Author: EssentiaWhips

 

My retirement

Well that’s a bit of a lie I guess, but also a bit of the truth, it is more a semi retirement I would think would be a better description of this announcement. I haven’t taken a job because my business has failed, I’m just in that fortunate position that I can afford to do it and so am taking the opportunity to do so…hopefully I am still young enough to enjoy the freedom of it…

From January 2019 (from now really) I will no longer be taking any bespoke orders, when that time comes I will change my website accordingly and eventually do away with it as such and just make a In Stock page and a gallery page, but that’s for later…those that are already on my waiting list I will still complete should you so wish.

So what am I going to do with all my time…..

1/ I am very lucky and have a couple of wholesale contracts that keep me busy on average 2 to 3 days a week so I shall be keeping those up and so keep the wolves from the door so to speak…hence the term semi-retired.

2/  I am on Mac so in Final Cut Pro I have about 5 maybe 6 videos I have made for my YouTube channel and just not had the time to edit them and get them watch worthy, a couple of them have been there near two years, so I will be doing a lot more of that, passing on my experience for anyone starting out or anyone looking to try different methods to the ones they currently use, that type of thing…

3/  I have no doubt that I will still get the urge to make things, I have several toy’s in my head at any given time, some get to production stage (the English Lash, the English Crop and I believe I was the very first to put nylon stock whips into production) some don’t so I shall be having a play and if I like what I make I’ll just pop it on my In Stock page on my website, so it may be worth book marking that and checking in now and then.

4/ Popping in the local coffee shop, catching up with friends and taking more long weekend breaks….I think that’ll do me, for those that don’t know me I have a lovely little dog called Murphy who I walk many miles every day, so I’ll also now be walking him even more miles…

Pay Back

And finally because I want to and not to piss people (other makers) off I will be starting a range called payback whips, 

I often read that makers are doing it for love, insinuating they don’t make any money from it, or very little money, it’s not for me to call them out, I’m sure logistics makes a difference, possibly the difference between doing it commercially vs as a hobby maybe! but here in the UK if you have continuity of work then the wage you earn is a very good one, substantially higher than the national average wage, I have been very lucky in that department and the last 15 maybe 16 years there hasn’t been a time where my waiting list has not been at 3 to 5 months so I really do feel grateful for that and feel I should in some way payback…

So long winded, don’t worry I’m getting there, my plan is to 4 times a year, once a quarter I shall make something, probably something that is normally expensive like a cat ‘0’ 9 tails or a high plait count whip and sell it at cost price as a way of saying thank you for keeping me busy all these years and giving me a good lifestyle and a comfortable living….

So that’s it I will still be about if you have questions, email as usual, look out on my YouTube channel and book mark my **In Stock** page to hopefully  either get a cost price bargain or just to buy a whip should I have time to make anything to put on there…

cheers

Tony

BWR Whips Lace cutter/Beveller

I found this on an old blog I used to keep, not sure how many years old the post was but I’m guessing 10 plus, I still use this tool every day….


*Note for those reading this review I have to say I was able to use this beautiful little tool with ease right from the get go as I  have used similar, though much more crude machines for many years already, If you’ve never made a whip before or if your using a machine for the first time then you should expect a learning curve….

The Man Behind the Machine

Before I start to sing the praises of the little machine I must first sing the praises of Bevan the man that made it, and of course the brains of the operation his good wife Lisa….

I first ordered the machine some months back, just at the time our *Royal Mail* decided to stage a series of strikes, you guessed it my little machine went walkabout, we would hope one day it turns up but who knows?

Bevan didn’t hesitate for a moment after rucking the Australian Post Office at his own cost he sent me another machine registered post and that one thankfully arrived in a few days…..the moral of the story being:-  if your worried about shopping on the internet, don’t be with this guy he is totally honest and honourable……

The Machine

Well where to start really, it is very very well made, no rough or sharp edges, quite ingenious how it fixes to the bench, you just need to drill 2 holes in your bench to accomodate the 2 steel dowels that screw into the base of the machine,  these hold it firmly in place as you use it, and to use the opposing side simply flip the machine round and as if by a miracle the two holes line up to make the transition from lace cutter to beveller super smooth and easy, even this thick old english man got it first go…..

All the moving parts where you can loosen and tighten to fix blades or adjust cutting widths have a nice cylindrical screw attached so it’s easy to pinch them up by hand but also as a double check there is in the end of each fixing an alan key hex and the machine comes with an alan key…..as soon as I got mine out of the box I fully undid all the screws and smeared all the threads with white vaseline, it’s hot and cold here in the UK so it doesn’t hurt to keep things greased it also makes the actions easier too, so if you buy one I recommend you do the same, it’ll be a benefit for sure!

On the side of the machine you use to cut your lace and taper it, there is a nice little guage, this is really handy but I’m so much in the habit of using my calipers I haven’t as yet tried this out, I’m not sure I will being a creature of habit even when habit is not always the best policy, but for those new to the machine and to whip making I think this is a really great feature as it’s not always easy to *nip a bit off* when your first starting out, I can well remember the days of nipping a bit off and having to start over……ggrrrrr!!!!

The bevelling side really is ingenious fix the blade just behind the guage, hold the lace your resizing or tapering down flat behind the finger guard, slide the lace under the cleverly greated overhang of the guage and pull through, the overhang is brilliant and I think even a novice or first time user would bevel easy with this…….

In Conclusion

The machine is a very well engineered bit of kit, the man selling it is honest and honourable, the price is more than reasonable, I can’t say enough good about it…..go to www.bwrwhips.com to get one….

