Introduction: Making a Paracord Whip

Picture of Making a Paracord Whip

There are many kinds of whip, but the most popular for sport cracking and target cutting are the Australian Stockwhip and the Bullwhip.

This is a 12-plait, 6-foot stockwhip with an 18-inch, 16-plait stock. Lengths are in American customary units, since for some reason whip lengths are measured in feet and it was easier to do all the calculations for strand drops in inches because of this.

I am also including instructions on how to make a 6-foot Bullwhip and a 6-foot pocket snakewhip. Since the differences lie in the handles the second two whips will merely show what is different from the stockwhip.

This is an advanced tutorial. I will show several complex knots and methods for creating fancy patterns on the stock. The reader should have a knowledge of basic knots, such as the constrictor knot , the sheet bend , the wall knot, the crown knot, the blood knot, and the Spanish ring knot. I do assume a knowledge of plaiting (braiding) terms, and knowing how to plait (braid) will be helpful, though I do describe all over and under patterns. Explaining the tying of Turk's Heads and Globe knots would take up far more space than is available in this tutorial, so if you wish to use them I suggest's Grid Maker, the Turk's Head Cookbook, and the Globe Knot Cookbook.

I frequent the KHWW forum, and there are many helpful tools and articles on the site. The International Guild of Knot Tyers, of which I am a member, is also a good resource.

O Over
U Under
O1U1 Take the strand Over one and Under one other strand.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

About 170-200 feet of 550 paracord. (Buy extra, just in case. I can do it in 200, you will likely have more waste. 250-300 is a better amount starting out) 3/4 inch diameter hardwood dowel. BBs or very small lead shot. 5-minute epoxy. Bench vise (not shown). Artificial sinew, (not shown, Tandy 3609-00, $2-4) Electrical tape (not shown) A board & a hardwood or concrete floor for rolling the whip. Forceps/hemostats (RadioShack Cat#64-065, $10), Nippy Cutters (RadioShack Cat#64-064, $6), Micro torch (Frys #4039552, $15), lacing needle (Came with the globe knot cookbook, Tandy #1193-02, jumbo perma-lok needle works well), and rigging knife (any marlinespike will do, this knife is from Rough Riders, and the spike doesn't lock properly, but it's about $15 and works well otherwise.) Scissors can also be used. It is better to use a candle to heat-seal the ends of cord than to use the lighter directly. Especially a micro-torch like this thing, since it can melt copper. You are MUCH more likely to burn your fingers trying to mold the molten nylon than with a candle. The torch is just good because it can aim a flame straight down and still melt cord, which comes in handy when dropping strands.(Optional) The globe knot cookbook set, by Don Burrhus. It is available at . This is used if you want the "globe-knot-on-a-post" end, the Little Lump Knot end does not require this.
I get my paracord from .

Bullwhips and snakewhips will use the BBs. Stockwhips and bullwhips will use the dowel.

Step 2: Making Pointed Ends for Fancywork

Picture of Making Pointed Ends for Fancywork

When sealing the ends, it is often best to make it pointed, for easier threading in a needle:
Diagonal cut paracord is much easier to thread into a needle: 1) Pull the sheath back an inch or two, and cut off all the strands. 2) Push the sheath back out, beyond the strands. 3) Cut the sheath at a diagonal, as shown. 4) Heat seal the end, just enough to keep the diagonal cut. Cutting the inner strands back like that makes sealing in general much neater.

Step 3: Prepare the Handle

Picture of Prepare the Handle

For a stockwhip, cut a length of dowel about 18 inches long, and sand a groove about 1/2 inch wide 1/2 inch from one end of the rod.

For a bullwhip, cut a 9 inch dowel length, drill a hole about 3/8 inch diameter down into the center for about 3 inches, and taper the end with the hole. The smoother the taper the better. I use a belt sander clamped upside-down in a vise to make the taper, a lathe would probably be better.

For a snakewhip, make 2 lengths, 3 feet and 1.5 feet, of "ballcord" by cutting a length of paracord, removing the inner strands, putting the end of your marlinespike into the cord, and heat-sealing the end open. Then, one at a time, feed BBs into the hollow cord.I push the BBs in with a long, thin steel rod. One can also push the BB in with the spike, then hold the cord between the spike & the vice and pull the cord to force the BB down.

For the bullwhip, you only need to make about 12 inches of ballcord. Coat 3 inches of it with epoxy, put some epoxy into the hole in the handle, and push the cord into the hole. Let it dry. This must be secure for a proper whip.

