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I originally made this as something I was was thinking of using to donate to a raffle…but part of me wants to keep it for myself!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 the 24 plait bullwhip with the shark skin handle:
I gave it a couple of flicks on my deck and it’s got a nice crack!
I really like making these whips with “exotic” handles. I think they look cool and no one is really making whips with different non-plaited handles. Terry Jacka at one point offered whips with simulated alligator and simulated leopard handles. While they are different they aren’t actual exotic leather for the handles. Oh, for what it’s worth the sharks skin that I used for this whip was from sharks that were caught for food…not just their skins.
I’ve got enough of this shark skin left over to make two or three more bullwhip handles. Also right now I have a line on getting some other interesting exotic leather…
My next project is going to be making a 6 or 7 foot Indy style bullwhip.
P.S. This bullwhip is for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.
I’m still working on the nose button of the bosal. I’ve redone it three times and haven’t been happy with how it turned out. Then it hit me…why don’t I just braid over the knots foundation? Honestly I can’t think of a good reason why not, so that’s what I’m doing. For me braiding is faster than tying a knot, and I have a lot more freedom in patterns by braiding versus doing a turkshead.
I wish I had taken pictures of my attempts at the nose button knots. Here’s what it currently looks like:
I’m braiding the nose button as a 24 plait with an under three – over three – under three – over three pattern. I thought about doing it U2 O2 type pattern to match the rest of the bosal, but I like the slightly wider look of the U3 O3 pattern. Hopefully I can find a bit of time today to finish this part of the bosal.
Here’s the bullwhip with the 24 plait handle and 12 plait thong:
Here’s a close up of the handle:
I took this bullwhip out for a few test cracks today and I was amazed at how well it cracked! I put slightly more weight at the point of the bullwhip than I normally do on my shorter handled bullwhips. I think the next time I make a shorter handled bullwhip (8-10 inch) I’m going to do a point with weight similar to this.
I’ve got a bullwhip in the works right now that has a 12 plait thong and a 24 plait handle. This bullwhip is being made in whiskey colored kangaroo hide.
The first plaiting challenge I ran into while working on the handle was that the pattern wasn’t giving me a lot of trouble. Then I counted my strands and learned that I was trying to do a 24 plait pattern with 22 strands!! So I added the two extra handle strands and it’s coming along much better.
When planning a design for the handle I did a lot of looking around on the internet at pictures of other bullwhip maker’s higher plait count bullwhips to get a feel for what I would like. One thing I noticed with my first two high plait count whips (20 plait bullwhip and 24 plait stockwhip handle) was that I was trying to cram in as many designs as I could. But after reflecting on those to projects and the pictures of the whips that I really liked I decided simplier is better.
For example here’s a picture of one of Joe Strain’s 16 plait bullwhip handles:
It’s simple and elegant.
I guess that throwing every design into a whip is part of the learning process for me. I’ll post some pictures of the 24 plait handle when I have it finished (probably later today)
Last night I started work on a bullwhip with a 16 inch handle. I used a 16 inch fibreglass handle foundation that I got from David Morgan.
Compared to the tradtional spike, these are very light. The main reason that I picked this fibre glass handle for this bulwhip is that I’m planning on doing the handle as 24 plait and wanted a longer handle to do more patterns on. The fibreglass handle is hollow, so I filled it with lead shot to add a bit of weight to it.
Also the from my expereince in the past it’s hard to get the core nice and tight around this handle because it’s thin. So I put a bit of glue on the handle then wrapped the core with sinew very tightly. Hopefully that will give me a very firm foundation to put everything on top of.
The fibreglass foundation also tapers a bit, so I split my core to be a bit thinner at the butt and thicker towards the transition. I also plan on doing that with the bolsters so that when the overlay goes on the handle won’t taper.
I could leave a bit of taper to the handle, but since I’m planning on a 24 plait handle with some patterns, I don’t want to deal with having to taper the strands. Also because this handle is thinner than a spike handle foundation, I’m plaiting the bellies over the handle. That will bulk it up a bit giving me more surface area on the finished whip…and my 24 plait strands will be a bit thicker and easier to work with.
Later today I’ll probably cut out and attach the inner bolster.
For the last two days I’ve been working on making a stockwhip handle. It starts as a 12 plait at the keeper end and ends at a 24 plait at the butt end. I’ve got the overlay finished and just need to tie the knots on the handle…oh then I need to do make the thong.
Right now I’m reading the book Absinthe and Flamethrowers, this book has tutorials on how to do a lot of things. This book has a chapter on how to crack a bullwhip and that chapter’s expert is Robert Dante. The book leaves lots to be desired (not Dante’s fault), but it does teach the forward crack and covers safety.
Also a couple of days ago I listed the 20 plait bullwhip on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220437911556
On Saturday I got a couple of books called the Turkshead Cookbook vol 1 and 2. These books have methods for tying all sorts of turksheads using a special “Turkshead Tool”. I’ve tied a few knots with it with string, and I’m going to do one with some roo lace soon. Once I try using it a bit I’ll write a litte review of the book. So far I thinks its a good way to learn to tie complex knots.
Last night I started working on bullwhip with a 12 inch handle. The handle is made of a piece of carbon fiber with a piece of spring steel inside it.
Last night I got both bellies plaited, and today I’ll try to cut out and attach the outer bolster. I’m planning on doing this whip with a 20 or 24 plait overlay. It’s funny that I was thinking about doing a higher plait count bullwhip for a little while, then I got the APWA’s newletter and this month it features a lot of higher plait count bullwhips.
Seeing pictures of the Henderson bullwhips in 20 and 24 plait (not to mention Chris Barr’s bullwhip) really inspired me…but it’s also very intimidating at the same time.
Since this will be my first higher plait count bullwhip I don’t expect it to be as good as those whips…but hopefully it won’t be super horrible!