Lately I’ve seen some a lot of bullwhip maker make Indy Bullwhips that have horrible wrist loops. By horrible I mean that they are too short. A wrist loop on a bullwhip should be long enough for someone with a “ham hand” to put their hand through the loop. And on a KotCS sytle whip they should be able to tie it in a knot like Delongis does and it looks like the whip that Harrison Ford has in the new movie also has the wrist loop tied.
Here’s the wrist loop after it was plaited:
Recently I did a bullwhip wrist loop with out paring and one where I did both flesh corners (how I normally do it) and was amazed at the difference! The one without any beveling came out much chunkier looking and the pared one was much smoother. It made something that David Morgan told me a long time ago really make sense. He said that he doesn’t always pare the belts he makes because it give them more texture.
Last night I cut out the overlay set for an 8 foot bullwhip (morgan style). One thing that I did was I pared my strands very boxy, they are pretty much rectangle. That’s hopefully going to give me more of a “morgan” look on this bullwhip.
Cutting this 12 plait set, I was looking at all the waste and thought about how important good hide management is. When making a whip, if you kept all the scrap you cut off you’d be amazed. Just the little bits that you cut off from paring, the parts you cut off to make corners bigger and the inital trim, and of course the parts from the inital trimming of the hide you have a pretty big pile of unusable scrab.
That’s part of why whips are expensive is all the wasted leather…and it takes years to get good at making them!!
I’m back from my trip to Oregon. On the way there I got stuck in traffic when the freeway was closed due to a big car accident. While I was sitting in traffic I managed to cut out and plait a 6 plait natural tan wrist loop. I had a bit of a hide in my car and one of my blades, so it worked out well.
Tonight I’m going to finish up the last foot of plaiting on a 6 foot KotCS bullwhip (hopefully) and tomorrow I’ll finish cutting out the overlay for an 8 foot Morgan Indy Style bullwhip.
also I’m experimenting with two different ways to shape falls. I just took them out of the “goo” so we’ll see how they turn out.
I’m also making a bullwhip for retired magician (Stan Kramien) that used to have a HUGE touring magic show. He saw my bullwhip act over the weekend. He used to do a bullwhip act, so I’m making him a 4 foot. He can’t stand for too long, so it needs to be something he can use sitting.
Yesterday I cut out the bellies for an 8 foot Morgan Style Indy and a 6 foot KotCS. I managed to get both bellies of the 6 foot plaited and about 4 1/2 feet of the overlay done. So that whip should be ready soon!
This morning I need to cut out falls. Cutting the falls is still my least favorite part of whipmaking. I guess it’s because it doesn’t seem “interesting”, all I’m doing is cutting out straight lines. I seem to got through them very quickly. If I cut out 10 falls and each whip shipped has two (one on the whip and one extra) then they go pretty quickly.
Oh…with the 6 foot KotCS style bullwhip I’m beveling the bullwhip differently. Normally I do it on opposite corners. With this whip I pared the strands on both of the flesh sides. David Morgan is 100% against this! Basically he says that over time the edges will push together like techtonic plates an create a very coarse whip.
Another whipmaker I know does this and the last time (and only time) I tried it was a long time ago. I figured I’d give it a try now that I’ve got a little bit more experience (not much more). The angle I cut the strands at is probably an 80% angle so this whip has a chunkier look.
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.
Yesterday I picked up a Veg Tanned Drum Stuffed Kangaroo hide from David Morgan. This kangaroo hide was huge, it’s 92 decimeters!
I used this hide for the two bellies and 1/2 of the overlay for the bullwhip kit that I made for someone. with a bit of luck there will be enough left for a 10 foot bullwhip…there’s at least enough left for an 8 foot.
Speaking of a 10 foot whip, today I’m going to start plaiting the overlay of the 10 foot KotCS style bullwhip. I’m figuring that will take a couple of hours to do.
I haven’t found a good way to keep the lace from tangling while plaiting longer whips. I’ve tried tying the ends in “Tamales” as Bruce Grant calls them in his book, but I find those just make the problem worse. Right now I’m plaiting the overlay and every so often I just pull the strands out one at a time to untangle them. It works, but I bet there’s a better way…but maybe not.
Yesterday I plaited the first belly of the 10 foot KotCS bullwhip and have the overlay cut out. Today I should at least get the bolsters finished and the second belly finished.
As I start making this whip it reminds me of something another whipmaker told me that when I was making my first (and only other 10 foot bullwhip). He said, “I like the idea of a 10 foot bullwhip…“, I interpreted that as meaning that a 10 foot bullwhip is a bit of a grind to make. The extra two feet translates to a lot of extra work.
Also someone over the weekend emailed me to ask me if I could make them a bullwhip kit where I cut out the lace for them and then they assembled it. It’s something that I can do and am cutting out a whip for them.
The cost for it varies depending on a lot of things, like how much materials you need. If you need just the leather it’s a bit cheaper than if you need plaiting soap, lead, handle foundation, and sinew for binding. Also the length of the finished whip and amount of instruction you need will effect the cost.
Today I started cutting out the set for a 10 foot 12 plait bullwhip that is going to be in the KotCS style. I’ve got the two bellies cut out and a bit of the overlay started. A
I still need to stretch, cut and split the two bellies.
Also I’m plaiting the overlay of a 4 foot bullwhip. The four foot red kangaroo bullwhip has a spring steel handle and will have a much slimmer profile than most of my whips.
Earlier today I finished a 6 foot Indy Bullwhip (Morgan style) and I’ll try to take a picture of it tomorrow. Somehow my knots had declined in look compared to how David Morgan makes his. Then I got a couple of tips from Paul Nolan and now my knots look much better.
I think there was a combination of things that made my knots look “flat”, I was using a thinner sinew, and technique. So I switched to a thicker sinew and tweaked my technique and the knots are nice and indy shaped now.