Here’s the first finished bullwhip (of the three I’m making for myself):
On thing that was fun for me when making this bullwhip was the heel knot.
This knot is a two pass 7 X 6 knot with a black interweave. I’ve always wanted to do a knot like this, but until now I’ve only done it as a one pass 7 X 6 with interweave. From a distance you really can’t tell the difference between a one and two pass with the inteweave, but close up you can see the two white strands (passes) between the black strands.
Lately I’ve been busy around the “shop” working on plaiting projects. My current bullwhip project is an 8 foot, 12 plait bullwhip. For this bullwhip I didn’t have a natural tan skin in stock that was big enough, so the inner belly was made from a whiskey colored roo skin and other belly and overlay is from the natural tan skin:
I probably could have gotten the whole whip from the natural tan skin, I like to have my skins for an 8 foot at about 62dm and this one was 59dm. I really didn’t want to run out of kangaroo a few inches short of an 8 foot whip.
Here are the cut out bellies:
The whiskey skin was 56dm, and I think I might use the leftover for a 5 foot 8 plait bullwhip. Here’s the 8 foot bullwhip as it is right now (with both bellies and bolsters completed):
And here’s the 12 plait overlay that has been stretched and split, but still needs to be pared:
I should be able to get the paring finished and plaiting started later today…depending on how I feel, I’ve got a bit of a cold and have to fake my way through a gig this afternoon.
Also a few months ago I started work on a 24 plait bosal and did a bit of work here and there. Well it’s finally finsihed:
And the other night I did some messing around with doing a ridge plait:
This bracelet was interesting, it’s 6 plait at the loop, then 14 plait at the main body and 12 plait at the end with the turkshead.
When I’m making a bullwhip frequently I end up with fairly long strands that end up being cut off. I have a box full of the scrap, and instead of throwing it away, I figure I should start making things out of it. Here’s a bracelet that was made from the trimmed off ends of the pair of seven foot bullwhips that I recently made:
You can adjust the size by pulling the ends through the turkshead in the middle. Once I’m all caught up in orders I’ll probably start to use up my scrap to make things like this. However I have no idea what to do with things like this once they are made…but they are much prettier than a box of scrap.
Lately I’ve been working on the nose button knot of a bosal that I started making a while ago. These long knots are a lot of work to make, this will have 12 bights when I’m finished.
I found that while tying the knot using twist ties to hold the strands in place really helped while I was doing the beginning the knot.
While rereading Whips and Whipmaking by David Morgan, he mentions that the long knot can be used to strengthen the transition of a bullwhip. The knot was used for that in traditional Argentine whips. Most modern bullwhip makers don’t use a knot to build up the transition of a bullwhip…however Joe Strain in the past has made a couple of unique whips with different plaiting styles at the transition.
Also a few days ago someone posted an article from an old Popular Science magazine about how to make a plaited snake. You can read the article here. I happened to have some scrap kicking around that was about the right size so I banged out a quick snake:
And about a week ago I got a new strop in the mail:
Hopefully this will help me keep the edge on my blades!
I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time, what I’d like to do is make an easy tutorial to help people make their first bullwhip. Basically what I’m thinking is a password protected website that would have an ebook and video that someone could watch online.
With this I’d probably cover everything needed to make a bullwhip from plaiting to turksheads to cutting. I’d probably teach how to make an 8 foot 4 plait bullwhip. And the cool thing about a password protected website is that I could fairly easily update it if I needed to.
This is a project I may get into in May, because my performing schedule isn’t very heavy that month…or this may just end up on the back burner for a while longer.
Yesterday when I was tying the heel knot on a 4.5 foot bullwhip I tried a new knot. Well this knot made the heel knot look horrible, but that got me thinking about what makes a heel knot look the way it does.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three things:
Type of Knot: Some knots are more square, others are taller or fatter. The type of turkshead will pass on these characteristics to the finished heel knot.
Size of the knot foundation: Putting a large turkshead on a small knot probably won’t look as good as a small knot on a small foundation.
Shape of the knot foundation: If your knot foundation is can shaped, once you tie the knot over it the finished product will probably end up can shaped. If you build up the knot a bit you’ll end up with a more round/ball shaped knot.
There are a couple of other factors that go into how the knot looks, like how the knot is tied, etc.
Later today I’m planning on working on some Budget Bullwhips, I have two overlays cut out, but still need to make the insides of the whips!