Yesterday I started working on a pair of 6 foot bullwhips. These are 4 plait cowhide bullwhips with one plaited belly. I did do one thing different with these whips while making them, I used veg tanned split leather for the bellies. If you don’t know what split leather is, it’s leather that has no grain. Basicially it’s the flesh side of a piece of leather after then split it to thin it down.
I’ve been told that Terry Jacka uses split chrome tanned leather for his bellies, so this isn’t completely new territory for whip making. However after doing a bit of plaiting with it, I’m starting to realize why his whips are the way they are. As far as I know most whip makers (me included) just bind the heck out of the transitions of their whips when trying to make a “jacka-like” transition. That will give you a stiff transition, but it’s still not like Jacka’s transition. I think the combination of materials and binding are what make it so unique…not just the binding which is the common thinking.
I do have enough of the split cowhide to make the insides of an 8-ish foot bullwhip and I do have kangaroo in the correct colors to make an Indy IV style bullwhip…
Here are the two 4 plait bullwhips that I started yesterday:
I should have time to finish the heel knots on these later today. My idea for them is to have a pair of whips that are inexpensive that someone could use to learn two handed whip cracking…without spending $700-$800 for a pair of roo whips.
I made them as a pair…but not a matched pair. What I mean by that is that the core, belly, filler and overall lengths are the same and they were cut from the same hide right next to each other. However there are a couple of things that I didn’t do like make sure the strand are exactly the same width at every spot or split them to the same thickness.
The goal for these whips is to have whips that are close enough but keep the cost low so that they are affordable for someone to try out two handed cracking…however if you want and exact pair, spend the extra money and get a nice kangaroo set.