Here’s the pair of stock whips that I started last week now that they are finished:
It’s amazing the different in the amount of energy your body saves once lead is put in the handles! A bit of lead makes the whips much easier to hold on to. Also I tried out these whips with kangaroo and with white hide falls (one on each lash) and cracked them on the same handles.
After trying it with both types of falls I was surprised to find out that I preferred a kangaroo fall over the whitehide. Keep in mind this is on a pair of stock whips which quite often have a finer point than a bullwhip. Here’s the two stock whips being test cracked once I put a kangaroo fall on the second lash:
Within bullwhip circles there’s a lot of debate as to whether or not bullwhips would make effective weapons. There aren’t a lot of instances where someone has chosen a bullwhip as an offensive weapon before an engaging someone. However I just found news report where someone picked a bullwhip as their weapon of choice:
Late Wednesday night, a duo of self-styled gangsters barged into a Super 8 Motel room wielding a bull whip and knives, according to police. The room’s occupant managed to grab a baseball bat and shove the men out of the room, but not before they reportedly said they were “there to enforce for his gang” and collect a $400 debt.
Arrest reports identify the two suspected perpetrators as Kirk Virgil Worthen, 24, and Clayton Wade Ames, 27. The reports state that they were trying to collect the debt because they believed the man in the motel room was “snitching.”
At some point, the man in the motel room called police and when officers arrived they found Worthen and Ames in the motel parking lot. Officers searched the men’s vehicles and reportedly found a knife under Ames’s seat. Worthen also had an empty knife holder, the reports state, and officers located knives and a bull whip in a nearby Dumpster.
Worthen and Ames were booked on one count of aggravated robbery each. Bail was set at $15,000, cash-only, for both men.
Just because someone picked a bullwhip as a weapon doesn’t mean it was a good choice. Based on the report above they were fought off by a baseball bat. That shows that two people armed with knives and a bullwhip with the advantage of surprise were no match for one person with a baseball bat. When you think of it a baseball bat is basically a club or the most primitive weapon ever!
I also question how smart the attackers were because they picked a bullwhip to use in a hotel room. Hotel rooms are very small and I seriously doubt they were bringing a 3 foot signal whip, but probably an 8 foot or so heavy bullwhip from at tack store. Having cracked whips in a hotel room I know from experience that they aren’t the ideal place for anything over4 feet long.
So next time you’re out enforcing for your gang pick a more effective weapon like a baseball bat and help the sport bullwhip community continue to move the public’s perception of whips from weapons and lifestyle cracking to the actual sport of bullwhip cracking.
The last couple of days here in the Seattle we’ve gotten (for us) a lot of snow. I think our city normally averages something like 5ish inches a year and in one day we got about 9 inches of snow! Add that to the topography of the region which is mostly hills and you get a slippery mess!
Also this is a chance for me to point out that you can take kangaroo bullwhips and use them in the rain and snow. There’s this general misconception that if you take you kangaroo whips outside in the rain you’ll ruin them. That’s simply not true.
What is true is that if you do take your whips outside in the rain or snow you will need to maintain them properly and it’s not that hard to do. A coat of dressing before you take them out will help block the moisture from getting into your whip while you are cracking. When you are finished cracking your whips you dry them off and give them another light coat of dressing.
I put a coat on my whips and took them out in the snow:
One thing I noticed was that my whips didn’t really get wet! After cracking them in the snow they ended up very cold, but not wet. I gave them a rub down with a towel anyway and another light coat of dressing.
I expected the falls of the whips at the very least to pick up some moisture but they never felt like they picked up any additional water weight while cracking. Keep in mind that snow is a lot different from rain, where snow is basically a solid unlike rain which is a liquid.
The pair of stock whips that I’ve been working on have been having some slow progress. Right now I have one of the lashes finished:
If you look at the keeper you can tell I used a natural tan kangaroo inside. In the future I’ll be sure to use a belly that matches the outside. On this pair I may simply dye the part that’s showing black and then it won’t show.
