Here’s the 12 plait snakewhip that I finished last week:
This snake whip is for sale on my IN STOCK page.
I had a full cowhide (over 40 square feet!) come in:
I’ve made two 4 plait cowhide bullwhips (but only have a picture of one of them). Here’s the 8 foot budget bullwhip:
This 4 plait cowhide bullwhip is for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.
Over the last few months I’ve had a lot of people ask me if they could order one of my Budget Bullwhips becaue I didn’t have any in stock. I don’t make the Budget Bullwhips to order, you can only get them when I have them already made.
My main reason for that is because I prefer making higher plait count (above 8 plait) kangaroo bullwhips, and I don’t want my schedule full of 4 plait cowhide bullwhips when I could be making whips that I like to make.
That said, the other day I order a full cowhide (over 40 square feet) to make some Budget bullwhips out of. I don’t know when I will have time to make them, but I’ll keep you posted as they are finished.
Right now I’m finishing up shellacing the 12 plait snake whip, and I should be able to get some pictures of it later today.
Right now on my braiding hook is a 12 plait kangaroo snake whip in red. I’m about halfway finished with it, and hopefully I’ll have the time tonight complete the overlay.
I’m very happy with how this snake whip is turning out, but now that I said I”m happy with this snake whip, I’ll break a strand or something like that.
Here’s the bullwhip with the 24 plait handle and 12 plait thong:
Here’s a close up of the handle:
I took this bullwhip out for a few test cracks today and I was amazed at how well it cracked! I put slightly more weight at the point of the bullwhip than I normally do on my shorter handled bullwhips. I think the next time I make a shorter handled bullwhip (8-10 inch) I’m going to do a point with weight similar to this.
I’ve got a bullwhip in the works right now that has a 12 plait thong and a 24 plait handle. This bullwhip is being made in whiskey colored kangaroo hide.
The first plaiting challenge I ran into while working on the handle was that the pattern wasn’t giving me a lot of trouble. Then I counted my strands and learned that I was trying to do a 24 plait pattern with 22 strands!! So I added the two extra handle strands and it’s coming along much better.
When planning a design for the handle I did a lot of looking around on the internet at pictures of other bullwhip maker’s higher plait count bullwhips to get a feel for what I would like. One thing I noticed with my first two high plait count whips (20 plait bullwhip and 24 plait stockwhip handle) was that I was trying to cram in as many designs as I could. But after reflecting on those to projects and the pictures of the whips that I really liked I decided simplier is better.
For example here’s a picture of one of Joe Strain’s 16 plait bullwhip handles:
It’s simple and elegant.
I guess that throwing every design into a whip is part of the learning process for me. I’ll post some pictures of the 24 plait handle when I have it finished (probably later today)
When I’m making a bullwhip and I’m preparing the strands for braiding I do several things. I stretch them, pare them, stretch them, split them, then lube them. That may seem like a lot of work (and it is), just to get the leather ready to braid…but that’s what helps give you a tightly plaited bullwhip.
One part of this process is full of debate among whipmakers and that’s the paring of the strand. Paring is cutting off two (sometimes 4) of the corners down the entire lenght of the strand. Generally there are two types of paring, cutting opposite corners (top left and bottom right or vice versa) or cutting both same side (cutting both the bottom corners). Most whipmakers have one way they pare thier bullwhips and that’s the way they do it.
Personally I do most of my bullwhips paring the opposite corners. In theory that makes the braid tighter like tongue and groove flooring, but I’m doing more and more with both flesh sides pared. If you draw two circle on a piece of paper, one inside the other (about 2mm differnece in diameter) and measure their circumfrences you will see the circle inside the other is smaller.
When you pare opposite ends of a strand your strands will be about he same width when measured on the grain side and on the flesh side (don’t measure the angled part of the cut). Now if you measure both sides of a strand with both flesh sides pared you will notice that the flesh side is smaller than the grain side.
So in theory that’s going to give you a better, tighter fit around the whip. But then you have some other issues like the thin edges butted up against each other, that want to buckle like techtonic plates.
Yesterday I has someone ask me why I don’t bind my bolsters to my bullwhips for thier full length. I did this in the past, but no longer do it. There are several reasons why I don’t completely tie on my bolsters.
The main reason is that it’s completely unecessary! The main reason that people tie the whole bolster to the bullwhip is to make it easier to plait over…well it’s easier for the beginner to plait over. With a bit of practice you can plait over an untied bolster just as easily and as fast as a tied bolster.
Since you are braiding over the bolster (and you’re braiding tightly…or you should be), the plaits will hold the bolster in place internally. So the binding doesn’t add any structural strength. As David Morgan told me, binding doesn’t add weight or hold dressing, so it’s not necessary in the thong of the whip. I competely agree.
It can be a bit of a challenge to keep the bolster’s seam straight while you are tying it up. But when you are plaiting over an untied bolster you can straighten it out as needed.
Also once you have the bolster tied down you can’t really tweak it on the fly if you need to. Sometimes you’ll need to short the bolster after the bullwhip’s plaiting has started. If you have a bolster that’s completely tied down you will have to cut whatever is tying it down, making the binding usesless, or undo all the plaiting you have done to tweak the boslter, then retie it.
Of course there are expections to this, but that’s in general my thoughts on tying down the whole bolster.
Last night I started work on a bullwhip with a 16 inch handle. I used a 16 inch fibreglass handle foundation that I got from David Morgan.
Compared to the tradtional spike, these are very light. The main reason that I picked this fibre glass handle for this bulwhip is that I’m planning on doing the handle as 24 plait and wanted a longer handle to do more patterns on. The fibreglass handle is hollow, so I filled it with lead shot to add a bit of weight to it.
Also the from my expereince in the past it’s hard to get the core nice and tight around this handle because it’s thin. So I put a bit of glue on the handle then wrapped the core with sinew very tightly. Hopefully that will give me a very firm foundation to put everything on top of.
The fibreglass foundation also tapers a bit, so I split my core to be a bit thinner at the butt and thicker towards the transition. I also plan on doing that with the bolsters so that when the overlay goes on the handle won’t taper.
I could leave a bit of taper to the handle, but since I’m planning on a 24 plait handle with some patterns, I don’t want to deal with having to taper the strands. Also because this handle is thinner than a spike handle foundation, I’m plaiting the bellies over the handle. That will bulk it up a bit giving me more surface area on the finished whip…and my 24 plait strands will be a bit thicker and easier to work with.
Later today I’ll probably cut out and attach the inner bolster.
Here’s my latest signal whip.
I was experimenting with the internal construction, this one has a shot loaded core, plaited belly and bolster. Normally my signal whips just have a bolster. This new construction makes the whip a bit more firm, but a bit lighter.
I’ve only cracked this whip a couple of times, but I”m thinking I like this new design a bit more than the boslter only construction.
Next up is going to be a 12 plait bullwhip with a 24 plait handle, hopefully I will be able to start that in the next few days (depending on my performing schedule).
Here’s the completed 4 foot signal whip:
This signal whip has a two tone 12 plait overlay (red with black):
One of the things that I think make a signal whip look cool is the braided cracker:
Right now I have another signal whip in the works and it’s also 4 foot 12 plait in two tone kangaroo, but it will be black with red.