Karaka Whips

June 10, 2010

Although David Morgan is known for its leather whips, we understand the cost can be prohibitive for some.  Since many new whip enthusiasts aren’t sure if they want to pay the price for a leather whip, we provide a synthetic version made by Karaka of New Zealand.


Karaka Products is one of New Zealand’s leading providers of whips.  Because the whips are synthetic, the cost is much lower than a leather whip.  They are also low maintenance.  Not only can they get wet, but they work well even when wet.  They can be used in the snow or mud.  And if you get them dirty, water will clean them.  They do not rot, will not break easily, and are maintenance free.  They do not stretch, and there is no need to add any dressing.  Inexperienced users can feel secure knowing that they will not damage the whip.


While you can find a cheap whip on Ebay, they will likely be too light, too loose, and a real challenge to crack.   Don’t buy a wall hanger, get started in the right direction with a Karaka.


Karaka 6 foot stockwhip

Karaka Stockwhip (6 ft)


Karaka 8 foot bullwhip

Karaka Bullwhip (8 ft)




Karaka Whips

Leather Whips

A Memorable Whip

May 14, 2010

We recently received a whip from Mike Hines, MD for repair.  It was a beautiful fifteen foot bullwhip made by Swaine Adney Brigg in the UK and in excellent condition.  Along with the whip, he sent us a story on how he discovered it.  With his permission, here is the story:

As a youngster growing up in Texas, I had developed a longstanding appreciation of the appeal cast by a skillfully wielded bullwhip. My fascination began with Lash LaRue movies and the marvelous circus wild animal trainer Clyde Beatty in the 1940’s and never waned. Then, in 1952, I saw a movie entitled “Kangaroo” (Peter Lawford, Richard Boone, Maureen O’Hara) filmed in Australia, and it included a long, 5 minute bullwhip fight between Lawford and Boone. I was hooked for good, except I couldn’t find a whip to own that I felt met the standards my dreams demanded.


In the summer of 1955, after my sophomore year in college, a high school classmate and I spent 2 months riding around Europe and England on used motorcycles (and using the accumulated savings account I had started in the 3rd grade for funding my part). Our stay ended in Great Britain (we flew home from Glasgow, Scotland). During our two-day stay in London, we meandered amongst the upscale shops downtown and, quite by chance, into a store specializing in leather goods (another fixation of mine).  The company, Swaine Adney Brigg, is appointed as “Whip and Glove Makers” to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  The prices were (and still are) quite high and we were “running on empty”…..BUT…..there on display away from the luggage and umbrellas was “The Whip”. I don’t remember the price, but it wasn’t in the category of the other products there.


It was an epiphany; it was, at that moment, THE reason I had crossed the Atlantic Ocean. It became mine and was the single souvenir of my summer in Europe that I brought back (besides the unforgettable memories, of course.) I have promised it to my only grandson, now ten years old, who seems to share my respect for this beautiful example of the whip maker’s craft. I was told by the store representative (they aren’t “Salespersons” in upscale London shops) that it is kangaroo hide, so it is a constant connection with the dream born of my movie going youth and nourished over the decades to this day.





Swaine Adney and Brigg is still in existence, though we don’t see any whips online. However, they do still make the James Bond attaché used in the movie,  “From Russia With Love”. 


David has two of their whips: a bullwhip and a lion tamer whip. Swayne & Adeney

The Lion Tamer Whip’s handle is 33 inches long, while the thong stretches to 88 inches.  Definitely the length needed when facing a lion!



Whips and Whipmaking

Braiding Fine Leather

Whips of the West

Braiding Soap Tips

February 5, 2010

The application of braiding soap helps to make a tight whip, chinstrap or lanyard.  Meagan, our resident whipmaker, has a few suggestions:


Coat the entire length of all the strands with braiding soap prior to braiding.  Saturate the strands, particularly near the top, on heavy work.  You do not need to wait any time at all to begin braiding, though if you do it won’t hurt.  Occasionally if a skin is on the dry side it will seem to drink up the soap and may benefit from a resoaping.  This would especially be true if you leave it for a long time between braiding.  Usually this is not necessary.  It also is not necessary to resoap before rolling.  The braiding soap just allows the strands to pull in more tightly when braided, which in turn makes for a smoother, rounder surface after rolling.  It does not help in the rolling.


Meagan also recommends that when applying soap to each strand, it is more effective to pull the strand through the soap-filled hand rather than sliding your hand along the strand.  This also allows you to hold your thumb on the top part of the strand to control the amount of soap that is applied.


And remember to lay the strands in order before soaping.  You don’t want your soapy hands to have to untangle anything!



Indiana Jones Bullwhips

How to Make Whips

Braiding Fine Leather

Our Braiding Soap Recipe

January 21, 2010

Braiding soap is an emulsion of fat in a soap-and-water solution.  The water in the solution conditions the lace for a greater stretch while the fat permits the leather strands to slip more tightly into place.  This allows the braid to be rolled more smoothly.


