Ostrich Handle Bullwhip?

Ostrich Handle Bullwhip?

Recently in the mail I got a flyer from Tandy Leather Factory in the mail with their February sale items.  One thing that caught my eye was that they had Ostrich Leg Skins on sale.

Ostrich leg leather

If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ve probably noticed that I love making whips with handles from unique leathers.  In the past I’ve made bullwhips with handles made from:

Shark Skin

bullwhip

Alligator Skin

bull whip for sale

and Sting Ray Skin

Kangaroo bullwhip

That got me thinking that making one from ostrich leg skin would be a fun project.  The description on Tandy’s website says the average size is about 5 x 22 inches.  That would give me enough leather for at least two handles, but more more likes in the ballpark of 4 handles!

Unfortunately I’ve got a few more things I want to do before I get around to making an ostrich handle bullwhip.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Bullwhips on my Vacation!

Bullwhips on my Vacation!

For the last 11 days I’ve been on vacation and sure enough I managed to run into a bunch of bullwhips along the way.  Whips are fairly common to see when you are visiting unfamiliar places, you just need to know where to look.  The first place I looked for whips were in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico and found a really tiny three foot bullwhip:

bullwhip

The next batch of whips I found in a street market in Cabo San Lucas.

Mexican Bullwhips

Then I found some a whip, quirt and bosal in a museum in Cabo San Lucas.

Plaited rawhide

And then a couple of days later I was at Disneyland and got to see the whips they sell outside the Indiana Jones ride.

Indiana Jones Bullwhips

One thing that amazed me was that they sell these bullwhips to kids and there is no disclaimer of any kind with them.

Here’s a the Indiana Jones Role Play Set that comes with a bullwhip:

Indiana Jones Bullwhips

One thing I remember from my last visit to Disneyland (probably 4 or 5 years ago) was that at least one of the Indiana Jones’s on the ride used to hold one of the cheapo pitch whips they sell outside the ride.  Now all of the bullwhips they Indiana Jones has on the ride look much more screen accurate.  Unfortunately because of low lighting and the ride being bumpy I couldn’t get any pictures of the whip that Indiana Jones has on it.

Also during my vacation I made a new friend named Sideshow Bert.  Bert does juggling and stunts and one of the things that he features in his show is a bullwhip!  Here’s Sideshow Bert’s demo reel and at the 2:04 mark you can see parts of his bullwhip routine.

His bit with the “Visor Cam” is very funny and very original.  I think it’s a brilliant idea to show the audience another view of the newspaper trick!

Now that I’m back home and back to work all the orders of in stock whip will ship out today!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

The Leather Lace Bullwhip Book Review

The Leather Lace Bullwhip Book Review

The other day I stumbled upon a book about bullwhip making called The Leather Lace Bullwhip on Amazon.com.  Since I’m such a whip nerd I ordered a copy.

The Leather Lace Bullwhip

Here’s the description of the book:

Geared mainly to the leather hobbyist with some braiding experiance, This book will show you how to make a cowhide bullwhip in my unique way. Also contains tips and tricks of leather braiding and cutting lace.

I like the idea of this book which is making a bullwhip from lace of a uniform width, instead of cutting it at a taper.  Also for a bit of full disclosure I’ve read this book two times, but haven’t made the bullwhip in this book.  The main reason for not making this bullwhip (yet) is time, however I plan to try it in the future.

In the book Paul cuts his lace with Craftool Lace Maker.

lace maker

This tool will give you uniform lace and while it it possible to cut at a taper with this tool, the way the author uses lace you are stuck with using uniform widths.  One clever thing the author does is converts one of these Lace Maker’s into a very inexpensive splitter to thin down the lace.

The construction is fairly simple, it’s a core, plaited belly and overlay.   The belly is 8 plait and the overlay is 12 plait all in 2mm thick cowhide.

There are a few things that I have some issues with in this book.

  • Paring: The way the author pares without any protection on his hands in my opinion is a fairly dangerous way to teach it to a beginner.
  • Knot Tying: The instructions for tying the knots are in the appendix in the back of the book.  And it uses a coded system, but the author doesn’t really explain how the codes work.  I could understand the codes, but I think someone just starting out would cause a bit of frustration.
  • Incorrect Information: The author says to make a handle like an Indy Bullwhip, you do an U2 O2 U2 pattern. That is 100% wrong.  Indy bullwhips have a checkerboard handle.
  • More Incorrect Information: The author specifically says the pattern he uses on the handle what Ron Edwards calls a Birds Eye Plait.  The Birds Eye Plait that Ron Teaches in his books is different from what Paul teaches in this book.
  • Goat Rawhide?: In the shopping list for supplies the author tells you to buy some goat rawhide.  However that’s never mentioned again in the book.  Leather isn’t cheap, so buying something that’s not used in the project is very wasteful on the beginners wallet.
  • Internet References: In the beginning of the book the author says you can learn to use the Lace Maker on YouTube, but doesn’t give any specific site.  The author should have provided a direct URL.  The author in the appendix offers some other websites, but just the websites name and no direct URL’s so I have to search them. It would have taken all of a minute to type them out, if not for the ease of the reader, but for the sake of completeness.

