Yesterday I finished up a Beginner’s Bullwhip that had been sitting with no knots on it for a while. It’s 6.5 feet long with a plaited belly.
It’s got a great crack and I’ve got it for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.
One of the cool things about living in the Seattle area is there is a ton of cool things happening around the city. For example the Seattle Wushu Center has a once a month Bullwhip Study Group. That’s right it’s a group that meets up and cracks bullwhips.
The Bullwhip Study group is run by Restita who has one of the coolest names ever and is super friendly! Here she is teaching a whip crack combination:
I cracked whips with them over the summer and had a great time. The Bullwhip Study Group is open to all levels of whips crackers from beginners to advanced whip crackers. The day I came there were several people that had never cracked whips before…and they have loaner whips to learn on! So if you’ve always wanted to learn to crack a whip contact the Restita, for details visit: http://seattlewushucenter.com/FREEmonthlyevents.aspx
Yesterday I started plaiting two six foot deluxe beginners bullwhips. I got the bellies plaited:
And one of the overlays finished:
I’m out of falls, so I need to cut them out before I can finish either of these whips. One thing I did because I couldn’t put a fall on the whip that’s overlay is finished is that I braided it an extra couple of inches and tied off the loose strands. That way when it’s time to put the fall on I don’t have to undo the point and replait it to make sure it’s tight. This way I just unbraid about 2 inches and it should still be tight at that point.
After these two Deluxe Beginners Bullwhips I’m going to start working on a few cowhide signal whips to use up the rest of this side of leather.
Here’s a bracelet that I made for myself a little while ago:
The body of it is cowhide and the plaited portion is kangaroo.
I’ve got a new little technique for cutting out falls. When I cut them out I cut them at a taper for about 38-ish inches. Then I soak them, knock off the corners and round them. So far this doesn’t seem too special and it’s pretty standard. However when making a bullwhip you try to match the fall to the point of the bullwhip. If it’s a smaller point you put a thinner fall on it and a thicker point has a wider fall.
By cutting the falls long it allows me to customize each fall to the whip. Depending on the whips point I cut about 6 inches off either end (or a little bit off both) to get the desired width of fall without having to cut out differnet batches of light and heavy falls.
This saves me a lot of time because quite ofter I’ll be making whips with heavy points and all I have are skinny falls or the other way around. So now I’m cutting out one batch that pretty much covers both points. Now it doesn’t cover 100% of the whips that I make there’s always a chance I could make an unusually fat or skinny point. If that happens I’ll have to cut out a custom fall for that.
Yesterday I started work on two beginners bullwhips. I have one finished:
The other one has it’s overlay finished I just need to do the knots. Both of them will be listed shortly on my IN STOCK whips page.
After I finish the knots on the second beginners bullwhip I might have another go at making an 8 plait bullwhip in under 2 hours.
Right now I’m working on a six foot kangaroo bullwhip. And for this one I finally cut into one of the white kangaroo skins. The kangaroo skin used in this one has a glossy finish. Yesterday I got the two bellies and two bolsters finished:
Today I should be able to find time to at least get the overlay cut out. I’m planning on doing this whip with an exotic skin handle. I have some leftover sharkskin, but I’m thinking I might go and get another stingray skin, I think the black stingray with the white “pearl” would look good with the all white lash.
Also yesterday I finished an eight foot Deluxe Beginners bullwhip:
This whip is listed on my IN STOCK whips page.
Yesterday I finished a seven foot deluxe beginners bullwhip:
I’ve also got an eight foot deluxe beginners bullwhip that’s almost finished, it just needs the knots.
You may or may not have noticed that I usually make these in batches of at least two. One thing I’ve learned about making these cheaper bullwhips is that for them to be profitable for me I need to keep my time commitment in them under two hours per whip. One easy way to reduce the time I put into them is to cut out more than one at a time. While it only may save a few minute each step doing them in batches, it all adds up!
Yesterday I started working some four plait cowhide bullwhips. These will be my Deluxe Beginners Bullwhips, so they have a plaited belly. Last night I got three of the four bellies finished and this morning I finished the last belly…and completed two of the bullwhips.
I gave both of them a few cracks in my living room and they crack well.
Later today or tomorrow I’ll try to finish the other two whips…then after that I think I’m going to make an Indy style bullwhip.
P.S. I’ve got these two bullwhips listed on my IN STOCK whips page.
Yesterday I started working on a pair of 6 foot bullwhips. These are 4 plait cowhide bullwhips with one plaited belly. I did do one thing different with these whips while making them, I used veg tanned split leather for the bellies. If you don’t know what split leather is, it’s leather that has no grain. Basicially it’s the flesh side of a piece of leather after then split it to thin it down.
I’ve been told that Terry Jacka uses split chrome tanned leather for his bellies, so this isn’t completely new territory for whip making. However after doing a bit of plaiting with it, I’m starting to realize why his whips are the way they are. As far as I know most whip makers (me included) just bind the heck out of the transitions of their whips when trying to make a “jacka-like” transition. That will give you a stiff transition, but it’s still not like Jacka’s transition. I think the combination of materials and binding are what make it so unique…not just the binding which is the common thinking.
I do have enough of the split cowhide to make the insides of an 8-ish foot bullwhip and I do have kangaroo in the correct colors to make an Indy IV style bullwhip…
Here are the two 4 plait bullwhips that I started yesterday:
I should have time to finish the heel knots on these later today. My idea for them is to have a pair of whips that are inexpensive that someone could use to learn two handed whip cracking…without spending $700-$800 for a pair of roo whips.
I made them as a pair…but not a matched pair. What I mean by that is that the core, belly, filler and overall lengths are the same and they were cut from the same hide right next to each other. However there are a couple of things that I didn’t do like make sure the strand are exactly the same width at every spot or split them to the same thickness.
The goal for these whips is to have whips that are close enough but keep the cost low so that they are affordable for someone to try out two handed cracking…however if you want and exact pair, spend the extra money and get a nice kangaroo set.
I just finished up a 7 1/2 foot bullwhip in 4 plait cowhide with a plaited belly.
I gave this whip a few flicks on my deck and it’s got a good crack!
P. S. This bullwhip is for sale on my IN STOCK whip page!
This morning I cut out the belly and overlay for an 8 foot Deluxe Budget Bullwhip.
I know what you are thinking, “What’s the difference between a Deluxe and the Regular Budget bullwhip?” Well basically the deluxe has a plaited belly in it. That plaited belly will add density to the core and a bit more action to the whip.
I don’t know how much time I’ll have to do the strand prep and any plaiting today, once again I have a full performing schedule this weekend.