For either bullwhips or stockwhips, to improve strength and durability it's best to have a metal rod inserted through the center of the dowel. This requires either boring a hole through the center with a lathe, or splitting the rod, carving a channel in both sides, and gluing it back together. Since this requires additional tools (lathe or precise saw) (or buying a pre-made handle) I have left it out. It won't significantly affect the performance of the whip, but will require a bit more care in handling. If someone steps on the stock it might break without the reinforced handle, so don't leave whips lying around (not that you should do that anyway.)

Step 4: Prepare the Core

Picture of Prepare the Core

For the stockwhip, cut 4 strands of paracord, and heat-seal the ends: 1x 72" 1x 54" 1x 36" 1x 18" Bind the 4 strands together with sinew, starting with a constrictor knot, binding tight for about 2cm/1 inch, then loose out to nearly the end of the short strand, then back up and finish off tight w/a constrictor.
For the bullwhip, cut 3 strands, 1x 63", 1x 45", 1x 27". Bind them to the ballcord sticking out of the handle, and tape the binding point to the handle.
For the snakewhip, cut 2 strands, 1x 72", 1x 54". Use the 2 pieces of ballcord and bind just as in the stockwhip.

Step 5: Belly Plait Start

Picture of Belly Plait Start

Cut and gut 4 strands for the belly, sealing the ends with a candle. 2x 128" 2x 160" Start with a diamond plait.

Step 6: Attach the Belly to the Core

Picture of Attach the Belly to the Core

Lay the core on top of the belly.
Cross the "top" strands of the belly, then O1U1 pattern back to their respective sides.
Repeat this.
Keep repeating this until there are 6 crossings.
Then flip the whole thing over about the long axis of the whip.

Step 7: Plait the Belly

Picture of Plait the Belly

Around the back, Under 2, Over 2.
Do the same on the other side.
Bind the end with the diamond plait in a vice so you can pull the plaiting tight. Pull tight, then do the U2O2. Pull tight, plait loose. It's much easier and will give you a better whip than trying to pull tight after plaiting a strand through.

Step 8: First Strand Drop

Picture of First Strand Drop

After 1.5 ft, drop 2 strands to a 6-plait. Take 2 strands, wrap them a bit around the core.
Then cut them off and seal them to the core.

Step 9: 6-plait

Picture of 6-plait

6-plait is U2O1 on each side, the U1O2 on each side. Continue this for 18 inches.

Step 10: 4-plait

Picture of 4-plait

Now we drop to a 4-plait.
This is easy, just go O1U1 on both sides.
Continue for another 18 inches, cut off all the cords, seal the ends, and bind them to the core with a constrictor knot in artificial sinew.

Step 11: Belly Plait Complete

Picture of Belly Plait Complete

The belly is complete, but probably a bit lumpy.
Now roll the whip on a hard floor under a board. Get the strand drops to taper smoothly.

Step 12: Tape Bolster

Picture of Tape Bolster

Wrap the first 18-20 inches of the belly tightly with electrical tape. Roll it again.
I've attached pictures of the finished 8, 6, and 4-plait braids.
At this stage I like to make a popper & tie it directly to the end of the belly, then try to crack it. It should give a slight pop, and a nice smooth roll-out. A reasonably good whipcracker will be able to tell if there are any errors, even if the belly alone can't be cracked (though it should optimally be crackable.)

Step 13: Making a Fall

Picture of Making a Fall

Make a fall. Take a piece of paracord about 36" long, gut it, and make a hole just off-center from the middle with a marlinespike.
Then thread the end through the hole using a threaded needle.
Until you have about a 3/4" diameter loop.
And then cut the end off where both strands are still present, and heat seal it all together.

Step 14: The Overlay

Picture of The Overlay

For the overlay there are 12 strands total, so 6 strands folded over. I don't fold them in half, that wastes cord when dropping strands. Instead I chose how many strands will go all the way to the end (usually 6 or 4) and figure out the length of the side strands. 6*12*1.75 (1.75 is a reasonable "safety" margin for the extra amount taken up by plaiting) = 126" long strands. Accounting for strand drops every 18": 2x 158" (13'2") 2x 189" (15'9") 2x 221" (18'5")1 Find the "middles" (actually 126" from one side of each of the strands,) lay them out with 3 long sides & 3 short on the left, 3 each on the right, and start a 12-strand diamond. When using two colors make sure to have all of one color on one side and the other on the opposite side.

For a bullwhip I add 18" to all the strands to account for the thickness of the handle.
For a bullwhip or snakewhip I also don't plait a loop for the keeper, instead I wrap it straight onto the handle, just like when doing the belly.

