Re: Bullwhips: Which leather is stronger? Kangaroo hide or Latigo Leather

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Posted by Dan Borton from on July 21, 1998 at 21:52:31:

In Reply to: Bullwhips: Which leather is stronger? Kangaroo hide or Latigo Leather posted by Indiana Jones on July 21, 1998 at 15:30:41:

: I was just curious. The Indiana Jones whip was made out of kangaroo leather, right? I've heard, from a few places that sell whips on the border of Texas and Mexico that Latigo Leather is stronger. I know that latigo is strong, it's used to keep the riding saddle from flying off a horse. My whip's made out of it and I've probably used it in the worst ways possible: wrapping it around wooden stakes, accidentally hitting it on concrete asphalt, running it through wet grass, etc. Throughout it all, I've never even put oil on it and it still looks like it did the day I got it, two years ago. Only thing wrong is it's dirty. I'm wondering if the David Morgan whip can do that, or even better.

: Indy

Hi Indy, Actually the whip tanned Kangaroo leather is stronger than latigo. Latigo, however; will stand up to rough usage better than the kangaroo. Although Kangaroo hide thinner than latigo it is also a much denser leather, making it better able to handle small nicks and cuts that may occur in the leather as a result of damage. The whips that David Morgan makes are not just "top of the line" because they are made out of Kangaroo hide though. It is how they are made and what is inside the whip that counts. They have the double plaited under belly construction, which is like having two smaller whips under the outer covering. This adds greatly to both strength and function. They also have a properly balanced foundation and taper to make the whip handle better and with greater accuracy. The Morgan whips are made to be working whips, that can stand up to a lot more abuse than most people would think. But as I have said before, the amount of abuse any whip takes will shorten its life in the long run, just as proper care will increase its life. Basically hitting any hard or sharp objects or using whip on hard, rough surfaces will eventually damage any type of leather. Many of the working Australian stock whips are a good example of what a well made kangaroo hide whip can handle. They are constantly exposed to the elements.They are used almost daily, under very harsh condition including, getting soaked from rain and crossing rivers and streams. But they hold up pretty well under the circumstances. If you want a whip that is nearly indestructible, check out the nylon bull whips.

Unfortunately many of the latigo bull whips that are available commercially, are poorly made with a low quality rope or rolled leather core. They have a poor taper, if any and they do not handle very well. Although There are some higher end latigo whips are heavy enough and durable enough to be good whips. They will have a somewhat better taper to the thong. Most of them come with the flat wide fall, but that can be improved by narrowing it down. Unfortunately you cant expect as much from them as you would from the higher quality whips. A large majority of the whips sold as "souvenir" whips, or the ones sold in leather shops and "cowboy stores" are basically junk, I mean lower end whips. I hate to be so blunt about it, but those are the facts. Although there are always exceptions. Basically though you can get a good Latigo bull whip from a recommended source like Mark Allen or Brian Dube, etc. I have a few older bull whips that were made from a good quality heavy latigo. They are not the greatest whips, however; after some custom modifications they are very durable and usable. They are like leather tanks, slow, heavy and very hard hitting.

There are several things I recommend looking for when buying a whip. The first is how well it is constructed. Is the whip made from a good strong flexible leather like Kangaroo or is it made from a particularly cheep cowhide with the constancy of cardboard. Next I look at the braid of the thong, is it a tightly plaited whip or are there gaps between the strands of leather. The strands of plaited leather should be of even width and thickness, and the whip should have a overall smooth feel to it. It is very important to find out what is on the inside of that whip, as the guts of a whip is what makes it reliable. A good whip should have a plaited belly, A great whip often have more than one plaited belly. These add to the strength, function and stability of the whip. Many of the bellies or cores of "inexpensive" whips are made from a single piece of rolled cowhide or worse a piece of rope. Some whips will even have a core that is built up with paper, to make it look as if it has a taper, however the paper does nothing except make it look nice. You will probably want to avoid these whips as they are not the quality you will want in a good whip.

Basically If you just want a whip to hang on the wall or to just crack every now and then, you better off going with one of the less expensive whips. If you are serious about whip cracking though, I highly recommend looking into getting a good quality kangaroo hide whip. There is a world of difference between them.

Hope this helps.


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