I just went up to David Morgan to pick up some veg tanned, drum stuffed kangaroo!
Personally when I get kangaroo, I prefer the drum stuffed kangaroo. What drum stuffed means is that they have grease/oils worked into the skins in a large drum. You get even penetration of the grease into the skin and it gets worked in deeper than when you buy a dry skin and have to work it in by hand.
My next project is a 5 foot 12 plait bullwhip. I recently had two people buy the same “in stock” bullwhip within a span of about 20 minutes. I didn’t get a chance to delete it between orders, so I’m making a second one for the second buyer.
This is the whip I’m making duplicate of:
Here’s the skin I’m making the whip with:
This is 50dm kangaroo skin, and here’s what it looks like after the initial trim:
Then I cut out the set for the belly:
Tomorrow I’ll get started on the plaiting the belly.
have you ever made a whip from chrome tanned kangaroo leather or know anybody that has? I have made a bullwhip from chrome tanned cow hide its ok and it was my first one I made and I got a good deal on a side and figured if I mess up I wouldn’t be out much cash. but to my surprise it cracks pretty nice. I also made a small one from veg tanned cow hide which was much nicer to work with and a lot stronger then chrome tanned. with that being said how strong is the chrome tanned vs the veg tanned roo hide. the reason I ask this is because chrome tanned is cheaper and i’m not made of money but I would like a nice kangaroo whip if a chrome tanned one would be almost as good as a veg tanned one it might be worth it. and where would you suggest to buy good kangaroo hide? do you sell it? Thanks for the advice
My advice would be to save up for veg tanned kangaroo. It’s a much better material for plaiting. You could use chrome tanned for a belly where it doesn’t take the stress that the outer layer takes.
However keep in mind with any leather that’s not “drum stuffed” you will have to “hand grease” the skin. That adds extra cost on top of the cost of leather and extra labor on your end. Also the end result typically isn’t the same as a tannery doing the greasing for you.
One of the very cool things living so close to David Morgan is that I don’t need to keep a huge stock of kangaroo. I can go up and pick through their stock and find the exact skin I need! It’s pretty awesome!
It was recently brought to my attention that a seller is using a picture of mine to sell kangaroo leather. I know many sellers use one picture to represent a batch of leather and I really don’t have a problem with that. However this particular seller is selling a single kangaroo skin and using a picture that I took of 4 skins…and in this day with everyone having a camera on their phone how hard is it to take your own picture of the actual product you are selling?
Also with leather, this is veg tanned and these are pretty good looking skins, no scars, etc. They are also kangaroo skins from Packer which are drum stuffed. If I was expecting a good looking skin and they ended up sending me a chrome tanned skin that had tons or scars or holes I’d be very mad. This is why it’s important to deal with a reputable seller of kangaroo. They are going to pull you a good skin. For example when I need natural tan kangaroo I drive up to visit David Morgan and I always get an awesome skin from them. In fact I was just up there on Monday getting a kangaroo skin for an 8 foot bullwhip.
Here’s the picture they used:
Here’s a screen shot of the ebay listing and you can view the auction by clicking here.
What get’s me is that the slug with my website is still at the bottom. What that does is if whoever buys this ends up getting the skin and it’s junk they may think it’s from me and then it reflects poorly on me. Honestly I have no problem if someone has a bad opinion about me…as long as it’s based on ME, not someone representing something as mine through pure laziness on their part.
While I was on ebay I did a quick search for the term “Kangaroo Leather” and the listing below came up:
So based on the picture I’m 99.9999% sure that’s not a kangaroo skin. I’ve never seen a kangaroo skin shaped like that, but I have seen every side of cow leather I’ve ever bought shaped like that. The description part of the listing is below:
As if my mind wasn’t made up before reading the description my opinion that this isn’t kangaroo was confirmed by the dimensions being 96 inches long! That’s 9 feel long (and there’s no tail on that piece of leather)! Can you imagine coming across a kangaroo that’s almost 9 feet tall!
So what I’m saying is when it comes to buying kangaroo for a whip be sure to deal with a known seller you’ll end up with a better skin and a better whip!
The other day the kangaroo skin that I ordered from Weaver Leather showed up!
They said the skins average 6 square feet and this one is 6.4 square feet. The skin didn’t really have much in the way or scars, but it was a dry skin. For whip making drum stuffed skins are much better and normally cost about the same as non-drum stuffed skins. Drum stuffing is when the skins have grease worked into them while at the tannery in a big drum. It gets a nice even coat of grease and the grease penetrates to the inside of the skin.
When you get a dry skin you have to HandStuff it with grease. Basically to do this you rub grease onto the kangaroo skin and let it soak in. Once it has soaked in you buff off any excess. Repeat if (or as) necessary. Hand stuffing a skin is a pain in the butt and doesn’t get results that are as good as drum stuffing. Using the rub on, buff off method in my opinion won’t get the grease to penetrate as deeply or as evenly as a drum stuffed skin.
Part of the reason you don’t get as good penetration of grease into the skin is that the grease is semi solid, so it won’t get every little pore all the way down. When this skin from Weaver came in and it was dry, I just happened to be working on project (non whip releated) that used a heat gun. I was going to put a coat of grease on it and saw the heat gun out of the corner of my eye and hand a little brainstorm to melt the grease with the heat gun.
Here’s a little video of me doing it:
I don’t know if anyone has done this before, but it was an AH HA moment for me when it worked! Now you might be worried that the heat might dry out the skin…but you are using the heat to melt grease into the skin, so I don’t think that’s a concern. I had my heat gun at about 3/4 power and kept it moving so there wouldn’t be any danger of scorching the skin. I was amazed at the results, the skin had a nice feel to it, almost like a drum stuffed skin! I haven’t cut into it yet and cone I start to use it that will be the real test. But for now whenever I get a dry skin this is how I’m going to grease it!