How to maintain your bullwhip, signalwhip, snakewhip or stockwhip.

If your whip has a popper examine it to see how it is attached. It will occasionally need replacing. If it is a bullwhip, snakewhip or stockwhip it has a replaceable cracker you can change your self. if on the other hand it is signalwhip you will need to have it replaced by a whip maker as the popper on a signalwhip is braided in. Cracking a whip without a popper will quickly wear down the fall and it won't give as loud a crack, if it cracks at all. Avoid hitting hard objects like walls or stony ground and don't drag it about on gravel. Give the fall a good dressing with a quality cream leather dressing often.Your whip is made of leather so you should be careful to keep it clean and dry and out of hot places like the trunk of your car. A whip's worst enemy is heat, dirt and moisture. Dirt can rub and erode the leather, and moisture can cause it to stretch, shrink, kink and even mildew. Prolonged exposure to heat will dry it it out and could cause the laces to crack or even break. Signalwhips and snakewhips should be held with the knob at the end in the palm of the hand, with the whip allowed to swivel in the hand so as to reduce the bending stress in the thong near the knob. If the whip is held firmly in the hand, and the thong forced to bend severely near the knob, the whip will fail prematurely in the area of excess bending. If you have a signalwhip and the ends of the braided leather buried under the thread of the cracker begin to poke out as the whip is cracked. Don't be concerned. The thread is much more elastic than the leather, and so when the whip is cracked the thread tends to creep out over the leather ends and allow the ends to poke out. There are typically three knots holding the ends of the strands in place, spaced out to ensure that the whip does not unravel. It is best to leave the ends that poke out, and not to trim them off. When the fluff on the end of a signalwhip popper wears down to the knot, this knot may be undone or cut, to form a second fluff which may be worn down to the next knot. In the case of my signalwhips you can do this a total of three times before the cracker will need to be replaced.

In most cases you will not need to put leather dressing on a new whip. That is unless it has been hanging in the shop for a long period of time before you bought it. When a whip is made the whip maker will usually apply lots of leather dressing on every layer of the whip when it being braided. This helps the braiding process and allows the laces to be pulled very tight.When you do have to put leather dressing on the whip use a good cream leather dressing and be sparing. Apply more dressing towards the end of the whip where the cracker is and less at the top where it gets the most stress.Like at the handle junction of a bullwhip.

How to break in a new bullwhip or any whip for that matter.


© 2006 Victor Tella

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