Thursday night I had dinner with Bernardo Del Carpio and Will Morgan. I learned a lot about whipmaking and the whipbiz chatting with them.
As a result of talking to Bernardo I’m doing the plaiting differently on my current whip. I used to pull the strand off the top tight, then wrap it around. That’s how I interpreted plaiting from Ron Edwards book, but now I’m doing it the way David Morgan teaches in his book Braiding fine leather. I’m getting more crossed strands or missed plaits that I have to go back in fix, but it’s much faster. I imagine with a bit of practice the mis-plaits will lessen.
We did some whipcracking as well and Bernardo and Will do a slower style with longer whips than I do. Bernardo’s bullwhips are fantastic, I cracked an 8 foot Indy bullwhip that he made and it’s an amazing whip, I highly recommend them!
Here’s Will using a 10 foot Morgan bullwhip:
I also got a chance to crack a pair of 5 foot morgan bullwhips and a 4 plait stock whip that Mike Murphy made. The Murphy stockwhip was very cool and I’m thinking of getting one.
I’m out of town this weekend so no work on any bullwhips will be done until Monday and I won’t have any internet access so I can’t respond to any emails until Monday as well.
After working hard to get caught up on my bullwhip orders I finally have everything shipped out! Because of that I’ve dropped my wait time from 3 weeks to only 1 1/2 weeks. The reason the wait is a bit longer than I need to make a bullwhip is that this time of year is my busy performing season and when you order I may be out of town, or just have a very full performing schedule and not have a day or two to devote entirely to your whip.
I do have one order pending, but it’s for an experimental bullwhip for someone and we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. So it’s not technically an order until I make it and can see how it works (or doesn’t). I don’t want to charge the guy for something that I’ve never done before. It’s an interesting project which is why I took it, but if it doesn’t turn out I don’t want him to pay for a worthless pile of leather. At the very least I’ll be learning from the project.
Now that I have more time to experiment I’m going to make a few more bullwhips with rawhide bellies (possibly cores too). One thing that I did notice about using rawhide was that on the two bullwhips that I made one’s rawhide was soaked in water and one soaked in grease. The one soaked in grease is heavier than the other. That may be good in a shorter handle bullwhip, but this one is a long handle.
I’m still planning on making myself a pair of latigo stockwhips. I’ve had a side of latigo for a while that I bought for one whip a long time ago. I’m tired of looking at it, so I’m going to make some stockwhips out of it. Once it’s gone I’ll probably never buy another latigo hide. I prefer working in kangaroo…but what I’ve made with the latigo has turned out better than I expected!
This bullwhip has gone a bit faster than I expected it to. All that is left is for me to tie the transition knot and shellac it. Below is a picture of the whip with both bellies plaited, but the last bolster hasn’t been added.
I’m almost out of kangaroo skins, I have a few left, but more should be arrive on Friday. I need to look at what I have on hand and mentally calculate what I can make. I know I have at least an 8 foot in natural, and maybe enough for another 8 foot KotCS (but at least a 6 foot KotCS).
On Friday I’ll be out of town in the Portland area, so no work on whips will be done from Friday to Sunday.
Yesterday I got some whipcracking in, lately the weather has been horrible. I got some test cracks in with the 10 foot KotCS as well and some more two handed practice in. Here’s me giving the 10 foot a few cracks (before I had put the knots on)!
The method I’m using to attach the lead to the base of the handle has gotten a lot better. I’m using several tips from Joe Strain and it’s giving me a knot foundation that doesn’t have any wiggle.
I’m working on a 4 foot whip right now and I tried something new and so far it’s a bad idea. When I roll my whips, I start at the handle and work my way to the fall end. In my head what is happening is in addition to smoothing out and rounding the whip, you are also slightly tighening up the whip. So you are moving a bit of slack (very little) from the thong towards fall.
So my “genious” theory was to roll the bullwhip several times during the overlay. I’d braid until the point that I would normally drop strands, then I would tie it off and roll it. what happened was the last 4ish inches of the whip managed to get slack from knots that I ties and my seam got twisted about 1/3 of a turn!!
disASSter!! Now I have to undo a lot of my work and hope I can salvage some of the overlay without completely having to redo it.
Here’s the blue bullwhip after a coat of shellac. This whip handled well when I took it out the other day for some test cracking!
I’m making my handles a bit differently than I used to. In the past the handle was visibly thinner than the thong. Now it’s almost as thick as the thong. Visually I prefer them being close to the same width. After making a few like this I think it’s one of the differences between the new indys (Jacka) and the old indy (morgan) is the handle width. Morgan’s have a slightly thinner handle than the Jacka whips.
Here’s a picture of the 6 foot bullwhip that’s 12 plait in blue kangaroo. It’s not shellac’d in this picture.
It’s been shellac’d, I just haven’t taken pictures of it yet.
Right now I’ve got a 4 foot bullwhip in natural tan with about half the overlay finished. I should be able to finish it this weekend. This bullwhip has an 8 inch spring steel handle. I’ll take a picture of it soon.
Also I’m making some progress on the bullwhip book and videos. The book looks like it’s going to be over 60 pages and I’m going to do it as an ebook. I’ve used a lot of pictures and with an ebook you can click the links unlike a regular book. hopefully it will be ready this weekend.
Now that I finished that single tail my next project is to finish making a long handled bullwhip that I started about a week and a half ago. It’s a 5.5 foot aussie bullwhip with a 12 inchsping steel handle. I’ve got everything done except for the last layer. I need to cut and prepare the lace and braid the overlay.
After that I’ll be starting making and Indy IV bullwhip. I’ve thought a lot about how I’m going to make this bullwhip and I’m going to make it with the new Indy whip look, but not construction. So I’ll make how I normally make my whips, so no long rigid handle to thong transition.
My thinking is this: I am trying to develop my own style as a whipmaker not just crank out copies. Anyone can make a copy of a Morgan or Jacka and doing that doesn’t really set you apart from all the whipmakers. the reason people get a whip from me is they like how my whips handle and if they want a Jacka they can get one of his…and I want to make whips that I handle how I like them to handle, not bullwhips that Jacka likes.