Transfer of my old whip making blog

Transfer of my old whip making blog

Everything below is my old blog from blogger, but since they don’t let you export anything anymore, I had to copy it as one big post.



AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 1:21 PM
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My14th whip is finished, it was going to be afoot longer, but due to a series of mishaps, its only 5ish feet.
This bullwhip has a 12 plait Kangaroo overlay and measures 7 feet 2 inches from the butt of the handle to end of the fall. The handle is 10 inches, the thong 3 feet 6 inches. It has a removable fall which is about 35 inches, so that give a total lenght at approx 7 feet 2 inches.
This whip’s has two braided kangaroo bellies, and a kangaroo wrist loop.

I’ve listed this whip on ebay:

This one has the longer handle which cracks much easier than the 8 inch handle.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:33 AM
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I finished plating the 6 foot bullwhip that I am working on and it looked horrible! It ended up being as thick as a polish sasuage all the way down, then suddenly dropped off.

So I undid the plaiting and cut down the bolster to make it taper gradually (I hope). So the handle has a checkerboard for about 5-6 inches then it goes to a over 2 under 2 over 2 patter before it changes into a under 3 over 3 pattern for the thong.

we will see how it turns out.

Undoing the whip was a pain in the ass…but it was neat to see what happens to the insides of a whip when it is briaded. The plaiting compresses the core and really removes all the natural air space inside the whip.

Oh, paul nolan comment that my whip (the one pictured on this post) on ebay looks excellent. that means a lot to me coming from paul. Here’s really helped me a ton making these whips!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:10 AM
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Yesterday I cut out the strands and final bolster for the 6 foot bullwhip. When cutting the strands I ran out of leather on two o my strands (they are about 2 feet short). I’m figuring that those can be the strands that I drop first.

The other problem that creates is that they are skinnier than the rest of the strands. I’ve started plaiting this whip and it’s going OK. I have the handle part plaited with a checkerboard, and they thong the regular over3 under 3 pattern.

This checkerboard is about 6 inches along the handle, but the nail is 10 inches. I like the look of the two knots about a hands lenght apart.

We’ll see how this whip turns out.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:38 AM
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I’ve had a couple of people email me asking me if I will make them a 8 or 10 foot whip. I guess they haven’t read this blog…because if they did, they would realize that I barely know what I’m doing.

They have found me through ebay where I have been listing my whips. In my listings I mention that I’m new at this…so I’m figuring these people aren’t reading my listings.

Maybe in the future I’ll do custom work…but honestly I don’t like the idea of deadlines. If I persue this as a side business, I think I would at first basicially list what I have currently finished and ready to ship on my website.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:32 AM
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After visiting with joe strain last week, he told me that I should learn to “cut with the thumb nail”. This is basicially cutting the strands with just a blade (no strand cutter). It’s very difficult to do.

I’m practicing it by cutting a lot of short lace. I’m using that lace for making wrist loops. My thinking is that if I cut shorter lenghts and mess them up, it’s less of a loss then trying to cut longer lengths, then cutting one off when I get 6 feet of it already cut.

So far I suck at cutting them even, but I must have cut 20 strands yesterday, and am making progress. I’m almost at a beginners level!

Bullwhip progress:

I’m still working on that 6 foot bullwhip. I’ve got the core, 1st belly, bolster, 2nd belly finished. I just need to cut out the 2nd bolster and add the overlay and knots.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:16 PM
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Here’s the dilly-yo on my 11th bullwhip. I didn’t include the details of it yet…
This bullwhip has a 12 plait Kangaroo overlay and measures 5 feet 9ish inches from the butt of the handle to end of the fall. The handle is 8 inches, the thong 3 feet 7 inches. It has a removable fall which is about 19 inches, so that give a total lenght at approx 5 feet 9 inches
I’ve listed it on ebay:

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 9:35 PM
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Right now I”m on the road in eastern washington (spokane currently). Earlier in the day I was in Northport, WA and had some time to kill. so I whipped out my last two bullwhips and tried to do some two handed cracks.

The whips were pretty fast (4 footers), but I learned some timing. I’m going to try to make two longer handled five footish whips.

I worked on foward, and backward cracks as well as overhead cracks. I need to work on my sidearm cracks with my left hand. In the 2nd whip video that mark allen puts out, Alex green does side arm cracks with both hands followed by an overhead crack with both hands. I’m going to give that a try once I make some longer whips.

Paul Nolan mentioned that mike murphy’s fundamental whip cracking video is great for two handed routines. I’ve got that video and watched it and will recrack it open once I make some more longer whips.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:33 AM
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I’ve finished plaiting bullwhip #12, but still need to do the knots. this is another 4 footer whip.

One thing that I”m having trouble with is “lumpiness” when I drop strands. I’ve emailed paul to ask him if he knows a solution and next week I’ll be visiting Joe Strain (hopefully) and will ask him about that.

Another thing that I have changed is the lenght of the falls that I am putting on the whips. All the other whips I’ve made have had shorter falls (16ish inches) and this one is closer to 21ish inches. I’ll measure it later. But that’s one thing I noticed from other whips that i have is that they have LONG falls.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:30 AM
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I just got three new Roo Hides from the Loy at Hardtke yesterday. I wasn’t expedting them for a few more days. So that was a nice surprise the UPS guy brought.
The colors are natural, tan and whiskey. I belivee the darker one is the “tan”

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:55 AM
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I’ve begun bullwhip #12 (and cut out the 4 plait layer for #13). Here’s pictures of the guts of bullwhip #12 and then the whip with the core and belly finished.
Currently I have the two bolsters attached to it and all that is left is to do the knot foundation, plait the whip, then add the knots and fall.
I ordered 3 more hides from Hardtke and will have those next week. I’m also planning on trying to make a 6 footer when those roo hides come in. I’m going to have to make up a plan and see what happens. I think I may get a side of cow and try to make it with cow leather before moving to roo…that way I don’t waste a roo hide.
I’ve notice that the time that it takes me to make a whip has been dropping. I keep meaning to time myself, but forget. Paul said I should time myself and see how long it takes me to do a foot of 12 plait.
I’m curious how long each step takes: cutting, beveling, plaiting. Basically I’m curious how long this whip takes me from start to finish.
one of the reasons is that these whips should start selling for more on ebay than I am listing them for. I’m listing them for $49.97 (the last 3 whips) as a starting bid. the one sold for $62 and the one currently listed is bid upto $62. So I’m getting paid slightly for my labor (but not much).
Also in a couple of weeks, hopefully I will get to meet up with Joe Strain when I am in his area.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:51 AM
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Here’s the pictures of bullwhip #11. I’m very proud of this whip. It came out with no visible flaws, and cracks really well too.
The knots on the handle are two tone, and this is a 5 footish whip (handle and thong)

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 12:56 PM
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There’s a song by the band Say Anything and the opening line is something like:

“If I die and go to hell it will appear as this room right now”

That sums up many of the sh*tty one nighter gigs I’ve done!

