The other day I was making a shot bag for a whip. If you don’t know what a shot bag is, essentially it’s a bag that holds lead shot (hence the name shot bag) inside the whip. My shot bags are made out of a tapered strip of leather that is rolled into a tube.
This tube is then filled with fine lead shot.
Mmm…margarita and lead!
Here’s a quick video of me filling up a shot bag:
The main reason that I use a shot bag is to add weight to a whip. This is mostly used (by me) on whips that have no handles like signal whips or snake whips.
Yesterday I started plaiting two six foot deluxe beginners bullwhips. I got the bellies plaited:
And one of the overlays finished:
I’m out of falls, so I need to cut them out before I can finish either of these whips. One thing I did because I couldn’t put a fall on the whip that’s overlay is finished is that I braided it an extra couple of inches and tied off the loose strands. That way when it’s time to put the fall on I don’t have to undo the point and replait it to make sure it’s tight. This way I just unbraid about 2 inches and it should still be tight at that point.
After these two Deluxe Beginners Bullwhips I’m going to start working on a few cowhide signal whips to use up the rest of this side of leather.
Here’s a bracelet that I made for myself a little while ago:
The body of it is cowhide and the plaited portion is kangaroo.
On my last day in San Diego, right before I started the 22ish hour drive home, I hit up the San Diego Whip Enthusiasts meeting. Everyone there was very cool, and I had a lot of fun…plus it was nice to get a bit of exercise before sitting for almost a full day.
I always like meeting other whip crackers and getting to crack the wide range of whips from other makers was pretty cool!
Yesterday I finished work on a 4 foot 16 plait signal whip. Here’s the beginning of the plaiting:
I made this signal whip slightly differently than how I normally make them. I added an extra short bolster to the whip to give it a slightly larger diameter by the turkhead knot. Visually I think I like them thinner, but it’s good to know what they look like a bit wider.
Yesterday I did all the strand prep for the overlay for the kangaroo signal whip that I’m working on. The roo hide that I’m using is brandy in color, but it was a dry hide (not drum stuffed) so I had to grease it up.
There are several ways to grease up a skin or hide. Normally what I do is lay the whole skin flat on the floor and give it a coat of dubbin’. However this time I cut the strands out and put a coat Fiebing’s Aussie Dressing on the strands. Once that had soaked in I did all my strand prep.
The reason I think it’s important to grease before the strand prep is the strand will pare much easier and won’t break as easily when stretching.
One thing that I had a lot of trouble with when I first started making signal whips, snake whips or any whip that had a shotbag in it. The first challenge was how to make the shotbag and the second was how to plug that shotbag.
This will deal with plugging the shotbag. There are basically three ways to do it:
Fold over the top and bind it in place.
Plug the top.
Sew the top shut.
I’ve used the first two methods, but not the third. The reason I’ve never sewn the shotbag shut is that my shotbags aren’t sewn, so sewing just the top doesn’t really make sense.
The first method works well, all you do if leave about 3/4 of an inch of the shotbag empty, then you fold over the top and bind it place. I quite often use this method, but for the whip I’m making right now I used a plug. Basically for the plug I roll up a piece of leather and shove it in the opening. However before I put the plug in I put in a squirt of Gorilla Glue.
The cool thing about Gorilla Glue is that it as it dries it expands and really seals the opening. Also the expanding fill in some of the space between the lead shot.
Once the Gorilla Glue is dry, some of it will have foamed up past the top of the shotbag. Simply take a knife and trim off whatever overflowed.