Designing A Black Widow

A while back I received an email from someone who said he really liked my Barbed Wire whip.

Brown & Cream Barbed Wire Design Bull Whip

Brown & Cream Barbed Wire Design Bull Whip

He told me he was looking for a whip that was “Badass”. I didn’t know what he meant exactly, but figured he wanted something unusual, one of a kind, probably tough looking, and definitely something people would say “WOW” when they saw it.

After five months of off and on thinking, I came up with an idea. I suppose if I was eighteen, it would have come quicker. I had the idea, but would it work? You really don’t know what is possible until you try. The idea seemed feasible, but could it be done? How many strands of leather would the handle need to make what I envisioned? How was I going to cut the strands narrow enough and then thin enough to make this work? Being faced with more questions than answers, I decided the first step had to be to get my vision on paper.

I started designing the artwork and after a few bumps along the way, I had something I thought was going to work. Converting the artwork to something I could braid the strands of leather into, however, was not so easy. For days I planned, experimented, tested, and started over. At first my efforts looked choppy, kind of like those old video games where everything was at a 90 degree angle. With each try though it got better, the image became smoother, and my design began to take form. After what seemed like weeks of “almost got it, nearly there” attempts, it finally looked like I envisioned.

The next step was to braid a practice handle. Kangaroo hides are expensive and I didn’t want to cut the kangaroo only to find out it couldn’t be done. What works on paper doesn’t always work in a braid. Using goat skin and 1” pipe I began the trial run. Most people don’t know this, but goat skin is a good leather to use on whips. It is stronger than cowhide and nearly as strong as kangaroo. Cowhide could not be used for this project, as the strands would break at the dimensions required to make this design.

Yea! Hurrah! Rock & Roll Forever! It worked! My design was no longer only a drawing on paper, it was reality.

It was then time to start the real thing. First I had to cut and split the kangaroo hide into 56 strands. This alone took several hours. Then the real work began. After 20 hours of braiding the handle looked exactly how I wanted, the first try.

DSCF3610

I won’t bore you with the construction of the rest of the whip, but that took an additional 20 hours. All in all it took 40 hours to  complete the construction of the whip. This does not include time spent planning and drawing the artwork or braiding the practice handle.

DSCF3612

I don’t know if I succeeded in making something “Badass”, but when I listed it online, the response was impressive. It received more hits the first day than my other whips received in three. I don’t know if people like it or if they’re just curious, but it continues to receive more views and watchers every day. That alone says something.

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