Well I really under estimated how much work this bullwhip would be. It seems like I’ve been working on it forever and I sort of have, well not actually working on it…but it’s been I’ve been working on for a while. This project has had to compete for time with performing (It’s the busy summer season), my road trip, and squeezing in the odd other plaiting project here and there I’ve probably been working on this for a month.
I’m almost finished cutting out the overlay, which has been a bit of a challenge because it’s coming from three different kangaroo skins. My calculations were that I’d need just over two of the skins that I got sent for the bellies and overlays. How I calculated this was I can make an 8 foot whip from about a 63-65dm kangaroo skin, so multiply that by two. However I am cutting everything a lot longer than it needs to be to make sure I don’t run out of lace. I’ll use any leftover for keychains or some other small project.
I’m cutting the lace for the overlay a bit wide as well, then I’ll resize and do any adjustment to the taper of the strand. Then it’s time to split them to the same thickness, and give the all a quick pare.
When I’m making a bullwhip and I’m preparing the strands for braiding I do several things. I stretch them, pare them, stretch them, split them, then lube them. That may seem like a lot of work (and it is), just to get the leather ready to braid…but that’s what helps give you a tightly plaited bullwhip.
One part of this process is full of debate among whipmakers and that’s the paring of the strand. Paring is cutting off two (sometimes 4) of the corners down the entire lenght of the strand. Generally there are two types of paring, cutting opposite corners (top left and bottom right or vice versa) or cutting both same side (cutting both the bottom corners). Most whipmakers have one way they pare thier bullwhips and that’s the way they do it.
Personally I do most of my bullwhips paring the opposite corners. In theory that makes the braid tighter like tongue and groove flooring, but I’m doing more and more with both flesh sides pared. If you draw two circle on a piece of paper, one inside the other (about 2mm differnece in diameter) and measure their circumfrences you will see the circle inside the other is smaller.
When you pare opposite ends of a strand your strands will be about he same width when measured on the grain side and on the flesh side (don’t measure the angled part of the cut). Now if you measure both sides of a strand with both flesh sides pared you will notice that the flesh side is smaller than the grain side.
So in theory that’s going to give you a better, tighter fit around the whip. But then you have some other issues like the thin edges butted up against each other, that want to buckle like techtonic plates.