The other day I was making a shot bag for a whip. If you don’t know what a shot bag is, essentially it’s a bag that holds lead shot (hence the name shot bag) inside the whip. My shot bags are made out of a tapered strip of leather that is rolled into a tube.
This tube is then filled with fine lead shot.
Mmm…margarita and lead!
Here’s a quick video of me filling up a shot bag:
The main reason that I use a shot bag is to add weight to a whip. This is mostly used (by me) on whips that have no handles like signal whips or snake whips.
My current project is a short bullwhip, I think a lot of people call them mini bullwhips. It’s about a three foot bullwhip with a six inch handle and a shot loaded core. I made one of these a year or two ago, so this is my second one.
Internally this bullwhip has a shot core, plaited belly and one bolster. My thinking was to put a lighter shot bag and then use the plaited belly to move some weight out a bit, and hopefully that will give me a bit more control over the weight of the whip while making this one.
Normally I’d post a picture or two of this bullwhip in progress, but I set my camera down and I don’t remember where I put it…so I’ll take some pictures when I find it.
Today I made a 4 plait snakewhip from cowhide. It turned out to be a pretty beefy snakewhip,which was what I was going for. This snake was inspired by an older cowboy snakewhip that I had recently seen a picture of and this is what I imagined what it’s be like in person.
Since this snakewhip is a “budget” one, I didn’t use a plaited belly in it, just bolsters. The cowhide I used on it was heavy, so that more than makes up for the lost weight from a plaited belly.
Today I shellac’d a 4 foot 12 plait kangaroo pocket snake whip and a 10 foot 12 plait kangaroo bullwhip. The bullwhip’s overlay had been made a while ago, I just did the knot today and the pocket snake was made today.
Here’s the pocket snake:
This Pocket Snake Whip has a great crack to it!
Here’s the 10 foot 12 plait bullwhip:
I intentionally left the transition knot off the bullwhip. I thought the bullwhip looked fine without it. I haven’t had a chance to test crack this bullwhip, it’s been too wet out lately. Hopefully the weather will be dry tomorrow and I can give it a few throws at the park.
I haven’t done a ton of shot loading of the thongs in my bullwhips (except for signal whips and snake whips). I’ve talked with David Morgan several times about the advantages of shot loading the thong of a bullwhip.
Now a shot loaded thong is different from a lead loaded butt. With a shot loaded thong there will be lead shot for the core of the bullwhip. So that will move weight out of the handle and into the beginning of the whip, making the bullwhip a bit more nose heavy.
A lead loaded butt has a sheet of lead wrapped around the end of the handle to form the butt knot foundation. That will put the more weight at the base of the handle in your hand.
I made the bullwhip below with a shot loaded core.
This bullwhip (not shot loaded) shipped out to it’s owner in Texas earlier today.
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.
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!).
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.