For the stockwhip's keeper loop, start a diamond plait as before.
Cross the center strands of each side.
Bring them O1U1 to the outsides.
The new innermost strands cross and go O1U1 to the outside.
Repeat for the last 2 strands.
Now it's time to flat braid!
1 strand goes O1U1 to the other side.
The opposite strand goes U1O1U1.
Repeat 3 times.
And do the same for the other set of 6 cords.
Interweave the adjacent sets of strands, O1U1, being sure to preserve the strands own OU sequence.
One at a time weave the strands from the "upper" groups of cord through, O1U1.
Place the belly on the diamond.
And plait O1U1 for at least 6 crossings.

1 There are many questions about this bit, so I'll go into more depth about the math to find strand drop locations.
First, determine the length of the thong of your whip (for a stock) or the whole whip (for a snake or bullwhip.) Eg 6 ft.
Second, convert the length to inches (or meters to cm, if using SI units.) Eg 6 ft * 12 in/ft = 72 in.
Then add a "safety factor" to account for the spiraling of strands and the need of extra cord to pull on for plaiting. Eg 72 in * 1.75 = 126".
Then determine the number of strands in your overlay (Eg 12) and the number of strands you want to reach the end (6 is the maximum one normally wants, even on 14 or 16-strand whips.) Eg 6.
The remaining strands will drop in pairs, evenly along the thong. Eg 12 strands - 6 strands reach the end = 6 strands drop out. 6 strands / 2 (pairs) = 3 drops. So there will be 4 sections of the whip of equal length. 126 in / 4 = 31.5 in.
Subtract the length of the sections that drop. Eg 126 in - 31.5 in = 94.5 in. 94.5 in - 31.5 in = 63 in. 63 in - 31.5 in = 31.5 in.
Add subsection lengths appropriately. Eg each strand is paired with a full-length strand in a 12-strand whip, so 126 in + 94.5 in = 220.5 in. 126 in + 63 in  = 189 in. 126 in + 31.5 in = 157.5 in. The numbers above are these, just rounded.

Example for an 8 foot, 16-strand whip:
Whip length: 8 feet.
Convert to inches: 8 ft * 12 in/ft = 96 in.
Safety factor: 96 in * 1.75 = 168 in.
16 strands in overlay, 6 strands reach the end. 10 strands must drop out, in pairs, at even intervals along the whip.
10 strands / 2 (pairs) = 5 drops. So 6 sections.
168 in / 6 sections = 28 in/section.
168 in - 28 in = 140 in.
140 in - 28 in = 112 in.
112 in - 28 in = 84 in.
84 in - 28 in = 56 in.
56 in - 28 in = 28 in.
Since we're folding the strands over instead of trying to secure the separate strands to the belly we add the whip length with safety factor in to the 6 shortest strands (3 shortest pairs).
168 in + 28 in = 196 in.
168 in + 56 in = 224 in.
168 in + 84 in = 252 in.
The remaining strands are dropping out before the end on both sides, so we add them in pairs, longest with shortest of the remainder.
140 in + 112 in = 252 in.
The final strands will be as follows:
2x 196 in (folded at 168 in), 2x 224 in (folded at 168 in), 2x 252 in (folded at 168 in), 2x 252 in (folded at 140 in).

Step 15: 12-Plait

Picture of 12-Plait

Time for a herringbone plait! 12-plait is U3O3.
The pattern looks like the second picture when pulled tight properly.

Step 16: Dropping Strands in the Overlay

Picture of Dropping Strands in the Overlay

Proceed to plait for about 1.5 feet, you should be just about to run out of material from 2 strands. Use the forceps to pull them through the belly plait, cut them off, and heat-seal them down.

Step 17: 10-Plait

Picture of 10-Plait

This gets you a 10-plait. U3O2, other side U3O2, back to the first U2O3, and the second U2O3.
U3O2 on the second side.
U2O3 on the first side.
U2O3 on the second side.

Step 18: Finishing the Overlay

Picture of Finishing the Overlay

After 1.5 feet, go to 8-plait. 8-plait is, just like in the belly, U2O2 every time.
Again after 1.5 feet, go to 6-plait. 6-plait is the same as with the belly. You should have 6 strands as you hit the belly. When you get to the very end of the belly slip all 6 remaining strands through the fall loop. Start half-hitching them in alternate directions, around all the other strands and the main part of the fall. After 6-8 hitches, cut & seal all but the bottommost strand. Take that one up through the fall, pull the fall down nice and hard, then cut & seal that strand as it sticks up out of the fall loop. Roll the thong under the board. Get it nice and smooth. If you pulled tight enough nothing should be loose.
The last three pictures show a 12-plait, and the irregularity of the 10 plait.

