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!
I had a chance to get a little bit of work in on the 6 foot 12 plait bullwhip that has kangaroo bellies and kangaroo bolsters.
I’ve got it braided to about the four foot mark which on this whip is also the 12 to 10 plait strand drop. Unfortunately I’m not going to have a lot of time to work on it over the weekend due to my heavy performing schedule. Hopefully it will get finished monday.
The skin before cutting the overlay was 186 grams and the leftover skin after cutting weighed 56 grams. The overlay after I cut it out and pared it is 100 grams. However that 100 grams will probably change as I tweak lengths and widths during the whip making process.
There was 30 grams of waste from cutting the overlay and a total of 81 grams of waste total so far for the whole whip.
Hope fully I’ll have some time to work on this whip today and I have plans to try to crank out some of my Deluxe Beginners Bullwhips this week as well…we’ll see if I have time…
I’ve always been curious how much kangaroo gets throw away when you make a bullwhip. I’m making a 5 foot 12 plait bullwhip and starting with a 46 dm skin that weighs 262 grams. Keep in mind I’m doing all my weighing with my digital kitchen scale which may or may not be super accurate.
After the initial trim to cut the jagged edges off the kangaroo skin it now weight 224 grams.
So after the first trim we’ve lost 38 grams.
After cutting out the first belly the kangaroo skin weighs 186 grams and the belly is 25 grams.
Cutting off the belly have given us approx 51 grams of waste
Currently there is 25 grams of kangaroo in finished belly of the bullwhip.
Currently I have the bolsters on the whip and have cut out the overlay, but still need to pare it and I will weigh it once it’s ready for plaiting.
The other day shortly after I found out that Tandy Leather Factory has discontinued their kangaroo I got a call from the manager at my local Tandy offering to make a deal with me. I went out and checked out what he had and he made me a deal I couldn’t turn down, so I came home with some kangaroo:
I had to get a lot of this (buy out his stock) to get a sweet deal. I’ve got more than I need right now so if any one is interested in some kangaroo I can offer it to you at a pretty good deal at $15.50 per square foot with the average skin over 6 feet. If you are interested feel free to contact me and let me know what you color you and I’ll let you know what sizes I have.
My current project is working on a pair of 6 foot 8 plait bullwhips. They should get finished up today, and I’ll post some pics later today or tomorrow.
I recently remembered a source I have locally for kangaroo skins. They only have a couple in stock and they’ve had the same skins for years. These skins were expensive at $22.69 a square foot and that’s the price they’ve been at for several years. Lucky for me I remember this place had them and I bought them all them out and got them for $18 a square foot.
These are nice clear skins from packer and all are in the upper 70dm size range. It’s funny when they first got them in stock and priced them at $22.69 I thought that was insanely expensive (at the time I was paying in the ballpark of $11-$13 a square foot) and back then I wouldn’t believe that now I’d be excited to pay $18 a square foot for them!
Here’s one of them:
These kangaroo skins are a great size, shape and thickness for making Indy style bullwhips! This particular skin’s thickness is in the 1.25 mm range. David Morgan used to sell skins this thick, but no longer does and I’m exciting to have some again!
I was looking at what was left of a side of veg tanned cowhide that I had kicking around and realized it was just big enough to make a few signal whips. So yesterday I made some shot bags and plaited up one of the signal whips (it still needs a turkshead):
This Economy Signal Whip is 4 plait and four feet long. I just gave it a few cracks in my living room and it’s got a great crack!
I’m trying to come up with interesting whip related content right now because I’m keeping all the updates for the current bullwhip that I’m working on for the Choose Your Own Bullwhip ebay auction exclusively on the auction listing. You can view this whip’s progress at: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220965764135
Here’s a video of a very unique bullwhip, it’s used by Mel B of the Spice Girls:
I had the same idea of putting a mic in a bullwhip while ago and I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t do it because it had already been done!
You can also see her rockin’ a bullwhip on Dancing with the Stars. It’s at the 3:13 mark:
Over the weekend I started work on a shorter bullwhip which was originally intended to be 4 feet long, but I ended up making 4 1/2 feet long. The inspiration for this bullwhip internally was the Terry Jacka bullwhip that came in for repair. I was thinking about how he uses a split leather for the internal layers of his bullwhips and how that’s one of the reasons why his whips can get so heavy.
So this bullwhip that I made has a core, belly and bolster from split leather, however the 2nd bolster is veg tanned cowhide with a kangaroo overlay. The reason the last internal layer wasn’t split was that I wanted a smooth surface to plait over to allow me to pull a bit tighter when making this whip, while still getting the “rough on rough” effect on all the internal layers.
This bullwhip has a slightly thicker profile than my shorter bullwhips normally have, but it’s not that thick. I think this bullwhip’s in the hand weight feels closer to a 6 foot whip, however it’s actual weight is no where near a 6 foot bullwhip.
It’s got a great crack as well:
I also wanted to do some patterns on the handle of this bullwhip:
However I wanted a two tone handle and I had several options for methods that I could think of:
Hand dye the handle portion of six of the strands.
Braid the handle with 6 red and 6 black strands, then secure the 6 black at the end of the handle and add in 6 additional red strands at the end of the handle for the 12 plait overlay.
Add black strands on top of some of the red strands on the handle.
I chose to go with the last option mainly because it’s something that I hadn’t done before. I cut 6 pieces of lace and using a fid I followed the pattern going one way. Here’s a pic of adding the black after a few strands were added:
And the handle with all the strands added:
I did learn a few things that I didn’t anticipate when I started adding the second color to the handle. Mainly that I should have cut everything a hair wider to deal with the slightly increased diameter of the handle once the extra layer was added. Also that adding lace over something that is already plaited is a pain in the butt, and it probably would have been easier to plait two piece of lace on top of each other from the beginning.
Here’s the finished bullwhip:
This bullwhip is available on my IN STOCK whips page!