Bullwhip #11 is beautiful!

here are a

couple more pics of it.

the turkshead on the end has been re-done and it’s a two tone. This whip is going to be a keeper…until mynext one

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:58 AM
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The birth of bullwhip #11…the only thing that may change is that the handle for this is a bolt. and I may have to go back and change it to a nail.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:39 AM
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Yesterday I was doing a gig in Bothell near David Morgan’s shop and I popped by. I ended up getting Bruce Grant’s Leather Braiding book and David’s new book on the history of whip making.
I chatted with David and brought in a couple of whips for him to look at (#9 and #10). He picked them both up and cracked them and said they cracked fine. Then proceeded to critique them.

On both the falls of both whips I left too much extra leather at the end (the part that sticks out from behind the fall keeper, making almost a little tab).
The strands on Bullwhip #9 could have been a bit thicker. the strands can squish a bit, but can’t ever get thicker while being plaited.
on #9 the whip didn’t hand enough taper and on #10 it was lumpy. David said to fix the lumpiness to hold the bolster curled in my hand when plaiting.
The strands on #9 were too thin on the handle and the strands on #10 tapered a little too quickly in the middle.

My knot where the thong and the handle meets was flat. He said to wrap some string around the whip then tie the knot over it to give it body.
It was funny how he critiqued the whips. he picked them up and would mention one thing. then say, “other than that it looks OK”. then tell me how to fix it…then notice something else and say “other than that it looks OK”. It went on like that for 20 minutes!

David also mentioned that he doesn’t do the braiding anymore on his whips (his granson does).
Also if you look at the picture of David Morgan on the left side over his shoulder there is a 10ft indy bullwhip hanging. This is his “shop whip” and he took it down to show me what things should look like on a whip…compared to mine!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:01 PM
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I just finished putting the leather gloss on my tenth bullwhip! this whip turned out nice..except for about 8 inches in the middle. For those 8 inches it’s a little bit lumpy. Aside from that it looks pretty good.

I’m pleased with the taper on this whip and I am very excited to start my next whip which will be the one from paul’s plan.

the picture is of the whip hanging to dry in my laundry room/bathroom. We are also painting the walls that orange (they are currently drying too)

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:46 AM
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I’m working on the overlay for bullwhip #10. I haven’t taken any pictures of it yet. I was sick when I started working on it so basically I was making it to do something to take my mind off my upset stomach.

It’s going to be a 4ish foot bullwhip. It’s got a leather core, 4 plait kangaroo belly. 2 layers of leather bolster and a 12 plait kangaroo overlay. This was started before I got some measurements from paul and so it’s a hybrid of what I was making and his design.

I’m pretty happy with how this one is turning out. at one point I dropped a strand plaited about 8 inches and noticed it had gaps, so i had to undo the 8 inches and undrop the strand (LAME!)

The next whip will be 100% paul’s design.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:57 AM
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I just listed roo whip #9 on ebay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170093278999

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 3:32 PM
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Earlier today I got 2 kangaroo hides from Hardtke delivered! One is “Brandy” colored and the other is “Whiskey” colored. I think the lighter is the whiskey…I’ve had whiskey that color.

I’ve started my 10th bullwhip today. this one so far has a 8 inch bolt for the handle and a cowhide core. I did this core slightly differently than the last. In the past I rolled the core around the bolt and hand it taper from there. This core is rolled around the bolt, but at one edge of the bolt if “flares out” so that part is the middle of the core hopefully makeing a more solid core.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 9:36 PM
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Earlier this evening I finished Bullwhip #9, and I am proud of how this one looks! During the day today I was looking online at pictures of whips from other makers and was amazed at how glossy thier whips looked while mine looked flat. then I remembered to put a layer of leather finish on it…and man o’ man does that really finish the job!
So by finishing this whip I’ve learned something…use the estimate of 1 3/4 times the needed length for the strands. In the past I’ve used 2 X and ended up with a ton of extras strands that were waste. for this one I used 1 1/2, but was about an inch short and need to shorten the belly.
Also this whips strands had a great taper, basically what I did was cut a uniform width for double the lenght of the handle, then tapered it about a 1/3 turn on the strand cutter every 8ish inches.
here’s the break down on this whip:
Cowhide core * cowhide 4 plait layer * cowhide bolster * Kangaroo 12 plait overlay
The whip has an 7 1/2 inch handle (turks head to turks head) * 3 foot 1 inch thong (to the fall keeper) * 18 inch thong * giving it a total lenght of 5 feet 2 1/2 ish inches.
this whip started with an 8 inch bolt for the handle. The core covered the handle and then tapered as it went out (the entire length of the whip). The 4 plait layer was 4 piece and the strands were cut so that they started at the end of the bolt. then the bolster didn’t cover the lenght of the handle, but started about 1 1/2 inches from the end of the bolt (so it starts under the turks heard on the thong. Then the 12 plait layer is the entire lenght of the whip…dropping strands as necessary.
The knob and knots are all kangaroo and they turkshead at the thong looked ok when I made it, but after doing a board rolling session it flattened out a looks like a million bucks!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 9:27 PM
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My last two bullwhips #7 and #8 both have been bid on, so they will sell when the auctions end.

With the listing of the last two whips on ebay (particularly the Kangaroo whip #8) I’ve been getting a lot of emails from aspiring whipmakers.
I find that odd because I mention that I am new to this on the listings. They want advice and I really don’t have much advice to give them. Other than it takes practice…and a lot of leather.
I did get an email from a guy who lives on beacon hill and rents props to theaters and does fight choreography that may be interested in a “affordable” whip. So that’s pretty cool.
The picture is of me cutting Kangaroo strands for whip #9 and miss ella helping me out.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:43 AM
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Heres what’s going on now, I have two whips on ebay (#7 12 plait cowhide and #8 12 plait kangaroo). The kangaroo bullwhip has been bid on ($49.97), and the cowhide has 10 people watching it, but no bids.

I’m working on the overlay of bullwhip #9. This whip has a cowhide core, 4 plait cowhide layer and a cowhide bolster. the overlay is a 12 plait kangaroo and I’ve gotten the handle plaited, and about an inch of the thong. this one looks better than #8. The strands are thinner, so I didn’t have to drop any right away.

Hopefully I will finish plaiting the overlay on this one today.

Also yesterday I took bullwhip #8 to the park for some more test cracks and it’s got some great action! Nice and fast!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 2:06 PM
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Here’s a neat (but very technical) article about why a whip cracks:

http://math.arizona.edu/~goriely/Papers/2002-PRL(whip).pdf

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 1:27 PM
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I just listed the Kangaroo bull whip that I finished on ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170090378268

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 12:53 PM
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Now that whip #8 is done it’s time to start thinking about my next bullwhip. It’s going to be another short one, the same length as the last one. This one will probably have cowhide guts and a kangaroo overlay, but I’m not sure. I don’t want to run out of Kangaroo hide before I finish.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 12:37 PM
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I just finished my 8th bullwhip, it’s also my first Kangaroo Bullwhip! I’m satisfied with this whip…but it could be better. It’s not as good as my 7th bullwhip. Here’s why; I cut the strands too thick in the beginning.

so the whip starts as a 12 plait in the handle, but then I had to drop two strands right away when I got to the thong. Also I did a pineapple knot at the top of the handle, and I did it where the handle meets the thong. I should have done it about a inch closer to the butt of the handle. The handle looks too long (that doesn’t effect the whip, just looks). Other than that, this whip is great. So my dissatisfaction is mostlycosmetic (?).