Step 19: The Stock

Picture of The Stock

Now it's time to make the stock. Of course this section isn't used in a bullwhip or snakewhip.
Cut 2 strands 292" (24'4") long, one of each color. Fold them in half, then in quarters, and cut into 4 strands 73" long each. If you want a bigger safety margin, cut the initial 2 @ 340 inches (28'4"). Middle the strands, start an 8-strand flat plait. Continue this for the length you want the keeper, and fold them over the handle end that has the groove. Pretty much the same as making the loop for the overlay, just with 16 strands instead of 12. Plait a few inches of 16-strand diamond (over-1, under-1, all of 1 color on the right and the other on the left).

The easy way to do patterns is to wrap one color (the foreground color) all the way around the handle, evenly, covering the whole thing, (no gaps) and bind it at the other end.

Step 20: Bracelet Pattern

Picture of Bracelet Pattern

Then weave strands from the second color through. For me the first color was the black, the second the blue. You can, of course, just plait it and alternate strands. Use whichever method suits you, and make whatever patterns you like, the rest of this I show the wraparound method. When using that method it's best to make all the strands of the diamond plait emerge at the same "height" instead of in their normal diagonal. Weave the strands O1U1 with a lacing needle. The most basic pattern is the "bracelet". Go O4, then under 1.
Each successive blue strand goes under the next black strand and gets pulled up tight.

Step 21: Pattern Design

Picture of Pattern Design

Now, you probably want to try fancier patterns than a bracelet. It's not that hard to plait nearly any pattern, it just has to fit a width of 16 strands. So draw that out on graph paper.
And draw a pattern. "Interlocking diamonds" is traditional.
You can design your own patterns. So long as they fit they will be possible to plait. So long as they repeat at multiples of 4 squares they will make "clean" rings around the handle. Here's a pattern I designed to show this, I've never seen it used or in any book.
Some patterns won't fit. I wanted to plait the IGKT's carrick mat logo, but the simplest version I could draw came out to 24 strands minimum.

Step 22: Pattern Implementation

Picture of Pattern Implementation

So let's see that pattern I designed actually made. Pick a strand and thread it into a lacing needle, then bring it over 1 and under 4.
Next strand O2U1O2U1
O4U4 and you're done, just have to lock it in (with a bracelet, stairstep, or just the next pattern.)

Last 2 pictures are the pattern locked in with a bracelet, showing the diamonds and the dots.

Step 23: Letters

Picture of Letters

You can even draw letters. I only had space to make 4-square high letters, Ron Edwards provides a 5-square alphabet in "How to make Whips". This one is for the IGKT.

To draw letters, use the graph paper method to create the patterns for the letters.

Step 24: Finishing the Stock

Picture of Finishing the Stock

I cut the strands a tad short, so my blue ends before the black. This gets an interesting effect, but requires a bit more work. Time to finish the stock then. First, paint on some white glue to the wood of the handle.
Then bind the base strands down to the glue with sinew. Glue the upper strands onto them, and bind those to the base.
Once the glue dries, cut the ends off and heat-seal them.
Feed the thong through the loop in the keeper, and the handle through the loop in the thong. We do this now to make sure it will fit, instead of after the globe-knot on the end...

Step 25: Globe Knot End (stockwhip)

Picture of Globe Knot End (stockwhip)

If you have the globe knot cookbook and want to do a globe knot end (easier for a stockwhip) follow these steps.
Every stockwhip needs a knob. I use 2-part sculptable epoxy. It's a bit like sculpting bubblegum, but it has a working life of about 5-15 minutes and cures hard in an hour.
I make the knob as even as I can, about an inch across.
Then I tie a "globe-on-a-post" to it. 56ZQB works well. I used about 12 feet of paracord for the globe knot here, and left room to do an interweave with a 3rd strand.
I also tied a Spanish ring knot. Since 56ZQB would be very difficult to tie without a globe knot tool, and those are included with the globe knot cookbook set I'll not provide instructions on how to tie it unless Don Burrhus says I can, since I'd just be copying his book. Spanish ring knots are very common, instructions are easy to find.