The following recipe for braiding soap has been used here at David Morgan for years. We usually make the braiding soap in a recycled 2 pound coffee can where the mixture can be prepared and stored in the same can.



1 3.5 ounce bar of Ivory soap
12 ounces (1-1/2 cups) water
1 pound (2 cups) lard


1. Coarsely grate soap into a coffee can or pot suitable for stovetop use.

2. Add water and mix.

3. Heat the mixture almost to boiling, stirring occasionally. Take care not to overheat causing the mixture to boil over.

4. Add the lard to the hot soap mixture, continuing to heat until the lard is melted. Again, take care not to overheat causing the mixture to boil over.

5. Remove the mixture from the heat. Beat at high speed with an electric hand mixer to emulsify the fat. Take care not to splatter or spill the hot mixture.

6. Allow the mixture to cool, then mix thoroughly once more with the mixer. Transfer the mixture to a storage container at this time if you are not storing in the container used during preparation.

7. Cool completely. Store, covered, at room temperature.

Makes about 2 pounds. The braiding soap will have a light, creamy consistency.



Note: Ivory soap is recommended as a commonly available pure soap. Do not use a facial soap or detergent.



Braiding Fine Leather

Kangaroo Lace

How to Make Whips

A Well Kept Whip

November 13, 2009

This ten foot bullwhip arrived for a fall replacement.  The owner tells us that it was purchased in 1984 and put through heavy use.  What a pleasure to see it in such excellent condition.  Notice the darkness of the leather.  This comes from both exposure to sunshine and the vigilant use of leather conditioner.








Pecard Leather Dressing


Karaka Whips

March 13, 2009

David Morgan presents a new line of nylon whips from Karaka Products of New Zealand.  They are machine-braided nylon, with a lead shot loaded nylon fall and cracker.  Nylon whips are generally less expensive than hand braided leather whips and maintenance free.  If they get dirty, you can wash them with water.  They work well in rain, mud and snow.  We offer two types of Karaka whips: an 8 foot bullwhip, and a 6 foot stockwhip.

karaka 368

Item 368 in our store, the 8 foot Karaka Bullwhip:

karaka 366

Item 366 in our store, the 6 foot Karaka Stockwhip


Whip Cracking


Vintage Photographs

March 4, 2009

Maytie and Bob Leinweber brought a whip to us for repair.  We’re not sure what the whip is, but it appears to be a California style 8 plait Latigo.  It is a swivel-handle bullwhip.  The white and brown diamond pattern you see near the handle is from an extra set of strands braided into the whip for reinforcement.  An example of the whip can be seen in Whips and Whipmaking on page 25.

Later, Maytie sent us these pictures of Bob as a young man.  She explains:

These are the fun photos (no alcohol involved) taken by Bob Leinweber’s dad, Clarence.  They are of Bob and his friends Doug Peak, Richard Houghton & Doug Marshell for their friend Max Lacey who had joined the Navy and later went to Vietnam.  The pictures were taken in summer of 1961.  One of the pistols held by Bob is an original 1851 Navy Colt.  Bob and Doug learned the skills of the Bull Whip in 1958  and enjoyed their Whip Cracking Display for their friends and classmates all through school and into Bob’s Forest Ranger Days in Sequoia National Park, California.  Bob’s 16 foot Bull Whip was originally purchased out of a nationally known catalog in 1957. 

Thanks Maytie and Bob for the great photographs!  We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.







Akubra Hats


More Extreme Marksman to feature David Morgan on February 7th

February 5, 2009

This Saturday, February 7th at 5 pm, the History Channel will air a repeat of Extreme Marksmen.  One portion will feature whip cracking from Anthony De Longis and another will highlight bullwhip making.  The show has footage of basic whip construction and interviews with David, Meagan and Alex.


David, with Meagan and Alex.  (photo credit Kyle Johnson)



David with the crew from Extreme Marksmen.





A Weekend of Whip Cracking

January 8, 2009

John Leonetti stopped by the store just after Christmas to introduce his friend, Paul Johnson.  Along with Will Morgan, they examined and photographed several of David’s whips.   


John and David



David and Paul

Below are some photographs from David’s collection.  (Some photos courtesy of John Leonetti)


6 ft Pocket Snake made by David Morgan  


Deer Hoof with thong from Beau Hickory, made in the 1970s.


Peruvian whip from Bernardo del Carpio


Peruvian whip from Bernardo del Carpio


On Sunday, Will, John and Paul spent the day cracking whips at the SANCA facilities with BWAHAHA (The Barton-Wright Applied Hopology And Historical Antagonistics League).


Neal Stephenson on left, John Leonetti on right


John, Paul and Louie Foxx


Whip Cracking

Braiding Whips