So here’s the breakdown of this whip: It’s a total of 5 feet 7 inches from the butt to the end of the fall. The handle is 8 inches, the thong is 3 feet 7 inches and the fall is 16 inches.
This whips guts are: cowhide core, 4 plait kangaroo belly, kangaroo bolster, 12 plait kangaroo layer.
This whip has a nice crack, and aside from the two cosmetic issues I love this whip!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 12:36 PM
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I’ve just listed bullwhip #7 on ebay you can check it out by clicking the link below:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170089789654

Bullwhip #6 just sold for $26…and this whip (#7) is 1,000 times better than the last one!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:51 AM
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I’ve begun working on my 8th bullwhip. this is my first Kangaroo one. Here’s the current breakdown: cowhide core * 4 plait kangaroo layer * Kangaroo bolster * 12 plait kangaroo overlay (in progress, currently beveling the strands)

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:48 AM
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Here’s a picture of the Kangaroo hide that I got from David Morgan. I started cutting it up yesterday.
I’m hoping this hide will make two whips at 4 feet each.

I also ordered 2 hides from Hardke yesterday and they should arrive sometime next week.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:39 AM
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Here’s a picture of the first whip that I ever bought. I got it from western stage props and it’s a swivel handle bullwhip. I think it was an 8 foot, 8 plait cowhide whip. It had an american style fall (thicker non-removable fall).

I didn’t like the swivel handle of this whip. It made it hard to do different cracks. I used to hold the whip with my thumb on the upper turks head to keep the whip from swiveling.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:57 PM
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I’ve just finished my 7th bullwhip and finally one that actually looks like it should! I would say that this whip looks better than the first whip I ever bought (a swivel handle one from Western Stage Props), and works as good as..or better than that whip.

When I was beveling the strands for the overlay of this whip, I was worried because they were giving me some trouble. But I’ll be damned, it turned out pretty great!

This whip is a 12 plait cowhide whip…and not to toot my own horn, but this whip blows all my other ones out the window!

So here are the stats, it is a core, then a 4 plait layer, followed by bolster, 12 plait layer, bolster, 12 plait overlay. The handle is 8 inches from the butt to the top of the turks head where the handle meets the thong. The thong is approx. 4 feet 8 inches to the keeper. the fall is approx 22 inches. The over lenght is 7 feet 2 inches from the bull of the handle to the end of the fall.

This was my confidence building whip…the one that was suppose to make me not so nervous about cutting into the Kangaroo Hide. It really did the job, I’m excited to try out the Roo Hide tomorrow.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:43 AM
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The weather has been very strange in Seattle lately. Four days ago, I did a gig in Snohomish and during the two hours I was there I got 6 inches of snow on my car. then the next day it was sunny at my house and I had a gig about 20 miles away cancel due to snow.

Yesterday it was 71 degrees! Now today it’s raining.

Since it was nice yesterday I took Ella (my almost 3 year old) to the zoo. We go quite often, but it’s been awhile since we’ve gone in 70+ weather. We stopped and looked at the kangaroos…I all I could think about is my roohide that’s waiting to be turned into one or two bullwhips!

Here’s the progress report on bullwhip #7, I have the 12 plait overlay cut out of cowhide. I have 9 of the strands beveled.

this time while beveling the strands I had some difficulty. I think it was because the strands were longer. I read somewhere (www.bullwhip-info.net I think) that someone bevels half the strand and stops. Then reties it and bevels the other half. That sounds like it would help me. I was getting about 3/4 of the way down a 9 foot strands and would struggle then.

Today’s picture is something I remember finding on the internet a long time ago. It’s a whip made by Adam Savage (www.adamsavage.com). Adam is the cohost of the TV show Mythbusters, and it’s one of my favorite shows, because I’m such a nerd. His website says it’s a 12 plait kangaroo bullwhip, and it was his 2nd attempt at making a bullwhip.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 9:12 PM
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Okay, so the last time I did the strand conversion I did it wrong. This time, the results have come out much…much better.

I have a 3/4 inch diameter Times 4 = 3. Then 3 divided by 12=.25. So I took .25 and divided it by 12 and that gave me .64 cm (after conversion).

Hopefully I will get the bolster on this whip and get the strands cut out for it. then with some luck I will be able to start/finish the plaiting tomorrow.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:00 AM
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Last night I finished plaiting the second layer of bullwhip #7. This whip actually looks like it should. The plaiting is nice and tight and I dropped strands at the appropriate times.
Now all that’s left is to add a layer of bolster and the overlay!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:01 PM
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Well, something finally clicked inside my brain and hands and my Paring (Skiving, beveling, etc) has gotten drastically better. I’m able to bevel in on pass! Before I had to start and stop. Here’s what I think did it for me…I have the strand attached to the door below the level that my hands will be doing the cutting.

Since I live in a condo, my work area is my living room or kitchen. So I have to be creative with improvising work areas. Instead of using a hook to hang the whip while I work on it, I tie a knot in one end of it and shut the strand in the door.

So bullwhip #7’s second layer is a 12 plait layer. I planned for an 8 plait layer, but somewhere I miscalculated something. I attached the 8 strands and they weren’t even close to going around the whip. So I added 4 more.

This 12 plait part actually looks like it should! Comparing this whip to any previous ones, the difference is drastic!

We will see how this turns out when I am finished with the last layer! This bullwhip still has another layer of bolster and the overlay to go.

Oh, I found out how to make a plait of 10 strands (I’ve dropped two so far on this whip) look decent. Before I would go: Under Two, Over There on the left and Under Two, Over Three on the right. That made for a funky looking whip.

In David Morgan’s Fine Leather Braiding book, I was flipping through it and noticed that he did it like this: Under Two, Over Three on one side and Under Three, Over Two on the other. That makes for a much better visual pattern.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 9:01 AM
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Last night I did my first flat braid project. I made a wrist loop for my current bullwhip (#7). Personally I’m not the biggest fan of the wrist loop, but it gave me a chance to try flat braiding. I’ll add a picture later.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 4:28 PM
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I’ve got the Handle and a layer of bolster on my seventh bullwhip. The handle is 3/8 inch steel pipe. The Bolster, core, and inner layer are actually going through the handle and are tied at the base. It was a tight fit, so I had to tie string around the boslter and whip and use that to pull it through the handle. I also added a little extra layer where the whip meets the handle. The pipe is threaded and I didn’t want the threaded part rubbing directly against a layer of the whip.
I just calulcated the width of my next layer. It’s going to be an 8 layer. So I found the follow formula in Morgan’s fine leather braiding book:
4 times the diameter of the whip divided by the number of strands.
So I had a diameter of 3/8 inch and I mutiplied that by 4 and divided it by 8 (number of strands) and that gave me a strand of .1875 inches. But I wanted that in metric because it’s more precise at smaller numbers so I plugged .1875 inches into this website http://www.sciencemadesimple.net/length.php and it game me .48cm for each strands width.
Now all I’ve got to do is cut out those puppies!
Also I’m debating on doing a wrist strap for this whip…don’t know, but will have to make up my mind soon!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:59 AM
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Yesterday I finished the 1st layer of my seventh bullwhip. This bullwhip has a core and a 4 plait layer so far.