Step 26: Little Lump Knot Handle Knob

Picture of Little Lump Knot Handle Knob

Optional: Epoxy the start of the overlay to the handle (or core for a snakewhip) to help secure the knob.
Cut 4 6-foot long strands, and put them through the weave to get 8 3-foot strands attached to the handle.
Tie an extended footrope knot:
Start with a wall knot, let it hang down a few inches.
Take each strand O1U1.
Repeat, to extend the footrope knot. Tighten evenly.
Tie a double crown (a crown with pairs of strands instead of single strands) around the edge.
Tie a second double crown over the top.
Tie another extended footrope knot (wall, then O1U1O1U1.)
Using every other strand, tie a crown knot.
Take the strands from the wall and follow the "adjacent" strand down through the knot. It's pretty obvious which strand to follow in practice.
Take 1 of the four strands facing you, and take it U1O1 to the left of the strand facing away. Leave a loop facing you.
Take the strand facing away and take it over the previous strand, then U1O1 and through the loop. Pull somewhat tight.
Repeat with the other 2 strands, but since 2 have been done you go U1O1U1O1 and to the left...
Then over the previous strand, and U1O1U1O1 and through the loop. Pull tight.
Now take each strand and follow its adjacent strand until you would be tripling the knot. Take the strand U all and out the bottom.
Tighten the knot 1 strand at a time. Once tight I like to gently tap it with a rubber or rawhide mallet to even out any bulges. The little lump knot is done.
Tie ANOTHER extended footrope knot beneath the little lump knot. At the end, take the strands U all and out the bottom.
Tighten this. Cut the strands, carefully heat seal them (don't burn the knots or handle) and push them under the footrope knot with a marlinespike.

Step 27: Attach the Whip to the Stock

Picture of Attach the Whip to the Stock

If you're making a stockwhip, you must now attach the stock to the whip itself.
Thread the keeper through the loop on the whip.
Thread the whip through the keeper.
Pull tight.

Step 28: Finishing the Whip

Picture of Finishing the Whip

Make a popper. Take two core strands about 1.5 feet long, clamp their ends in the vice, and twist them. Keep twisting until it starts to kink. Fold the thing in half, it should fold neatly. Tie a blood knot about 4 inches from the fold. Cut about 4 inches beyond the blood knot, and unlay the strands to make it fluffy.
Tie the popper on (use a sheet bend). I make my poppers from some of the spare core strands of the paracord.
Your whip is now finished.


RuudvandeLooij (author)2017-07-31

Great instructable, I'm starting right away with the snakewhip. I will be following your Instructable mostly combined with some extra tutorials, tips and tricks from youtube. I probably have some questions along the way because I'm not the person who takes things for granted. I want to know how and why. Furthermore I have some ideas I'm going to try to incorporate which I've never seen anyone do before, so let's hope it works.

So to start, here is my first question: In step four, why only bind the area with four strands, and not al the way to the single strand. (PS: I'm using waxed thread instead off artificial sinew)

The binding doesn't just hold the cords together, it also increases stiffness a bit. That's good near the handle, but not what you generally want further out. You could bind further, if you wanted a stiffer whip, but that tends to make it a bit harder to use.

RuudvandeLooij made it! (author)SAI Peregrinus2017-08-08

Here is the work in progress. Still need to make the knob on the end. Not sure what this will be. I've inserted a piece of threaded rod in the end in order to me able to mount a metal knob. Thinking about a skull knob. But I guess a knotted knob is as much of a candidate, since it much easier to achieve.

There are some flaws in my work as can be seen, but overal it flows nicely and has no real kinks in it. So not bad for my first try I would say. It has a core of 4 gutted cords without BB's or ball cord, a 4-plaid belly, an 8-plaid belly and a 12-plaid overlay in the colors walnut brown, rust, gold and creme.

Looks good!

nathanbutera (author)2017-04-05

I have another question. I am trying to read all the comments to find the answers to any questions, but I couldn't find the answer to this one:
For the belly plait, you say to cut 4 lengths of cod, 2 lengths of one size and 2 of another. However, it's unclear to me where to place the different lengths in the plait.
For example, if I'm using 2 colors like you had used, I'm assuming I cut one of each length in each different color, but then where do you position the longer and where do you position the shorter?

Thank you!

The lengths get folded in half, so it doesn't matter which one is which. The reason for pre-cutting them to different lengths is to save cord, since the strands get dropped anyway later on it's better to start with them about the right length.

nathanbutera (author)2017-04-04

Thanks for this tutorial! I'm making the bullwhip and I have a couple questions. 1) in the photo it looks like you have used a much longer length of ballcord than 12in, is that true? 2) when wrapping the core with artificial sinew, do I stop wrapping at the end of the ballcord or at the end of the 27inch length of paracord?

