Category Archives: whip handles

The FCE Stockwhip

I’m very happy to introduce my newest line of nylon whips. It is the very affordable “FCE stockwhip.” FCE stands for “fast, cheap, and easy,” a name coined by my wife and I while out for lunch recently. The FCE was developed out of a desire to offer a simple,  high quality,  nylon whip at price low enough that even those on a very tight budget could afford it.

Why the name “Fast, Cheap, and Easy?”

FAST: With its 4ft thong and 20″ fiberglass handle, these whips are fast. Not only that, the FCE whips are fast to make. By using a fiberglass handle with a non-slip rubber grip, it reduces the amount of time it takes for me to make the whip and enables me to get them out more quickly.

CHEAP: At a base price of just $87.00, these whips are among the cheapest professionally made nylon stockwhips on the market. And although the FCE is priced cheap, it’s not cheaply made. Unlike a certain popular line of low priced whips from New Zealand, the thong of the FCE are handmade [by yours truly] to the same standards as my regular stockwhips -and cost less than the competition to boot. No machine woven nylon rope here!

EASY: Easy to crack, easy to make! These little whips really crack nicely. It takes little effort to get a very nice crack out of them. With the 2 major customization options being the handle colors and the length, the whips are easier  for me to make than some of my other more customized whip designs.

Options:

The basic $87.00 FCE whip is 4ft long with choice of handle and the keeper and thong in solid black. The main option for customizing the FCE is handle color. Handles are available in orange, blue, purple, pink, and green. Add $10/ft for thongs longer than 4ft. Other customizations will be handled on an individual basis with prices to be determined during the ordering process.

To order, visit my contact page.

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Taipan’s Review of My Whipmaking DVDs

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:

 

 

Supersonic Synthetics

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.

Mark

If you would like to purchase a copy for the discounted price of $67.00, please email me at rhettswhips @ Yahoo.com


The Whip That Started it All!


Toheti Cane: Durable Material or Brittle Junk?

The dreaded scenario goes something like this:

You’re at a whip practice and inadvertently leave your whip bag on the ground. Some very inattentive person comes walking up, doesn’t see your bag lying there, and steps right on it. Simultaneously, you hear a loud “crack,” but it doesn’t come from the popper of the Noreast nylon bullwhip you were just volleying, rather, it comes from inside your whip bag, from a toheti cane handle snapping in two like an old crusty chopstick. You resist the urge to yell at the idiot who just stepped on your bag, but you also want to kick yourself for being foolish enough to leave the bag lying on the ground in the first place. You regret not opting for a fiberglass handle on your nylon stockwhip. When you get home, you promptly fire off an angry email to that Rhett Kelley guy who made the whip…

This humorous, very exaggerated scenario demonstrates what I’ve read online about toheti cane whip handles becoming brittle over time and breaking if tread upon inside of a whip bag. What I want to do is examine the claims I’ve seen on the web that stockwhip handles made of toheti are prone to breakage. To be specific, I want to look at the probability of breakage with half plaited, unskinned cane handle. Now as a matter of personal opinion, I’ve always liked the looks of a half-plait cane handle whip and I believe they make an excellent handle for a stockwhip. However, this is not a discussion of what’s “best” or the most aesthetically pleasing. Such discussions are subjective, based largely on personal opinion, and of no real value to me.

I’ll be the first to admit that I do have a dog in this fight. I use a variety of materials on for my stockwhip handles, but cane is my favorite and seems to be preferred my diverse customer base. In the age of the internet, people do lots of research and form opinions based upon what they read. In light of some of the claims out there, some may shy away from my half-plait cane handles as a result of reading that cane can become brittle and break if it is tread upon.

When I started making stockwhips, it wasn’t long before I got some cane to use. I didn’t know what to expect before I got it, but I had read that compared to hardwood, toheti cane was preferred by Aussie stockmen because it was less apt to break, splinter, and injure a rider if he/she fell from a horse onto the handle of the whip.

Cane Cross Section

When my first cane shipment arrived, I was amazed at how light and durable it seemed. Sometimes the cane needs to be straightened a bit, and again, I was amazed at how even when place it over my knee and applied all the pressure I could muster, it would not break! It reminded me somewhat of one of those black plastic combs we carried in our back pocket in grade school. A look here at the cross section reveals that the cane is nothing like either bamboo or hardwood. In my estimation, this is what makes it so tough and flexible.

Before writing this article, I contacted and consulted with a number of my whipmaking friends Down Under. Having just over a year’s experience using the material, I didn’t want to make claims about anything based off of my limited experience alone. Each agreed that perhaps a shaved down, full plait cane handle might be subject to break if not steel lined, but that the chances of an unskinned, half-plait cane breaking from someone stepping on it is virtually nill.

One of my Aussie friends -who is a renowned whipmaker with decades of experience- tells me that only on extremely rare occasions has he seen a piece of toheti cane that would break easily. He theorizes that it was probably as a result of someone harvesting an already dead piece of cane and putting it into a bundle. No doubt, this can probably happen from time to time, but any alert whipmaker with a pulse could probably spot it and cull it out before making a handle from it. He also told me that he recently had a redhide stockwhip come in for repairs; he made the whip over 25 years ago and the handle “was still as good as new.”

I did a bit of experimenting with a very thin and very ugly piece of cane that I culled out of a shipment I received about a year ago. This piece has been left out under the shed and exposed to the elements in ways I hope my whips never are. I put it through a series of tests and got my son to catch the clips on video. I hope this demonstrates that there’s not much to worry about as far as breakage when you buy an unskinned, half-plait cane handle:


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!

Thanks!

Rhett


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 @ yahoo.com


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 @ yahoo.com.

Honey Mesquite:

Zebrawood:

Padauk:

Thanks!

Rhett