed up and the wrist loop was in bad shape:
The first thing I had to do was remove the knot at the wrist loop and see how many of the 8 strands were actually broken:
I was hoping it miraculously was only three of them. However once I got the wrist loop unplaited I discovered it was six of the 8 strands. So not the worst case scenario which would have been all eight strands, but it was pretty close.
The next step was to unbraid the lead so that I could add lace in and have it anchored in place by plaiting once I rebraided it.
I didn’t add all six strands at one spot, that would have created a huge lump in the dog lead. What I did was thin down the ends of the new lace with by bench splitter and gradually add them in. Here are the first two being added in:
Once all six strands were added and secured I changed the plaiting from a round pattern to a flat pattern for the wrist loop. After securing the wrist loop I tied the first part of the knot:
And added in the red interweave:
And now it’s ready to head back to its owner!
I think given the circumstances it turned out pretty well and wasn’t too crazy of a repair!
I’m working on a 12 plait two tone bullwhip right now. I wanted it to have a two tone handle that I could do some patterns with, but I wanted the lash to be less formal looking of having the two colors separated.
What I did was start with the colored strands alternating and plaited the patterns on the handle, then I took two sets of two strands and switched their places. Here are a couple of pics of the switched lace:
I’m going to put a knot over the gap on the handle that was created by the swaping of the lace. I have a feeling I’m going to be using this technique more in the future!
I just noticed that I need to make more Make Your Own Stock Whip Kits:
So now until Monday 9/9/13 I’m having a Stock Whip Kit Sale and you’ll save 20% off a Stock Whip Kit. The “fine print” is that all stock whip kit orders placed during this sale may not ship out immediately, they will all ship by 9/10/13 at the latest!
Here’s a quick promo video for the Make Your Own Stock Whip Kit:
CLICK HERE order a Make Your Own Stock Whip Kit!
A while ago a movie production company needed some Cat O’ Nine Tails. They needed 1 – 2 actual floggers and two that were just the handle. I started making the two complete Cat O’ Nine Tails as a matched pair. So I built up the insides at the same time.
Then the company let me know they only needed one of the complete Cat O’ Nine Tails. That left me with one that only had the inside of the handle and 6 tails finished. This has been sitting across a couple of pegs by my plaiting hook for about a year. I’m finally getting around to finishing it up. It still needed the overlay of the handle and last 3 tails to be finished.
So yesterday I cut out the 12 plait overlay and did all the strand prep.
One of the reasons well made leather goods cost more than the imported junk is the amount of leather that can’t be used. After I trim a kangaroo skin, keep having to trim the skin while cutting out the lace, paring and splitting sometimes it feels like I throw away more leather than I use!
I plaited the overlay with finished the last three lashes.
There is still a lot of work to be done before this is finished! I need to put a wrist loop and knots on the handle. I also need to tie knots at the ends of the lashes. Once this is finished it will look pretty cool!
One of the reasons the movie production company chose my Cat O’ Nine Tails was that mine didn’t look junky. There are a lot of them out there where the tails and handle are two separate parts that are attached together. When I make mine the handle and tails are the same lace, so unless you cut them off, they shouldn’t ever come off. Sure you pay a bit more for one that I make over the imported novelty ones…but mine will last longer!
When I make a bull whip I write on the bolster. I don’t write and inspirational quotes or anything like that, I just write the distance every foot. This helps me keep track of where I am during the plaiting process and this will help keep me aware of the taper and what it should be at that point.
So here’s the bull whip at three feet:
And here’s the bull whip at four feet:
When I was first starting out I used to draw a line down the middle of the bolster in addition to putting marks every foot. The line used to help me keep my seam from wandering to much around the whip.