Category Archives: bullwhips

Don’t Judge a Cowboy… by the color of his whip!

IMG_0204A while back,  I was browsing some other whip websites and I happened across the statement that said that no “real cowboy/cowgirl” would dare carry a whip on their saddle that was any other color than black, tan, or brown. I thought I’d interact with that idea for a bit and demonstrate that, apart from being untrue, a case could be a made that “real” cowboys and cowgirls might actually be better off in some cases with a whip that was made in colors other than black, tan, and brown.

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Through my whipmaking adventures, I’ve noted that there’s actually quite a bit of diversity among the cowboys and cowgirls of America. They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors and so do the horses, equipment, and tack that they use. Whips are no different. Suggesting that a “real cowboy” won’t use whips that are only certain colors is just as silly as saying cowboys won’t drive Dodge trucks, wear yellow shirts, eat Krystal burgers, or ride an American Paint Horse.

One big reason why a “real cowboy” might consider ordering a whip in colors other than black, tan, and brown is because whips get lost.  About a decade ago, I had a “real” Florida cowboy call and order a solid hot pink whip. His old whip had fallen off his saddle and he wasn’t able to find it. He said he knew he would get laughed at by some of his peers, but he wanted his whip easy to IMG_0583see if it happened to fall off his saddle again.

Indeed, I could probably take my wife out to a nice dinner if I had a dollar for every story cowboys have told me about losing whips while working cows. The earth tone whips often blend in so well that they cannot find them if they backtrack searching. Having a whip that won’t blend in can help with that problem. So in reality, real cowboys ought to seriously consider buying whips with lots of bright colors.

So while I’ll grant that lots of working cowboys do order whips in earth tones, I’m also happy to cater to the ones who want them in other colors and patterns. I’d also like for the reader to note that all the whips pictured in on this post are examples of whips I’ve made for “real cowboys” who derive most (or all) of their income from working with cattle.IMG_0609

Visit my online photo gallery for more examples of whips I’ve made. Stop by the store to buy one! Others may judge you by the color of the whip you order, but I won’t.


Truth in Advertising

Pinocchio The internet whip market is really one of the freest markets there is today. People can freely buy and sell all over the planet. Every whipmaker is free to market his or her wares in whatever way they see fit and charge whatever price the market will bear.

Thankfully, there’s no Federal or U.N. Whip Agency overseeing what we make or how we make it. In having such a free market, I think we have to police ourselves so others won’t have to.

With that idea in mind, I want to touch on the topic of truth in advertising.

For now, I’m withholding names to protect the guilty, but I’m hoping a few whip buyers will read this and be more alert.  Better still, maybe the guilty sellers out there will read this and have a change of heart.

I recently started keeping a small inventory of items on eBay. I hoped perhaps it would get me more established in a market I’ve not really taken advantage of over the years. To me, eBay is a real mixed bag when it comes to whips. Over the years I’ve seen hucksters succeed there, while a few really good whipmakers couldn’t seem to make a go of it. You’ve got some great stuff being sold right along side of rubbish, and unfortunately, lots of people can’t seem to tell the difference.

There’s nothing at all wrong with “talking up a product.” In marketing, sellers are supposed to do that. No whipmaker in their right mind is going to advertise a whip with a line like “Eh, they’re okay. I guess.” I could nick-pick about claims I see about whips sounding like cannons, but I think (hope) most customers recognize such things as the hyperbole that they are.

What I’m talking about are those who make claims that are plainly false in order to deceive unsuspecting customers. That’s what really irks me!

I’ve watched one eBay whip seller for a while. He’s on the 3rd seller I.D. that I know of… In a recent listing with his new seller I.D., he states that he’s new to selling whips eBay, which is flatly untrue. In addition to that, he can’t seem to figure out when he started making whips. At one point the date was coincidentally the same year as I started making whips. In another place, it says that he’s been making whips for “going on a decade.”

So which is it? 22 years or less than 10?? 1991? or 2003-2004?

I don’t expect someone to know the exact day they started a new hobby or craft, but there’s something fishy if they can’t decide which decade they started.

Another inconsistency I’ve seen is great swelling claims of having made “[insert random number] thousand” of nylon whips on one listing and then another “[insert random number] thousand” of nylon whips on another listing. An unsuspecting customer may not think anything of this, but it sets off all sorts of warning flags for me.

A while back I did some math with the claims I saw on one eBay listing. If I recall correctly, it came out that in order to support the claim, he had to be making something like 750 whips per year in order for it to be possible! That’s 2 whips per day. While I won’t say that’s totally impossible, I’d say it’s highly improbable. From other information I’m aware of, I’m almost certain our unscrupulous seller just picked a large, random number in order to fool people about his experience.

The most prolific whipmaker I know of in the USA is Krist King. He has many retail outlets selling his nylon whips and they are literally everywhere. He tells me he produces an average of 12 or 13 whips per week, depending on what kind he’s making. I believe that claim because I’ve seen evidence of it over the years. With the particular eBay seller I have in mind, I’ve seen no evidence to support the outrageous claims that have been made.

Personally, I see nothing to be gained from making boastful claims of having made “[insert random number] thousand” whips or something when I know it’s not true. I’d rather be known for quality instead of quantity anyway.

I don’t understand why some people can’t just be real. What’s wrong with being honest about your experience and doing your best to make a good product? Why not be proud of what you’ve actually accomplished instead of trying to deceive people into thinking you’re something you’re not?

In closing, I hope whip buyers will take time to evaluate some of the claims they see. Compare listings and see if the seller is being consistent in the stories he or she is telling. If a seller won’t put his real name on his product, that should be a red flag right there.

