Another year has slipped on by and a very busy one it was too, those aware of circumstance know the three and a half years previous to this one were very difficult, it’s really hard to watch a loved one turn from fit and healthy to an adult baby, sat in the corner frightened of every shadow, more terrified really, no control of bowels etc, vascular dementia is a cruel, relentless unforgiving brutal way to go, anyway it did very much affect my work to the extent that I feel lucky to have a business left, not only a business have you very kind people left me but a growing one too, to all that have kept me busy this year my sincere thanks.
I’m not a religious man myself, far from it but for those of you that are I wish you a very merry Christmas, for those like myself, not, have a great holiday, and to one and all a happy new year, may it bring you all that you wish for…
So, Importing Kangaroo leather for many years has been the most simple of things to do, order from the tannery of your choice, pay via bank transfer or some form of internet banking and just wait a few days for one of two things to happen, 1/ Royal Mail send you a letter with an invoice for Import duty, VAT and their charge for customs clearance, you can then either pay on line and wait for your parcel to be delivered or you can take the bill to the local Parcel Force office, pay and collect, 2/ You get a knock on the door from UPS who have a machine, they charge the same duties but you can pay there and then and get your leather there and then, both simple!
Occasionally customs opens a parcel and this then can create serious delays, once they open it and check the contents for some strange reason it goes to be securely re packaged and customs labels affixed etc, etc, how do i know this, a customs man told me, so if they are busy your parcel can hang about often weeks before it is sent on, I am old enough and ugly enough to have compensated for this over the years, i tend to buy hides by the hundred at a time to get maximum discount and some years back having been fortunate enough to be so busy as to afford it, i started treating 50 as empty, so when my stock drops to 50 i re order…
Warning to All Whip Makers
Things have now changed, my most recent package has not taken the normal 5 to 7 days, order to door step, time it has taken a month, new legislation came into force on the 1st of May 2017, so whilst i ordered before this my parcel got included in it, instead of hearing from Parcel Force i got a letter from customs, 3 forms to fill in, i won’t bore you with all the details but some of the questions they were asking were for foreign whip makers exporting to the UK very bad news, they asked me to fill in the 3 forms and return them with a copy of my invoice from when i paid for the leather so they could check it against the price declared on the customs form and my method of payment, now i don’t care, really i don’t but it is common practice for whip makers outside of Europe to value the parcel lower than the real value so the receiver can avoid duty etc, they have to really or their wares would be way too expensive for all bar the collector. That though is not why I’m ranting, my parcel once i had filled in the forms sent and provided the paperwork required then took 23 days to get to the stage where the letter arrived from Parcel Force asking for duty, import and their clearance charges, had i not had a good stock i’d of been unable to work for quite some time….
To UK whip makers make sure you order well in advance, and to foreign makers, fore warned is fore armed, the couple of makers i am friendly with i have already told, the rest of you can read here and it’s up to you if you want to believe me and act accordingly or risk it for a biscuit, i’ve done my bit by blogging so i’ll sleep easy….
Thanks for reading, take care
Well, long time no write, sorry about that, it has been a funny old year, emotional, lot’s of changes, a death in the family, but business wise another good one so to all of you out there that have ordered from me or wholesale from me, many thanks, the wolves have been kept away from the door for another year.
A lovely blog written by the world renowned Mistress Sidonia founder of The English Mansion, very kind words indeed, my sincere thanks, if you’d like a read click here… http://www.theenglishmansion.com/blog/blog/archives/14943
The synthetic range has very much changed here at Essentia, gone is the Essentia Nylon Whips site and I have no plans to bring it back, without any sour grapes nylon whips are now a very flooded market and everyones idea of a marketing strategy is to do it £10.00 cheaper than the next man, I’m not sure where the logic is in this, but whatever I no longer compete in that market. Instead I have shut the site and sell only a limited range of synthetic whips. Over the Christmas period I will plait the whips for the photo’s and change the site Essentia Whips to show the three styles of whip I shall be selling in synthetic. There’s a reason to check the site January eh! Well I hope so.
We shall be off to the not so sunny Isle of Wight for Christmas, so I just thought I’d show you a pic of the little cottage where we’ll be staying, Mum will be coming Christmas day and Boxing day so we can keep our eye on her, her first Christmas in 75 years without Dad who we lost earlier in the year, then the rest of the week Mel, Murff and Moi…..can’t wait.
Good ‘ole Murff will hopefully drag us out on enough long walks that we come back as we went rather than waddling under excess weight gained which is our usual state of affairs…
And for a final picture, what could those be in the picture above, I’ll give you a clue, they are not palm style flogger handles, watch this space, the first one of whatever they are will be winging it’s way to Chris of Alpha Whips as soon as it’s done and I have a picture for my site…I very much doubt I’ll have time to blog again before Christmas so to all that read, thank you and the message is below *Smiles….
Well these are often asked questions, What is the difference? Which is better? Just to throw the spanner in the works, I use both, I’ll now answer the second question first, it really is a matter of personal preference and by the time you have finished reading hopefully you’ll have enough info to make your own mind up.