It looks like you wrap it until the end of the 27 inch paracord, but it also looks like the ballcord extends to 27 inches.


12 inches is the minimum. I used a bit more (about 18 inches), how long it is depends on how you want the weight distribution. More weight makes getting a loud crack easier but means the whip is slower to use and heavier. Too little and getting a crack will require very fast swings.

You can stop wrapping the core wherever you please, frankly. The artificial sinew is just to bind the strands together enough that it's easy to plait the belly over the core. It's really annoying to manage all the strands without it, though it can be done.

Hey thanks for such a prompt reply! Totally makes sense. Having a lot of fun with this.

larolds (author)2017-01-29

I have not made it yet but plan on it. I am just having hell understand a specific part

"Since we're folding the strands over instead of trying to secure the separate strands to the belly we add the whip length with safety factor in to the 6 shortest strands (3 shortest pairs).

168 in + 28 in = 196 in.
168 in + 56 in = 224 in.
168 in + 84 in = 252 in.
The remaining strands are dropping out before the end on both sides, so we add them in pairs, longest with shortest of the remainder.
140 in + 112 in = 252 in.
The final strands will be as follows:
2x 196 in (folded at 168 in), 2x 224 in (folded at 168 in), 2x 252 in (folded at 168 in), 2x 252 in (folded at 140 in)."

the part where you say since we're folding the strands over instead of trying to secure the separate stands to the the belly we add the whip length with safety factor into the 6 shortest strands. i'm not sure what this is for and i'm having a hard time figuring it out. i understand these are the shortest "pairs" but why are you adding the whip length and the inches per section to it? and how did you get the final strands? the reason why i'm being very sepcific is because i plan on making more then one in different lengths. other then me not understanding this tutorial is amazing! it is appreciated that you took your time to make this instructables

larolds (author)larolds2017-01-30

addendum: i figured it out after 12 hours straight looking at it....... thanks though. no ever accused me of being the brightest color in the box.

SAI Peregrinus (author)larolds2017-01-31

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, glad you figured it out anyway.

larolds (author)SAI Peregrinus2017-01-31

well that is all right, maybe you would like to help me out. since you have the math figured out I'm trying to add it to an excel sheet so no matter what you'll get the math asap. even if you have 0 bolsters and just plait 2 bellies and 1 overlay or what ever.Do you think that you are up for something like that?

jonnybennion made it! (author)2017-01-09

most fun I've has in a long time. thanks.

Looks excellent, glad it was enjoyable!

KayleyA made it! (author)2016-05-07

I made a cow whip for a cosplay, using a combination of this tutorial and Nick Shrader's youtube tutorial for a bull whip. Your tutorial was indispensable and I was very pleased with the result.

brotherphil made it! (author)2016-04-11

Lovely - nice clear instructions. I'm not sure I did the crown, etc, very well, but it came out very nicely.

MakinToys made it! (author)2016-03-15

Being a seeker of instant gratification, I went ahead and made it without the groove in the stock dowel. It cracks nice & easy. However, tightening the plaiting on the stock was very squirrelly work, as it kept sliding around. In future, I think the few minutes spent sanding a groove will be well worth it, if only to keep the work in place. Thanks again for the excellent tutorial!

SAI Peregrinus (author)MakinToys2016-03-15

Sorry for not replying sooner. The groove is pretty much just to make it a bit easier to tie everything on, as you discovered it's not needed to get a functional whip but saves a bunch of time.

MakinToys (author)2016-03-09

This is by far the best whipmaking tutorial I've come across online! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

One question - my understanding is that the groove in the stock dowel was to accommodate tying on a seperate piece for the keeper in a leather whip. Is it still necessary with the keeper being plaited right onto it? If I forego the groove, will it make a difference to the functionality of the finished whip? Thanks again.

woodybeth (author)2016-02-14

l just get the keeper right is something out the explains in more detail ????

SAI Peregrinus (author)woodybeth2016-02-22

The keeper starts out much like the overlay, just with fewer strands in the flat plait.

zbailey2 (author)2016-02-22

Does amount of bellies matter? I've seen other how-to's and they say three bellies, does it matter?

SAI Peregrinus (author)zbailey22016-02-22

Not really. The only thing that truly matters is that the whip tapers smoothly and is reasonably flexible. With paracord a single belly around a core will typically work well for a reasonably sized whip, but with thinner cord you'd want a few more bellies to get it large enough to be comfortable to hold and to get the stiffness/flexibility right.

