Category Archives: exotic wood

“Your handles are High Priced!”

Top to bottom: Zebrawood, Redheart, and Bocote

For a while now on my main website, I have not advertised that I sell custom cow whip handles. Though I do make custom handles on request, I don’t really want to get bogged down with orders for them.

The reason:

Cow whip handles are one of the least profitable items I sell given the time they take me to make them.

Yet, I was recently told by someone that my handles are “high priced”.

Steven Huntress recently posted a great article on his blog addressing the erroneous idea that the value of a product should be based solely upon the cost of the materials used to make it. I commend it to you as I share his point of view on the subject.

In my article, I just want to touch on how my handle prices are figured and the rationale behind it.

My wife would probably tell you I’m the King of Wasting Time, but I do value my time and I like to spend my productive hours in a profitable way.

In general, making whips is probably the best paying job I’ve ever had on an hour per hour basis. However, that doesn’t mean that every facet of whip making is profitable alone. That’s sort of the situation with making cow whip handles.

I normally charge a base price of $25.00 to make a standard ash cow whip handle. On exotic wood handles, I charge roughly what it costs me to get the handle blank being used, plus $25.00 per handle for turning and finishing it on the lathe. In the photo, you’re looking at roughly $140.00 worth of handles. That may sound like lots of money, but when I deduct the expense for materials and figure in my time, I could’ve made much better money working on a 12 or 16 plait bullwhip instead.

The price I charge for making a custom handle is really the minimum amount I will accept for the time it takes me to do it. I would ask for more, but I’m making a conscious effort to keep the price low. Unlike many markets today, the “whip market” is free and unregulated. Buyers are free to buy, or not to buy a product, and there is a growing number of sellers from which to choose.

Are there other, less expensive options out there? Sure. There’s Eli’s in Florida that sells handles cheap. I suspect these are mass produced because all the ones I’ve seen are all clones. What you see is what you get. It’s not a bad handle, but when I sold them as part of my whipmaking kits last year, people didn’t really like them as much as my standard handles. After you figure in UPS shipping rates, the cost of a plain Eli’s handle isn’t much less than one of mine.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind making handles. If you want one, please get in touch with me and I’ll be happy to take care of you. Just know that even though the price may sound a little steep from your view, from my view, I’m offering a real bargain.

Guided Tour of the New 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


Cow Whip Tutorial DVD Update #2

The filming of my upcoming  6ft cow whip tutorial DVD is nearing completion! In the photo here, you can see the finished black and tan thong and the zebrawood blank I will be using for the handle.

Today we finished shooting the construction of the thong . Tomorrow I will do the introduction segment and a segment on handles.  For the sake of time and disc space, I will not show handle construction in full detail, but I will include some footage from before, during, and after it’s completed. I will be talking about different ways of obtaining handles for those who do not have a lathe.

The only thing so far that I wish I could change is that I could not get the newer, better camera to work with my movie making software. Therefore, I had to use my older camera and a small portion of the footage (when zoomed in) came out a little bit grainy. I didn’t realize this until after the whip was finished, but in spite of that, I think it won’t hinder anyone’s learning. Also, I now believe this project may require 2 DVD discs.

Please note:

In order to find a nice home for the whip I have made for this tutorial, I am going to offer the very first DVD set and the whip from the video on eBay. It will have a signed certificate with it stating that it is the first edition DVD set and that the whip is the one I made in the video. This will be made available before the DVDs are officially for sale. Stay tuned for that announcement!

Have a great weekend!


5ft Bullwhip: Chocolate with Olivewood Handle

I have a 5ft woody bull on eBay. I do not anticipate taking any new orders for another month or two, so this is one of the few chances you will have to get a RK whip unless you’re already on my waiting list.

Click on whip photo to see the eBay listing!



Exotic Laminate Handles Now Available!

I have partnered with a supplier in Florida for some very nice exotic laminate turning stock. Below is a photo of a handle I turned from one of the pieces I obtained. The woods used in this handle are padauk in the center, then maple, and limoncillo wood on the outer layer. The handle is 14.75″ long and weighs in at just 4.5 ounces. The photo doesn’t do it justice.

If you would like see about getting a custom laminate handle made, send me an email! rhettswhips @

Cow Whip for Sale! [Sold]

I now have a 6ft black cow whip available for immediate purchase!

This whip has been sold. Thanks for stopping by!

This whip features a 14.5″ exotic handle turned from African Zebrawood. This wood is attractive and also more lightweight than some of the African exotics I have used in the past.

The price for the whip is $110.00 + shipping. Payment accepted via Paypal only! If you are interested in purchasing this whip, please email me at

New Exotics Coming Soon!

I have a new shipment of exotic wood coming in and I am adding a few new species to my line-up! You don’t have to order an entire whip to get an exotic handle. I would be happy to make you a nice, new exotic handle for a cow whip you already own. If you are interested, feel free to email me at rhettswhips @

Honey Mesquite:





Lignum Woody Bull

Here’s a picture of my latest wood handled bullwhip. It’s an 8 footer with a handle made from Argentine Lignum Vitae with a black, tan, and chocolate thong:


2009 in Review

As 2009 now comes to a close, we witness the passing of what will be remembered as a tough year for lots of people. But even in a difficult economy, I’ve seen that people continue to buy whips; thus 2009 was a great year for my business. I had many wonderful customers who provided me with plenty of whip orders to fill even when the hours at my job were lacking. In this final post of the year, I would like to highlight some accomplishments and say thanks.

Here’s some highlights from 2009:

  1. got a long overdue makeover.
  2. Developed my own line of Australian stockwhips.
  3. Saw all-time record ordering volume in April and July.
  4. Redesigned the bellies and fall hitches on my bullwhips.
  5. Successfully entered the nylon Indiana Jones bullwhip market.
  6. Started this blog!
  7. Added new options for cow whip handles: Stratabond and exotic woods
  8. Affiliated with the Whip Basics Project: WBSR Whipmaking Team and DVD distribution.
  9. Began making deer leather and experimenting with leather work.
  10. Resurrected my line of wood handled bullwhips.
  11. Saw my son begin his journey as a whipmaker.
  12. Made lots of new friends!

As you can see, 2009 was a busy year. I’m looking forward to what 2010 has in store.  I appreciate all the customers who helped make it possible. Thank you so much! You’re the best!

Happy New Year!


Last Chance For Christmas!

For the last two weeks, I’ve been inundated with calls and emails from folks wanting to buy whips as Christmas gifts. Because of my large backlog of orders, I have not been taking any Christmas orders; I’m currently booked up until Spring.

That being said, there is now one last chance to get a Kelley-made bullwhip before Christmas. The bullwhip you see in the photos is now on eBay.

Happy Bidding!