How to make your first bullwhip

How to make your first bullwhip

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time, what I’d like to do is make an easy tutorial to help people make their first bullwhip.  Basically what I’m thinking is a password protected website that would have an ebook and video that someone could watch online.

With this I’d probably cover everything needed to make a bullwhip from plaiting to turksheads to cutting.  I’d probably teach how to make an 8 foot 4 plait bullwhip.  And the cool thing about a password protected website is that I could fairly easily update it if I needed to.

This is a project I may get into in May, because my performing schedule isn’t very heavy that month…or this may just end up on the back burner for a while longer.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Two handed bullwhip cracking

Two handed bullwhip cracking

Here’s a video I found online of me doing some two handed bullwhip cracking (I don’t think I’ve already posted this):

It was taken by my friend James Maxwell a while ago.

Also today I was at my local Tandy Leather to pick up a side of kip and they had some stingray skins on the counter. I picked one up, I’m thinking of using it for the handle of a bullwhip. There will be a little bit of an engineering challenge to attaching and stitching the stingray to the handle, but I think it will end up looking pretty cool!
Louie
http://bullwhips.org

4 Plait braiding

4 Plait braiding

Here’s how  the yoke of my sets are tied up before paring and plaiting:

kangaroo plaiting

And below is a quick video of me banging out some 4 plait.  I’m doing 25 pulls per minute…but I think I could do 30 if I tried.  In the video I just timing myself and not as concerned with a couple of things.  For example I had the yoke tied off, where normally when I plait a whip I do the handle, then move the knot from the yoke to the handle of the whip (that helps fight the whip from wanting to turn during the pulls).

Now I’m very curious what my time would be for something that didn’t have a core…

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Paring

Paring

Right now I’m working on getting improving my paring when done to the top left side of the strand.  Normally I pare the top right side and I can do the top left…just not as quickly or accurately as the top right.  Here’s a little practice session:

When paring the top left side I generally need to do two passes to get the strand nice and straight, where when doing it on the top right I can get it in one pass.  Also when doing the top left I’m going at a snails pace, hopefully it’ll get as fast as the other side soon.

Also right now I’m working on an 8 plait kip bullwhip.   I’ve got about half of the overlay finished.  This one is built on a spring steel handle foundation.  I should be able to get it finished this week before I go on vacation.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Some Test Cracking Videos…

Some Test Cracking Videos…

Yesterday I went out and did a few test cracks with some of the whips that I have for sale.

I did also take some video of the two tone pair of bullwhips that I recently made, but I haven’t uploaded it yet. I really like that pair of whips and I think I’m keeping them for myself (at least for a little while).

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Budget Bullwhips w/ short handles

Budget Bullwhips w/ short handles

Today I finished the second of two budget bullwhips.  These aren’t a matched pair, just two bullwhips that I made back to back.

budget bullwhip for sale
bull whips for sale

These have 8 inch lead loaded handles.  I don’t put lead in the budget bullwhips that have 12 inch handles because the extra 4 inches of handle adds weight (and leverage).  I still put some lead into budget bullwhips with 10 inch handles.

Here’s a couple videos of me giving them some test cracks:


Louie
http://bullwhips.org

bullwhips for sale
Bullwhips and Safety!!!

Bullwhips and Safety!!!

I found this video on youtube and there is a lot wrong with what’s going on in it.

Here’s what’s wrong with the video:

  1. Bullwhips are not toys: The parent (or adult) in this video gave it to their kid to play with…and didn’t give them any safety instructions (more on that in a minute).  Would you give your kid a band saw to play with?
  2. Lack of instruction: The kid is trying to crack the whip like they do in the movies by cutting back or “dish ragging” the bullwhip.  While you can get a whip to crack that way, it’s not the best or safest way to do it.  Would you let your kid drive a car with no instruction on how to do drive it?
  3. No safety equipment:  The kid isn’t wearing any eye protection…that’s just bad parenting (or very poor supervision)!!!   My daughter does gymnastics and I know she at some point will probably get hurt doing it, but her gym has a ton of safety equipment from pads to first aid equipment.  There’s no way I’d let my daughter do gymnastics at a gym with no padded mats for the kids for fall on!!
  4. Cracking the whip on the cement: The bullwhip used in the video doesn’t appear to be a very nice one, the adult who gave the kid the whip didn’t do any research on bullwhips…the most basic thing you learn about owning a bullwhip is to not use it on concrete or abrasive surfaces. Would you drive a sports car super fast down a bumpy, dirt mountain road and expect it to not get damaged?

Sorry for my little rant, but I was honestly shocked that the parent let their kid use the whip without any instruction or safety equipment.  Having at least one of those two thing would greatly reduce the chance of an injury.

As a parent I’m not overprotective, I have more of a free range parenting style, but I also believe in taking reasonable steps for safety.  No sane parent would let their kid join a little league baseball team that didn’t use batters helmets…and no sane parent should let their kid try to crack a bullwhip without at least eye protection!!

A good way to learn the basics of handling a whip is from the DVD Whip Cracking Made Easy.

http://bullwhips.org

bullwhips for sale