I finished and shipped out the pair of cowhide bullwhips that I started working on earlier this week.
These whips have a nice crack and a pair of cowhide bullwhips would make a nice intro to two handed bullwhip cracking! Unfortunately these were a pair that was made for someone so they aren’t available for sale. However it was fun making these and I might try to make another pair in the next week or two. First I need to finish work on the 16 plait bullwhip that I started last week.
This week has been a very busy week for me between performing, shipping out orders and squeezing in some family time. The 16 plait bullwhip has the overlay cut out, but no strand prep has happened.
And the nice thing about that is because it’s a two tone bullwhip I actually cut out two complete sets, so once the first one is finished I can make another one pretty quick!
Yesterday I started work on a pair of 4 plait cowhide bullwhips. I normally don’t make these bullwhips to order, you have to get them when I have them in stock. I do this for two reasons:
1. I don’t make a lot of money on them and I don’t want to be backed up making these for not a lot of profit.
2. They aren’t particularly challenging to make, so they aren’t fun for me to make!
However the person I’m making these for called and wanted two of them and I had one in stock. So I figured why not make two of them as a pair to make it more interesting. So I agreed and right now I have the plaiting completed one of them and the other is about 3/4 of the way finished.
I should have time to finish them and ship them out today (hopefully) and then I can get back to work on the 16 plait bullwhip.
Yesterday I finally finished making the pair of bullwhips that complete the set of three whips for myself. Normally these would have been done very quickly if they were for someone else, however they were for me so there was no rush.
They are both four feet long with 10 inch spring steel handles with just a touch of lead under the heel knot. You might notice one has a red latigo fall and the other has a whitehide fall. I’m doing this as an experiment to see which fall I really like more, since the whips were made as a pair it will be a good way to compare.
So far after one short cracking session I was surprised to find out that I like the red latigo a bit more. However that might change with a bit of use. In my experience the red latigo breaks off more than whitehide, and he whitehide stretches more than the red latigo. I think that’s because the red latigo is a more dense leather.
My next project is making some cheaper bullwhips. Right now I’m working on a six foot Deluxe Beginners Bullwhip and that should be ready soon. All I have left to do on it are the knots. Currently I have enough leather for 4 or 5 of these, so I’m going to try to bang a few of them out so I have some in stock.
My current project is a matched set of three bullwhips. All three of them are going to be for me. It’s been a while since I’ve made any bullwhips for myself to use in my show. I’m making three bullwhips that will be four feet long.
Why three bullwhips? Simple a pair for two handed cracking and one for cutting targets. I really don’t need to make them all as a matched set, but I figured why not since I”m making them all at the same time. Technically they won’t be a matched set, one will have a different skin for the overlay, but internally they all will be the same and the pair will have the same skin for the overlay.
All three bullwhips will be in white kangaroo, I really like how that color pops on stage. Here are the bellies cut from the outside of a white kangaroo skin:
And here are the cores:
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the before or not, but recently I’ve added a bit to how I attach my cores to a spring steel handle (but not a spike) foundation. Before I bind on the core, I coat the spring steel and the part of the core that will touch the spring steel with leather glue. I let them set and the bind the core on with sinew. For me when using spring steel it’s much skinnier and smoother than a spike and personally I have a hard time getting a super solid bind using just sinew. Adding the glue really makes a difference!
And here’s a nice little picture showing the stages of the plaited belly being assembled:
Today I’m hoping to be able to get all the bellies plaited and all the bolsters on these whips. Then tomorrow will be overlay day!
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.
Every now and then I browse ebay to see what kinds of whips people are selling and how much they are selling for. I found this auction with the headline: 2 All Leather Premium 8′ Bullwhips (to view the auction click here).
Here’s the picture of the whips and the text of the auction:
ALL LEATHER BULLWHIPS ! You get 2 All Leather Premium 8′ Bullwhips !
This package includes two All leather Premium 8′ Bullwhips !
The entire bullwhip is plaited (leather covered).
Here’s my problem with this auction, the line that says, ” The entire bullwhip is plaited (leather covered)“. I have now idea about the quality of the bullwhips (the could be great, they could be crap) my issue is with the ignorance of the seller…Before I go on my little rant, let me say I’m not the smartest person in the world however I try to be as accurate as possible.
How can you take someone seriously that doesn’t know what they are taking about!!! Plaited is another word for braided…not necessarily leather covered. If something has leather plaited over it, then it is leather covered, but just because it has leather over it doesn’t mean it’s plaited!!
If plaited means leather covered…then what the hell is a 12 plait whip??
That’s like having a computer sales man that’s trying to sell you laptop, but is calling it a desktop computer because you can put the laptop on a desk! If that happened you’d probably find another salesperson that knew what they were talking about.
Personally if I was shopping for a whip I’d probably look for a seller that knows what a plait is!