* Whip Maintenance.

 

How to Break in your new whip.

First things first.

Good whips, properly used and maintained, should give long service. Physical damage such as hitting on sharp objects, gravel, concrete etc., being jammed in doors or truck tailgates, or chewed by pets obviously will destroy a whip quickly. Care in three other aspects will help you gain the most from your whip.

  1. Dirt and sand embedded in the whip will cause internal wear. Dirt can be washed out with warm soapy water, the whip dried (without heat) and then given a heavy coat of leather dressing.
  2. Using the whip with excessive force, as in seeking the loudest possible crack, will cause early breakage of falls and stretch the thong, so altering the taper. The usual and preferred crack is that attained with minimum force. A strong wrist action will over-stress the the junction of thong to butt section on a bullwhip, and will cause early failure near the butt in a snakewhip or signalwhip. Normal use of these whips should employ very little wrist force.
  3. Leather dressing is important. A dry whip loses its strength, and one with the wrong dressing may lose strength and/or stretch out of shape. Do not dress a whip with tallow, neatsfoot oil, or any light oils. Use a good cream leather dressing. Whips stored for any length of time should be kept dry, and in low light conditions. Sunlight can dry out a whip like an old lampshade. Apply a light coating of dressing every 6 months.

Maintain your new whip.

If your whip has a cracker examine it to see how it is attached, it will occasionally need replacing. Cracking a whip without one will quickly wear down the fall and it won't give as loud a crack. Avoid hitting hard objects like walls or stony ground and don't drag it about on gravel.
Give the fall a good dressing with a quality leather dressing often.
Your whip is made of leather so you should be careful to keep it clean and dry and out of hot places like the trunk of your car. A whip's worst enemy is heat, dirt and moisture. Dirt can rub and erode the leather, and moisture can cause it to stretch, shrink, kink and even mildew. Prolonged exsposer to heat will dry it it out and could cause the laces to crack or even break.
Signalwhips and snakewhips should be held with the knob at the end in the palm of the hand, with the whip allowed to swivel in the hand so as to reduce the bending stress in the thong near the knob. If the whip is held firmly in the hand, and the thong forced to bend severely near the knob, the whip will fail prematurely in the area of excess bending. If the ends of the braided leather buried under the thread of the cracker begin to poke out as the whip is cracked. Don't be concerned. The thread is much more elastic than the leather, and so when the whip is cracked the thread tends to creep out over the leather ends and allow the ends to poke out. There are three knots holding the ends of the strands, spaced to ensure that the whip does not unravel. It is best to leave the ends that poke out, and not to trim them off. When the fluff on the end of the cracker wears down to the knot, this knot may be undone or cut, to form a second fluff which may be worn down to the next knot. With my Signalwhips and Snakewhips you can do this a total of three times before the cracker will need to be replaced.

 

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