Bullwhips were used by frontiersman to drive wagon trains and control oxen. These tools are used today in ranching and for historical re-creation. While most bullwhips are made from leather or other animal hides, the cost and skill required when working with these materials is prohibitive to many crafters. Functional, but historically inaccurate, bullwhips can be made for recreational purposes using materials available at most hardware stores.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 56 foot nylon cord
- 1.5 inch round wooden dowel
- Cyanoacrylate glue
- 2 metal hose clamps
Cut four strands of nylon cord to a length of 14 feet each.
Saw a 1.5 inch wooden dowel to a length of 18 inches.
Lay all four strands of nylon cord together so the ends match up. Knot all four strands of nylon cord together one foot from an end. Leave that foot of cord hanging - you'll go back to it later.
Place a dollop of cyanoacrylate glue on the end of the dowel. Position the knotted end of the cords over the end of the dowel. Press the knot into the glue.
Place a drop of glue at one inch intervals in a line along the dowel.
Separate the four strands of nylon cord into two separate pairs. Move one pair clockwise around the dowel and the other counter-clockwise, crossing them as you proceed. The glue helps secure the cords until they are permanently affixed.
Knot the cords over the end of the dowel in pairs, securing the dowel inside the cords as a handle.
Lay the four nylon cords flat.
Cross the right-most cord over the two centre cords. Wrap the cord over the left-centre cord. The right-most cord is now the left-centre cord.
Cross the leftmost cord over the two centre cords. Wrap the cord over the right-centre cord. The leftmost cord is now the right-centre cord.
Continue crossing the cords in steps 9-11 until you reach the end of the cords.
Fasten the braid by knotting a piece of thread around it. Wrap the thread around the braid several times and knot again.
Braid the loose end of the cord hanging from the knot before the dowel handle. This is the one foot of cord you left loose at the beginning, before knotting and covering the handle.
Position the braided handle, overlapping one inch onto the dowel to create a loop. Affix a metal hose clamp over the dowel handle to keep the braided handle and cords in place. Affix another hose clamp to the other end of the dowel handle to keep the cords secure.
Tips and warnings
- Despite their modern appearance, DIY bullwhips can still cause injury and are not toys. Exercise care and caution when making and using bullwhips from nylon paracord.
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