Budget Signal Whip

Budget Signal Whip

This afternoon I tried making a four plait signal whip out of cowhide.  Since this is a budget signal whip I decided to go with a design that used a shotbag and bolsters (no plaited belly).

signal whip

Honestly I was very pleased with how this signal whip turned out.  I didn’t think it’d turn out anywhere near this nice…It’s got a great crack too!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Signal Whip Braided Cracker

Signal Whip Braided Cracker

I tried taking pictures of how I do the cracker on a signal whip.  Honestly I don’t know how much they will help someone rebraid a signal whip’s cracker if they’ve never done any braiding before.

Louie

http://bullwhips.org

Signal Whip

Signal Whip

Right now the whip I have in progress is a four foot 12 plait signal whip in natural tan.  Yesterday I made the shot bag, plaited belly, bolster and  a little bit of the overlay.

Here’s a picture of the set for the overlay (before any strand prep was done):

single tail whip

And here’s a picture of the finished signal whip’s guts:

signal whip 12 plait

Currently I have about 18 inches of the overlay finished (but haven’t taken a picture of it yet).

Hopefully I’ll find some time to finish the overlay today, I’ve got two shows this afternoon and they are about a two hour drive away!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Whips for Today…

Whips for Today…

Today I’ve got a few whips (bullwhip and signal whip) to work on.  One is a 4 plait cowhide bullwhip that I started a couple of days ago, but have been too busy to finish.  The other is a 12 plait kangaroo signal whip.  The signal whip will be four feet long, and I should at least be able to get the shotbag and plaited belly finished.

However the work on whips won’t start until this afternoon, I’ve got an “emergency” dental appointment this morning to replace a filling that came out of my tooth and a show this afternoon.

The person that ordered the signal whip asked if I could post pictures of how I braid in the cracker.  I’ll do my best to take some pictures, but at that point my hands are full of strings and I’m thinking it will be a bit tricky!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Plaiting Goat Hide

Plaiting Goat Hide

My first attempt at an 8 plait Goat Hide overlay wasn’t successful, but I learned a lot!  For starters the whip ended up a bit too thin, so I added an additional bolster to thicken it up a tad.

Another (major) problem that I came across was how stretchy the goat is.  I have to cut the strands very wide to compensate for the stretch.  Also I broke several strands while trying to braid it.

One problem with my braiding that can be overcome is that I’m plaiting it like it’s kangaroo.  I need to pull a bit gentler…but the trade off is that the whip isn’t as tight.  I was thinking about that solution to breaking the strands last night and I can braid it fairly tight, but not as tight as a roo whip.  However when you consider that this is a cheaper bullwhip for someone starting out that wants to learn a few cracks, I think it’s alright.

Finished Goat Bullwhip!

Here’s the finished goat hide bullwhip:

bullwhip for beginners
bull whip
bullwhip picture

This 7 foot bullwhip was made with the Indiana Jones look to it.   I’ve got it listed for sale on my IN STOCK whips page.

I’m not sure how many more of these I’m going to make, I have enough goat hide for one or two more.  The problem with making an 8 plait is that it just takes too long to make and I’m trying to keep the price below $200.  I’m offering this first one for $165, the normal price will be $197.  I might try to make one in 4 plait and see how long that takes me to make.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Signal Whip in Progress…

Signal Whip in Progress…

Right now I’m working on a two 12 plait kangaroo signal whips.  They are both black and 4 feet long. I guess you could call them a pair because I’m making them the same way, at the same time from the same hide…except one is for an order and one will be listed for sale on my IN STOCK Whips page when it’s finished.

I’m making two signal whips instead of just one because it’s not too much extra work to do a second one at the same time.  Also I can get two 4 foot signal whips out of one kangaroo hide.  If I made one signal whip out of the 61dm kangaroo skin, the rest wouldn’t be enough for much more than another signal whip, so might as well make it.

Yesterday morning I filled the shot bags, plaited both bellies and attached the bolsters:

single tail singal whip's shot loaded core

Then I cut out the two 12 plait kangaroo overlays:

12 plait kangaroo strands for a signal whip

I also did all the strand prep for one of the whips and have about a foot of it braided.  I should be able to finish this whip today.

Thoughts on Preparing the Strands for Braiding

Yesterday while I was doing the strand prep on one of these 12 plait sets, I thought about everything that goes into getting the strands ready to braid.

To make a whips all you really need to do is cut out the strands and start braiding.  That will make a pretty rough looking whip, but you can do it.  All the other stuff will improve the tightness of the braid, and look of the whip.

Right now my process is:

  • Grease (optional): Some kangaroo hides are dryer than others, and strands cut from a dry hide will stretch better if you grease it and let the grease soak in before you do anything else.  If the hide is nice and greasy this step is unnecessary.
  • Stretch: The initial stretch takes most of the stretch out of the lace.   Also it will hopefully let you know of any weak spots before you start braiding.
  • Straighten: Since I cut by hand and cut stretchy parts a bit wider than they need to be, I straighten out my strands by running them through my David Morgan Lace Cutter.
  • Pare: Having two of the corners beveled will help me get a bit of a tighter braid and give the whip a smoother look.
  • Stretch: After straightening an paring, parts of the strands may not have been fully stretched because of the parts that were cut off.  For me this second stretch is more of a strand strength test, but will also take more of the stretch out of the lace.
  • Split:  This evens out the strand’s thickness and gives me a more uniform strand to work with.  Throughout the kangaroo skin, the thickness can vary a bit, maybe .1mm, but that 1.mm when braided will add .4 mm of extra thickenss to the whip at that point and could result in a small lump.

My strand prep has gotten a lot more involved than it was three years ago when I just stretched and pared.  In the end I think it helps

Louie
http://bullwhips.org