Category: Opinion

 

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

Fraudulent customers and rip off whip makers

Red Black Sjambok

So I belong to a couple of whip groups on FaceBook and have decided to write due to a whip maker Giovanni Celeste and his recent post regarding a fraudulent client, it is all a little unclear if the client was fraudulent or just a bit of a nutter, long story short Gio made this fella a whip to very very specific detail, it also had to arrive by a specific date, Gio made the whip and shipped it off in time for it to arrive on or before the specific date and low and behold there was a problem in customs, the guy then cancelled the order and demanded a refund. Despite bad advice Gio refunded him and now has the whip back, all’s well that ends well except Gio is a little out of pocket on postage I guess. Anyway the guy’s name was published and a few guys came on and said they’d had similar problems so there is no doubt in my mind that Gio was in the right corner….I expect the guy won’t be able to buy a whip anywhere now if he ever wanted one in the first place….we all know who he is so that I think is a good thing…..

High Plait Martinet

So what happens when it’s the other way round and a whip maker who has traded for a fair while (several years) rips everyone off and comes up with some lame excuse as to how they will pay everyone off etc etc etc…

2 such folks spring to mind, I’m not going to name names, I think I probably ought to but have a small nagging doubt so won’t. The first one is a guy who was about for years and very successful as a trader on eBay, his whips were quite distinctive as instead of a turks head knot he used a ball, lots of the wild west performers bought from him and he had a decent reputation, he was on my FaceBook friends list and all of a sudden he just disappeared, he had taken loads of money from people and they never received the whip, rightly so these folks went on FaceBook and called him out, no response, nothing he has just disappeared, he never replied, he went away and stayed away…

 

The 2nd was a female, half of a well known American company, this lady though i use the term loosely branched out into nylon and was gaining a decent reputation in her own right and even opened her own web site separate from the partnership she belonged to. I have to say this particular whip maker I wasn’t quite so surprised by, she had made some silly claims on forums that were clearly just not true and made herself look pretty stupid but hey we can all exaggerate right? So again it appeared on face book a huge writing explaining how she’d took folks money, could no longer work and was working however many jobs to make ends meet and pay everyone back…..as with the guy above a lot of angry replies to her post from folks that paid and didn’t get their order, again fair enough, I have to be honest I have a particular dislike for this woman but it has to be said at some point she knew she wasn’t going to fill the orders she got but still took the money and spent it, I checked the thread recently and low and behold all the negative comments have been removed, the lady still has a web site although the buy it now buttons have been removed, I wonder does she dare try to start up again, I hope neither do, they are both rip off merchants and should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Specialist BullWhip

So as you can see there is or there can be problems from both sides of the fence, for myself i have deleted them from all my social media, I do not hesitate to tell anyone who will listen what a couple of scum bags they are and as to the client of Gio’s i have his name and even if he pays me treble in advance i won’t make a whip for him….so there a little rant from me….the beauty of having a blog haha!

Spiral vs Conventional plaiting

Conventional and Spiral Plaiting

So a question I get asked about a lot, and work that I do a lot of, its known by many names, Spiral Plaiting, Fancy Plaiting, Ring Work and Decorative Plaiting to name but a few, I call it Decorative Plaiting because that’s how it is referred to in all the Australian whip making contests, but I have also been known to call it ring work as this is how the late great Ron Edwards refers to it on occasion in his various books, Anyway these are my thoughts, they are gained from my experience and are not intended at anytime ever to offend any one.

So the most common question I am asked is by budding whip makers is how to do it, and how I do it, there are two methods, the conventional way where the strings are pulled through one at a time left to right, right to left alternatively, under however many over however many, then the other way is by spiralling all of one colour round the job you are plaiting then with the other half you are plaiting in a contrast colour you sew the patterns in….

This naturally leads to another question, which way is best? HaHa! now for one of those answers you dread when you’re new and don’t fully understand the craft, *Both* but don’t worry I won’t leave you hanging, I’ll address both.

The Spiral Method

So as explained above this is achieved by winding half the strings round the job your doing and then feeding the 2nd half of the strings through those first lot to create the patterns. As with both methods there are pro’s and cons, the good things with this method is it is much easier than the alternate string method, you can put it down at any time and come back to it and its also easier to keep things straight, like a lot of things folks have learnt this method from The Rod Edwards books and what he is talking about mostly is stock whip handle plaiting, not so good and not so easy on a shot bag thong that has some give in it, if you plait really high count then once you get over a 24 plait the spiral method is almost essential, the reason being at 24 plait your strings are ofter 2 to 3mm or there abouts at 32 plait or 48 plait or 64 plait then the strings are so thin that no matter how good a quality kangaroo red species hide you think you have you can and probably will break strings, a broken strand in a 12/16/20 plait whip is an easy repair and hard to spot if done correctly, in the higher plait counts near impossible. So on a solid handle like a bullwhip handle, a flogger handle or a stock whip handle, no worries.

On a thong it is in my opinion very different and I have seen lots of evidence its very different for other makers too. I’m not here to name names or put down other whip makers, that’s not what I’m about and the blog itself is about giving quality info for not only budding whip makers but also those that just have an interest. So on a thong that has give it is not quite so easy, usually folks just put in 6 to 12 inches at the start of the thong or just the handle and 6 ish inches after the transition on bullwhips, the reason being it is very time consuming and so to do it all the way down would take forever and need to be charged for. The way this is usually achieved is to tie your strands on down the thong the distance you are going to plait decorative from, you then plait a little herringbone down the thong and tie off then going upwards start your spiral method plaiting, the reason being it is so much easier to pull though 18 inches of string going up than maybe 6/8/10 foot of string depending on how long your whip is going down, that’s just common sense, this is where the problems can arise, often this method can create a patch of plaiting where you transition from that is loose and loose plaiting is very much your enemy it allows grit dirt etc etc to get into the core of your whip and once that has happened its a matter of time, almost like a ticking time bomb…I’ll use Fetlife as an example without naming names, there are many makers on there posting pictures etc and there is a whole plethora of whip users as you’d imagine, one maker in particular seems to be the darling of the crowd, I have only seen 3 bits of this makers work in hand, all bullwhips and all suffer the loose plaiting syndrome which is a crying shame as they are works of art but also nice throwing whips, there are a couple of others who i do know have had work sent back for the same problem so on a thong beware.

The Conventional Method

So again as above this is achieved by drawing strings left to right and right to left under and over, it needs more concentration and i guess for a novice it is harder to keep the patterning straight and you can’t just stop anywhere and come back to it, well I can’t anyway, it is one of those things that the more you do the better you get at it, until such times as you get to the stage where the plait count you’re doing is within your comfort zone then fixing mistakes etc is really not so easy, the big advantage of this method is that as you put the patterns in you are in fact able to keep the plaiting tight with the usual pull tight, plait loose method, no nasty grit and dirt working its way in.

In Conclusion

Well that’s easy up to and including 24 plait I firmly believe that the conventional way of doing it is much much better, and over a 24 plait the only way to do it is the spiral method…that’s how I do it and why I use both methods, I guess that sucks a bit if you’re a newbie you’ll be needing to learn both ways.

So as an aside and it’s my blog so blow my own trumpet time, my prices on my site include the price of decorative plaiting I don’t charge extra for it the prices you see are the prices you’ll pay, thanks for reading I hope someone somewhere got something from reading…Take Care

Tony