I have something in mind that I'm interested in purchasing, but I don't see that item on your website. Can you make what I'm looking for? Our website would be practically impossible to navigate if we posted every different type of braided leather product we've ever made for a customer. Just email us at: Whipmaker@MidWestWhips.com or call us at: +1 213.537.4840 and we can discuss what you're looking for and how to have it custom made just for you. Thanks to our outstanding customer service and 15+ years of professional braiding experience, custom work is our specialty and our pleasure.
Are your whips made from kangaroo? Unless otherwise very specifically and obviously indicated (like with our nylon whip designs), all of our whips are made from the highest quality vegetable tanned kangaroo hides. All of our braided bellies are also made from kangaroo hide. For further information, check out the "How Your Whip is Made" page or drop us a line if you have any other questions about what goes into making a MidWestWhip. We take great pride in our quality of materials, construction, and craftsmanship.
What is the best whip for a beginner? There is no simple answer to this question. If you are mainly interested in fine targeting and fast action in tight spaces, a 4 or 5 foot bullwhip, snake whip, or signal whip will probably work best for you. If you are interested in learning wraps, or have plenty of space, and like the slower flowing motion of a large whip, a 6 or 8 foot bullwhip will work great. A skilled whipcracker can achieve most any of these results with most any length of whip, but these recommendations are for whips that will be easiest to acheive results for the beginning whipcracker. If you are comitted to spending quite a bit more time to learn some of the fancy Australian routines, you'll probably want a pair of 3 to 5 foot stockwhips. If you're still not sure, give us a call or email us and we can discuss what your goals are and which whip will work best for you.
What is plait number, and what plait number should I get? The plait number is the number of strands of leather we start braiding with at the beginning of the whip. The more strands, the thinner we have to cut them, and the more complicated and time consuming it is to braid. Whips with higher plait numbers tend to have a slightly smoother action, and can have more intricate and beautiful patterns braided into them. Whips with lower plait numbers generally have more basic patterns, and because the individual strands are wider, they'll be less likely to break under heavy use. Our usual favorite for an attractive, durable whip is most often 12 plait.
Can I get a whip just like Indiana Jones' whip? Yes! One of the most popular styles of whips we sell is the Indiana Jones style bullwhip. In the original three movies, Indiana Jones most often used an 8 or 10 foot 12 plait bullwhip in natural tan. The numerous whips used in these films vary somewhat in how old they were, so some of them appear darker than others. With age and use, a brand new light natural tan will will transform into a rich dark brown. In the newest Indiana Jones IV movie (May 2008), Indiana Jones' whip is a darker whiskey color with even darker knots. When you order, let us know that you'd like your bullwhip to be like Indiana Jones', and we'll be happy to make sure you get one of the most screen accurate whips available today. Please see our "Indiana Jones Style Bullwhips" page for more details.
Have your whips ever been on TV or in a movie? Our whips have been on TV shows, most notably the popular "How It's Made" show on the Discovery and/or Science Channel, "Andromeda," and a little while back on a syndicated German TV show about where to get the best movie prop replicas. Our whips have also been used in Hollywood films, most notably, "Django: Unchained", "The Rundown", and "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time." MidWestWhips have also been used by Chris Camp (Guinness Record holder, multiple whip cracking champion, and has cracked whips on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno), Gery Deer (who has performed on the Steve Harvey Bigtime Challenge, and America's got Talent), and Alex Green (Personal Whip Trainer to Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, and Halle Berry). For an updated list with pictures and more information, please visit our "credits" page.
Can you repair my whip? Chances are if your whip is repairable, we can do it. Some standard repairs include: - Fall replacement ($35 includes return shipping) - Signal whip braided-in popper replacement ($45 includes return shipping) For all other repairs, email us or give us a call and/or email us pictures of the part of your whip that needs repaired if you can. We'll give you an estimate before you decide how you'd like to proceed, and we can discuss your best options. Please visit our "Repairs" page for more information and examples.
What's the difference between a signal whip and a snake whip? First, snake whips and signal whips share the unique quality of having a flexible handle (as opposed to having a steel spike or cane in the handle like bullwhips and stockwhips). The only difference between the two is in the end of the whip. Snake whips end much like a bullwhip with a fall attached at the end of the braided portion (the thong) with a fall hitch, and the popper attached to end of the fall. A signal whip skips the fall and instead has a popper that is gradually braided into the tapered end of the whip. You can see examples of both types of whips in our "whips gallery."
