eBay – Buyer Beware!

eBay – Buyer Beware!

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:

bullwhip making  kangaroo

Here’s a screen shot of the ebay listing and you can view the auction by clicking here.
kangaroo leather

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:

kangaroo leather

 

 

 

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:

kangaroo leather

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!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

 

 

Braided Leather…

Braided Leather…

I’m travelling this week and here are some braided pieces that I’ve run into.  The first is a synthetic whip which is made out of a similar material as the Karaka whips.

whip

The next is a bullwhip and the picture turned out blurry…but that’s probably for the best, this one hurt my eyes.

bull whip

The last is a little rawhide quirt.

quirt

 

We’ll see what turns up on my next road trip in a couple of weeks…

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Bullwhip UnBuild Part 2

Bullwhip UnBuild Part 2

I’m still taking apart this bullwhip.  Here’s the last of the picture of the overlay:

nylon bull whip

Here’s the core without the overlay.  The entire thing is wrapped in electrical tape.

bullwhip core

Here’s a close up of the handle.  If you click on it you’ll get a larger picture and you can see the bottom  bit isn’t wrapped, it’s just the metal bar.

Bullwhip core

 

The bar had a hole in it, and I’m trying to figure out the purpose of the hole.  No strands were fed through the hole.  If the whip was braided from the tip like I think it was then the hole wasn’t used to hang it on a hook while braiding.

If it was used to hang from a hook while braiding from the tip it makes the whole process very awkward to braid.  Or maybe it’s used while they wrap it in electrical tape. It’s hung by the hole and the tip is secured someone and they simply run the tape around.  That’d be my best guess.

Now that I had the core out, since the whole thing was wrapped in tape and there were no loose strands I wondered if I could crack it.  Here’s a very quick video of me trying:

So the core cracked, and I think it cracked easier than the assembled whip did.  I think the reason is the nylon on the second half of the whip was slowing it down when I tried to crack it.

I’ve been thinking about the strand adds/drops and them being secured by tape. These go maybe an inch into the plaiting.  This is a horrible idea and the reason for that is over time the tape will lose its stickiness and not hold the end of the strand in place.  This will then give you a situation where the end can come loose and there’s not a lot holding it in place.

I’m curious as to how things are laid out under the electrical tape, but I probably won’t have a chance to keep taking this whip apart until next week.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

 

 

Nylon Bullwhip from Pakistan

Nylon Bullwhip from Pakistan

I frequently get emails from braiding companies in places like India or Pakistan that want to send me samples.  I’ve never taken them up on them  until recently.  My main reason for not taking the samples is that I didn’t have any intention of selling whips made overseas.

However with me messing with nylon whips recently I got another email from a company and I decided to take them up on their offer.  Mainly to see how mine compared and if they made something as good or better I’d consider selling them.

Here’s what they sent me:

bullwhip

Right after opening seeing this whip my first thought was the fall was too long.  Shortly after starting the whip cracking session this was confirmed.  I cut a few inches off of the whip and it handled a bit better.

I took it to the park earlier today and  had a little cracking session.  Here’s a sample of it:

Internally this whip isn’t effectively carrying energy to the end of the whip.  It does “closed loop” cracks like a circus crack or over head crack fairly well.  However for “open loop” cracks like a flick/forward crack or side arm the whip seems to stall out about halfway.

So in my opinion this whip would be good if you want to learn one crack and really don’t want to progress past a very basic crack, so if it were for someone like an actor that only needed to crack a whip once in a play.  I think a beginner trying to learn a forward crack is going to have a hard time with this whip.

Knowing my feelings on this being a good learning whip, there is one instance I would sell them.  That would be if I sold my whips in a booth at places like Ren Faires (which I don’t).  I’d use these to fill my booth to offer something cheap for “impulse buyers”.

Also I’ve changed how I think about all these companies offering to send me sample whips.  Since they are contacting me, not me asking them for something, I will take the free whip…just keep in mind when you contact me I have very little interest in reselling whips that I didn’t make, so when you email me offering a sample you’re probably wasting your money.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

650 Paracord…

650 Paracord…

I was going to take a break from experimenting with making nylon bull whips after I finish the roll of red that I bought a couple of weeks ago…then I get a 10% off coupon code in an email from UBraidIt and I’m thinking I might make a couple more.

FYI the coupon code is: JUNE14

One of the bigger differences for me between making leather and nylon is the nylon is really rough on my hands.  I can’t braid for extended periods of time like I can with leather.  It’s been years since I’ve gotten blisters on my hands from plaiting, however thanks to the paracord I’ve gotten them again.

