Bullwhip Belly and Bolster

Bullwhip Belly and Bolster

One thing that I used to do and stopped doing when making whips was that I used to cut out all the internal layers at the same time, before I did any plaiting.  I don’t know why I stopped doing this, however recently I starting doing it again and it’s a huge time saver!  I also find it’s easier to do one task several times than to constantly switch my brain to doing different things.

So for the whip I’m currently working on I cut out the core, bellies and bolsters before I did any plaiting.  When I used to do this people would ask me how I knew how wide to cut everything.  It’s pretty easy since everything is going to be approximately the same thickness withing fractions of a millimeter.  I cut the bolsters a little bit wider, then tweak them when it’s time to put them onto the whip.

Here’s the whip I’m currently working on, this is the inner belly completed.

bullwhip

This whip has a spring steel handle.  With the handle I think spring steel is the way to go over just a steel rod. The reason is that normal steel can be bent and spring steel cannot (except under very extreme circumstances).

Today I’ll finish up the interior layers of this whip and then move on to the cutting out the overlay.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

6 Foot Bullwhip

6 Foot Bullwhip

Yesterday I finished a 6 foot bullwhip.  This whip has a two belly and two bolster internal construction built off a 12 inch spring steel handle.  In the picture below you can see the strip of lead that ‘s going to go one the handle to give it some “in the hand” weight.

bullwhip

Here’s the finished bullwhip:

bullwhip

bullwhip

This bullwhip is now in the mail on its way to its new owner!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

 

 

Kangaroo bolsters in a bullwhip…

Kangaroo bolsters in a bullwhip…

In the past I’ve made signal and short snake whips with kangaroo bolsters instead of using bovine leather.  I’ve  never made a full length bullwhip with kangaroo bolsters and I have a “second” skin kicking around that wouldn’t be the best for braiding with so I decided to make use it for the core and boslters of a 6 foot bullwhip.

Here’s the 12 inch spring steel handle and kangaroo core:

bullwhip core

And here’s the inner belly braided over the kangaroo core:

bullwhip

Then the inner  kangaroo bolster was attached:

bullwhip

And the outer kangaroo belly was plaited over it:
bullwhip

And finally I started working on a 12 plait two tone overlay.  One thing I did on this bullwhip was put some patterns on the lash:

bullwhip

There are a  couple things that have surprised me while working on this bullwhip which weren’t as obvious when making shorter whips.  First  is the “in the  hand” weigh of this bullwhip.  The handle is very light feeling and I think I’m going to need to put some lead in the handle once the lash is finished to keep this from feeling very nose heavy.  Second is that the kangaroo leather is much lighter than bovine leather and compressed tighter as a bolster, so I had to add a 3rd bolster to bulk it up.

If I ever do this again I’ll probably use a spike as a handle and a flared out core.  That will add in the hand weight and bulk up the lash of the whip so that I don’t have to add a 3rd bolster.

So far this has been a fun project and hopefully I’ll have it finished soon so I can crack it!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

 

Choose Your Own Bullwhip and Emails…

Choose Your Own Bullwhip and Emails…

My ebay experiment where I make a bullwhip to the spec’s of the current highest bidder is still going on..  For me one of the biggest challenges is making this whip over 7-10 days.  Normally I can do an 8 foot 12 plait bullwhip in about 1 1/2 to 2 days.

I just updated the ebay listing with the bullwhip in its current state of construction.  You can view the auction at: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220965764135

While this auction is going on I’m going to answer some emails that have come in:

Question:  How can i get those bullwhips? I’m from philippines.

Answer:   Simply order whatever you want from my online bullwhip store and choose the International Shipping option.  You can  view the online catalog at: http://bullwhips.org/bullwhip_store/

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Question:  I have a question when it a good time to call you?

Answer:  Anytime!  I have an irregular schedule so no time is better than any other.  If I don’t answer leave a message.

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Question: I just bought a leather rounder on Ebay and I was hoping you could tell me how I should use it?

Answer:  Basically you pull leather through it.  I’ll try over the next couple of days to make a little video of how to use a leather rounder and post it here on my blog.

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Question:  Regarding the spring steel, I tied on a core to one of the spring steel rods the other day, and it was quite difficult to get it secure! What I’ll do next time is use a file or something similar to rough the steel up…the file thing would be much quicker. You’ve mentioned before gluing the core on, do you just use leather cement like you can get at Tandy or something else?

Answer:  When securing the core to a smooth steel handle foundation I currently use artificial sinew only.  I pull it very tight!  I’ve heard I have a fairly unique way that I pull my string tight and I talk about this briefly on the DVD that comes with my Stock Whip Kit.  However my string pulling method isn’t necessary, just pull very tight!

You can try using leather cement and I used to do that and occasionally still do.

As for roughing up the steel, I would advise against it.  Inside no matter how tightly you bind it there will slight bits of movement inside the whip and the roughed up steel will wear away at the leather. Over time the amount sanded off the leather could then lead to what was once tightly bound to be loosely bound do to the sanded down material.  Is this a realistic concern?  Depends.  If you intend a whip to  be used for 3 year or so then no, it’s not a big deal.  However if you want to think ahead to a whip that might be around and still in use for 30 years then it is.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org 

Spring Steel Bullwhip Handles and Stock Whip Lashes

Spring Steel Bullwhip Handles and Stock Whip Lashes

Recently someone asked me about what I use for spring steel in the handles of some of my whips.  Now first of all the main reason I use spring steel instead of a spike in some bullwhips is that it gives me a thinner diameter handle.  Also since the spring steel rods are custom made it allows me to have them be any diameter I want.   When using a spike you have very limited choices, I think 3/8 inch is pretty much the only size you can easily find 8 – 12 inch spikes in.

