101

Re: Craig Frank

Ron - I've seen Nick go that, but I don't think it would work with 550 cord.  It would work with the thicker stuff that I use for bull whips, but I haven't looked for any such rod.

If I can't run fast, I'll make slow look impressive.
"By the power of ibuprofen!"

102

Re: Craig Frank

Okay, so this is where I went to get acquainted with the bullwhip:

http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l156/whipology/whip_swap_2015/received/bullwhip_in_hervanta_zpsqciunr0h.jpg
fits the scenery quite well, don't you think?

Note that this post is only about the bullwhip. The snake is more of an indoors whip, and cracking it outdoors didn't do justice for it. I still like it a lot so no worries there.

Sorry, no cracking videos yet, as I was traveling alone and used the time for relaxing by myself instead of figuring out camera placements and stuff. You'll get a video when I go show the whips to Erik in the near future.

Firstly, the appearance. I like the colors and patterns on it, and the coiled steel ferrule thingie is pretty cool -- also haven't seen those done by anyone else so it gives the whip a unique and distinctive Craig Frank touch. Those two transition knots and the ferrule also work well as a divider between the handle and thong, there really is a difference in thickness there. And when it was noted earlier that there's a sudden drop in thickness along the thong, I gotta say that is a non-issue really. It doesn't seem to affect the behaviour of the whip at all, and it doesn't jump at you either. If you had the whip coiled in your hands and just looked at it without a mental magnifying glass, or if you watced me cracking, you wouldn't notice it at all. Of course it's a point to improve on, but still nothing that bothers me in the least.

The cons. Well, those are actually something that many (most?) whipmakers get on their early whips. The start of the thong could really use a higher plait count -- not much, just two more strands would probably do it -- and some drops are done a bit too early. This causes a gap here and another there, but I don't think they are more than aesthetic points in this scale. The whip still rolls pretty steadily towards the crack without any major surprises. The heel knot could also have a larger lead and bight count, and some of the plastic dip from the foundation is showing underneath it. Not a biggie, but could be made tidier too.

And how does it crack? Well, to be honest, I had my doubts. This is not a light and fast whip, it's actually relatively beefy. And as it's not waxed, pretty much all the mass comes from the bolsters and shot load -- which means that the tip of the thong and the fall are just as heavy as Nylon cord can be. I was afraid that this would make the tip wobble and float around in the air, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. It cracks pretty much where I tell it to, and it doesn't fly all over the place either. It was accurate enough to hit a straw about 5 inches long with the tip of the fall. (Pro tip: a bicycle works nicely as a makeshift target cutting stand, as the handlebars are at perfect height if the bike is adjusted correctly for you -- at least this seems to be the case with a mountain bike.)

I'm not saying that it's a target whip, because that it is not. But it wasn't built as one either, so that's another non-issue as far as I'm concerned.

It also wore out my arm in record time. I'd say it could benefit from some added weight in the heel, and the heel knot could also be bigger. I don't have large hands, but the heel knot was still so small that I had to squeeze it harder than was comfortable. I think this is the biggest issue in the whip. This is where it's good to understand that I'm more used to lighter and faster whips, so my muscle memory and timing is not yet too good with heavier things such as this. Chances are that I muscle the whip a bit instead of letting it do the heavy lifting for me. But still, I would suggest trying a thicker heel knot for a whip like this.

That's what I can think of so far. Craig, I think you're doing way better than you anticipated in the beginning when you mentioned feeling outclassed. You really seem to have an idea of what you're doing, and the idea of this whole swap wasn't to build the most perfect whip in the world in the first place. The idea is something you should be very familiar with already. Be all you can be. And I think you pulled it off quite nicely here.

Thanks for the whips, I really like them a lot smile


- Pokkis

103

Re: Craig Frank

For the record, I benefit from a small heel knot.  I wonder if that isn't something that should be customized.  I have the opposite problem.  My hands are small, and I have a difficult time with certain whips, because the heel knot is massive in my hand.  I drop the whip a lot, my hand gets tired...Robby told me to move my hand up from the heel knot and more onto the handle, which kind of helped, but then I lose all my leverage.  This is why the last couple of whips I made had tiny knobs instead of a big giant knot.  A customizable heel knot is not a bad idea.  smile

Due to rising costs, dirty deeds are no longer done dirt cheap. 
                                                                                    ~Management

104

Re: Craig Frank

Pollis, this is a fascinating review of Craig's whip. Extremely interesting. Thanks very much!

'Less is often more!'

105

Re: Craig Frank

It's great to read Pokkis' report on Craig's work. Pokkis is very objective and informative at the same time. Thank you for your impressions. Craig - thank you for participating. It seems that you're doing better than you expected yourself smile Objective and constrctive critisicm is priceless. So - thanks to both of you!

Robby

I have a screwdriver. I am Legend...

106

Re: Craig Frank

The pleasure was all mine smile


- Pokkis

107

Re: Craig Frank

Awesome! It really does look like it belongs to the scenery. I know that's what camo is for but it looks great = D
And yeah, sure we can shoot some cracking some time soon : ) I'm away next weekend but anytime before or after that is fine.

Like Robby said, informative and objective. Thanks for taking the time, it's is great to see the whips have the new owners and what they think!