Drum stuffed Leather
This is from Packers a tannery in Australia and is what is in essence is a process the leather is put through once its finished being dyed etc…a hide is covered in tallow, or sheep fat and another placed on top and another and another, a bit like stacking slices of buttered bread I guess is as good a way to describe it as any. The hides are then placed in a barrel or drum that rotates over a fire pit, the heat melts the fat turning it to liquid which is sucked into the hide, after a long period of time the hides are taken from the barrel or drum and put through set of revolving poles, imagine a mangle they used to use many years back to squeeze the water from your clothing, like that but many sets as opposed to just the one. What this does is force the liquid fat into the fibre of the hide and as the mangles are set it also makes the hide an even thickness. Once the heat is removed the liquid again solidifies making a very greasy hide, that in essence is drum stuffed.
This needs much less explanation, this is a hide that has either been left natural or dyed and once dried is ready to be sold, some dependent on where they are destined have a finish added but us whip makers shellac so buy unfinished and finish them ourselves.
So quite a big difference on the face of it, but in the whip making process near no difference at all. I’ll run you through it so you can make your own minds up.
As you can see from the picture above there are parts of a Kangaroo hide that are better than others that’s not to say that the other parts are not good leather just that they are not the best for plaiting a fine overlay with, the stuff round the outside usually is great for making shot bags, end caps under knots, bolsters and that sort of thing, very little of a kangaroo hide goes to waste.
Here comes the first of many differences, on a dry hide this is very easy to feel and see, on a drum stuffed one the leather appears even and all good. A novice might be tempted to thing the leather was good for a fine overlay, often whip makers refer to this as false leather Just saying…
So with a dry skin, I get them out the night before I’m going to use them and give them a generous coat of leather dressing and let that soak in over night. Grease added, Just saying….
The next day I come in to start making the whip, trim the hide, make a shot bag, bolster it, then cut some strings for a belly plait, strings are cut over size, greased with leather dressing, (more grease added, just saying) then stretched, resized and as I’m plaiting them I add leather dressing which I use in place of plaiting soap, grease added, just saying…..
The final bolster, heavily greased is added, grease added, just saying….
Cut the strings for the overlay, over sized, leather dressing applied, then stretched, resized, bevelled and tapered and split for a nice even lace both width and depth, then greased again with leather dressing and ready to plait…more grease added, just saying…..
With a drum stuffed hide the leather is pretty greasy already so whilst you might use a bit of grease to plait with you certainly have no need to apply the amount of grease that you do to a dry hide, you’ll find an almost even split of those for drum stuffed and those against with a lot like myself who use both…
And it is just that, my opinion……
I pretty much drum stuff my dry leather myself by the time I’m finished, I have done this as an experiment put two whips side by side and asked a man with many many years of whip experience to pick which is which, they can’t and neither can I on an finished whip. So it is personal preference thing.
A couple of foot notes, dry skins are available in many more colours than drum stuffed hides, drum stuffing adds much weight to a hide so if your in the UK that will make them much more expensive as the postage goes up because of the weight so then in turn does the import duty and the V.A.T, on a parcel of say 50 hides the difference is considerable.
Again thanks for reading
Mini whips, baby whips, there are all sorts of names for them, the above picture is a mini bullwhip on a little tilter hat, that’s the type of mini hat that sits on the side of a ladies head, so a mini whip on a mini hat.
A lady I did this for about 8/9 years back posted it on my Facebook page, I have done a few over the years in Roo hide and as short as 12 inches as long as 2 foot, I never built them to crack though you could get a crack out of them.
I have recently had a few requests in my inbox for 2 foot nylon snake whips, I must admit my immediate reaction was pfffftttt!! What is the point I asked myself, a two foot snake then has a one foot fall then a seven to nine inch cracker, it is just a few inches short of a four foot signal whip.
In a short whip weight and taper are very important so common sense tells you the weight in a four foot signal goes out further into the thong and it’s a proven whip been about since the year dot, a much better whip surely? Everyone that emailed me I explained to the pro’s and con’s of a signal versus a short snake and most decided to go with a signal. Good choice I think!
Eventually curiosity got the better of me and I built a 2 foot snake, I tried to improve on what is currently about, I’m not into being a copy cat, although there is probably very little in the world of whip making that’s not been done before it doesn’t hurt to do what you believe to be the best you can.
So Above…..A 2 foot 16 plait snake whip in type II tactical cord, 1st grade veg tanned kangaroo hide shot bag and bolster, Indian Tan Latigo fall, 1st grade veg tanned kangaroo hide herringbone knot, They’ll be on the new site at £60.00
I must admit to being shocked at how easily it cracked, it looks really cute, it is very accurate but then at that length that’s hardly a surprise. It is a bit of a one trick pony but perfectly useable I am shocked to say.
“Is it as good as a 4 foot Signal” No it isn’t the signal is much more versatile, however it is just as good as a 3 foot signal which again is a bit of a 1 trick pony so as a cheaper alternative to that it is a goer. Great for the ladies to keep in the handbag, or a coat pocket for the guy’s. Perfect if you have it as an extra whip so you have one with you at all times, but if your looking for serious indoor play then a signal is the way to go. That’s my thoughts anyway.