Building an Art Whip

I am sure every whipmaker has their own formula for making their whips. Depending on the maker, the cost, the quality, the designs will vary from one to the other. The important thing, in my opinion, is quality, balance, accuracy, longevity, and last but not least, beauty. I love a beautiful whip, beautiful clothes, beautiful shoes, beautiful cosmetics, beautiful things. It’s not because I’m shallow, but because I feel that beauty is what lifts up a woman and makes her feel good. Beauty motivates us to shine, makes us special. It’s an essential part of our growth, especially when we are improving ourselves and our health. Remember that I started making whips and cracking them as an alternative form of exercise. Beauty is a motivator for me and I promote that when encouraging others, no matter what size, as an added incentive to grow while on their own weightloss journey.

I always ask what my customer likes. Colors, characters, etc. Things that make them feel good and make them smile. I once made a practice whip for a customer who raised pigeons and we chose colors reminiscent of his favorite breed.

This particular customer, who I am building for in this post, happens to be a woman who loves tango dancers, wood grain, the color red, and Mickey Mouse. That being said, I decided to walk you through the creation of an art whip as it is being made for a real customer.

The first step is the brainstorm. I like to take all the information and think on it. I sometimes will draw, sometimes I will create on the fly as ideas come, though every whip has a basic formula that I can work on while I think. In this case, I start with a lowly piece of CPVC pipe.

I first use CPVC glue and add a coupler to the end of the whip to serve as a sturdy base for the heel knot foundation. It is permanent and will not come loose. I will then seal up the knot end with electrical tape and pour shot into the end of the PVC. This is the first step to counter weighing the thong.

The foundation to a practice whip is CPVC (I like the size-PVC is fine too) with a coupler cemented to the heel end.

At this point, I mix a small amount of epoxy and pour it down the handle onto the shot and allow it to dry. After 24 hours, I can remove the electrical tape and I have a counterweighted handle. I then sand the CPVC with a rough sandpaper to remove all the markings and to texturize the surface. When it is clean and smooth, I go over it with a finer grained paper.

At this point, it all depends on what I am doing. If it is a practice whip in which the entire handle will be covered with paracord, I leave it as is. If the handle will show, I will paint it. I personally dislike seeing PVC looking like PVC. I think it looks cheap and lazy to leave it without cleaning it up and painting it. It’s a personal preference, but an effort that I think my customers deserve. I use a primer first, then several layers of whatever color I decide the base to be. In the case of this whip, I painted it with 4 coats of black.

Since my customer likes wood grain, I went into my collection of veneer and picked a bleached barn wood. I cut it to fit the handle and used a small iron to apply heat and melt the glue to adhere the veneer to the handle. I then took some metallic vinyl and used an exacto knife to cut out mickey and apply it to the veneer. I again used the hot iron to apply heat to the vinyl.

So now we have Mickey and the wood grain. It’s time to tackle the tango dancers. She had sent me a photo of a little figurine she had of dancers. The woman was in a red dress with fishnet stockings. Keeping that in mind, I decided to peyote stitch fishnet in red metallic Czech seed beads, to lay over the black section of the handle.

A little labor intensive, yes. But like I said before, beauty is a motivator. My goal is not a quick buck, but a happy customer. It took about 10 hours to finish the 5″ of fishnet. To finish it off, I made a platinum seam up the back, like the seam on a pair of stockings.

After the beading was complete, I mixed up some clear epoxy and sealed everything, beads and all, in 2 coats. This protects the veneer, the inlay, and the beading, making the entire structure permanent and durable. After That, I started working on 2 of the knot foundations; the heel and the accent. I like to do as many knots as I can before I build the thong so minimize the mess and it’s much easier to tighten knots without a 6 foot tail flopping around.

First, I build up the accent knot foundation. Then, I add more weight to the heel as a counterweight:

I then build up the heel knot foundation and add the cabochon to the end, sealing that all together with 2-part epoxy. When that is all dry, I coat it all one last time with the clear coat epoxy. I want the structure to be beautiful, but durable and useable as well. These steps ensure a solid, balanced and clean handle.

At this point, I tie the heel knot and the accent knot and I’m ready to start on the thong.

I then build a taper twisted core with lead line as a weight threaded through each strand and it extends down a quarter of the whip’s finished length. this is then very tightly bound with artificial sinew. The second “belly” or layer is then plaited over the bound core, extending in it’s own tapered twist approximately 10-12″ past the core.

The first belly is then bound. The process is repeated once more as above, with an overlay extending 10-12″ past the end of the previous belly and binding.

Finally, we arrive at the overlay. Because my handles are showcased in my whips as the art, I keep the plaiting simple so as not to distract, though I may add a small amount of fancy plaiting around the transition to add a tiny bit of subtle elegance, like this 9-foot whip I made.

I then add the last taper twist of 12 inches for the final length, or, if the customer specifies, a fall hitch. I also do an English eye, which will not be explained in this post, as the building process is different.

After the thing is finished, the final transition knot is tied, the fall and cracker is added and the whip is waxed. Here it is, the “Tango-Mickey Whip” all done and ready to ship off to Germany.

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