108

Re: Craig Frank

Pokkis - thank you for the review. As I said before, heel knot size is something I'm still struggling with. Also, the over use of plastic dip is occurring regularly due to my insistence that it completely cover the foundation. I'd rather go to far than come up short. I'm still working on the perfect formulae for bellies, strands, and bindings to end so that I don't end up with an uneven taper. Next whip I'm going to try some serious math to try and work out the location for each and every drop across all layers.

Most of my whips have followed the 4, 8, 12 plaiting pattern and I've noticed that most of them have gotten too loose on the weave just after the transition. On this one I went 4, 10, 14 and I even added an extra strand after the handle on the overlay, but you say it is still too loose. Maybe I'm not braiding tight enough. On my next whip I'm going to try 4, 8, 12 again. It might work out since I think my new core concept might eliminate a lot of the need for binders and bolsters.

If I can't run fast, I'll make slow look impressive.
"By the power of ibuprofen!"

109

Re: Craig Frank

Also, sorry to be needy, but can you give me your opinion of the cracker and fall hitch?

If I can't run fast, I'll make slow look impressive.
"By the power of ibuprofen!"

110

Re: Craig Frank

Craig, congratulations!!!  It is a beautiful set of whips!

Inch by inch.

111

Re: Craig Frank

Craig, no problem. I somehow didn't focus on those things at all so thanks for reminding.

They could be better, to be honest. First thing I would recommend is that you pulled the strands tighter into the hitch (or hitches, as it's essentially just a group of half hitches), and then locked everything in place by pulling the last strand over everything and into the eye of the fall. That helps a lot.

Secondly, looks like you should put more focus in the order in which you tie the strands into the hitch. Do that and tighten everything with care, and it will have a big impact on the appearance of the fall hitch. Don't get too depressed, as it's something that almost everyone seems to struggle with at some point. Perhaps I could make a video on how I do them to better explain what I'm talking about.

The crackers seem to work just fine. They're very supple and don't seem to tangle easily -- at least I didn't get them tangled even once, a fact that had more to do with the crackers than my efforts. Hit my leg or all the stuff you see on the ground in that photo above more than a couple of times and still didn't have to worry about the crackers staying in shape at all. These kind of crackers have a downside too. After just one not-too-long session the cracker on the bullwhip is missing maybe 20% of the tassle. The one on the snake whip still looks like new so this seems to be an issue with heavier whips only, which is no surprise. Heavy and loud whips eat soft and supple crackers with much appetite. But those kind of crackers are nice and responsive to use so I guess this is where you just have to choose between poisons. Just as a disclaimer, I have personally only used Nylon and Polyester crackers made from stuff like cord guts and artificial sinew, so can't give you many suggestions on what works best. I've been using tapered artificial sinew crackers for a while now and they work for me, but the tassles can also get tangled relatively easily so perfect they are not.


- Pokkis

112

Re: Craig Frank

Wait.  Am I tying the hitches in the wrong order?  I've been starting with the top most strand and working my way down.  Should it be the other way?  I usually try to cinch them down just as tight as i can, using the bench vise and a pair of pliers.  It often causes the strands to stretch out, revealing the core rope underneath.

I"m currently only  capable of making paracord gut crackers.  I always save the odd off-colored gut strands for that.  They do wear out easy, but take less than 5 minutes to replace.

If I can't run fast, I'll make slow look impressive.
"By the power of ibuprofen!"

113

Re: Craig Frank

Pokkis : What would be a good combination of loud and durable for the cracker ?

Being superstitious is bad luck.

114

Re: Craig Frank

Craig, I've found that doing just the "first and then next strand" approach didn't give me the best results. Why? No idea.

The way I do it , I take the topmost strand and do the first part of the fall hitch. After that I mark it with a knot and pull the remaining strands straight from under the first part of the hitch. Then it's just the question of choosing the strand that will look the most tidy when added into the hitch. No need to bother with the order of the strands at the end of your plait, just pick the one that seems to go into the hitch from the right place and do it next. A tidy looking fall hitch is a good fall hitch. The first strand will determine where the hitch begins, and that's what locks the tip of the plaiting in place so that it passes the Robby test as demonstrated in one of the WB short films. The rest are chosen just to make the fall hitch as neat as possible, which is not only a vanity thing (not saying that it isn't just that to a degree) but aerodynamic is also good. We're talking about some serious velocities at this point after all, and there's a reason why even air rifle bullets are shaped the way they are.

After you add the last strand into the hitch, take it over everything else and pull it through the eye of the fall. Gradually tighten the strands from first to last, and then pull the fall like it owes you money. That's pretty much it. This method gives me something like this:
http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l156/whipology/robby_redshift/finished_02_zpsuldpgesh.jpg

I'm pretty tired and preoccupied, so this might not make as much sense as it should. Ask if you need more info.


- Pokkis

115

Re: Craig Frank

I'm sorry, but could you rotate that fall hitch 90° left and take another photo?

If I can't run fast, I'll make slow look impressive.
"By the power of ibuprofen!"

116

Re: Craig Frank

Just adding my 2 cents,

Wow wow wow, great whips and awesome review.
Job well done Craig

117

Re: Craig Frank

Craig, that's unfortunately not possible as the whip in the photo is currently in Germany. And yeah, I admit that the angle of the photo is chosen to make it look as good as possible, but what you would see on the other side is the bends in the hitches lining up straight so that the strand pulled through the eye in the fall goes over all of them.


- Pokkis

118

Re: Craig Frank

Late to the party I know, but those a beautiful, glad you like them Pokkis, nice work Craig