I’ve traveled in America a lot over the years and I, like most people, enjoy shopping at places right off of the interstate. Often, they feature collectible plates, salt and pepper shakers, t-shirts, special candies, and even Native American goods. Among them, you can purchase arrowheads, lifelike hatchets, and more. The painting alone is often exquisite. With colors of aqua, black, white, and red, the Native American bead work and other goods, are quite collectible. In the same store you’ll often find things that are similar to what an American cowboy might have used. You can buy cowboy hats, belt buckles, and even bullwhips. Have you ever seen the price tag on one of those whips? It’s made to hang on the wall but it costs as though it’s a main furnishing in your home. You can make nearly an identical version of the bullwhip for just a fraction of the cost.
A bullwhip can be made from cheap vinyl strips, so that a child can play or practice, or can be made from quality leather. You can definitely order leather sinew online and you can sometimes find it through a local upholsterer. Other places that might sell it include craft and fabric stores.
Besides the leather sinew you’ll also need a piece of PVC pipe, and some tape. The pipe should be three to four inches in diameter (slightly smaller for a child), and cut to a handle length for either a child or an adult. A good length for the handle on the real bullwhip would be four to five inches. For a child, take away an inch or two.
Apply PVC pipe cement to the inside of the tube. Gather three, six, or nine strips of the leather – depending on how wide they are – and tie them all together in a knot. If the knot isn’t large enough to fit tightly into the pipe, wrap it with tape first. Use an implement – like a spoon handle – to push the knot into the PVC pipe, and into the glue.
Separate the leather into three equal groups, and braid them together. At the end, tie a knot to hold the three sections together. Or, use glue to secure the braid without a knot.
Use tape that closely matches the color of the leather to give the handle a finished look. Cover the open end of the PVC pipe with a piece or two of tape, and then begin wrapping the tape around the handle. Start at the top of the braid, and continue wrapping, around the handle, until you get to the end. Hang the bullwhip up and enjoy the fact that you paid just a few bucks, instead of a hundred!