The braided portion measures 3 feet 7 inches. I ended up cutting off the outer core after about 2 1/2 feet. then the innercore at about 3 feet 1 inch. So the last 6ish inches of this are just braid without core.

I’m hoping to cut out the bolster and next layer (8 plait) today…and sometime tomorrow put them on.

One thing that I did differently with this whip (besides using plaiting soap instead of dressing) was I plaited it standing up, instead of sitting. It was much…much easier! So note to self plait standing and use soap…not dressing!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:51 AM
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Bullwhip #6 is completed! I’m proud of how my knots have turned out. I send a picture of the turks head on the end to Paul Nolan and he told me to “cap the end”. That means to not have the knot wrap completely around the end of the butt of the handle.

The top picture is of the handle of the stock whip that Paul Stenhouse made for me. You can kinda see the “cap” on the end of it.
The other picture is the finished #6 bullwhip. The action on this whip is very slow and takes a lot of power to crack.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 4:28 PM
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I’m starting Bullwhip #7 right now, and I’m glad I got David Morgan’s Fine Leather Braiding book. That book gave me a tip on making the cores of the whip…wrapping a piece of leather around the core and pulling it tight, then sliding the wrapped leather down the core to round it.

So here’s what I’ve got so far for this whip:

Core: The core is two pieces of cow leather (and inner and outer) measuring 15 mm wide by 4 feet 7 inches. These pieces were actually a smidge bigger than 5 feet when I started.

Handle: The handle is a 3/8 inch by 8 inch piece of galvanized steel pipe.

I’m going to cut out 4 strands that will measure 5mm by 8 feet long. for the first layer to go over the core. I’m using the estimate of cutting each strand about 1 1/2 times longer than it needs to be.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 12:37 PM
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Yesterday I was up in doing a show about 4 blocks from David Morgan’s Retail Store/Warehouse. I’ve been there once before, but never met David.

So I walk in and picked up a copy of his Leather Braiding book, and I was there about 10 minutes to closing time and David was working the counter. We got talking about people we knew, and I mentioned Paul Stenhouse and Paul Nolan. David metioned he hadn’t seen one of Nolan’s whips, and I had the Lil’ Indy whip the paul made in my car so I brought it in and showed it to David.

It was funny, he picks up the whip, uncoils it and then just cracks it. When he cracked it, he did it right behind someone working who wasn’t looking and startled them! Hilarious!

Anyway, it was interesting to hear what David Morgan REALLY thinks about Ron Edwards book. He said, “Remember Ron isn’t a whipmaker and doesn’t know much about whip. He knows nothing about bullwhip and knows even less about snake whips”

He also talked me into getting my first Kangaroo hide. He said that cow is horrible to work with for whips.

I’m excited to start with the Roo Hide. David says I should make an 8 foot whip out of it. I’m too scared to do that right now. i’m thinking of making a 4 foot whip and having leftovers. But first I’m going to make one or two more cowhide to work on my technique before I cut up a roo!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 12:31 PM
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BODY:

Well bullwhip #6 is basically done. All it needs is the knot between the handle and the thong. This whip didn’t turn out quite as nice as I expected it to. It doesn’t crack as easily as I think it should.
I think one of the main problems was that I used a cheaper, lighter leather for the inside…and that is what is making this whip feel light and not crack so easily. Also I think I am using too thin leather for the bolster.
What makes me think that is when I met david Morgan a few days ago and he cuts the bolster out of the same piece of leather as the rest of the whip. Right now I’m using a wicked thin pig leather for the bolster.
This whip ended up with some gaps in the plaiting due to me prematurely dropping 2 strands and breaking a strand. The areas where it wasn’t effected by the dropped/broken strands turned out pretty nice.
I’m most proud of the turks head on this whip…it actually looks like a turkshead!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 12:27 PM
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BODY:

I’ve been confused between Leather Dressing and Plaiting Soap. I thought they were basicially the same thing. but I guess they aren’t. The main difference (that I can tell) is the Dressing is a plaiting soap, but with some sort of water repellent (wax) mixed into it.

I found a recipe for making Plaiting Soap on bullwhip-info.com:

What you need:
4 oz of ivory soap
16 oz of crisco
12 oz of water.

Put the water in a pot. Grate up the soap and add it to the water heat on medium and watch it because it has a tendency to boil over. Let the soap dissolve for a while. when it is dissolved add the crisco and mix everything with an electric mixer until it is nice and smooth. take it off the heat and pout it into a container. Let it cool and VIOLA you are good to go.

I just whipped up a batch of this and will use it on my next whip.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 3:29 PM
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So I’ve learned that I don’t need to taper my strands too much when cutting them…but now my problem is that I’m dropping them too early. In my current 12 strand whip I dropped two strands early on and it looks like crap for about 5 inches (lots of gaps). I should have only dropped one (if that) when I did.

However knowing that now, I can avoid that in the future.

This whip has been taking forever…but I’m pretty proud of it (except for 5 inches of it). I’m about halfway done, but I think the plaiting will be going faster from here on in.
Also my technique of pulling the strands tight is getting better (I think).

Labels:

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:50 AM
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I’ve finished cutting the 12 strands for this bullwhip (#6). That sure was a lot of work! On the plus side it’s given me a lot of practice cutting strands.

Beveling all these strands is a ton of work as well. The picture shows the 12 strands that I’ve cut. The pile on the left need to be beveled and the pile on the right have already been beveled.

One thing that I wrote about earlier and have really need to remember is to always use a sharp blade! Beveling and strand cutting is soooo much easier when the blade is sharp. So my motto is “when in doubt…change the blade!”

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:45 AM
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I’ve finished the 8 plait layer of this bullwhip. So far I’ve very pleased with how this whip is turing out.

This picture is of the whip with the finished 8plait layer. I’ve already added a layer of bolster, but didn’t take a picture of that. Now all that’s left is the 12 plait layer.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:38 AM
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BODY:

Earlier today I was refilling the toner in my laser printer and I burnt the shit out of my finger. This was completely my fault, I grabbed the tool that makes the hole in the toner cartridge (basically a soldering iron) by the hot part!

Aside from making it hard for me to use my finger now, I won’t be able to finish my current bullwhip anytime soon. I imagine that it will be hard to plait with my finger hurtin’.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:43 AM
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BODY:

Here’s a comment I got from the person that bought my 3rd Bullwhip:

“The little whip arrived…not bad for a newbie whipmaker…keep practicing!” John

Here’s what the person that got my 4th Bullwhip said:

My first real whip & I love it” Lo

It’s always nice to hear good things about something that I’ve done. Also, my 5th whip has been bid on and the auction ends in a couple of days. The bid on this one right now is $12.99, but the reason that I am selling them is to offset the cost of the leather.

