On accuracy ... The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
It is also the most accurate. So how does this relate to whips?

Well, this is how it breaks down. It's all a matter of Calculus .I know, I know, your eyes just glassed over and you are about to click on the next whip article. But stick with me for a moment and I'll try to explain it in a simple way.

Calculus very basically has to do with segmenting an arc or circle. The smaller the segment the finer the arc. While whips do travel relatively "in line" in what ever plane they are traveling in. Whips as we all know also travel in a sinusoidal wave form. This means that they create a loop down the length of the whip until this loop terminates at the cracker. So the problem then ... with regard to "pin point" accuracy and making a tight grouping ... is how to get this loop as small or as fine as possible thus approximating a straight line as much as possible.

Now certain whips are better for this than others. Bullwhip for example tend to be longer which give them the advantage of time. By that I mean they have more time to develop the loop. This is true with any long whip be it Bullwhip, snake whip, signal whip or stock whip. Bullwhips , snake whips, and stock whips have one advantage over say a signal whip in that they have a fall where as a signal whip has a braided in popper.when a whip has a braided in cracker the thong of the whip becomes tighter and carries more mass and is less flexible where the cracker is joined to the whip, thus creating a large straight segment in the arc at that particular point. This is not conducive to creating a nice tight loop. When the loop travels down the whip and gets to the junction where the cracker is braided in it flops to a certain extent, do to the added density and lack of flexibility. This creates a wider arc with a flat spot. Which in turn causes the cracker to float and thus makes it less accurate. Now when you add a fall you are adding a piece of leather that is far more flexible than the thong of the whip its self so when the loop in the whip gets to the fall instead of widening the arc it actually tightens the arc reducing the amount of float and making it far more accurate. Contrary to popular belief the knot where a fall is attached to the thong of the whip has far less effect on the flow of the loop than a braided in cracker for all of the reasons I have already stated but also because this knot presents a much smaller segment in the arc than the junction of the cracker on a braided in cracker which is typically 4-6 inches long. This is why when you compare a snake whip to a signal whip you will find that the snake whip is more accurate than the signal whip They are basically the same whip with the exception of the difference in the way the crackers are attached.

Also contrary to popular belief a shorter whip does not necessarily mean it is going to be more accurate. For instance a 3ft. signal whip will never be as accurate as a 6ft. bullwhip because the 3ft. signal whip cannot make as tight a loop as the bullwhip can simply because it is too short for the loop to develope. While the 6ft. Bullwhip has enough length in the thong to develop the loop and allow it to get smaller at the cracker. this is also true with 3 ft. snake whips but they compensate for their short comings by having a fall.

Oh and one last thing on the effects of signal whips with changeable crackers. It never ceases to amaze me that the same people that say it makes no difference in whip performance to have a changeable cracker on a signal whip will then go on to say that they change the popper to a different type to get different effects like cutting targets or putting out candles or being softer on their play partner. By doing this they negate the whole Idea that the changeable cracker has no effect. Anyone who cracks bullwhips or any other whip for that matter that has a changeable popper knows that the sound of the crack changes with different types of material or different lengths.

I may be just splitting hairs here but that's just me I am anal about this stuff. Just as I am anal about the way I make my whips.

Of course you don't have to take my word for all this. You can do the calculus your self. *grin*

Now if you really want to get geeky have a look at how Newton's Laws apply to a bullwhip.


© 2006 Victor Tella

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