Recently someone asked me about what I use for spring steel in the handles of some of my whips. Now first of all the main reason I use spring steel instead of a spike in some bullwhips is that it gives me a thinner diameter handle. Also since the spring steel rods are custom made it allows me to have them be any diameter I want. When using a spike you have very limited choices, I think 3/8 inch is pretty much the only size you can easily find 8 – 12 inch spikes in.
The reason I use spring steel and not a plain ol’ steel rod you get at the hardware store is spring steel won’t bend permanently. For example if you were to go to your local hardware store and take a thinner diameter steel rod and bend it, you’d never get it straight again. Where spring steel will always go back to it’s original shape…unless you heat it to something like 600 degrees and bend it while it’s that hot.
Spring steel rods are more expensive than regular steel rods, but I like the advantage of it always retaining its shape. For example if you made a bullwhip with a regular steel handle and someone stepped on the handle it could bend and you’ve have a broken bullwhip. Now with spring steel you could jump on the handle and afterwards it’s still be straight (as long as you didn’t put so much weight that it would snap the steel, however you’d have the same problem with a regular steel rod).
Here are two examples of the spring steel rods that I’ve used:
The top one is 8 inches long and just over 4mm thick and the bottom one is 12 inches long by just shy of 6mm thick. Also I refer to these as “rods” because to me that’s what they are…but if I recall right within the spring steel industry these are technically wire.
Generally I don’t use spring steel in bullwhips with 8 inch handles, however I have a few spring steel rods in that length for projects where I want a slimmer handle.
Right now I’m working on a pair of stock whips. These have 5.5 foot lashes and so far only the lashes are finished (still need to roll them).
Today I’m planning on making the half plait handles and hopefully the weather will hold out and I’ll get to take them to the park!