The reason I use spring steel and not a plain ol’ steel rod you get at the hardware store is spring steel won’t bend permanently.  For example if you were to go to your local hardware store and take a thinner diameter steel rod and bend it, you’d never get it straight again.  Where spring steel will always go back to it’s original shape…unless you heat it to something like 600 degrees and bend it while it’s that hot.

Spring steel rods are more expensive than regular steel rods, but I like the advantage of it always retaining its shape.  For example if you made a bullwhip with a regular steel handle and someone stepped on the handle it could bend and you’ve have a broken bullwhip.  Now with spring steel you could jump on the handle and afterwards it’s still be straight (as long as you didn’t put so much weight that it would snap the steel, however you’d have the same problem with a regular steel rod).

Here are two examples of the spring steel rods that I’ve used:

Bullwhip handles

The top one is 8 inches long and just over 4mm thick and the bottom one is 12 inches long by just shy of 6mm thick.  Also I refer to these as “rods” because to me that’s what they are…but if I recall right within the spring steel industry these are technically wire.

Generally I don’t use spring steel in bullwhips with 8 inch handles, however I have a few spring steel rods in that length for projects where I want a slimmer handle.

Right now I’m working on a pair of stock whips.  These have 5.5 foot lashes and so far only the lashes are finished (still need to roll them).

stock whip

Today I’m  planning on making the half plait handles and hopefully the weather will hold out and I’ll get to take them to the park!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Bullwhips in progress

Bullwhips in progress

Yesterday I finished the overlay of a six foot bullwhip that I started work on a few weeks ago.  Right now the first coat of shellac is drying.  I’ll take a picture of it later.

29 foot 2 inch bullwhip on ebay

Honestly I’m a bit surprised that people are bidding on the long bullwhip…not because there is anything wrong with it, but because I didn’t think there’d be much market for it.  This whip was something that I made for myself and it is very fun to crack, but honestly I didn’t think anyone would buy it.

So I guess since I’m pretty much a whip nerd, what I think is cool other people will as well!

Extreme Marksmen on History Channel

I was flipping channels last night and came across Meagan from David Morgan’s shop on Extreme Marksmen talking about how a whip is made.  Here’s the clip of DeLongis on the show:

I couldn’t find a clip on youtube with the part filmed at David Morgan’s shop.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

8 foot Indy Style Bullwhip…

8 foot Indy Style Bullwhip…

Earlier this week I had a visit with Joe Strain and as always after those visits my technique improves a little bit by some of the techniques that I pick up from him.

One thing that Joe helped me fix was the width of my strands.  I was cutting pretty wide on my handles and beginning of the thong.  The reason I started cutting wide was that I was trying to reduce gaps in the handle/thong transition area.  I was starting to get a gaps that I had to go back and fix.  Now how I think, if I have a gap in the plaiting, that means my strand was too thin…right?

WRONG!

Joe suggested that I cut thinner and guess what, I had no problem with gaps on the whip that I just made!

Another thing I noticed about Joe Strain is that he’s an artist!   For example when I make a whip I measure a lot of stuff (bolsters etc) he does much of his work by eye and it’s perfect!  The whip that I just finished I cut all my bolsters by eye and I was very  much surprised that I was faster and more accurate than the labor intensive measuring that I’ve been doing.

Right I’m trying something new to reinforce the handle thong transition.  Normally the core of my whip flares out, so it’s the diameter of the handle, the once it gets to the end of the handle foundation it gets about 10mm wider.  With this bullwhip what I did was put a piece of wear leather below that.  That seems to really smooth out that sharp drop off the handle and give a very stiff transition.

I also used a piece of spring steel for the handle of this bullwhip.  Keep in mind that spring steel is different from a regular steel rod that you’d get at a hardware store.  If you take a thin piece of a regular steel rod from your hardware store and try to bend it with your hands you can.  Now if you use just a piece of plain ol’ steel as a whip handle it could bend over time.   Spring steel will always return to it’s original shape unless it either snaps in half or your heat it to over 600 degrees and reshape it.  There’s very little chance that you are going to exert enough force on your bullwhip handle to snap the steel, or get it over 600 degrees, so spring steel is a superior choice for bullwhip handle (over a comparable regular steel rod).

This comparison doesn’t apply to using a spike because the spikes that are most commonly used are soo thick that bending or snapping isn’t an issue.

Here’s the wear leather on the spring steel rod:

How to make a bulwhip

And Core:

Bullwhip core

Next is the inner 4 plait kangaroo belly:

bullwhip plaited kangaroo belly

And then the inner bolster is attached:

How to make a bullwhip

And the outer 4 plait kangaroo belly is finished:

Bullwhips

Of course I roll the bullwhip between two boards after each plaited layer to get a nice round bullwhip.   Then I add the final bolster and start braiding the overlay:

Bullwhip

The finished overlay with fall attached:

Bullwhip w/ whip fall

After the overlay is finished, I put some lead in the butt and add the wrist loop:

bullwhip w/ 6 plait wrist loop

The heel knot is tied:

bull whips turkshead

Then I build up a foundation for the transition knot:

Bullwhip

and tie the transition knot:

bullwhip

At this point all that is left is to roll the knots and shellac the bullwhip.  Here’s the finished bullwhip:

Bullwhip
bull whips
bullwhips
Bull whips 8 feet 12 plait kangaroo

I’ve listed this bullwhip for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.

Louie

http://bullwhips.org