The other day I finished making a 12 plait Indy style bullwhip from calf:
I think it came out pretty well…because it’s calf and not kangaroo there are a few cosmetic things that if it was a nicer/more expensive bullwhip I would have redone. I think for a non-kangaroo bullwhip this one came out looking extremely well. It’s got all the visual Indy characteristics:
12 plait overlay ending in 6 plait point
Natural tan color
Black nylon cracker
6 plait wrist loop
8 inch handle
Correct knots (5 X 4 three pass heel knot and 5 X 4 two pass transition knot)
Slight taper on the handle just before the transition knot
I think the heel knot looks fantastic:
Internally this bullwhip is different from how I make my kangaroo Indy Bullwhips, this one has a shot core, one plaited belly and two bolsters, where my roo Indy’s are two plaited bellies and two bolsters. The lead shot core allowed me to put weight into the lash without spending the time to do two bellies.
I haven’t decided the price I’m going to sell this at, while I did do a couple things to speed up the process of making this bullwhip it was still VERY labor intensive and with the corners I cut I only saved about an hour of work…and while using calf which is a bit cheaper than kangaroo…it isn’t that much cheaper than using kangaroo.
This morning I cut out the bolster for the 12 plait EconomINDY bullwhip that I’m working on. I didn’t like how the layers were sitting on the handle (it was too thin), so added a layer of thin leather of leather over the handle to add a bit of bulk to it.
Next up is cutting out and plaiting the overlay for this bullwhip!
Right now I’m making another one of the EconomINDY bullwhip, but this one has a lead shot core. Currently this bullwhip need it’s final bolster and overlay to before it’s finished.
I haven’t done a ton of shot cores on my bullwhips, so it’s fun to make this one. This bullwhip’s taper is going to be more like how I normally make my kangaroo Indy bullwhips thanks to the shot core building it up a bit in diameter (and weight). Today I’m out all day performing so I probably won’t get a chance to do to any more work on this bullwhip.
I’m still not 100% sold on having a lead shot core is going to be a good substitute for a 2nd plaited belly. It’s faster to make than another plaited belly, but now I’m going to have to add more lead to the handle to balance it out. While a shot core may save time adding a belly by the time I have to add more lead to the handle any time saving my be offset by added cost of adding more lead to the butt.
I just finished making an economINDY bullwhip, that’s a 12 plait bullwhip made in the style of the Indiana Jones bullwhip, but made with calf.
I used to make these a long time ago, and while I was trying to hunt down some kip I found some great calf skins. I picked up three skins which should be enough for at least 3 bullwhips (maybe 4 if all of them are shorter).
This one was made with only one plaited belly, but still has two bolsters and a core. The next couple of these that I make will have two plaited bellies to help me get the lash a bit heavier…or maybe I’ll put in a light lead shot loaded core to get it a tad heavier??
This bullwhip has a good crack, but it’s a lighter lash than I normally put on a Indy style bullwhip. There’s nothing wrong with a lighter lash, it’s just different from what I normally do. I’ve got it listed for sale on my IN STOCK whips page. If you are interested in this bullwhip I say get it now because the next ones will either have another belly or a shot loaded core, and either of those will bump up the price about $25.
Yesterday I got an email from someone in Greece asking me to, “…write some articles about easy whip making“. While I’d love to write posts about easy whip making, I’m not going to. The reason I’m not going to is simple, there is no such thing as easy whip making!
Whip making uses a lot of skills you need to develop, from learning to cut and pare to learning to plait. It all takes time and once you learn things it’s easy…but there’s no easy way to learn besides the hard way with practice and turning out crappy whips. Every whip maker during the learning process makes whips that look and / or function poorly. There is no short cut.
I really wish I could say the easy way to make a whip is to simply ______, but I’d be lying. Even using things like strand cutters which help you cut out even strands have a learning curve. Some are easier than others, but they all will take some cutting to turn out decent looking strands.
Here’s my advice, get:
David Morgan’s book on plaiting
Whips and Whipmaking by David Morgan (make sure you get a 2nd edition because it tells you how to make an indy whip in there)
Read and both of David’s books (there are links to the menu bar on the left of this screen) and make all the projects in the plaiting book. While you are working on the projects in the plaiting book continually re-read the chapter on the 450 bullwhip in Whips and Whipmaking. Draw out a plan for how all the layers of your bullwhip will sit. After each reading of the section on the 450 bullwhip review the plan you drew to see if anything has changed in your mind after rereading.
Finally try to make a bullwhip.
Even when you develop some level of skill whipmaking still isn’t easy. Here’s an example of an easier project that’s giving me trouble:
I’m working on an 8 plait bullwhip and for some reason I totally messed up and cut the strands way to skinny. I’ve been making for a while and it was a really dumb mistake that I made and really shouldn’t have happened, but it did. So I need to cut 4 more strand and make the other 8 skinnier so that I can make the whole whip 12 plait.
Here’s another finished Deluxe Beginner’s Bullwhip:
I also have two more of these whips that have everything cut out and the cores and bellies attached to the handles, but no plaiting done. I don’t know if I’ll have time today to get much plaiting done today.
I came up with this idea for a “one man” bullwhip trick. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit inspired by the video of Dante that I posted the other day. I liked the balloon popping, but as a one person act (no assistant) I’m sometimes limited to what I can do. Here’s my solution:
Yesterday I finally finished making the pair of bullwhips that complete the set of three whips for myself. Normally these would have been done very quickly if they were for someone else, however they were for me so there was no rush.
They are both four feet long with 10 inch spring steel handles with just a touch of lead under the heel knot. You might notice one has a red latigo fall and the other has a whitehide fall. I’m doing this as an experiment to see which fall I really like more, since the whips were made as a pair it will be a good way to compare.
So far after one short cracking session I was surprised to find out that I like the red latigo a bit more. However that might change with a bit of use. In my experience the red latigo breaks off more than whitehide, and he whitehide stretches more than the red latigo. I think that’s because the red latigo is a more dense leather.
My next project is making some cheaper bullwhips. Right now I’m working on a six foot Deluxe Beginners Bullwhip and that should be ready soon. All I have left to do on it are the knots. Currently I have enough leather for 4 or 5 of these, so I’m going to try to bang a few of them out so I have some in stock.