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a stockwhip? The stockwhip originally came from Australia, with a long history of practical use in the Australian Outback. The extra long handle of a stockwhip helped keep the dangerous cracking end of the whip further away from the horse while riding, and stockwhips' thongs can be easily replaced after being worn out without needing to replace the often intricate custom handle. With proper care, your MidWestWhips whip should last a lifetime, but replacement thongs are an option with stockwhips. Also, the extra leverage the longer stockwhip handle provides along with the "hinge" of the keeper knot makes fancy whip routines somewhat easier than they can be with bullwhips or snake whips. However, stock whips do lack the distinctly "American" flavor bullwhips seem to have, can be more difficult to use in tight spaces, and can make fine targeting more difficult for beginners. If at all possible, we recommend that you try as many different types of whips as you can before you decide what type of whip will work best for you. But if that's not a possibility, please talk us and we can discuss what your goals are and if a stockwhip may be the right choice for you.
Where can I practice my whipcracking? If I go to a public park will people call the police? For the most part, public parks are a great place to practice, and in all my time practicing in parks I've never had to interact with the police. That's not to say it won't happen - some whipcrackers have stories of the police being called, but in all cases where the whipcracker was polite and respectful, the worst that ever happened was the the officer kindly asked the person to not practice in that park anymore. More often than not though, the other people in the park are fascinated and may even approach you to ask you questions or want to try it themselves. The best ground rules are to be polite and understanding, explain any questions they have about the art of whip cracking, mention that it's a competitive sport and hobby lots of people enjoy. Calmly approaching a situation where you're practicing in a public space is key, and respect the decisions of law enforcement if they say they prefer you don't practice there.
What should I look for in a high quality whip? First, the highest quality whips today are made from kangaroo which has the highest tensile strength and durable elasticity of any leather available. A well-braided whip of any material, including 'roo, is tightly braided and firm (never spongy) when you squeeze any section of the thong, which usually means it will take some time to break in. It is also free of major gaps between the strands of the overlay. Also exceptionally important is the internal construction of the whip. Lower quality whips may use rope for the core, or duct tape, or may use a cheap leather for the braided bellies - or have no bellies at all. All MidWestWhips have 100% leather cores, and our bellies are always made from veg-tanned kangaroo hide with the same attention to detail we give overlays.
There are lots of whipmakers out there. Why should I get a MidWestWhip? MidWestWhips makes the highest quality product you can trust as a enjoyable and useful whip as well as an investment. We have well over a decade of practical experience making professional quality whips and studying whipmaking skills from the long traditions of both American and Australian whipmakers. As consumate perfectionists, no one pays more attention to the little details as the whipmakers at Midwestwhips, and our customer service and ability to customize your whip exactly for your unique needs is unmatched. Check out our "Customer Testimonials" page and our "Photo Gallery" for an idea of what we mean. Also, keep in mind that MidWestWhips is our only source of income, our full-time job - whipmaking is our life, our love, and our career - and we hope that will never change. This means that we understand the importance of our customers' satisfaction with our products in the short term as well as in the long term. Our whips are built to look great, perform well, and last for decades to come.
OK, now I have my brand new MidWestWhip. How do I care for it? When you receive your whip, we will have included a few spare poppers and a sample tub of Pecards leather conditioner in the package for you. A brand new whip will probably not need a coat of leather conditioner right away, because it will still be conditioned from the braiding soap mixture we use in the process of making your whip. With few exceptions, a good rule of thumb is to spread a quarter size amount along the length of the thong (avoiding all knots) about once every 4-6 months, starting a couple months after you first receive your whip. If you use your whip often, which we hope you will, you will need to condition the fall more often and more heavily, approximately a dime size amount just for the fall, after third or fourth practice. The idea is to keep it from drying out, but also not condition it so much that it becomes soggy. After any conditioning session, wipe the excess conditioner off after 15 minutes with a dry soft cloth (an old white cotton tshirt works perfectly). Also keep in mind that your MidWestWhip is constructed to last, with a dense all-leather core compacted by tightly and evenly braided bellies and an overlay - so it's going to take a little cracking to break in and become "used" and fluid feeling. Please try to refrain from rushing this break-in period unnaturally. The best way to break your whip in is simply to take it out and start cracking it. Practice just a few times a week, and you'll be able to quickly feel you and your whip learning each other's movements and breaking in. Please also try to remember to practice mostly achieving clean, crisp cracks with little effort and good form, instead of huge muscled cracks with little attention paid to form. Also avoid cracking your whip on gravel or concrete or other rough surfaces that will scrape up the leather - stick to grass, carpet, or other smooth flooring. At some point, the fluff of your popper will start to shrink, a popper may fly off, or your fall may break enough times that it becomes too short. Don't panic! All of these parts are easily and inexpensively replaced, and most whipcrackers quickly learn to make these simple repairs for themselves with poppers they make on their own and falls they purchase from a whipmaker. We hope at some point in the near future to create a tutorial on how to do these simple tasks, but until then if you have any questions, don't hesitate to email or call us - we're happy to help. Some of the sites on our "Whip Links" page also have some of this information, so be sure to check those out as well.