I also have starting plaiting one of the handles:
Before I started plaiting the handle I put the lash on it and took it outside to crack it. As a test I tried making a kangaroo fall.
This kangaroo fall was cut around the tail of the kangaroo skin where it’s typically the thickest. I’m not 100% positive that I’m on board with the roo fall. On the other stock whip of this pair I’ll put a whitehide fall and see which that I like better.
So if you’ve been following my little blog you’ve noticed that recently I’ve been expanding from bullwhips to also include stock whips. I’ve always made more than just bullwhips it’s just that I’ve been focusing a bit on really learning more about stock whips lately. One thing that makes a stock whip a stock whip is the stock of course. In Australia it seems that most whip makers use Toheti Cane for the stock and that is also true for most whip makers in the USA. The makers in the USA import it from Australia.
I’d thought about using Rattan Cane for stock whip handles in the past, but never really did much investigation. Recently Jeff Roseborough turned me onto a website that sells 24 inch Rattan Cane lengths for $2.10 – $3.15 each (depending on quantity). These are a tad long for stock whip handle with most stock whip handles being in the 20 – 21 inch range, but could be any length.
I picked up a few of these to try them out. In fact I used Rattan Cane for this stock whip:
The main difference I notice between Rattan Cane and Toheti Cane is that Rattan seem to have just a bit more flex to it than Toheti Cane. Also after looking at both I suspect that both types of cane might be the same thing grown in different places so have different names or are very closely related in the vine family.
Here’s a visual side by side comparison of the Toheti and Rattan Canes:
Another thing I notice is that the Rattan Cane was much easier to shape the keeper end than the Toheti Cane was. I think that’s because the Toheti Cane is a bit more dense which is also probably why it’s has less flex to it.
The skin on the Toheti Cane also a bit harder. However having a firmer skin doesn’t really matter much, I think the Toheti Cane’s skin might repel moisture a bit better, but that’s just a guess.
Another factor is price. Rattan Cane much more easily available in the USA than Toheti Cane is. Rattan Cane at retail is $3.15 and Toheti at retail $4.95 or about $1.80 more. But then you have to figure in shipping with one coming from the USA and one from Australia. The shipping on the Toheti Cane is about double the Rattan Cane.
What all that means to the end product of the stock whip…not much. Because both types of cane are natural products and no two will be exactly the same you’ll probably find some Rattan Cane with the same or less flex than Toheti Cane. For me I think I’m going to use the Rattan Cane for yard whips (cowhide leather stock whips) and the Toheti Cane for nicer kangaroo stock whips. Going with a Toheti Cane handle for the price of a kangaroo stock whip is a drop in the bucket where on a cheaper whip it makes a bit more difference in the margin.
Maybe I’ll offer a choice on cheaper yard whips where someone could upgrade to a Toheti Cane handle from the Rattan Cane for an extra few bucks.
Today is Friday the 13th which is considered to be an unlucky day…but if you are shopping for a whip it just might be your lucky day! From today 1/13/12 until midnight on Sunday 1/15/12 all IN STOCK whips are 13% off! This sale is limited to stock on hand and it’s first come first served.
Here are a couple of examples of deals you can get today:
Today I finished a riding crop and made a stock whip. The stock whip is another 4 plait one and this one is made from veg tanned cowhide instead of the Latigo like the last few. This one is made with the same basic construction as the previous stock whips as well.
The riding crop I started working on last night is from kangaroo and it’s a 24 plait ending at 16 plait. The core is made from rawhide with a cane center. This one has a lot of fun plaiting in it.
My favorite part is the black band in the middle of the riding crop.
I also put a thinner slapper on this one than I’ve used in the past.
I originally made this as something I was was thinking of using to donate to a raffle…but part of me wants to keep it for myself! However I don’t know if I need more things in my closet that I’ve made. For now this riding crop and the stock whip are for sale on my IN STOCK page.
