Plaiting started…

Plaiting started…

I decided to start plaiting the last calf bullwhip that I’m making (for now).  It’s about 3 feet into it:

calf bullwhip

I’m out of plaiting soap and didn’t want to cook up a batch before I left town so I’ve been using rawhide cream as lube for  plaiting:

rawhide cream

It works pretty well for the lubricating part of plaiting…however it doesn’t feel like it’s adding much “grease” to the strands (which isn’t surprising because rawhide dressing usually doesn’t have fat in it).  The part I’ve plaited is still very dry sounding, so I’m going to have to give it a hit of dressing when the whip is done.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

You don’t need anything fancy to make a whip…

You don’t need anything fancy to make a whip…

Last night I finally finished reading the Luis Ortega book, and it was an interesting read.  It’s a biography, not a technical book however every  now and then if you read between the lines there are some tips on working with rawhide.

Luis Ortega rawhide artistry

If you don’t know about Ortega he was/is considered on of the best American rawhide braiders.  In the book there’s a story about how Frank Hansen who invented a string cutter (http://www.hansenstringcutter.com/) and sent one to Ortega.  Ortega sent Hansen one of his own string cutters, which was a hammer handle with a couple of notched cut out.

And that sort of proves the point of something I’ve been saying for a long time, you don’t need any fancy equipment to make a whip. People email me all the time telling me they are planning on trying to make a whip, but they need to save up for a fancy strand cutter, and a splitter and a whatever.  Really you don’t need anything fancy to get started..pretty much all you need is a box cutter to get started.

The strand cutting and prep while important, is a small portion of making a whip.  I bet someone like Joe Strain or Paul Nolan could turn out great whip with uneven strands.

So if you are thinking about making a whip spend $1.00 on a box cutter and get started.  Waiting until you have expensive equipment is giving yourself an excuse to put it off.

Also yesterday I got some plaiting in on the 16 foot bullwhip:

bullwhip

It’s been plaited past the first bolster splice and to where I’m going to make my first strand drops from 12 to 10 plait.  It should be getting much easier to plait now that I’m over halfway finished, and the strands are much shorter so there will be less untangling.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Luis Ortega…

Luis Ortega…

I’ve been meaning to order the book: Luis Ortega’s Rawhide Artistry even since Meagan Baldwin mentioned it to me a few months ago.  Well I finally got off my duff and ordered it, Meagan says that Ortega’s work is amazing!

Luis Ortega rawhide artistry

I ordered the paperback edition (the hardback was a little “too rich for my blood”) from Amazon.com…at $26.95, it’s not a bad deal!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

More on the Nose Button

More on the Nose Button

I’m still working on the nose button of the bosal.  I’ve redone it three times and haven’t been happy with how it turned out.  Then it hit me…why don’t I just braid over the knots foundation?  Honestly I can’t think of a good reason why not, so that’s what I’m doing.  For me braiding is faster than tying a knot, and I have a lot more freedom in patterns by braiding versus doing a turkshead.

I wish I had taken pictures of my attempts at the nose button knots.  Here’s what it currently looks like:

24 plait nose button

I’m braiding the nose button as a 24 plait with an under three – over three – under three – over three pattern.  I thought about doing it U2 O2 type pattern to match the rest of the bosal, but I like the slightly wider look of the U3 O3 pattern.  Hopefully I can find a bit of time today to finish this part of the bosal.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Oregon Leather

Oregon Leather

Yesterday I was in Oregon performing and visited the Oregon Leather Co:

Oregon leather co

Aside from sides of leather they also had a lot of braided goods:

oregon leather co, bullwhip
romel reins
rawhide

The braided stuff they had was made in India and pretty cheap.  From talking to the lady there the quality of the imported rawhide tack from India has improved greatly in the last year or so.

The rawhide looked much better than the bullwhips did.

Now that’s got me thinking about imported bullwhips.   There’s a company in India that is making “Indiana Jones” style bullwhips and selling them to resellers in the USA.  The bullwhips they are selling are bone dry, and people buying are having to put multiple coats of leather dressing on the whip when they get them.  In my opinion if you have to spend a week putting grease into a new bullwhip before you can use it should come with leather dressing, and I’m not aware of a reseller in the USA that includes dressing with their imported whips.

