Finished Bullwhip

Finished Bullwhip

Here’s the finished 12 foot bullwhip:

Indy Bullwhip
kangaroo bullwhip

Yesterday I also had time to put a knot on an 8 plait signal whip that I had made about a week ago:

signal whip

Also tomorrow night I’ll be performing at The Washington Center in Olympia, WA.  I’ll be opening for a comedian (whose name I don’t remember), the show is on 2/18/10 at 7:30pm.   For more details visit: http://www.washingtoncenter.org/season/season_detail.asp?event_id=990

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

12 foot Bullwhips

12 foot Bullwhips

My current project right now is making a 12 foot Indy bullwhip.  It’s got the core and inner belly plaited right now (and the wrist loop cut out!).

plaited whip belly

I like the idea of a 12 foot bullwhip, but when the time comes to make one they are a lot of work!  I can bang through the two plaited bellies pretty quickly, but then the progress comes to what feels like a snails pace once I start cutting out and plaiting the overlay.

Hopefully today I’ll find time to get the bolsters and outer belly finish and maybe get the  overlay started.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

12 foot belly

12 foot belly

 

Tonight I started working on a 12 foot bullwhip.  The kangaroo layers have already been cut out, so all I have to do is cut the core, bolsters and then plait the layers.
12 foot bullwhip
One thing I’ve noticed about my progression as a bullwhip maker is that the bellies on my whips look much nicer.  Some of my early ones weren’t very easy on the eyes.  
By looking better, I mean that the bellies have a nice clean look to the binding, bolsters and the plaiting.  
Another thing that I’ve been doing lately is splitting all the kangaroo layers on my bullwhips so that all the strands are the same thickness (within the same layer).    Before I was just splitting the bellies.  
Since I’ve been using my splitter a lot lately, I’ve gotten much better at using it.  There is a bit of a learning curve with a splitter…and keeping the blade sharp helps a ton too!
Kangaroo bullwhip
Tomorrow morning hopefully I’ll have time to work on the next two layers (a bolster and belly).   I’ve got two afternoon shows, and I’m still trying to get caught up from being on the road performing for three days.
Louie
Visit with David Morgan…

Visit with David Morgan…

It’s been a little while since I’ve visited David Morgan‘s shop, and yesterday I was in his area so I stopped by.  I had two shows one north of him and one south of him with an extra 30 minutes between them.  When I was doing my first show all I could think about was visiting him, showing him my current whip and the questions that I would ask him. 

The bullwhip that I showed hime was an 8 foot Indy bullwhip:

 

bullwhip

This bullwhip turned out really well, I liked how my strand drops turned out and the taper was great.  One thing I’ve learned is when I take a bullwhip to David Morgan, how he cracks it tells me if it’s good or bad.  If he cracks it a lot one way (the flick) then he’s trying to figure out how I can improve the weight.  If he cracks it using different cracks then I’ve passed the first test weight test and each crack he’s checking out the weight and taper differently.  

Yesterday he took the bullwhip gave it a few flicks, then some underhand cracks.  Then a Fast Figure Eight, some side arms, then a wierd crack when he rolls the whip on the floor and makes it crack. Finally he did a little three crack combination and handed me the whip back and said, “you’ve done very good”!  

Indiana jones style bullwhip

I about pooped my pants because usually he says “it’s good…but…”, then gives me things to work on. This time he just praised everything that I did right on the bullwhip!!!  That really made my day.

 

I wish I could keep this bullwhip, but it’s off to Italy today.

While I was visiting David we talked about bit about the balance (thong and handle weight) of a bullwhip.  There was an article in the APWA’s newletter about thong and handle weight that I didn’t agree with and asked David for his opinion on it.

The seams on my bullwhips are getting straighter (something I’ve very proud of, but can improve) and I asked David Morgan (and Joe Strain too) if having a wobbly seam affects how a bullwhip works.  They both said that a seam that isnt’ perfectly straight doesn’t, it just shows the whipmakers experience.  They both used almost the exact same words.  So I feel much better about my seams, but am trying to make them as straight as possible.  