Yesterday I finished up the handles on the pair of 4 plait cowhide stock whips I had in the works. One thing I learned is when shaping the tips of the Toheti Canes I really should wear some sort of dust mask. I still can taste the cane in the back of my mouth from all the dust I inhaled.
Here’s what the four canes looked like when I started:
Initially I notice that one of the handles was longer than the rest:
So I had to even them up:
Then the next step was to round the ends:
And finally sand in the shape of the tip:
I used a Dremel tool with a sanding attachment to shape them and it worked out pretty well. I imagine something like a belt sander would work for shaping stock whip handles and be much faster!
Now the the handles were shaped I need to add the keepers at the top:
At this point I put both lashes on the whips and took them to the park to try them out with unfinished handles. The reason I didn’t want to wait was it wasn’t raining and it was still light out and if either of those things changed I wouldn’t get to crack them.
Also cracking them before the handles were finished let me know they needed a bit of lead in the handles. It took a lot of effort to hold them while cracking and it made me realize a few things about handles:
The heel knot (butt knot) has a very function purpose besides having weight under it. It actually makes the whip (of any type: bullwhip, snake whip, stock whip, etc) easier to hold on to while cracking! Once that bulge is there you don’t need to really worry about the whip sliding out of your hand.
The plaited hand grip also contributes to making the whip easier to hold on it. Bare cane is very slick!
Having to put a lot of effort into holding the bare cane handles really wore me out and after about seven minutes my hands were tired. Here’s the whips being cracked:
So I got home and plaited the hand grips:
One thing about these whips is that all the leather is latigo. A lot of half plait handles use kangaroo and I didn’t do that for these. The main reason is that I’m trying to finish up using this side of latigo! So I cut lace for the handles and thinned it down and while not as pretty as kangaroo it matches the color of the lash!
And here are the completed pair of stock whips:
These were a fun project to make and I’ve got them listed on my IN STOCK whips page. These would make a great first pair of stockwhips!
I think I have exactly enough latigo left to make one more pair of stock whips, so another pair will probably be my next project!
Recently someone asked me about what I use for spring steel in the handles of some of my whips. Now first of all the main reason I use spring steel instead of a spike in some bullwhips is that it gives me a thinner diameter handle. Also since the spring steel rods are custom made it allows me to have them be any diameter I want. When using a spike you have very limited choices, I think 3/8 inch is pretty much the only size you can easily find 8 – 12 inch spikes in.
The reason I use spring steel and not a plain ol’ steel rod you get at the hardware store is spring steel won’t bend permanently. For example if you were to go to your local hardware store and take a thinner diameter steel rod and bend it, you’d never get it straight again. Where spring steel will always go back to it’s original shape…unless you heat it to something like 600 degrees and bend it while it’s that hot.
Spring steel rods are more expensive than regular steel rods, but I like the advantage of it always retaining its shape. For example if you made a bullwhip with a regular steel handle and someone stepped on the handle it could bend and you’ve have a broken bullwhip. Now with spring steel you could jump on the handle and afterwards it’s still be straight (as long as you didn’t put so much weight that it would snap the steel, however you’d have the same problem with a regular steel rod).
Here are two examples of the spring steel rods that I’ve used:
The top one is 8 inches long and just over 4mm thick and the bottom one is 12 inches long by just shy of 6mm thick. Also I refer to these as “rods” because to me that’s what they are…but if I recall right within the spring steel industry these are technically wire.
Generally I don’t use spring steel in bullwhips with 8 inch handles, however I have a few spring steel rods in that length for projects where I want a slimmer handle.
Right now I’m working on a pair of stock whips. These have 5.5 foot lashes and so far only the lashes are finished (still need to roll them).
Today I’m planning on making the half plait handles and hopefully the weather will hold out and I’ll get to take them to the park!