Some Unique Whips…

Some Unique Whips…

I’m shipping off one of the bullwhips that I’ve made that I feel is unique to me and making it made me feel like an artist.  I’m shipping out the bullwhip with the shark spine handle.

bull whip

When I decided to make this whip I had never attempted anything like it before and never really seen anything like it either.  I think I’d seen pictures of leg bone or horn handles, but not spine.  I had to figure out how to make it work and was very happy with the results!

The other two bullwhips that are unique to me are the bullwhip with the sting ray handle:

Kangaroo bullwhip

The big challenge when working with string ray is how to cut or punch holes in it!  I figured it out and have since made 2 or 3 of these whips.

The last whip that I made that I think was unique to me was the snake head signal whip:

snake whip

single tail snake whip

In the past people have put snake heads onto the fall hitch of the whip (see Ron Edwards book How To Make Whips).  The problem with putting a snake head on the fall hitch is that as a snake it doesn’t make sense.  A snake gets skinnier from the head to the tail, not the other way around.  So I put a snake head where at the base of the whip.  Shortly after making this whip some of the crappier whip makers on eBay started knocking off this design.   This is the  only one of these that I’ve made.  I was going to make more, but when I saw they were being copied I lost the desire to do that.  Maybe I should make a some more of the snake head whips…

Louie
http://bullwhips.0rg

Unique Bullwhip Handle…

Unique Bullwhip Handle…

I love making bullwhips with different things for handles besides  plaiting.  In the past I’ve used stingray, snake skin, shark skin and alligator. The other day I was walking through a junk shop and found a Mako Shark Spine!
bullwhip handle

This is about 18 inches long right now and I’m hoping to make an 8 inch handle  out of it.  I’m going to have to drill it out and put a piece of spring steel into it to make it stronger and make sure the vertebrae don’t come apart.

I’m not positive if this will work, but it should be a fun little experiment!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Ostrich Handle Bullwhip?

Ostrich Handle Bullwhip?

Recently in the mail I got a flyer from Tandy Leather Factory in the mail with their February sale items.  One thing that caught my eye was that they had Ostrich Leg Skins on sale.

Ostrich leg leather

If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ve probably noticed that I love making whips with handles from unique leathers.  In the past I’ve made bullwhips with handles made from:

Shark Skin

bullwhip

Alligator Skin

bull whip for sale

and Sting Ray Skin

Kangaroo bullwhip

That got me thinking that making one from ostrich leg skin would be a fun project.  The description on Tandy’s website says the average size is about 5 x 22 inches.  That would give me enough leather for at least two handles, but more more likes in the ballpark of 4 handles!

Unfortunately I’ve got a few more things I want to do before I get around to making an ostrich handle bullwhip.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Finishing Up Works in Progress…

Finishing Up Works in Progress…

Today I spent a bit of time working on half finished projects that have been kicking around.  First I put the heel knot on the white bullwhip that has a sharkskin handle:

kangaroo bullwhip

This whip isn’t finished yet, it’s got a few more finishing things to go.

I did put some more knots on a set of Romel Reins that I started a while ago:

Romel Reins

This set of Romel Reins is made from 4 plait cowhide with kangaroo knots.  This is the first set I’ve made and the romel ends need few more knots.  One thing I learned from making this set is to not wasting my time making a cowhide set, there is too much work involved in all the knots to make a “cheap” set.

Finally I finished making a 4 plait cowhide leather Reata, traditionally they are made from rawhide.  I’ve wanted to make one of these for a long time and eventually I plan to make a rawhide reata.

La Reata
cowhide reata

This one measures approx 35 feet…and for the first 30 feet I did more  untangling that braiding!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Finished shark skin handle whip

Finished shark skin handle whip

Yesterday I finished the 24 plait bullwhip with the shark skin handle:

bullwhips
bullwhip

I gave it a couple of flicks on my deck and it’s got a nice crack!

I really like making these whips with “exotic” handles.  I think they look cool and no one is really making whips with different non-plaited handles.  Terry Jacka at one point offered whips with simulated alligator and simulated leopard handles.  While they are different they aren’t actual exotic leather for the handles.   Oh, for what it’s worth the sharks skin that I used for this whip was from sharks that were caught for food…not just their skins.

I’ve got enough of this shark skin left over to make two or three more bullwhip handles.  Also right now I have a line on  getting some other interesting exotic leather…

My next project is  going to be making a 6 or 7 foot Indy style bullwhip.

Louie
P.S. This bullwhip is for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.

Bullwhip with Sharkskin Handle

Bullwhip with Sharkskin Handle

The project that I’ve been working on all last week is a 24 plait bullwhip with a sharkskin handle.  This whip would be finished by now, but my schedule has been full of performing and other things…but the whip still isn’t finished.

I’ve always wanted to make a sharkskin whip, but there are a couple of problems with making one.  Due to a sharkskin’s “H” like shape it’s be hard to get enough strands out of one skin, so I’d need multiple skins and that leads to the second problem…cost.  One sharkskin is in the neighborhood of $150, so I’d have at least $300 into the whip in materials alone!

The other  problem is since I’ve never actually touched a full sharkskin I don’t know how much usable skin there would be on it.  For this whip I found someone that would sell me a small piece of scrap based on this piece it was really spongy, so not the best whip making leather.  That’s why I’m not going to peruse making a full whip in sharkskin.

This whip has two plaited bellies, two bolsters and a 24 plait overlay that is jade colored veg tanned kangaroo:

Jade veg tanned kangaroo

Here’s the whip right after I finished the overlay:

bullwhip

One of the engineering challenges with this whip was to make the handle much thinner than the thong.  The piece of sharkskin I had was very thick, and I didn’t want a huge handle and a thin thong, or a thick thong and a thin handle.

how to make a bullwhip

I wanted them to be pretty close to the same diameter and I think I did a pretty good job matching them up.

bullwhip with sharkskin handle

To attach the sharkskin on the handle I used a different stitch than I used for the stingray handle that I put on a whip a while ago, I used a “baseball” type stitch.  The process was pretty simple, first I punched all the holes for the stitching, and then I coated the handle and the underside of the sharkskin with contact cement.  Once the cement was dry I very loosely stitched the sharkskin (off the handle) and then slipped it onto the handle and pulled the stitching tight.  It seems to be holding very tightly, so I’m not worried about it loosening or falling of.  Also the string I put under the knots will help hold it in place.

I do have the transition knot finished, but haven’t tied the heel knot just yet.  I should be able to find time to do that later today.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Sharkskin

Sharkskin

For a long time I’ve wanted to make a bullwhip with a sharkskin handle.  The main problem is that it’s very expensive and I’m  unaware of anyone locally that sells it.  So I can’t see it before I buy it.  I didn’t want to spend $150 or $200 on a skin that was totally unusable.

Well I finally found someone that was willing to sell me a small piece of sharkskin.  While it was much more expensive by the foot than a whole skin, a 9 x 12 inch piece will satisfy my curiosity and if it’s usable it will make  1 – 2  handles.  Here’s the piece that’s on it’s way to me:

shark skin

I think it’d be cool if the skin is braidable and I could make a sharkskin whip!  However from what I’ve read it’s got some texture to it, so the plaits rubbing against each other over time probably wouldn’t be good for the whip.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org