New Board for Rolling

A few days ago I picked up a new board for rolling my bullwhips. Before I was using a piece of wood that was 1/2 by 3 inches, and that did an alright job, but when I put my weight into the board the wood bent a bit.  My new piece is 3 X 3 inches and I can really put my weight into it:

 

Bullwhip making

12 foot Bullwhip Set

I’m almost finished cutting out the set for a 12 foot 12 plait bullwhip in black kangaroo.  I’ve been doing a lot of cutting with my down time between shows when I’m away and can’t do any plaiting.  I’ve got the sets cut out for:

  • 8 foot Young Indy bullwhip
  • pair of 6 foot two tone bullwhips
  • 12 foot black bullwhip
  • 6 foot cowhide bullwhip
  • 6 foot cowhide Young Indy bullwhip
Once my performing schedule slows down (after Monday) I’m going to be doing a lot of plaiting!
I’ve got to get ready for my day, today is Halloween and it’s a busy day for me, 6 shows today!
Louie
Finished Bullwhip

Finished Bullwhip

I’ve finished shellacing the 12 foot bullwhip and today I’ll deliver it to it’s new owner.

coiled bullwhip
bullwhip loose coil

I ended up changing the transition knot from a smaller Indy like knot to a larger turkshead.

handle close up

Next in my bullwhip making line are two 8 foot bullwhips.  One has it’s core cut out and the other has the core and first belly plaited and all the kangaroo layers cut out.

Louie

http://bullwhips.org

Longer Bolster

Longer Bolster

The 12 foot bullwhip that I’m making right now is a heavy bullwhip.  It’s got a shot loaded core and to add a bit of extra weight out into towards the point of the bullwhip I added about 15 inches to the bolster.

12 foot shot loaded bullwhip

This morning my hands are killing me!  The last few bullwhips have been long ones and my hands aren’t getting any breaks between.  After this 12 foot bullwhip I have a few 8 foots to make and it’ll be nice on my hands to not work soo hard.

Right now I have about 8 feet of the overlay plaited.  Later today I’m planning on finishing the overlay of the bullwhip and giving it a good board roll.  Then tomorrow it’s knot and shellac time.

This bullwhip is going to live with its new owner about an hour from me, so on Tuesday I’m planning on delviering it (and doing some bullwhip cracking with it’s new owner!).

Louie

More 12 foot construction

More 12 foot construction

 

Today I got more work on the 12 foot bullwhip in than I thought I would.  I finished plaiting the 2nd belly and attaching the 3rd bolster.  Then I realized had some more time, so I kept working…
For the last two bullwhips I’ve made I’ve gotten some pretty good taper on the handle.  It’s something that when I first started cracking bullwhips and making them, I didn’t really like taper on the handle.  But lately it’s really grown on me over time.

If I had to guess I’d say this bullwhip will be finished on Monday.  I’m done working for today, I’ve got to get cleaned up and get ready to go out for a friends birthday. 

Louie

http://bullwhips.org

Beginning 12 foot…

Beginning 12 foot…

3 Kangaroo Hides

Last night the hides for a  black 12 foot bullwhip showed up.  I was expecting them 2 days ago, so it’s nice to finally be able to get started on this bullwhip.  There’s a new UPS driver in my area an he seems to have trouble finding me, and that’s delaying a lot of my incoming shipments.

3 Kangaroo Hides

Yesterday I made the shot loaded core and added an extra bolster to the bullwhip (so it will have 3 bolsters instead of the normal two).  The person I’m making this whip for wants a  heavy, thick bullwhip.

Shot loaded belly
Shot loaded belly

When I was plaiting the belly last night I remembered something about 12 foot bullwhips, they are a pain in the butt to make.  They take a long time compared to a 6 or 8 foot bullwhip.

This morning I cut out a bolster and attached it.

Boslter added
Boslter added

I’ve been thinking about the transition on a shot loaded whip and I decided to give the transition some extra strength by giving it a few wraps with sinew.  My thinking is that normally in a bullwhip the core starts on the handle, the extends past it, so for it to “break down” the core leather has to physically break, crack or extremely stretch.  But with shot loaded core the handle and core are two separate things.  The handle ends and the core starts, so in my head a little reinforcement at that transition would help it stay stronger longer.

Later today I’ll plait the next belly and cut out and attach the next bolster.  Hopefully I’ll be able find time to cut out the overlay today.  If I’m really good with my time management I’ll get the overlay pared too!  I don’t have any shows today, but I have a lot of phone calls to return and a mailing to book my winter to send out.

Oh, I almost forgot I need to cut out and soak some whitehide bullwhip falls today, I’m all out!

Louie

http://bullwhips.org