Another thing is my elbows have gotten sore.  I don’t know if I’m pulling differently than with leather or maybe it’s  the resistance with the nylon being different, but I’m hoping it temporary.

Also there are only a few hours left on the eBay auction I have on a bullwhip right now: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-foot-BULLWHIP-12-plait-English-Calf-handmade-bull-whip-/221458916442?

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Bullwhip in the News…

Bullwhip in the News…

I wish more of the people who are in the news using a bullwhip were more positive than this one from the London Evening Standard:

Apparently this guy is a Squatter at a old police station in East London.  He uses the whip to agitate the neighbor’s dogs.  You can read the whole story and watch a short video of his non-existent whip skills at: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/squatters-in-former-police-station-accused-of-stripping-metal-spying-on-neighbours-and-using-bullwhip-to-make-dogs-aggressive-9489503.html

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Why Does a Good Bullwhip Cost So Much?

Why Does a Good Bullwhip Cost So Much?

A question I get a lot is, “Why are your whips so expensive when I can get a whip for $50 on ebay?”

That’s a good question and there are two parts to the answer.

1. Quality of Materials
What type of leather used in a whip makes a huge difference in the final product.  For example generally “drum stuffed”  leather is more expensive than “dry” leather.  Drum stuffed in my opinion is also a superior leather to work with.  Now I can by dry leather and “hand stuff” it, but that adds time on my end and my time isn’t free.  So either way you are paying someone to grease the leather, either me or the tannery.

Then you have the quality of the leather.  A side of cow or kangaroo skin that’s all scarred up is going to be a lower grade, and cheaper.  What that means is to get good raw materials to make your whip it’s going to cost me more.  Sure I could get a scarred up skin and cut around all the scars, but then I’m throwing away more leather and would have to buy more low quality leather.  In the end if I have to waste a lot of leather for your whip, I might as well buy the high quality to start with.  Price wise it all evens out.

2. Quality of the Maker
The person who is making your whip has a lot to do with pricing.  That’s where the bulk of the cost is, labor.  A person that makes one whip a year is going to generally charge less for their whips, but also they don’t usually have the same skills as someone that makes one or more whips a week.

Keep in mind just because someone makes or sells a lot of whips doesn’t automatically mean they are good.

Once you break down the hourly, and subtract all the expenses they aren’t making a huge hourly wage.  If the person is a professional whip maker (i.e. they have no other job) and you factor out expenses like taxes, business insurance, health insurance AND then add in things like money tied up in inventory like  keeping a stock of leather and there’s not a lot of meat left on that bone.

So if you take out one of the two factors above you’ll still have a fairly expensive whip compared to a $50 whip…but take both out and that’s the answer to the Fifty Dollar Question!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

8 Foot Indy Bullwhip progress…

8 Foot Indy Bullwhip progress…

Yesterday I managed to get a few hours of work into this bullwhip.  I made more progress than I thought I would. My goal was to get the inner layers finished, so I was kinda amazed to have gotten as much done as I have.

I started yesterday by attaching the core to the handle:

bull whip

Then the belly gets attached on top of that.

bullwhip

Then that belly gets plaited.  In a leather bullwhip having a plaited belly is important.  It does several things, one being that it adds weight to the whip.  It also compacts the inner layers making the whip very dense which will move energy down the lash very efficiently.

Indiana Jones Bullwhip

On top of the inner belly goes a bolster.  This one starts at the end of the handle.

Indiana Jones Bullwhip

The outer belly goes on next and it covers the whole handle.  At this point I will also give the bolster below a coat of leather dressing.

Indiana Jones Bullwhip

The outer belly is then plaited to the end of the bolster below it.

Indiana Jones Bullwhip

The final bolster is cut out and fit the to lash.  A bolster between plaited layers is another important step because once it’s braided over it will fill up the air holes that would be left between two braided layers if a bolster wasn’t used.  It will also add weight and shape to the whip.

bolster

The bolster is bound to the handle by artificial sinew.

bull whips

Next the knot foundation is attached to the handle.

Indiana Jones Bullwhip

The overlay is cut out.

12 plait kangaroo

Here’s the remaining kangaroo skin after the 12 plait overlay has been cut out:

Indiana Jones Bullwhip

 

Now the most time consuming part, braiding the overlay.

whips

The picture above is about 2 1/2 feet into the overlay.  I’ve got another 5 ish feet to go today, then I still need to do the knots and wrist loop.  With a bit of luck this bullwhip will ship out to its new owner Friday morning.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org