Yesterday finished working on the bullwhip with the alligator handle. However I did the knots with a second color interweave and I’m not sure that I like it, so I might be redoing them.
The work that was done yesterday was finishing plaiting the point:
This bullwhip is a 12 plait bullwhip and since it has an exotic leather handle I decided to give it a finer point than a usual 6 plait point and went with an 8 plait point. Also I started doing a couple of newish things to this bullwhip and one old thing.
The old thing that I did was something that I used to do a long time ago and for some reason stopped. What I’m going again is a little bit before strand drops I’m starting to taper the strands that will be dropped a little bit. That seems to ease the lace into the drop a little bit better.
The two new things that I’m doing are:
Different Angles of Paring: The lace that makes up this bullwhip starts out at the handle pared at an angle, but as you move toward the point the lace ends up more square. My thinking on this is that when you use a whip if it’s pared at an angle the lace at that thinner spot is more susceptible to abrasion damage which can turn into a torn or broken lace on the thinner point strands. By having them more square they should hold up to that a bit better. However since the first half of the whip doesn’t normally contact the ground abrasive damage isn’t really an issue.
Splitting By Hand: I’ve come up with my own technique for splitting lace by hand (no splitter). I’ll make a little video of this some day, but it’s pretty easy and right now it’s fun to do…we’ll see if I keep it up once the novelty has worn off!
Yesterday I also put the knots on the bullwhip. Here’s the transition knot before the interweave:
and after the interweave:
And here’s the heel knot foundation ready for a knot:
And here’s the finished heel knot:
Part of my “not sure if I like it” I think may come from the unbalanced look of the knots. I need to do them in one solid color, add more red to the heel knot, or less red to the transition knot.
Here’s a full view of the whip:
I still need to roll and shellac it after I come to a decision as to whether or not I like the knots. The more I look a them the more I’m OK with them…but still not positive!
Yesterday I got a bit more plaiting in on the lash of the 5 foot bullwhip (but not much more). However I did tie the transition knot:
The interweave on the turkshead is kangaroo rawhide. I was doing something else with the rawhide and had some leftover so I did the interweave with it. This interweave will give this bullwhip a very unique look! Rawhide (usually cow) is used for interweaves on knots in a lot of cowboy gear…but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used in knots on a bullwhip before. The reason it’s not used more is that it’s a pain to work with!
Here’s the first finished bullwhip (of the three I’m making for myself):
On thing that was fun for me when making this bullwhip was the heel knot.
This knot is a two pass 7 X 6 knot with a black interweave. I’ve always wanted to do a knot like this, but until now I’ve only done it as a one pass 7 X 6 with interweave. From a distance you really can’t tell the difference between a one and two pass with the inteweave, but close up you can see the two white strands (passes) between the black strands.
Lately I’ve been busy around the “shop” working on plaiting projects. My current bullwhip project is an 8 foot, 12 plait bullwhip. For this bullwhip I didn’t have a natural tan skin in stock that was big enough, so the inner belly was made from a whiskey colored roo skin and other belly and overlay is from the natural tan skin:
I probably could have gotten the whole whip from the natural tan skin, I like to have my skins for an 8 foot at about 62dm and this one was 59dm. I really didn’t want to run out of kangaroo a few inches short of an 8 foot whip.
Here are the cut out bellies:
The whiskey skin was 56dm, and I think I might use the leftover for a 5 foot 8 plait bullwhip. Here’s the 8 foot bullwhip as it is right now (with both bellies and bolsters completed):
And here’s the 12 plait overlay that has been stretched and split, but still needs to be pared:
I should be able to get the paring finished and plaiting started later today…depending on how I feel, I’ve got a bit of a cold and have to fake my way through a gig this afternoon.
Also a few months ago I started work on a 24 plait bosal and did a bit of work here and there. Well it’s finally finsihed:
And the other night I did some messing around with doing a ridge plait:
This bracelet was interesting, it’s 6 plait at the loop, then 14 plait at the main body and 12 plait at the end with the turkshead.
When I’m making a bullwhip frequently I end up with fairly long strands that end up being cut off. I have a box full of the scrap, and instead of throwing it away, I figure I should start making things out of it. Here’s a bracelet that was made from the trimmed off ends of the pair of seven foot bullwhips that I recently made:
You can adjust the size by pulling the ends through the turkshead in the middle. Once I’m all caught up in orders I’ll probably start to use up my scrap to make things like this. However I have no idea what to do with things like this once they are made…but they are much prettier than a box of scrap.
Lately I’ve been working on the nose button knot of a bosal that I started making a while ago. These long knots are a lot of work to make, this will have 12 bights when I’m finished.
I found that while tying the knot using twist ties to hold the strands in place really helped while I was doing the beginning the knot.
While rereading Whips and Whipmaking by David Morgan, he mentions that the long knot can be used to strengthen the transition of a bullwhip. The knot was used for that in traditional Argentine whips. Most modern bullwhip makers don’t use a knot to build up the transition of a bullwhip…however Joe Strain in the past has made a couple of unique whips with different plaiting styles at the transition.
Also a few days ago someone posted an article from an old Popular Science magazine about how to make a plaited snake. You can read the article here. I happened to have some scrap kicking around that was about the right size so I banged out a quick snake:
And about a week ago I got a new strop in the mail:
Hopefully this will help me keep the edge on my blades!