PiercedKnight (author)2015-05-15

I'm making the snakewhip, but I suppose this question would be applicable regardless: Are the two strands of the core attached to the ballcord gutted or do you leave the core strands in them to round out the core of the whip?

Remove the white gut strands from all parts of the whip, except (optionally) the outer covering of the handle. For a snakewhip that means there will never be any white core strands left in the whip.

balrog 7 (author)2014-07-12

How can you attach a wrist strap to the bottom of the bullwhip and still make the lump knot?

SAI Peregrinus (author)balrog 72014-07-14

I'd make a strap with a 3-strand flat plait of paracord, glue/tack it to the sides of the stock near the base, and weave the lump knot through it.

balrog 7 (author)SAI Peregrinus2014-11-23


tayla.wells.10 (author)2014-11-04

I am interested in making the 6 foot stock whip and I was just wondering if it was meant to have a bb strand and if so when you bound the together would you have 4 strands total or 4 + the bb strand?

vamty (author)2014-02-16

This is a well done starter guide for making a whip, good job! I'm a professional whip maker in Massachusetts and I've made several hundred whips. I hope you aren't offended if I offer a little bit of advice.
When deciding on a handle core you want to keep in mind that wood will absorb moisture and swell/shrink quite a bit. This will drastically shorten the life and impede the performance of the whip. Almost all professionals use 1/4" steel rods; They cost a few dollars for a 3ft rod at most hardware stores. With the width of the handle, your best performance will come when the finished handle is 3/4" thick. Traditional stock whips have handles slightly thinner than that. American Stock handles are 18" and Australian are traditionally 21". I prefer the Australian stocks (they are lighter and thus faster). My biggest advice is to always, always, always remove the white inner core from the paracord. The white core is prone to shrinking and will cause your finished whip to warp drastically. Also, by removing the cores, your whip will have less bumps and lumps in them improving the flow of energy and the overall look of the whip.
A general guide line for core/belly/overlay is that the core should have a tapered weight going 7/8 of the length of the finished whip. The belly should go 3/4 and the overlay (obviously) goes the full length.
If you want to learn some smoother techniques, look up Em-brand-whips on Youtube. Bernie does a wonderful job of offering instruction. Also, Ron Edwards book "How to Make Whips" is an amazing resource.
-Theodore -

havaren (author)2014-02-05

Do you have a better visual for step 26? the visuals are just confusing me....

kylet1 (author)2013-11-25

Can I use a 1 inch dowel and will this effect it?

SAI Peregrinus (author)kylet12013-11-25

You want a dowel that is comfortable in hand when wrapped in 2 layers of paracord. 1 inch might be a bit thick, but shouldn't be a problem if it's comfortable to you.

willowwhip (author)2013-10-03

First off, I want to say that I am really excited to start this project; I never thought I would be able to just make a whip but now have a matched pair of 4ft, 16 strand snake whips planned for a Christmas present. To double check my planning: OVERLAY cut& burn lengths will be: 2x98 - fold at 84 1st + full. 84/14 (in inches) 2x112 - fold at 84 2nd + full 84/28 2x126 - fold at 84 3rd + full 84/42 2x126 - fold at 70 4th + 5th 70/56 BELLY cut& burn lengths 2x84 - fold in half 2x112 - fold in half CORE 24+12 of ball cord 36 + 48 unweighted Bringing me to a grand total of 658in of each color, plus 120in of one (plus a few feet of spare) Comes to minimum 60ft black and ~80 of lime per whip A question on the prep work: the ball cord and the belly plait are gutted; are the overlay and two long core strands gutted as well? Thank you for making this project possible!

The overlay is gutted, the long core strands are not.

The measurements look about right at first glance, though I've not actually calculated them out. Most paracord shops sell in 100 foot hanks anyway, (eg sells 100ft for $7) so buying 4 hanks should give you some to spare.

tdavis66 (author)2013-08-24

So on the bullwhip the core strands you said to cut the longest one at 63 inches, and since it is supposed to be a 6ft. whip, I was wondering how it ended up being 6ft if it's only 63"? Do you just go past that on the overlay doing it on no strands or what? If you could post some pictures of the finished bullwhip belly that would be great. Thanks

SAI Peregrinus (author)tdavis662013-08-24

The core goes beyond the belly. You can see a picture of it in step 5, substep 11. The overlay goes beyond the belly and core.

