For years, “Taipan” of DallasDogSled.com has maintained one of the only cow whip tutorials on the web. I have referred countless people to his site for information on making whips and it has been a help to many. Recently Taipan got a copy of my Florida Cow Whip Tutorial DVDs. The following is his assessment of my production:
A review of Rhett’s Cow Whip tutorial
Tony Layzell’s review of Rhett’s Cow Whip tutorial says “If your looking to improve your current whip making ability, looking to make a whip for the first time or like me just a collector then click the banner, visit Rhett and buy the DVD set off him, I can’t recommend them high enough, a really comprehensive, educational, value for money purchase I think…..”
I cannot agree more. I have watched the DVD’s more than a couple of times and want to add my recommendation that any aspiring whip maker get this DVD to put in their toolbox.
He starts off the DVD talking a bit about the history of the Cow Whip and even a bit about the Cow Cavalry which brought a smile to this old troopers face. I can never get enough history so I would have liked to have seen a bit more but I am happy that he put me on the track to learn more about the ancestry and use of the Cow Whip. It is fun to know that you are making your own version of what was probably the first kind of whip ever to reach the American continent.
I was a bit disappointed with the production value of the DVD. Rhett has talked about the difficulty he experienced with producing the DVD and I certainly would have done no better. That said, making a video is much like making a whip. Function first and the video does a great job of teaching how to make a whip. The lighting is good enough so that, usually, the details are easy to see. Focus was sometimes a problem but it is not even enough of one to require more than a couple of rewinds.
The audio is good and Rhett has a pleasant voice that is easy to understand. There is a bit of background echo since he was not in a sound studio but it is not a distraction. Okay, the birds had their say about the process but I have birds too and they can be heard in the background of most of the videos I have made.
Rhett repeatedly says that “Whatever works for you” and “If it works for you” that is the way to do it and this video shows his way. I have my way and you will have your way to do things. When we learn from one another it is more tools in the toolbox and I am very appreciative of learning from one of the best whip makers there is.
Learning to plait is an individual skill that is not really covered in this presentation. He shows how he does it without going into detail. Watching his hands fly is a joy to see.
He covers his method of dropping strands very well and I am going to try his method next time I sit down at my vice to make a new whip. He hangs his whip from a door jam and plaits “from the hook” in the way of the old timers. I am not that good so to prevent my whips from looking like a candy cane I need the crutch of the vice.
I was thrilled with the way he made his tapering twist. I will probably still call it the twisted fall without meaning any disrespect to him. I will try this method too since I have always hated the necessity of using what he called “Machines and different do-dads”. His method is so much easier than the way I had been doing it. I hope my hands are strong enough to complete the process.
I will probably not tie off the end of the whip as he does but knowing the process is a huge help when it comes time to replace the fall on an well used whip. I have some that are going on 10 years old including the old “Garden Hose” whip. One day I will need to make a repair and this is yet another great tool in the box.
Speaking of extras he spent a good bit of time explaining how to splice in a strand. This is a great part of the DVD which I rewound more than once to 14:23. He even dropped a stitch at 17 minutes and I have done that more times that I can count. It was great that he showed how to recognize and correct that common problem in whip making.
The use of the lacing needle is an important part of making what he calls Synthetic and Supersonic and which I am going to steal for the title of this review. His way seems quick and easy but again I am still going to cut my strands at an angle with a hot knife to thread my needles. “If it works for you” that is the way to do it.
As for the wax, again I think he has convinced me that it is worth the effort so I am going to give it another try. I was not happy with the result the first couple of times I did it early on in my whip making so I quit. I will have to report later on the result.
His handle is beautiful. Mine never look so good and my method is somewhat dangerous if not downright crazy. I do like the shape he has made and his method of finishing it has changed my mind completely on the way I will do things in the future. This alone was worth the price of the DVD just in savings of money spent at Home Depot.
In conclusion, do yourself a big favor and buy the DVD. You will save enough time and money to recoup the investment many times over. That said this not the most important thing you will gain from this DVD. Most aspiring whip makers fail and quit. There are half finished whips balled up and put in storage all over Texas for sure and surly more across the country and even world. Rhett’s presentation teaches you to relax and make creating your own Supersonic Synthetic fun and not a chore. Put Ben Dehart’s song “Cow Hunter Dreams” on in the stereo and enjoy what you are creating.
If you would like to purchase a copy for the discounted price of $67.00, please email me at rhettswhips @ Yahoo.com