Below is the link to the ebay auction:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&viewitem=&item=170079935276&rd=1&rd=1

Whipmaking is an expensive hobby to learn to do. The leather isn’t cheap!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 9:50 PM
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BODY:

So I think this bullwhip (#6) is going to be my best one so far. I’ve dropped two strands, so it’s gone from an 8 plait to a 6 plait. This happened about 18 inches from the handle. So the bulk of this layer on the bullwhip will be a 6 plait.

Here’s what I have learned from this layer and will carry this knowledge over to the next layer:

  • have the strands taper VERY GRADUALLY!
  • When I get to a 6 plait layer to remember that the checkerboard pattern takes for ever to do…but looks a million times nicer!
  • Pull tight before every braid!
  • Use tons of pecards

This whip still has much more work to go into it before it’s finished. This layer is taking forever, and there’s one more layer (and it’s going to be a harder layer!) to go. I think the final layer will be a 12 plait layer..but we’ll see.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 5:38 PM
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BODY:

One thing that I’ve learned about whip making is that you’ve got to cut while the knife is sharp! I just put a new blade in my strand cutter (it’s been a while) and hot damn, it is cutting one million times easier!

I don’t know why I am not replacing them sooner, they aren’t very expensive.

Also, I’ve learned that in the past I”ve been taper happy and it seems that it’s better to have less taper to the strands. I was making my strands too narrow too soon.

Here’s my progress report for my 6th whip…I’m got the handle and about 12 inches of the thong finished. This is the 8 plait layer.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:49 AM
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i


A couple of nights ago I start working on my sixth bullwhip. this one has a leather core followed by a 4 plait layer, then bolster and an eight plait layer. Currently I’m still working on the 8 plait layer.

Here’s the changes in technique that I have made between the 5th and 6th whip:

  • the 4 plait layer’s strands don’t really taper – I’m using the bolster to make the shape
  • I’ve switched back to using an 8 inch carriage bolt for the handle (I didn’t care for the 1/2 drumstick)
  • the 8 plait layer’s strands don’t taper (I’m skeptical about this)

While plaiting the four plait layer, I broke a strand and had to fix it. There is one spot about halfway down the whip where after I finished the broken strand and the one that I added in got kinda funky looking. I’m hoping that this won’t be much of an issue since this is inside the whip. If this was on the outside, I would probably redo it.

I’m pretty happy with how the 8 plait layer is on the handle and the beginning of the thong. We will see how these “no taper” strands play out. My thinking was that I would just drop strands as the whip tapered…but we’ll see how that goes!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 11:19 PM
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BODY:


Here’s a whip that I saw at the Yakima History Museum. I’m pretty sure it’s a whip…it looks like one. The only information about this that I could find at the museum was that there was no information!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 11:12 PM
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BODY:


My fifth bullwhip ended up being shorter than I thought it would be. I was hoping for it to be over 6 feet long, but it’s clocking in at under 6 feet.

I’m keeping this one as an eight plait bullwhip. I think I am going to try to get good at doing an 8 plait before moving onto more strands.

I didn’t cut the strands for the 8 plait layer long enough, so I had to shorten the 4 plait layer.

One thing that I learned from this whip was that my core wasn’t round…and that was really enhanced when I made the 8 plait layer…so note to self, keep the core round!

My next step will be the turks heads on the knob and the end of the thong. I saw a picture in David Morgan’s book Whips and Whipmaking where the knob wasn’t round like a ball, but more like a can. So I’ve got the leather on the end right now and I’ve got a coat of glue on it. Hopefully tomorrow it will be dry and I can finish this one and get started on my next one.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:15 AM
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BODY:

)
I’ve begun the 8 plait layer of my fifth bullwhip. Here’s what I have learned from working on this layer…I need to cut my strands wider…well by wider I mean that I shouldn’t be soo eager to start tapering them.

What has happened is that halfway down this whip there are some gaps in the plaiting. So in the future I should have the taper be much more gradual.

With this whip, I have a different pattern for the handle than I do for the thong. The handle is a “checkerboard”, while the thong is an “over two” sorta deal.

Yesterday I shipped out my third and fourth whips, they sold on ebay for $41 (third) and $15 (fourth). The fourth whip was a higher quality, but third one was longer and had more strands (8 compared to 6).

I’m debating putting another layer on the bullwhip that I am working on right now. It will be getting pretty thick, but then the first bullwhip that I got from www.westernstageprops.com was pretty thick. I got thier “beginners bullwhip kit” or something like that. It came with safety googgles, a beginners bullwhip video and a 8 foot swivel handle bullwhip. I think it was a 6 plait bull whip.

It’s also almost time for me to stop by the leather store and pick up some more leather. I’ve got enough leather for probably one my whip after the one that I am working on.

Last night I got another carriage bolt for the handle of my next whip. I was at the hardware store getting some rubber washers to fix the hot water handle in my bathtub and figured since I was there, I might as well get a handle for my next whip.

Speaking of handles, this current whip (#5) has a wooden handle. The handle is actually a drumstick. I had one of these laying around my house and cut it in half and drilled a hole in it to stick the core into. I do have another half drumstick that I could use for a handle, but I’ll see how this one turns out.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 9:54 PM
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BODY:

I’ve started working on my 5th bullwhip. This one is going to be longer than my previous ones. So far here’s what it’s got:

  • Core
  • 4 Plait Layer
  • Bolster

The top left picture is the whip with just the core and the 4 plait layer.

The top right is the beginning of putting on the bolster.

The bottom right picture is the upcoming 8 plait layer. I’m not sure if this whip will end with the 8 plait layer, or if I will try to add another 10 or 12 plait layer and possibly some bolster to the whip. We will see how thick it is and how well it cracks. If I can stop at the 8 plait layer and it is functional, then it will probably stay there.

With this whip, I’m trying to do a good job of beveling the strands and using tons of pecards.

Hopefully I will have the 8 plait layer cut out and started tomorrow…but with my schedule tomorrow that’s not very likely.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:14 AM
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BODY:

My third bullwhip sold on ebay for $51.00! and my fourth one has a bid at $12.99. Honestly I’m just happy to offset what I spent in leather trying to make them.

For the last few days I’ve been in Eastern Washington performing. I made a stop in Toppenish, WA to see the “murals” which sucked. But I was walking down the main street and saw a bullwhip in a shop window. I walked in and took a peek. This whip wasn’t for sale, just window decoration.

I think it was a “production bullwhip”, something that is mass produced. It was a 4 plait cowhide whip. Here’s what I noticed about this whip:

  • The plaiting wasn’t very tight
  • The edges weren’t beveled
  • very little taper in the thong
  • Didn’t look very solid (like there was no belly, but I only looked a the whip and didn’t touch it)

So my first whip compared to this one is much better!

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 9:04 AM
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BODY:

I just listed my fourth bullwhip on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170076708239

Maybe I should be keeping some of these early whips for myself instead of selling them. That way when I get good I can compare them to my earlier whips.