ahumphries (author)2013-08-16

Hi I am wanting to make an 8ft bullwhip how far should I shot it to have an ideal weight for whipping ? How would I work out the lengths to the plats too ? I don't understand the way you have the formula on your instructable sorry, I will have an 8.2 ft core but unsure how to calculate the strands for platting it. Thanks I am guessing the 6*12*1.75 is 6 being length of whip ? But unsure on the others thanks

For the shot, the ideal weight depends on the user's preference and the intended use of the whip. More shot makes for a heavier base, so a larger mass change from the handle to the cracker and thus a greater acceleration and louder crack.
The formula, with units: 6 ft * 12 in/ft * 1.75 = 126 in. (TeX $6ft\times12\frac{{in}}{ft}\times1.75=126in$) It's just converting feet to inches, then multiplying by 1.75 to give extra length for the braiding (the strands spiral around the core/belly, and you need some room to work with.) Really it's just WhipLength * 1.75 (or WhipLength * 1.5 if you don't need as much extra cord due to being an experienced plaiter.) The other strands drop out at intervals along the thong, so you cut them shorter so as not to waste cord. You COULD do the entire thing with full-length strands, but there would be quite a lot of waste. Paracord is cheap, but it's not THAT cheap. If in doubt, err on the side of wasting some cord by making the strands too long. You can always cut more off, you can't easily add more in.
To explain the reasoning, and how to figure out what the lengths should be:
So you have a strand length of 126" for a 6 foot whip. You could cut 12 strands 126" long and bind all 12 strands together at the handle end, but that's hard to do, it's far easier to start the plaiting in the middle of the strands. So you make 6 strands 252" and fold them in half. But that wastes cord, since you need to drop strands in pairs to get a good taper. If you want 6 strands to be full length for the fall knot (a good number) then you can pick your strand drop locations to determine how the whip tapers. If we want a perfectly even taper there will be three drops (6 strands dropping out in pairs) so the whip gets divided into 4 parts (start -> 1st drop, 1st drop -> 2nd drop, 2nd drop -> 3rd drop, 3rd drop -> end) of equal length. 126"/4=31.5". 252"-31.5"=220.5", 252"-63"=189", 252"-94.5"=157.5".
I've updated step 14 with a more thorough explanation of the strand drop math.

ahumphries (author)2013-08-16

I have managed to work it out I am guessing the 6= length of whip 12 = number of plats and 1.75 being increase in length of whip? So for an 8ft it would be 8*12*1.75?

CorporalPunishment (author)2013-08-07

whips are measured in feet cause MERICA!

Essentially yes. America and Australia were major users of whips even after the use declined in other countries, and being former British colonies they use systems based on the Imperial system of measurement.

tdavis66 (author)2013-08-01

So I was a little confused on the bullwhip instructions. When you make the "ballcord" do you seal one end as you put the bbs in, and then seal the other when you're done? Then after you get the core done you attach the belly to the core on the bullwhip too, right? Then most of the instructions are the same for the stock whip and bull whip? Thanks a lot, your instructions are really good.

SAI Peregrinus (author)tdavis662013-08-02

Correct on all counts. Thanks for the praise!

Lohan72 (author)2013-08-01

I've started making the 6' snake whip per your instructions, my question is I would also like to make a 3' or 4' snake whip what would the ball chain and para cord lengths be for that?

shizumadrive (author)2013-04-15

Those were some really great detailed instructions. I have a mess load of paracord a paratrooper friend of mine gave me and now I know what I'm going to do with it.

aclugston (author)2013-04-08

I've been having a lot of trouble with this wee knot, I finally got something that i thought was right on my whip, but upon looking at yours i realize that some of my cords on the way down on the lump knot weren't doubled up. Not sure if it helps, but it's the ones going from right to left(with the knot facing up). I'm about to move onto my second whip from your instructable(the first one cracked well, but it was only my 2nd whip, and I wasn't pleased with the build quality, so I'm making another) and I'd like my next one to be perfect, so any help with my knot problem would be great.
Many thanks, Adam

SAI Peregrinus (author)aclugston2013-04-09

When you start doubling the strands make sure you're using all of the working ends, not just half of them. Also make sure you follow the same strand all the way around until you come back to where you started doubling it.

aclugston (author)2013-03-19

thanks for the quick reply. So just so I've got this right, from top to bottom on the overlay, the lengths would be 135", 52", 135", 83", 135" and 115"(from the centre)? And they way you say to go 18" then drop 2 strands, is that 18" from the base of the handle, so 9" from the end of the handle? And i saw you said in a previous comment that you used 4mm BBs, but in your pictures it looks like a much larger size of BB
(sorry for not putting this as a reply, it wouldn't let me for some reason :S )

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