After the first half we broke into two groups and taught the basic cattleman’s crack to everyone and then the last few minute we regrouped and chatted about everyone’s whip cracking experience.
Here are the pictures that I took:
Here’s a video of Will doing a comedy body wrap, John doing some bullwhip cracking ending with a body wrap on me:
One piece of advice that was shared in this Bullwhip Demo was that if you are new to whip cracking or even a more experienced whip cracker you should try to find a whip group to crack whips with. You can learn a lot and one of the best things is that you can try whips from all sorts of different makers! Most major cities have some sort of whip enthusiasts group or western group.
This morning Will Morgan, John Leonetti andmyself did a little whip demo / workshop at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA). We did a little talk about the history of the bullwhips and the different types of whips. Then we did little demos of the different styles of whip cracking from what I do with a bullwhip in my show to more technical crack with one bullwhip or two stockwhips and two bullwhips.
Right now I’m making something that’s based on a braiding project that David Morgan made for his son (Will) in 1971, basically it’s a plaited rattle snake! Will showed it to me while at a Whip Workshop that we (Will Morgan, John Leonetti and I) did at a circus school in Seattle. Unfortunately I didn’t bring a camera to this, but John Leonetti who is a great whip cracker and talented photographer took a ton of pictures you can see them at: http://web.me.com/johnleonetti/cracktice/122709.html. The plaited snake that I’m talking about is the 2nd to last picture.
It’s very cool looking!
Last night I started work on it, but the one that David made was just a braided snake, mine is going to be a snake whip. A lot of people have the Snakes Head Fall Hitch (in Ron Edwards book), but I’ve never liked that hitch because the snakes head should be on the other side of the whip (the fat end). That hitch looks good in a picture of the last six inched of the whip.
So last night I started work on my SNAKEwhip. I made the shotbag and filled it lead and got the belly plaited over it.
I also had time to cut out the strands for the overlay. I wanted to do a practice run for the head of the snake because the whip is going to start at 8 plait at the snakes nose and I’ll be adding strands as I get to the fatter part of the snakes head. I’ve never really added strands to increase the plait count of a whip (only dropped them), so I wanted to make sure my plan would work. It did!
Later this morning I’ll do stretch, pare, stretch, split and grease up the strands and get to work on the braiding the SNAKEwhip.
Today I did a show that wasn’t too far from David Morgan’s shop, so I stopped by between gigs. I picked up another rawhide core because I had misplaced one, when I got home and promptly found the missing one. While I was there we talked about Signal Whips and I showed him some examples of my recent work, including the 29 foot whip.
When put the 29 foot bullwhip on the counter David picked it up and immediately took it outside to try to crack it! I hope when I’m David’s age I still have that much fire in my belly!
Now that I had an extra rawhide core, I did some experimenting. The rawhide cores that David Morgan sells have a cane center, and are very flexible. So I drilled out the center and put in a 10 inch piece of spring steel.
After I drilled out a hole in the cane center, I put in some Gorilla Glue and then the 10 inch spring steel handle. The reason I used Gorilla Glue was that as it dries, it foams and expands, so that will fill in any gaps that there might be between the handle and the edge of the hole. This should give me a more firm handle (but still with a bit of flex).
I’m planning to make a Kingdom of the Crystal Skull style bullwhip with the rawhide core.
Also seeing Will Morgan today reminded me that I have a video of him cracking a 12 foot bullwhip:
If I remember correctly that 12 foot whip that Will is cracking is the last complete whip that David ever made.
Thursday night I had dinner with Bernardo Del Carpio and Will Morgan. I learned a lot about whipmaking and the whipbiz chatting with them.
As a result of talking to Bernardo I’m doing the plaiting differently on my current whip. I used to pull the strand off the top tight, then wrap it around. That’s how I interpreted plaiting from Ron Edwards book, but now I’m doing it the way David Morgan teaches in his book Braiding fine leather. I’m getting more crossed strands or missed plaits that I have to go back in fix, but it’s much faster. I imagine with a bit of practice the mis-plaits will lessen.
We did some whipcracking as well and Bernardo and Will do a slower style with longer whips than I do. Bernardo’s bullwhips are fantastic, I cracked an 8 foot Indy bullwhip that he made and it’s an amazing whip, I highly recommend them!
Here’s Will using a 10 foot Morgan bullwhip:
I also got a chance to crack a pair of 5 foot morgan bullwhips and a 4 plait stock whip that Mike Murphy made. The Murphy stockwhip was very cool and I’m thinking of getting one.
I’m out of town this weekend so no work on any bullwhips will be done until Monday and I won’t have any internet access so I can’t respond to any emails until Monday as well.