But then again I just don’t want the clutter around my house.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:44 AM
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BODY:


Today is a sick day for me and my daughter. We both have a cold and I’m scheduled to go on the road performing tomorrow. If I am sick while on the road, I have a feeling my spare time will be spent resting instead of plaiting like I hoped.

Here’s a picture of my finished fourth whip. So to recap how this one was made it started out with a steel bolt for the hand and a leather core.

Then I gave it a 4 plait layer and some bolster. After that I did a 6 plait overlay. I’m pretty happy with how this bullwhip turned out.

My next big challenge for bullwhip #5 is to make something longer than these short whips that I have been making. The short whips are fine, but there’s nothing wrong with attempting something slightly longer.

Below is a close up picture of the turkshead on the knob and the handle. These came out pretty good for something that I made.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:13 PM
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BODY:

I just finished making my fourth bullwhip, while sitting next to my wife on the couch. She was watching the TV show house. This was the first time I’ve watched that show and it’s pretty good.

Well here’s where I have improved in my whipmaking between bullwhips #3 and #4:

  • Tighter plait
  • Better bevel on the strands

However those two places that I have improved, are two places that I need to further improve. This whip is a 6 plait, and I don’t really like the look of a 6 plait because the pattern isn’t the same all around.

I think I will shoot for doing my next one as an 8 Plait….and maybe after that I will try to tackle a 10 plait…but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Hopefull I will be able to start the next one while I am on the road in Eastern Washington performing later this week. I have a busy schedue, but maybe if I am lucky I will get to start and finish bullwhip #5 during the four days that I am gone.

I will post a picture of bullwhip #4 sometime some (hopefully tomorrow).

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 3:48 PM
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BODY:


I’ve been working on my 4th bullwhip for a few days now and it’s almost finished. This one has a leather core, then a 4 plait layer, then some bolster and finally a 6 plait outerlayer.

I started the outer layer this whip with a different kind of hide than I have used in the past. It’s a bit thicker than what I used on my last whip. I’m working on my beveling skills, and last night I must have tried to bevel about a dozen strands. I’m sort of getting the hang of it (but not really).

I think this whip look pretty good (for me) and the beveling definately makes it look much better. All that is left for me to finish is the knob and turkshead at the top of the handle.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 3:44 PM
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BODY:

A couple of days ago I listed my third bullwhip on ebay (http://cgi.ebay.com/Bullwhip-5-foot-7-inch-8-plait-hand-made-cowhide-whip_W0QQitemZ170074801903QQihZ007QQcategoryZ3175QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem), and I’m shocked that it has been bid from $12.99 to $31.00!

Honestly, I don’t know why people bid on my whips…they are a good deal, but I am very clear that this one was my third whip.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 2:41 PM
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BODY:

I’ve listed my third bullwhip on ebay
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170074801903
It’s got a way to cheap starting bid of $12.99…especially if you compare it to the other whips listed in that price range.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 2:22 PM
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BODY:

Here’s my third bullwhip! This one took about 4 months to finish due to other projects taking up my time.

This one is 5 foot 8 inches long from the butt of the handle to the tip of the fall. It started with a core, then a 4 plait layer, bolster, another 4 plait layer, bolster, and finally the 8 plait layer.

The part that I am most proud of with this whip is the turkshead on the butt of the handle. As my dad would say, “it looks pretty sharp”.

I am still having some issues with gaps in the strands on the outer layer, but I think the more I make whips the tighter they will get.

.

While I was shaping the knob on the end of the handle, I cut off the tip of my left thumb. So this whip definately has some “blood and sweat” into it.

This one is definately an improvement on my previous two bullwhips.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:15 AM
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BODY:

I’ve finished the second layer of my current bullwhip. This has a leather belly, followed by a 4 plait layer, then another 4 plait layer and a bolster layer.

This whip doesn’t have a bolster between each layer like my other two bullwhip have had. I did this to see how much it would effect the shape of the whip. This has less taper to it that the other bull whips that I have made.

I added the layer of bolster because the bull whip didn’t have much in the way of taper, so I added the layer to give the bull whip some “curves”.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:18 AM
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BODY:

My third bullwhip has begun! The handle is a “Carriage bolt” that’s 8 inches long. Right now it has a leather belly and a 4 plait layer done. The next layer on it was going to be a 6 plait layer, but I cut the strands too thick, so I will have to recut them.

That’s all for now, I’ll try to take some pictures later today.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:38 AM
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BODY:

My second bullwhip just sold, so now it’s time for me to start thinking about making another one…once I finish moving.

I was at the hardware store and found some spikes that I will use for the handle (I read about using spikes somewhere on the internet).

I also had someone email me wanting to know what makes a whip good. I referred him to www.bullwhip.org.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:55 PM
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BODY:

My second bullwhip is currently on ebay and it ends tomorrow. I started the bidding at $9.97 and it’s up to $21.00!

Now $21 is cheap for a bullwhip, but since I’ve made clear that I’m new at making whips, I’m amazed that it is selling for that much…especially since ebay is full of cheap whips!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180025762080&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1

My official move date is saturday 9/16, so hopefully later that week I will get started on my third bullwhip.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:07 AM
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BODY:


I’ve listed this whip on ebay for a starting bid of $9.97. It’s already got a bid!

Listing them on ebay is my way of trying to recover the costs of learning to make them…leather isn’t cheap!

My first bullwhip sold for about $15, but it has way more than that much in materials in it. That’s not including my time making it…however I’m not charging for my time…yet!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180025762080&ssPageName=ADME:L:DSS:US:11

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:01 AM
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BODY:


All of the whips that i have made, I’ve been listing my whips on ebay to recover part of the cost of making them. Right now I’m still learning to make bullwhips, but it’s expensive to learn…leather isn’t cheap!

My first whip sold for about $15, which is way less than the materials in it, not including the time. But then, I’m not charging for my time…yet.

I Just listed my second bullwhip on ebay the other day. The opening bid was $9.97 and it’s already got a bid! You can check it out at the link below:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180025762080&ssPageName=ADME:L:DSS:US:11

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:55 AM
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My second bull whip is now finished. It looks better than my first one. Here are the changes that I am going to hopefully incorporate into my next bullwhip:

  • Skinnier handle
  • Longer whip length
  • Try for more plaits

I’m happy with how this one came out, and excited to get to start another one…hopefully soon.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:19 AM
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BODY:

In a few mintues I’m going to go out and cut the lace for the pineapple knot on my current bullwhip. This one whip from start to finish has taken a long time. Mostly because I”ve been very busy with other things.

I’ll post pictures when I am finsihed doing the pineapple knot.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:16 AM
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BODY:

I’m still trying to find time to put the pineapple knot on the current bullwhip so that it will be finished. My schedule has been soo full, I haven’t had time to cut the leather lace and to tie the dang thing.

Hopefully I will get to it today.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 6:32 AM
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BODY:

Yesterday my wife and I went in and signed all the papers for the condo that we just bought. So that means we are moving in about 3 weeks. So I don’t know how much work I will be doing on any whips between now and our move.

I hope to get to work on another bullwhip in the near future. My performing schedule is slowing down with summer ending, so that should free up some of my time.

