How to change the fall on your bullwhip or snakewhip.
Bullwhips were traditionally made for work. They were dragged through the mud and dirt and who knows what else. Since they were used primarily from horseback, the part of the bullwhip that saw the most wear was the last couple of feet. Seeing how bullwhips are braided, and braiding takes time, it was only logical for early bullwhip crackers to come up with a way to protect the braided portion of the whip without losing any length or flexibility. Length is an important thing when you are trying to scare bulls by cracking a whip inches from their face. The longer the bullwhip the safer the cowboy. This becomes even more important when you add in the fact that being on horseback tends to shorten the usable length of the whip. But I digress. Like most good ideas, the solution to the problem was quite simple. Why not add a piece of easily replaceable, non-braided leather to the working end of the whip. This piece of leather is called the fall. It could be argued that the origins of the name may have something to do with the fact that, this was the part of the whip that would fall on the ground. But that's a subject for another article. To make a long story short or even longer depending on how you look at it, the fall is made to wear out either by dragging it on the ground or when the cracker breaks off and goes flying into the ether, either way you are going to have to change it at some point. What is more important from a pragmatic point of view is how the heck do you change that darn thing when it does wear out? That's where I come in. In this article I will show you how to change the fall on your bullwhip or snakewhip. Don't worry it's quite simple
You are going to need the following tools. 1.) A Sharp utility knife 2.) A Fid/Awl or in a pinch a regular screw driver
The first thing you want to do is grease up the new fall with leather dressing and feed the old fall through the hole in the new fall.
Now slide it all the way up on the thong of the whip.
Next insert the fid into the loop of the old fall separating it from the thong of the whip.
Here you can see how a screw driver can be used instead of a fid.
Now using the screwdriver or fid as a cutting board so to speak. Cut the loop of the old fall.
After you cut the loop you should have something that looks like this.
With out doing anything else, grab the old fall by the end and pull it out of the keeper. if done correctly it will leave the keeper in tact as shown here.
Next slide the tip of the new fall into the hole in the keeper left by the old fall. You may have to enlarge it somewhat with the fid. It also helps if you cut the tip of the new fall into a sharp, narrow point.
Pull the new fall until it is nice and tight against the keeper.
Trim up the end of the fall to a nice round shape and you are through. Not as hard as you thought now was it.