Robert Dante Presents...
October 2014
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With whip crackers, there is no "Best."

The top ones I know are happy to be considered among the best, because there's always someone out there who can do something they can't, or do it in a more artistic (or athletic) way.

This attitude extends to whip makers. Good whip makers work in cowhide, kangaroo, goat leather, and even nylon. The skill and craft that goes into making a fine whip is as important as the material.

What about plaits? I continually meet "plait snobs" who think their 16-plait bullwhip is better than someone else's 12-plait whip. Sure, it might be more expensive (because it was braided from more strands), and it might look a bit more snakishly smooth, but the real test is to see if it works the way a whip is supposed to. (The most intricate bullwhip I ever heard of was 72-plaits -- and no, I would not crack it if I had the chance because I'd be afraid of breaking one of those fine hairlike strands!)

In short, the truly good whip crackers and whip makers I know are not snobs. If they see a well made whip, they'll say so -- and if they see a good whipcracker at work, they'll say positive things about what they see.

So, with the Giving Season is coming up, maybe someone you know would like to have a whip as a gift. Here are a few tips:

  • Make it short, 4- to 6-feet in length. There aren't too many places left for someone to play with a 12-footer!
  • Get them the right accessories, as well: lessons, a good instructional book, eye protection, and an appropriate hat to protect the ears.
  • Please remind the recipient that the whip should be treated like a loaded gun -- it can do a lot of damage very quickly, even by accident. It should not be flicked at anyone else (or any animal).
  • Encourage joining Facebook groups or local hobby clubs -- everything's more fun when it's a shared enjoyment. It's also good to hang around folks who actually do the thing in the real world (safely!) instead of folks who fantasize about swinging across a ravine on the end of an impossibly resilient whip.
  • And make it special. A well made whip, well cared for, can have a long life (30-plus years). It's a special and personal thing.

Best to you,
R Dante
Let's Get Cracking!
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