Yesterday the book Making Nylon Whips by Shannon Reilly showed up in the mail. I read it yesterday…and reread it last night. I didn’t reread it because it’s a fantastic book, I reread it because I felt like I missed something the first time. After the second read I feel like I didn’t miss anything, but the book did!
There’s a lot of this book that to me was not included. For example Shannon plaited whips from the point to the butt, but doesn’t say why this method was chosen over braiding from the butt? I suspect that her reason for doing it this way is that it’s technically easier to do it that way (but that’s just my guess).
Does doing something the easy way make it a better way? Sometimes it does…but sometimes it doesn’t. Personally in my opinion in this case it doesn’t. I don’t think you can control the taper as well when you work from the point of the whip.
Another thing that I feel got glossed over is the core of the whip. She mentioned it’s the most important part, but doesn’t really go into it much. She tells you have to put ball chain into, but that’s about it.
Now this might be my ignorance talking here, but why the hell would you want to use ball chain in a whip core? The point of adding it is to put weight into the thong and from what I’ve read a lot of nylon whip makers use it. Once again I think that ball chain is easier to put in than lead shot or BB’s, so the technically easier method was chosen.
Once thing I’ve learned from making leather bullwhips is that you want a dense whip and one where the weight tapers evenly to the point. If you know anything about ball chain (it’s what is used on Dog Tags or to keep your bathtub stopper from getting lost) it’s hollow! and between each ball is the thin chain. So you are losing a lot of density in the whip by having a hollow core!
Using something like BB’s will give you a more dense core. Also because the ball chain all sits nicely in a row single file, the weight goes up and down through the core. By using something like small BB’s or lead shot you can really pack it in and fill up more air space between the BB’s giving you a more dense core where the weight flows more evenly.
One thing to keep in mind about the author is that she makes whips for “lifestyle” whip crackers and not sport bullwhip crackers, so the level of performance expected from the whip isn’t the same.
Now keep in mind I’ve never made a nylon whip before, but I do have a pair of nylon whips from Steve Huntress (Steve makes whips for sport whip crackers). I also have read Steve’s ebook on how to make nylon whips. Steve’s book is great…and it’s sort of my foundation of my knowledge on how nylon whips are made.
If you are interested in learning to make a nylon whip I’d recommend Steve Huntress’s book: http://neawhips.com/WhipmakingKits.aspx over the one I just read.
Is there anything wrong with nylon whips? Nope. However just like leather whips with nylon whips there are people that just make whips and people that have a passion for making whips.