Most of the braided goods we offer are hand crafted here in Bothell, Washington
in our own leather workshop.
David W. Morgan was co-founder of the company, David Morgan,
and the founder and creative force behind our leather workshop. During a
trip to Australia in the early 1960s, David discovered a whip making enterprise
still operating as it had been during Victorian times. An engineer by training
and vocation, and with a long interest in craftwork, he carried this interest
back to the US. He made his first whips as a hobby but imported a few whips
for sale under the company name of Austral Enterprises (later changed to David
Morgan). As the business grew, so did David’s
interest in braiding and leatherwork. During that time, he made several visits
to Australia where he learned the leather and braiding trade from some of Australia’s
top whipmakers. Along with the details of whipmaking they taught him the history
behind whips and their uses. By the early 1970s the business had expanded
to include braiding supplies and braided goods manufactured in David Morgan's
own leather workshop. These braided goods included
whips and the smaller braided accessories such as belts and hat bands, complementing
top selling fur-felt hats, which the company had been importing to the US since
In 1973, the US placed an embargo on kangaroo skins and products, effectively
stopping the supply of Australian whips and braided goods to the US. David
decided to keep the trade going by crafting whips from domestic calf skin (kip).
He produced an American style bull whip using an Australian braided belly construction.
This whip style, the 450 Series, proved popular among stuntmen and performers
and was used in the Indiana Jones movies. Once the embargo on kangaroo products
was lifted in 1981, David switched to crafting these whips from the stronger
kangaroo leather and the company renewed the importation of Australian
The Indiana Jones movies were the catalyst for revitalizing an interest in
whips. Whip shows, the sport of whip cracking and an interest
in whips and leather braiding made a comeback. David Morgan continues
to craft whips in its own leather workshop for performers, collectors and whip
enthusiasts. We also supplied whips for the 4th Indiana Jones movie – Indiana
Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
A successful workshop combines three factors: a knowledge of the leather used,
braiding and leatherwork techniques and economic considerations. Here is a
peek at the David Morgan Leather Workshop:
David W Morgan
Co-founder of David Morgan and founder of our leather workshop, David
braided for more than 40 years. His expertise has been instrumental in the
success of our workshop, and, more broadly, in the revitalization of the
craft. David shared this expertise with many braiders and leather workers
over the years, both in person and through the books he has authored.
List Books by David W Morgan
David passed this expertise and training on to our own workshop
members, in particular Meagan Baldwin, Will Morgan and Alex Ruggeri. David died July 8, 2015 but his past guidance, training and techniques ensure that David Morgan
continues to produce superior quality bull whips and braided goods. For more information please visit our company blog: David W Morgan.
Meagan has been with David Morgan since 1995. She has worked closely
with David and has learnt all aspects of the trade. Meagan's
expertise covers selecting hides, cutting, paring and the braiding techniques.
Meagan manages the workshop and her knowledge of how each individual braided
product will vary in production, along with her knowledge of how best to
utilize the leather, ensures that we produce top quality products.
For each 450 Series Bull Whip,
Meagan selects the hide, then cuts and pares the leather. The strands are cut
by hand and the edges slanted by paring so the strands will fit together closely
in the finished whip. The whip is braided tightly, which takes the stretch
out of the strands so that the thong will hold its shape, and not become just
a bundle of loose strands. Meagan supervises this
physically demanding braiding of each whip, then finishes
each whip, attaching the fall and knots, creating a durable whip that works
well for stuntmen and cattlemen.
Alex, grandson of David Morgan, has been braiding for David Morgan for more than 10 years. Alex's strength is the physically demanding heavy braiding needed for the bull whips, where he braids the heavier first half of the whip. The quality of this heavy braiding ensures a tight, even thong, creating a bull whip which cracks well and has good endurance and shape retention over the years.
David's son Will spent many years in his youth braiding for David Morgan and he is now braiding the whips. Will's strength is the physically demanding heavy braiding needed
for the bull whips, where he braids the heavier first half of the whip.
The quality of this heavy braiding ensures a tight, even thong, creating
a bull whip which cracks well and has good endurance and shape retention
over the years.
Will's knowledge of the leather industry helps ensure that David Morgan continues to manufacture and offer the best quality leather goods available today.
Did you know?
Our braided kangaroo hide belts are one of the examples of traditional craftsmanship
at its best.
Finely braided belts were a traditional specialty of the Australian whipmakers.
In cutting a kangaroo skin for a whip, the center of the skin was often left
too small for a second whip. This leather, the prime part of the skin, was
ideal for belts. The usual style was a cinch ring belt with two harness rings
or dees. The individual strands are turned over as they are braided past the
end section, so that the grain side of the leather remains on the outside where
the end folds back at the dees. The dees are attached by back-braiding the
strands in the belt. There are no stitches to give way, no eyelets to tear,
and the belt is continuously adjustable. We have brought this craft to America
so that you may enjoy wearing these belts.
For more information ...
Please follow the links below for more information concerning our whips, braided
goods and related information.
Indiana Jones Bull Whips
Your First Whip for Sport Cracking
The Art of Whip Cracking
of Fine Leather
Attaching a New Whip Cracker, Replacement
Frequently Asked Questions
David W. Morgan -- Biographical Sketch
Whips and Quirts