Last night I used my 4 foot “lil’ Indy” bullwhip at a show that was a 50th birthday party. It went over very well (it always does). Have I mentioned that this whip kicks butt for any entertainer that uses the whip in thier show (and performs indoors)?

Louie Foxx

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:42 AM
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BODY:

The last few days I’ve developed a rash on my fingers, and I’m not sure what is causing it. I do have a guess on what is causing the rash. It’s either handling the leather that I use for the bullwhips, or from the leather dressing.

I’m going to finish the pineapple knot on my current whip then take a few days off from making them to see if the rash clears up. If it does, then I think I know it’s either the leather or the dressing that is causing it.

Making whips is something that I find very enjoyable and I will try to continue to make them. It may mean that I have to wear gloves while I cut and plait, but that’s no biggie.

Louie Foxx

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 4:50 PM
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BODY:


Well it’s official, I’ve made my first Turks Head. It’s a 5 bright, 3 part turks head and it only took me about a dozen attempts before I got something that looked like a turks head!

Now all that’s left for me to do on this bullwhip is to put a little pineapple knot around the end of the handle and it’s good to go.

This one is fairly short, but it thick around, so it handles fast, yet sorta slow.

It’s an interstesting whip.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:14 AM
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I’ve started the final layer on this bullwhip. This is my second bull whip and it’s MUCH better than my first one.

The outer layer is an 8 plait layer and it’s cowhide.

I’m also shocked that the first bullwhip that I made and listed on ebay instead of throwing away has been bid on. I started the bid at $9.97 and it sup to $15.50!

Crazy, and in the listing I mention all the flaws and that it was my first attempt at a bullwhip. I even had someone ask for the shipping rate to germany!

Wowsers!

Louie Foxx

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 2:54 PM
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BODY:


Here’s a picture of me with my 4 fool “Lil’ Indy” bullwhip that I got from Western Stage Props.

In the picture I’m squatting because there was a low ceiling in the showroom of this casino.

I’ve gotten a ton of use out of this whip and I highly recommend it to any performer who is going to use a whip onstage!

Louie Foxx

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 1:10 PM
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BODY:


The first picture is first 8 inches of the 6 plait layer of the bullwhip.

I finished this layer and it came out very nice…real tight and good looking.

I used a checkerboard pattern for this layer. I think it looks better than the “irregular herringbone” pattern. Not that it matters much, because this will be inside the whip.

I’ve gotten as far as putting this whip onto the handle.

Hopefully I will have time to cut out the leather for this whip and bevel it today, and maybe I’ll get to plaiting the next layer tomorrow.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 12:51 PM
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BODY:


The first is a picture of the core of the bul whip (wrapped in pigskin) being covered with a 4 plait layer.

The core was a piece of cowhide that I scored and rolled. Then I wrapped it in a piece of pigskin to make the core and bolster.

The second picture (below) is the finished 4 plait layer.

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 6:42 AM
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BODY:

My current bullwhip project is coming along nicely. I wanted to post some pictures but blogger isn’t letting me.

So my whip goes like this:

  • Core
  • Bolster
  • 4 plait belly
  • filler
  • 6 plait belly

The 6 plait layer I did with a checkerboard pattern and it is nice and tight. I’m pretty proud of how it looks, too bad it’s just going to get covered up with another layer.

I attached the handle last night. The handle is a piece of metal pipe that I got from the hardware store.

Since I have started this whip, I’ve definately improved in strand cutting, making tight plaits, and using tons of grease!

There’s still tons of room for improvement before I’m a Mike Murphy or a David Morgan, but I’m on my way to making a respectable whip.

I’ll post the pictures of this bullwhip when blogger starts letting me.

Louie Foxx

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:23 AM
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BODY:

Well, now that the whole second stockwhip is behind me ( I still haven’t redone the handle, I don’t have any wood right now ), I’ve started on a bull whip. This will be my second bull whip.

I think I figured out what I was doing wrong when I was cutting the strands for my whips. I was cutting from the end towards where the handle would go. What I am doing now is cutting them from the handle outwards. I only cut a little bit, then do the next strand, so I’m kinda inching my way down the side of leather. This lets me do my tapering at the same points instead of guessing where to start tapering at.

The belly of this bullwhip is nice and tight. The core is cowhide, I cut a piece, scored it with a utility knife, lubed it up and rolled it. Then the bolster is made of pigskin, somewhere along the line I ended up with a piece if pigskin, so I used that. The belly plaiting is cowhide.

My next step is to start the handle of the bull whip. I’ve been reading a lot of things on the internet as to what to us for the handle, and i’m not sure what route I’m going to take.

I read somewhere that I can use a short lenght of metal pipe for the handle. I may try this, but it needs to be filled with shot, and I don’t have any lead shot laying around.

We’ll see what happens when I get to it.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 6:50 AM
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BODY:



Last night I was working on the handle of my 2nd stockwhip, and I noticed that the wood that I am using was really thick. I figured it wouldn’t make much of a difference, so I continued to use it.

Well, once I finished plaiting the handle, it got VERY thick! That handle on the whip looks really bad. I’m going to have to go out and find some new wood and redo the handle.

Also, I’m not sure if this is just in my head, but I think the think handle is making the whip hard to crack.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:48 AM
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BODY:


Last night I was performing with my friend Eric Haines in Longview WA (about 2 hours from Seattle). I didn’t get home until about 3am, and I have a 10am show today.

We’re working on a sort of two man variety show together. Anyway one of the highlights of the show for me is using my 4 foot bullwhip onstage. Usually when I work by myself I’m the only one on stage (plus a member of the audience), but when working with Eric, he accompanies the whip by playing the banjo during it.

It was a fun show, the most fun I’ve had performing in a while.

I should really get in the shower now and start getting ready for today.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:25 AM
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BODY:

I’m making these stockwhips because that’s what the Ron Edwards book says to make first. However that book basically focuses on stockwhips and has a small section on making bullwhips.

My goal it to make bullwhips because they are what interests me more. And personally I enjoy cracking my bullwhip over my stockwhip. That’s probably a USA this, from what I gather the bullwhip is the more popular whip in the USA, but not anywhere else.

I have identified some areas that I need to work on:

  1. Using more leather dressing while plaiting
  2. making sure I pull all the strands very tight
  3. cutting out the strands straight

Other that that (which seem like three very important things), I’m good to go…until I notice other areas that need work.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:12 AM
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BODY:

Well, I took my second stock whip out in the yard and tried to crack it again. It’s still too long, so I took out another six inches and now it cracks like a champ! The thong on this whip measures five feet now.

So when I first finsihed it before I shortened it a couple of times it was probably close to 7 feet. The lesson that I have learned making this whip is that I shouldn’t plait until I get to the end of the strands. I should plait to where the whip should end.

For example when I was plaiting this whip, I got to a point that is about where the whip currently ends and thought, “This looks like where the taper should end”. However I had a lot of leather left, so I kept going…and going…and going, until I got to the end of the leather strands.