If you see claims of thousands of whips having been made in a certain period of time, break out a calculator and see if the numbers look realistic. There’s far too many good sellers out there for you to be doing business with shysters.


Watch a Master Make a Bullwhip

Whipmaking master, Bernie Wojcicki of Em Brand Whips, has recently made his whipmaking DVD footage available for everyone to see on Youtube.

Bernie works with leather, but lots of the basic plaiting and construction techniques can be used with nylon. I purchased his DVDs a number of years ago and gleaned many things that helped me improve my nylon bullwhips.

Here is the first of the 3 videos on bullwhip making that Bernie has now made available:


The Tool Whip

A few weeks ago I was working on my truck. I picked up a Craftsman screwdriver and got to looking at it’s classic, almost iconic grip. All of a sudden the idea hit me: This would be an interesting grip for a bullwhip. That is, in a “novelty” sort of way. I had never seen anything like it before.  This prototype is built to the same standard as all of my 16 plait  woody bullwhips, but with a Craftsman handle.

It is now for sale on eBay.


Guided Tour of the New Cowwhips.com

Cowwhips.com has a new look, new products, and a new way to order!

The first new tab you’ll notice on the navigation tab is the new online store. There you will find all of the nylon whips and other products that are available. Under the store tab you will find a FAQ page where I have attempted to post most of the common questions people ask me as well as a few hypothetical questions I think may arise from time to time.

As far as products, we have a few new additions to the site:

  1. The FCE stockwhip.
  2. 12 plait nylon bullwhips.
  3. Nylon Indiana Jones bullwhips.
  4. Paracord Survival Bracelets.
  5. Whip Basics DVDs.
  6. Whipmaking Kits.
  7. Rhett Kelley Whips t-shirts.
  8. Coreless Nylon Paracord
  9. How to Make Whips, by Ron Edwards

 

The 2nd tab is all “About,” there you will find a drop down that contains lots of information about myself and the business.

The 3rd tab is the Gallery. There you can find lots if pictures of whips I’ve made. I intend to keep this updated with new pictures on a regular basis.
The 4th is the Contact page. Please note the new business hours and email address.

The final tab is a link back to this blog.

And that’s about it for the tour. I hope it helps.
Rhett Kelley

Rhett Kelley Whips, LLC

Cowwhips.com

 


Cowwhips.com Relaunch

Stop by and see the newly remodeled Cowwhips.com!
New look, new products, and new lower prices on standard 16 plait bullwhips!

 

Rhett


New Bullwhip on eBay!

I have a 3 day auction going for a 4ft woody bull with a birdseye maple handle.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/130666174134

Thanks for looking and Happy Bidding!

Rhett Kelley
whipmaker
http://www.cowwhips.com


12 Plait Bullwhip Prototype for Sale

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Of all the whips I’ve sold, you won’t find any bullwhips out there that aren’t 16 plait. Until now… This week I finished a prototype version of my own line of 12 plait bullwhips. It’s made in the same manner as all my other bullwhips, but without the additional 16 plait overlay. I have posted this first-of-a-kind whip on eBay. If you would like to own it, please log on to eBay and place your bids!
http://www.ebay.com/itm/130630689823


Self Defense Project: The Bull Bat

The first time I ever made a bullwhip, I was intrigued with how the handle, more specifically the heel knot, was very dense and probably would not feel very good if it was applied to the side of someone’s cranium.

In How to Make Whips, Ron Edwards wrote about how blackjacks were illegal to carry in Australia, so instead they would carry small snakewhips. Snakewhips were legal to carry, and when equipped with a weighted heel knot,  the snakewhip served as a discreet, legal-to-carry blackjack (or a “life preserver” in Edwards’ Aussie vernacular).

While I’m not one to promote violence, I do believe that the ability to defend oneself is a basic human right. So for years I have been interested in developing a plaited device that would be good for self defense. All I needed was the impetus and time to develop it. Recently that impetus came in the form of an email entitled “special request” from an expert martial artist from Texas. The gentleman described the device he wanted and it matched up very well with the ideas I already had floating around in my head.

And thus the Bull Bat was born: The construction started out just like any of my regular bullwhips. An 8″ steel handle, a shot loaded core, 2 plaited bellies wrapped with artificial sinew for support, and all covered with a 16 plait overlay. Pretty much your average bullwhip handle and construction until you get around 21″ down the thong. There you encounter the thong beginning to thicken ever so slightly, then finished with a turkshead knot. The knot on the end conceals the payload: steel, lead tape, and nylon cord that is wrapped super tight and secured with glue and staples to be sure it doesn’t come off.

Overall, it’s 23″ long and weighs 13.5 ounces. From one end it looks like a bullwhip, from the other, a snakewhip. It functions much like the Aussie snakewhip “life preserver” but with the added benefit of a rigid handle for better control and leverage. The wrist loop keeps the Bull Bat from being taken away from the user. It can deliver a crushing blow. Even a light tap to the side of the leg hurts like the dickens.

I’ve decided to call it the “Bull Bat” because it’s partially a bullwhip, but intended for hitting instead of making an audible crack. At this point I am not sure if I will offer these as a regular product. I’m sure there are lots of places where owning such an item is prohibited by law, so that is a major concern -especially if one fell into the hands of someone who is not very responsible for their actions. In the mean time, I plan to work on the design a bit more and see what kind of variations I can make to improve on this initial design. I’ll post some photos if I do.

-Rhett


The Frisbee Show Bullwhip

I recently had the pleasure of making a unique 8ft bullwhip for Greg Frisbee, a San Francisco based entertainer who does juggling and all sort of other things in his family-friendly shows.  Greg has been one of my customers for a long time, but this is by far the wildest looking whip he has gotten from me. I am very happy at how it turned out.

Check out Greg’s website at Frisbeeshow.com.