Some tips on choosing your first whip.
Considering buying your first whip? Well congratulations and welcome
to the club, I am not a whip maker and as such I am free to give
an opinion that is unbiased. The number
one rule is no matter what kind of whip you want, snake whip, bullwhip,
stock whip, or cow whip it should be a "quality whip". You get
what you pay for.
A cheap whip might be inviting to someone wanting to learn how to
throw whips inexpensively. There are alternatives to spending $400
on a whip
but in the long run you will always have a good whip with a high
resale value. Kangaroo hide is the best material for a whip. It’s
the most expensive, and pound for pound one of the strongest materials
can combine strength and beauty. Avoid whips with gaps in the braiding,
and lumps in the body of the whip, a good roo hide whip will be consistent.
let's look over some of the different materials you'll need to
be familiar with when you are choosing a whip.
Rawhide is very tough material that has been used for
years. Many working whips are made from this because of cost. The biggest
is what’s inside them, many cheap rawhide whips have rope cores
or something less durable. There are a few reputable raw hide whip
White hide ( alum tanned raw hide) very tough and stiff needs constant
use to remain supple. this type of hide is catching on in the states
and so far it's pretty good for rough and tumble whip work.
Nylon ( para cord ) is tough and durable. Its lighter
than leather whips and needs to be weighted to keep it flying straight.
if you use it on concrete or around rocks.
Some come with a lot of wax some come with no wax. If the whip
throws well with a lot of wax on it, it will be light when the
off and may not throw so well. Nylon whips are an out growth of
nylon florida cow whips, nylon is a great material for making outdoor
whips. Many a bush has given
its leaves to these
whips and I am sure many more will fall before its all over. Nylon is a
moderate beginner material, the up side is you can throw them rain
or shine, snow
will not affect them and you can toss them into the pool to clean
them. There’s not really a down side except to say that the
falls on the whips are a bit stiff and at times lifeless ( well
not if you smack your self with them) there have been great improvements
in nylon whips in the last 2 years and they are approaching leather
whips in throw ability. The really good news is they are about
the same cost as raw hide.
Latigo leather/ red hide factory processed and tanned. Whips
made from this look a bit better than raw hide. These whips will
if treated properly. Do not over lube this kind of whip as the
fibers stretch easily. A lot of red hide whips are made well and
a lot are
cheaply constructed, one should be careful and ask what's inside,
it should be all leather. Perhaps I am biased. I say only
buy a red hide whip if you have to. They can and do look nice they
wear well when properly treated,
but they can contain
some chrome dyes that are definitely a health hazard, ( a sweaty palm
will absorb some dyes). If they are over lubed they will stretch
and break down
at the transition from handle to whip body.
What Plait number is good?
Plait is the number of strands that are braided together,
many whips are 16p and 12 p the more strands the longer it takes to
make a whip
and ergo the more expensive the whip will be. There are lots of opinions
as to what # is best, I think the best info I can give you is to
not discuss what is best, but rather the difference in cost. Expect
to pay at least $25 for every plait over 8 . Just because a whip
maker spends less time braiding the leather and less time cutting
nothing to affect the whip, a good whip maker will always put his
craft into every thing he makes and an 8 plait whip from a good whip
maker will be better than a 16 plait from a poor whip maker.
Ways to save money on your first whip.
If you have been borrowing your buddies 16p $350, 5' bullwhip and love
the way it throws ask him who made it. Contact the whip maker and tell
him you have thrown a whip he made tell him the size and # of plaits
ask him to make you the same whip in 8p in a single color. Remember
you will be getting the same roo hide , made with the same workmanship.
Again, a good whip maker that has made thousands of whips will follow
the same good habits of making your 8 p whip as he does with a 16p.
If you opt out for red hide or raw hide that’s ok there
are some great beginner whips out there that will cost a bit less in
than roo. Search out a whip that the laces lie flat and are not boxy,
if a raw hide whip maker splits and bevels the laces you will get a
smooth whip that cuts the air nicely. What is splitting? Splitting
is cutting all the laces the same thickness ( not width). Beveling
is when the
edges get cut at a 45 degree angle so they lay flat together and slightly
overlap. Beware of Mexican style whips, they may have a core that’s
made out of rope or something less hardy. I would also not buy a
whip with a swiveling handle for a first whip. Many whip makers excel
at red hide whips but remember to request skiving and beveling.
What's a good length?
My first whip was a 5', 8p bullwhip, I had thrown some raw hide whips
and some roo hide whips and found that roo hide was a lot more predictable.
Why 5'? Well
the tendency of new whip thrower is to rush the throwing motion and
on the transition from back to forwards, a long whip of 8'-10' requires
a long wait between tossing the whip back and bringing it forwards. You
different lengths meet different needs, no matter what your final use
will be learning to throw a whip will come first. Remember the dangerous
will be 5' for the whip 16"-20" for the fall and 4"-8" for
the popper away from you with a 5' whip this will give you roughly
of distance. Whips shorter than 5' tend to be very fast and tend to recoil
right back at you a 5' will hit the ground if you follow thru and kill
off some of the energy.
Anyway, I hope you have a happy whip buying experience,
buy out of desperation ( well if a great whip maker is in town and
what you want then buy it
but don’t buy a 10' bullwhip in pink and blue just because its
his last one, order what you really want and just wait) oops sorry
traveling whip maker
Author Paul Keith