You might be thinking that I’m nit picking when I mention things like crediting thing wrong.  However crediting is something that’s very important.  When you specifically cite something  you better be right!

Here’s an example of why crediting is important (a very nerdy example).  I’m involved in the world of soap bubble artists.  In a forum someone mentioned that they believe that crediting creators of different bubble tricks is very important and should be done even in a live performance.  Then his example was when he does the bubble carousel he credits it as being invented by Tom Noddy.  On the surface crediting is good, but only when it’s correct.  In Tom’s book he specifically says he learned it from someone else.  Now this person that wants credit to go to the right place is actually falsely giving credit to the wrong person.

I’m not saying Ron Edwards invented the Birds Eye Plait (he didn’t), but when you say it’s what in his book and are wrong you are making historical the waters murky.

One thing I like about the book is that the authors method is fairly simple.  It doesn’t use bolsters so it’s less intimidating for a beginner.  However if you intended to make more than one whip I would highly suggest learning how to make a bolster and incorporating it into your plan.  Also since there is no tapering the cutting out process is pretty easy.  But once again if you intend to make more than one whip in your life time you need to learn to cut at a taper.  Whether it’s simply using an Aussie Strander and turning the wheel a bit as you cut or learning to do it freehand.

I feel this book is intended more for someone that wants a leather working project and that’s just it.  They want to make one whip and then move on to the next thing, not for someone that actually wants to learn to make whips.

One big suggestion for this books author would be to have someone proof read and make the whip in the book that is his intended audience.  Someone that had some braiding experience, but never made a whip would have noticed a lot of things that weren’t very clear.  Also there are a lot of typos and missing letters in the text (i.e. the word USING being spelt USIN), which isn’t the end of the world, but it’s annoying because I paid for the whole book why not give me the last letter of the word?  I know times economically are tough, but adding in a G in the proper place doesn’t cut into profit margins to much.

So the big question is would I recommend this book?  Honestly I don’t know how I feel about it.  I guess I’d recommend it to someone that wants to make a whip, but not really progress any further than that one whip.  However if you want to try plaiting I’d recommend getting Ron Edwards book How To Make Whips and making the stock whip in that book, or a precut stock whip kit.  A 4 plait stock whip is a pretty simple project and you’ll get a feel for plaiting and see if you like it or not without getting involved in doing 8 and 12 plait patterns which can be very frustrating for a beginner.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Friday the 13th Whip Sale!

Friday the 13th Whip Sale!

Today is Friday the 13th which is considered to be an unlucky day…but if you are shopping for a whip it just might be your lucky day!  From today 1/13/12 until midnight on Sunday 1/15/12 all IN STOCK whips are 13% off!  This sale is limited to stock on hand and it’s first come first served.

Here are a couple of examples of deals you can get today:

4 Foot Signal Whip

Regular price:  $145Sale price: $126.15 Click here for more info on this Signal Whip!

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6.5 foot 16 plait Bullwhip

Regular price: 525.00
Sale price: $456.75
Click here for more information!

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To view what I currently  have IN STOCK and on sale click here!

British Pathe – Old Tyme Newsreels!

British Pathe – Old Tyme Newsreels!

When I was looking for video of people taking tops off of bottles I found this cool website called http://www.britishpathe.com.

british path

It’s got old newsreel video and there’s a bunch on whip cracking.  Here’s what I found:

It’s interesting to see what people used to do for whip tricks, where pretty much everyone did very similar things and now with creative whip performers like Dante and Chris Camp there’s a lot more variety in whip performance!

Inspired by the old newsreels I tried opening a bottle of champagne (OK, it was sparkling wine) with a bullwhip…it’s pretty dramatic:


Louie
P.S. FYI the video in the last post isn’t 100% legit.  While technically the soda is sealed, I altered the cap and the bottle and resealed it with a bottle capper.   Still it looks great!

http://bullwhips.org

Another Two Tone Bullwhip…

Another Two Tone Bullwhip…

My current project is another two tone bullwhip. This one is also black and saddle tan and 16 plait with some designs in the handle.

16 plait bullwhip

I’ve got it plaited to the 3 foot mark and today I should have time to get some more work on it done!

Also today is the last day to order anything IN STOCK if you want it delivered by Christmas (in the USA) and today is the last day that everything IN STOCK is 10% off.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Kangaroo Skins!

Kangaroo Skins!

Today was a fun day at the mail box there was a box of kangaroo skins from Midwest Whips!  There were four skins two natural tan, one black and one red:

These kangaroo skins had a long journey (time wise) from Nevada to Washington State.  Normally it takes 2 days for me to get kangaroo skins from Paul and sometimes there get here the next day.  This shipment took 6 days!  Based on the tracking number they sat in a post office sorting center in Las Vegas for about 4 days.  Good thing I didn’t need these for an custom whip I was trying to get out for someone’s Christmas present!