Tony

6 bite TH tutorial

So I found an old PDF i had on my hard drive its from many years back i did it for the A.P.W.A. Journal originally, so thought I’d share it here..some folks get photo’s better than video…hope it helps someone somewhere….

 

 

 

 

A.P.W.A. Is it a good or a bad thing?

So this is a question I am often asked, “Are you a member of the A.P.W.A.” the answer in short is no, the answer in long is, no, but I used to be.

So why did I leave? well no juicy gossip of scandal to report I’m afraid, I sort of just drifted away from it, I guess it was a decade plus ago I used to rejoin year in year out, at the time the on line site had just been opened up by that awesome couple that are Chris & Kerri Barr, sadly just after the death of the late and very great Ron Edwards.

With Chris & Kerri came a whole new lease of life, a swanky web site as opposed to just a web page, forums, files pages and on and on, it was a great place to be, a great place to talk whips, and no matter where on the scale you were you could always interact and get an answer there from someone either below or above you on the scale.

All sounds too good to be true and for a mere £50.00 a year that also included 4 journals that arrived in the old fashioned way, snail mail, along with a membership card.

If I’m honest I always felt a little funny about the name and so my membership, The Australian Plaiters and Whip makers Association, well it has to be said I’m not Australian so urrrmmm, well! Also I didn’t really see why anybody could join and they could, just anybody, there was no proof needed  that you were a whip maker, nothing wrong with that as such just my opinion would be I’d of liked it to be a little more exclusive maybe, but in saying that and the name then maybe, possibly, probably it should be even more exclusive and open only to Australian’s and the Americans should have their own as should the Europeans and so on. I think thats my true thoughts, maybe when I semi-retire one day I’ll start a UK and EU Whip Makers Association to fill my time.

You often see the badges displayed on whip makers sites, many years ago and many web sites ago I had it on mine, it unfortunately doesn’t guarantee anything, ie if you see it on a site the site owner may or may not be a member and even if they are a member the A.P.W.A. does not guarantee that any member displaying the badge is a decent whip maker, so that again was part of my decision to leave.I don’t mean to sound negative in any way I think the association is a good thing albeit I think it ought to be a little more exclusive, and if you are new to whip making then I highly recommend you join, the vast amount of knowledge you can get by buying the back copies of the journal are invaluable, I had a tutorial published myself when I was a member, shame the site is back to basics and the forums gone but still a good place to be I think….

 

Thanks for reading…..Tony

Bio

I thought you might like to know how it all came about….

Essentia Bio

I come from the UK generation that chose an apprenticeship before leaving school, nowadays your lucky to be even offered one, I chose brick laying after putting very little thought into it and was less than 6 months in before I regretted deeply my choice. I did have the sense to finish my apprenticeship just incase I ever needed to go back to it but left as soon as was possible and found myself working as a maintenance/repair man in a small factory.
The factory was on the river in the part of London where I was dragged up, opposite it was a chandlers and outside used to sit in the summer months an ex merchant seaman employed by the chandlers to do all the splicing and rope work for the yachting folks. I soon found myself befriending him and taking him in large bars of dairy milk chocolate that he took great pleasure from, in turn I learnt to tie monkey’s fists, various Turks head knots, how to splice, which is not much different from back plaiting, aswell as some basic round and flat plaiting.
Pure entertainment at the time and I guess a bit of boredom release for the pair of us, but a year or so of my young life that would later shape my life and give me a career that I am passionate about, I never lose sight of how lucky I am to love what I do for a living, I have my moments but never once have I dreaded getting up and going to work.
For the next few years I moved from job to job, mostly related to the building industry, I settled for a long while on window fitting and managed to make enough money to buy
a house and eventually a small gymnasium that I ran as a business, somewhere along the way I had started weight training and ended up competing in bodybuilding contests at which I was quite successful, I had still managed to keep up plaiting as a hobby, I made dog leads, collars, key rings and that sort of thing, not a vast experience but as we say here in the UK *enough to keep your hand in*
One day out of the blue my life changed forever, into my gym walked Mel, I was smitten immediately and  2 plus decades later we are still together and I’m still smitten. She was at the time a purser for British Airways so only in the country 6 to 8 days a month, almost from day one I arranged my days off to coincide with hers and would often do a little trip with her to the Isle of Wight to visit her parents.
The Isle of Wight is full of Ramblers groups and before I realised it I was making walking sticks which were long poles a plaited handle and a couple of Turks heads with a wrist strap and at the other end a rubber ferrule, I made a lot of them and my plaiting moved on to being a part-time business rather than a hobby.
With the coming of the internet I was able to get in touch with various whip makers who had many years of experience and my business progressed and became full-time, Bernie Wojcicki was one, a real sad loss recently, may you rest in peace and happiness wherever you are Bernie, I can’t think there are many whip makers in the world that haven’t benefitted from Bernie’s knowledge and generosity, though some don’t admit to it, Chris Barr the worlds best plaiter and stock whip maker helped me lot’s too, as I type this today the 12th March 2018 I have been plaiting any tying knots some 34 years, that’s plaiting and tying knots, not making whips, I have been making whips commercially, i.e.:- selling through my web sites some 16/18 years now and prior to that 3 maybe 4 years word of mouth, unlike some whip makers those would be real years as opposed to dog years, and doesn’t include the time period from when I was a kid and made a whip from a string and a stick as my start time…sorry English sense of humour and good old scorn at some of the diabolical claims you can find on the net