A bullwhip from a good maker will have grease / leather dressing  in it from making the bullwhip, so you shouldn’t have to put any dressing on your new whip before you use it.

Today I’m planning on making at least one 4 plait bullwhip…

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Riding Crop

Riding Crop

When I was on my road trip I found a Riding Crop at a junk shop. It’s 4 plait with a steel lined cane core.

Riding crop

This riding crop when I found it was severely dried out and missing the heel knot.

Jockey whip

The wrist loop is about to fall off.

riding crop

The slapper is securely attached.

When I got home yesterday I gave it a few coats of leather dressing and the riding crop drank it right up.  It’s amazing at what a difference some dressing made:

riding crop
riding crop

I’m trying to decide how much I want to fix it up.  I could probably get away with just putting on a heel knot and calling it done.   However it really needs a new wrist loop, which will mean another new knot.  Once I have those two new knots, they’ll be a lot darker than the rest of this whip (it’s dyed black)…so then do I go ahead and redye it?

Rawhide Pics

I don’t think I’ve posted any pictures of the hair on rawhide that I picked up.  Here it is:

Rawhide
rawhide

I’m exciting to soak it and start stretching it, but that’s something that needs to happen outside and it’s supposed to rain off and on for the next week, so I’ll have to wait.

8 Foot Indy Bullwhip Progress

Yesterday I finished the overlay of the 8 foot Indy Bullwhip that I’ve been working on.

bullwhip

I also tied the wrist loop and finished the ring knot.   All that’s left is to make the heel knot foundation, attach the wrist loop, tie the heel knot and shellac the whip.

This bullwhip should be able to ship out by the end of the day!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Rawhide Road Trip

Rawhide Road Trip

Right now in a hotel room in Walla Walla , WA relaxing after a long day of driving, learning and having fun!  Today I was out on the road to visit the 7J Saddlery in Starbuck, WA.  I was taking with Dave Jones about working with rawhide…and I took home a full hide of rawhide (hair on) that I’ll get to work with when I get back home.

I learned a lot about rawhide and I’m exciting to get this rawhide stretched out and ready to cut.

My partner for this trip is my 5 and a half year old daughter who is currently on spring break.  We stopped to pick up a snack at a fruit stand that also had junk shop (antique shop) attached to it.  I found an old jockey whip in this junk shop for $10 and I think with a bit of love it could restore nicely.

Here’s the photo album from the trip:

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

8 foot Indy progress…

8 foot Indy progress…

I wasn’t going to do any work on this bullwhip today…but I managed to sneak in a bit of plaiting.

I also started a bit of work on another bosal.  It’s got a rawhide core and a 20 plait overlay.  Cutting out the 20 2mm kangaroo strands was a pain to do, but I’ve about about a foot of the bosal plaited and it looks good (so far!).

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

8 plait bullwhip

8 plait bullwhip

Today I got some work in on an 8 plait bullwhip.

Bullwhip Plaited belly
Inner Plaited belly
bullwhip
Outer bolster

I have the overlay cut out and it just needs to have the strand prep done before I can do any plaiting.  Today is Wednesday and I don’t think there is anything good on TV tonight, so I might end up watching an episode of V on my laptop while I work on the overlay of this bullwhip.

Kangaroo Bosal (with rawhide core)

Here are a couple of pictures of the bosal that I made yesterday:

Bosal
bosal

While this Bosal isn’t perfect I think it’s pretty good for a first try.  The next one will be better. I’d like to make a high plait count bosal in rawhide…eventually.

I also cut out some rawhide strips from a side of rawhide (cow):

rawhide

Each coil is about 30 feet of rawhide and about 3/4 of an inch wide.  Rawhide is soo much work to get ready to work with it’s easier to do a lot of the prep all at once, then use it as necessary.  It takes the same amount of effort to case as strip of rawhide and  a whole side of rawhide…and it’s just a bit more effort to do the cut out 10 strips instead of just one.

I cut out about half of the side of rawhide that I had…I would have done the whole side, but my arm got tired!

I’m going to try to do a bullwhip with a rawhide core for some of these strips and the rest will be bosal cores or cores for other types of of plaited things.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org