Also my fall keepers are looking even better that the picture I put up last night. I guess it’s because I keep shortening the whip I’m getting more practice at making them. Also I’m putting more time into the fall keeper. I think the first few times I rushed them, I was so excited to have finished plaiting, I just wanted to finish the whip.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:13 PM
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BODY:


My first two fall keeper were pretty bad looking. My current project which is my second stockwhip has a pretty clean looking fall.

I’m pretty proud of it…but I know that if I stick with this whipmaking thing, I will look back at this picture and the fall won’t look good compared to how I hopefully will have progressed.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:07 PM
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BODY:

Right now I’m working on my second stockwhip. It’s a six strand cowhide whip.

I’ve got the thong, fall, and cracker put together. All that’s left is for me to make the stock.

I haven’t measure it yet, but when I first finished the thong and tried cracking it, it was waaay to long.

So I unbraided it and shortened it by about 9 inches and it seems to crack much better. I may take off another 3-6 inches tomorrow. Ihave a feeling it’s still to long.

One thing I notice as I was test cracking this whip, is that there is a difference between cracking a bullwhip and a stockwhip. It took me a few minutes to re-learn how to crack a stockwhip.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 10:01 PM
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BODY:

This is a picture of the first whip that I ever made. It’s a stockwhip made from cowhide.

  • The thong is 4 foot 6
  • The handle is 18.5 inches
  • The fall and cracker are 22 inches
  • Total lenght is 7 feet 10.5 inches

This whip cracks just fine, but there is room for improvement. For example the braid could be tighter, and the fall keeper could be cleaner looking.

I’ve listed this stock whip on ebay as well. I figure why not sell my what I have made instead of throwing them away.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180019818848&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 2:51 PM
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BODY:

When I bought my first side of Leather I had a ton of thick leather leftover. So I made a “Gazzo Style” pouch for doing the cups and balls magic trick. The two pictures below are the finished product that I made. It’s hand laced around the edges.


The picture above is the pouch that I made paritally loaded.

The two pictures below are a pouch that was made by world famous street magician Gazzo.


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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 2:38 PM
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BODY:

Here are some pictures of my first bullwhip. Its and 8 plait cowhide whip with a 6 plait belly.

In the second picture you can see where I added a strand, but didn’t add it correctly.

I decided to list this whip on ebay for cheap. I was very clear about the condition of the whip. I would rather someone starting out get a OK whip that a piece of crap.

You can view the listing by clicking the link below:

http://cgi.ebay.com/5-foot-8-inch-8-plait-BULLWHIP-cowhide-bull-whip_W0QQitemZ180019668153QQihZ008QQcategoryZ3175QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:23 AM
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BODY:

There are lots of resources on whip cracking…well lots more than on other western arts, like rope spinning or gun spinning.

My introduction to the technical side of whip cracking was from the videos, “Whipcracking Vol. 1 and Vol. 2”. This series was put out by www.westernstageprops.com.

Then I stumbled onto some ebay auctions from someone selling a bunch of whipcracking VHS’s. Some of them were good (like John Brady’s tape) and some were crap. But I got them all.

When I learn a new skill I really immerse myself into it and try to learn all I can about it, history, current practitioners, etc.

One of the best resourses is The Bullwhip Book by Andrew Conway. This book is well laid out, illustrated and best of all you can take it out into the yard and have it next to you while you are cracking your whip!

I also spent about an hour with Paul Stenhouse at his house watching him crack his bullwhip and stockwhip. Paul also puts out an excellent DVD on basic cracks. I learned to do volley’s from his DVD. Paul goes really slow in teaching and explains everything very clearly. Pauls website is/used to be www.stenhousewhips.com but right now the site is down and I don’t know if it’s coming back up anytime in the future.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 8:11 AM
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BODY:

Right now I”m working on a six strand cowhide stockwhip. This is the basic Six Strand from How To Make Whips by Ron Edwards which is an excellent book on whipmaking.

I’m still building my technical ability right now.

I’ll try to remember to post some pictures of the two finished whips that I’ve made later today.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:33 PM
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BODY:


Let me start by telling you that I am a professional performer who does whip cracking in my act. I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert whip cracker, but a strong intermediate.

My first whip was an eight foot swivel handled bullwhip (cowhide) from Western Stage Props. It was an good whip to learn basic cracks on.

My second whip was a six foot stock whip (cowhide) that was made by Paul Stenhouse.

My third whip is a six foot bullwhip (kangaroo hide) made by David Morgan (author of Whips and Whip Making). This is my favorite whip, and the one that I use when cracking for fun!

My Fourth whip is four foot “lil indy” bullwhip (kangaroo hide) from Western Stage Props. This is the whip that is in my shows.

The whip I am holding in the picture is the “lil indy” whip. The picture was taken at a comedy show that was at the Mirabeau Room in Seattle.

Tonight I’ll be using the “lil indy” whip at Giggle’s Comedy Club in Seattle. What I love about this whip is that I can use it in a show just about anywhere. There’s virtually no ceiling too low for this whip.

I wish I could use the six foot David Morgan bullwhip in more places, but because of ceiling height I can’t use it in 99.9 % of the venues that I work. It does get to see an audience in some theater’s and outdoor fairs that I work.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:27 PM
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BODY:

My first attempt at a bullwhip came out alright once I added another layer to it.

It started as a 8 strand that dropped to a 7 strand. Then I dropped the 7 strand to a 6 strand. After plaiting about 6 inches I broke a strand. Well, since at that point I only knew how to drop strands, not add them, I dropped the broken strand then did a very crappy job of adding it in. The whip works, but you an see the end of the strand that I added hanging out.

Other than that this whip cracks pretty well and looks adequate.

I’m debating throwing it away or listing it on ebay for dirt cheap. Of course in my listing I will clearly explain that it’s my first attempt at making one and explain its flaws. In my opinon it would be a good “starter whip” for someone who want to try cracking, but doesn’t want to spend a fortune on a whip.

Louie

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AUTHOR: Louie Foxx
DATE: 7:16 PM
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BODY:

A couple of months ago I decided that I was going to try to learn to make my own whips. Fast forward to now and I’ve finished two whips (one bullwhip and one stock whip).

My first was the stock whip and the second was the bullwhip…well the bullwhip was technically my third whip. The second whip was a bullwhip, but wouldn’t crack, so I plaited around it and the 2nd whip became the belly of the third. To make a boring story short, the 2nd/3rd whip will be called my second whip.

When I got interested in learning to make my own whips I got David Morgan’s book, Whips and Whipmaking. That book is more about the history of whips and whipmaking. David Morgan actually refers you to the book How To Make Whips by Ron Edwards for a good “how to” book on whip making.

So I ordered the Ron Edwards book from amazon.com and when it arrived I read the section on making my first whip.

Luckily for me MacPherson’s Leather (a leather supplier) is about a mile from my house. So I drove down and started bought my first side of leather. While I was there I met a guy who makes whips for “people” not for cracking and he gave me a little advice on selecting a hide.

The hide was very thick, but the thickness that Ron mentions in his book. I didn’t really need a whole hide, but they didn’t have much in the way of remants that was big enough.

I cut out the whip by hand with a utility knife and so all the strands were very wavey. When I finished plaiting it, I was amazed that it came out and actually cracked!

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