Today I’m in Spokane, WA, which is about 4 hours drive from Seattle. I’m performing as part of Spokane’s First Night festival, which is a family friendly New Year’s arts festival. I got out here yesterday and had to drive through a very snowy moutain range. The weatherman on the news said, “don’t cross the Cascades unless you have to…”. The road wasn’t that bad.
My hotel is about 15 minutes from Joe Strain’s place, but I won’t be able to visit him due to my schedule today and tomorrow. I would have loved to have time to visit with him, but maybe next time.
This morning I have a bit of time and I’m doing some more work on the 6 foot bullwhip in “red”. You can see my little set up I have going to plait a whip in my hotel room. I took apart the drawer on the desk and had to jimmy rig part of the desk so that my vice would hold firmly while I pulled the strands.
I’m sure housekeeping loves all the little bits of leather I leave (I do my best to pick up…).
Happy New Year!
A couple of nights ago I finished (except for a coat of shellac) a Single Tail whip. This is my 2nd single tail that’s I’ve made and briading the cracker into the whip is a bit of a challenge. I got a singletail from Joe Strain and have been using his cracker as a model for what mine should look like.
I’ve also got a 6 foot bullwhip in the works that’s being built from what Paul Nolan knows of how David Morgan makes his “indy” whips. When I read Paul’s reciepe I noticed there were a few diffrences between how Paul makes them and what Morgan has mentioned to me.
For example Paul’s 2nd bolster is about a foot shorter than mine. I had asked Morgan about the length of the 2nd bolster a while ago and he told me that he takes it almost the full length of the whip. So to me that meant 5 1/2 to 5 3/4 feet on a 6 foot bullwhip.
The bullwhip that I’m making is has a thinner kangaroo skin for the overlay which is giving me a smoother look to the whip compared to the thicker hides that I’ve been using. I think that the last 3-4 bullwhips that I’ve made were from the thicker hide.
For a Indy bullwhip I do think that the thicker hide is an important part of the look. However for this little experiment I used a hide I already had started cutting up. The kangaroo hide is red in color and so far I’m about 2 feet into the overlay that the whip looks pretty sharp.
While I was cutting the overlay strands I was amazed (again) at how straight they are getting. I also thought about how much work goes into making the strands straight (stretching and paring), and how much easier it must be to make a nylon whip where everything is the same all the time instead of every hide being different…but I’m sure nylon has it’s own set of challenges.
Also a quick shipping note, I’m going to be out of town for a couple of days performing, so if you order a whip from the “ready to ship” page of my site between 12/30/07 to 1/1/08 your order won’t ship until 1/2/08 when I get back.
Here’s a quick picture of the bullwhips at my house right now.
I’m adding another peg later.
Here’s a 4 foot two tone bullwhip that I finished about a week ago and never posted.
This is my first attempt at fancy plaiting on the handle.
Here’s a video of me test cracking the bullwhip that I just finished
Now that the bullwhip is finished and I’ve gotten a chance to crack it here are my thoughts on the whip:
- The whip has a nice light and broken feel to it due to the lack of bolsters.
- In the future I’m not going to mess with kip overlays
- If I do a kip whip again it’s going to have two bellies and one bolster to thicken it up a tad.
- paring the kip dry was a bit easier than lubed (this is my opinion…and it could change in the future)
- I had a funky strand drop that I should have gone back and fixed, but I thought I could smooth it out with a board roll and it didn’t smooth out as much as I hoped.
The last step is the finishing touch to the bullwhip.
Dip a paint brush in the shellac and wipe off the excess (you don’t need very much on the brush) and lightly coat the wristloop and knots. I give the knots 2-3 coats of shellac.
Hang the bullwhip by the wristloop and give the handle and thong a light coat of shellac and let it dry.
The whip is now finished…have fun cracking!
Wrap artificial sinew around the transition in the plaiting where it goes from checkerboard to 4 seam.
Tie the disired knot around the artificial sinew.
Roll the knots between two boards to smooth them out a bit.
The whip is now basically done all that is left is to put some shellac on it.
A few days ago Adam Winrich posted a couple of cracks that I really didn’t do. the first was the Tasmanian cutback (whip cracks behind you) and I had monkey’d with it a long time ago, but really had trouble doing it with short handled bullwhips. The other was the singleton special where the whip cracks under your feet.
I tried them both out today and figured them out…not masted them, but can do them.
I need to work on the tasmanian cutback with my left hand so I can do it two handed.
First you’re going to shape the butt, then attache the wrist loop and finally tie the knot.
Fold the yoke over the top of the butt and tack it on the opposite side. Trim the edges a tack all the sides down.
Wrap artificial sinew around the whip’s butt and be sure to pull tightly.
Tack on both sides of the wrist loop and trim any excess strand lengths when finished.
Wrap the butt and wrist loop again with artificial sinew to make sure everything will stay secure.
Tie your lace around the butt of the whip with your desired knot style.. My lace is about 8 mm wide and 9 feet long.
To make the fall you’ll need a sharp knife and the piece of thick scrap leather.
Cut of the fall from the scrap piece of leather. The fall is about as wide as the tip of the whip and 24-30 inches long depending on your desired lenght. tapering it to a dull point at the end.
Cut a slit in the thick end of the fall for the end of the whip to go through.
Stick the fall over the whip and tie a fall hitch (see ron edwards book).
Tie a cracker onto the end of the whip.
The next step is attaching the wrist loop to the bullwhip and the butt knot.