That said if you are thinking of getting a whip for someone for Christmas I still have a few IN STOCK whips page but don’t wait until the last minute and have a postal delay cause your whip to be a New Year’s present!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Visiting David Morgan’s Shop…

Visiting David Morgan’s Shop…

Yesterday I happened to be in Bothell and popped by David Morgan’s shop.  It’s been a while since I’ve been there for more than a few minutes and the first time I’ve hung out in the braiding area since they remodeled.  I have a great time talking to Meagan, Will, Mike and Alex while I was there.

I’m planning on making a plaited belt that will have plastic D’s instead of metal ones for going through  metal detectors when I travel.  So I picked up a few plastic D’s while I was there.  Also about a year ago I cracked Will Morgan’s  pair of SKT stockwhips and liked them and while chatting with Alex somehow the SKT stockwhips came up in the conversation and I ended up buying one.

stock whip

They still have a few of these left in stock over at David Morgan’s shop and they would make a great Christmas present.  For more info on these stockwhips visit: http://www.davidmorgan.com/product_info.php?products_id=1151.

Yesterday I also managed to get the handle plaited on the 16 plait bullwhip that I started a couple of days ago and today I should be able to get a bit more of the lash finished.  I’ll post pics later today or tomorrow.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

16 Plait Bullwhip and the Black Angus…

16 Plait Bullwhip and the Black Angus…

I have the overlay of the 16 plait bullwhip finished and the fall attached.  All I have left to do is put on the knots, roll the bullwhip and do some shellacing.  Here’s the bullwhip in it’s current state:

Bull whip

I plaited the handle on this bullwhip differently from how I normally do two tone handles and I’m not 100% happy with the results.  It’s not bad…but you’ll notice there’s a slight twist to the pattern on the handle.  That’s because I did this by wrapping all 8 strands one direction then weaving the other 8 through them to get the pattern.  Normally I do two tone handles one strand at a time.  While this twist is purely cosmetic and will have  not affect on how the bullwhip  performs I don’t think I’ll be using that method the next time I do a two tone handle.

I gave this bullwhip a couple of flicks yesterday and it’s got a great crack!

The other day I was going through all the junk mail that we get at home and I noticed a flyer for the Black Angus Steakhouse.  Here’s the flyer:

bullwhip

Do you see the bullwhip in the bottom left corner?  At first I thought it was a reata then I noticed it had taper to it.  Here’s a close up:

bullwhip

However based on the size of the plates and the size of the lash of the whip I’m guessing that either that’s a very skinny whip, huge plates or there’s a bit of photoshop going on!

Christmas Delivery of Bullwhips

My cut off date for orders of IN STOCK bullwhips is 1pm Seattle time on 12/20/2011 if you want them to arrive at an address in the USA before Christmas.  I’ve got a couple of bullwhips, a signal whip and a few odds and ends IN STOCK.  I’ll be adding the 16 plait bullwhip to my IN STOCK page as soon as I get it finished.

Also I have time to make one or two more Made To Order whips that would ship out before the 20th.  If you are interested in something that’s not in stock give me a call at 206-669-3928 or email me before ordering for what colors of kangaroo I have in stock.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Why Put Lead in the Handle of a Bullwhip?

Why Put Lead in the Handle of a Bullwhip?

On many of my kangaroo bullwhips I put a bit of lead in the handle of the whip.  This is put under the heel knot to add weight into the palm of your hand when holding the whip.  A lot of people think this is to make the handle the same weight as the lash giving you a balanced bullwhip.  If you think that or want to know where I am coming from please read my *brilliant* post about Bullwhip Balance before continuing reading.

Okay, so now you know what I think of balance points on a bullwhip and why it doesn’t really matter if the handle weighs exactly what the lash weighs.   So that brings me to the next question, “if it doesn’t matter, why bother putting lead in the handle?”

Good question.  The main reason that I put weight in the handle of the bullwhip is to give you something secure to hold on to.  That’s it. Simply to make the whip not want to jump out of your hand when you crack it.

Alright so now you know why I put lead into the handles of whips you might be curious as to how I determine how much to put in.  When I make a bullwhip I always add lead towards the end of the process.  If I’m adding lead before the overlay is put on then I can crack the belly and sort of get a feel for how the whip is going to end up to help me determine what it needs.  If I am adding lead after the overlay is plaited I can crack the whip without lead to see what it needs then add the lead and crack the whip again and adjust if necessary.

One thing to consider is that I do not have a fixed amount of lead that I add.  I have a starting point that I always use, but you need to keep in mind that you can have two 8 foot bullwhips that crack very differently without lead.  However for the most part most whips of the same size and style will have the same amount of lead.

Another thing to consider is that lead isn’t added proportionally i.e. a 12 foot bullwhip doesn’t have double the amount of lead as a 6 foot bullwhip.  If that were the case and everything scaled up proportionally then the diameter of the 12 foot bullwhip’s lash would be huge!  However you can add more lead without adding much bulk. Because the lead is wrapped in a circle as the diameter of the lead on the handle gets larger you are getting more lead around it with only adding 2mm to the diameter of the lead load on the whip.

If you are trying to make a bullwhip the best way to figure out how much lead to put in is basically to experiment!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org