Instructables
Picture of Paracord Bullwhip
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Hello everybody!

I've been enjoying this site for long and have finally found enough time to write a first Instructable by myself.

I'll will share with you how to make a real paracord bullwhip.

It should not be that hard for those of you who know their way through ropes, knots and braiding.
I wouldn't recommend this as a beginner project though.
It involves careful and regular braiding of up to 12 strands a bit over 12 feet long, which can be a bit messy or frustrating if you're not familiar with manipulating such lengths of cord.
You will also need to know ( or be willing to learn) some 'advanced' knots to make it look nice, and I won't cover that lengthly point in this Instructable since there is already a lot of resources on that topic on the Net.
I however do plan on doing a few other Instructables on that topic if people are interested in it.

We will be making a 2.50m ( ~8.2ft) whip, from handle tip to fall, not including the cracker.

Take your time with this one, you'll get what you give.
It took me maybe a week or so worth of evenings to complete it.

The result was well worth it, this thing cracks loudly and easily as expected and it ended up being a very rewarding project.


I'd like to thank "Bullwhipcracker" for his nice info  about whip making that served as an inspiration for this project and saved me some headaches about figuring out the correct lengths for the different steps.
I was unable to find a homepage or anything that links directly to his work to give him proper credit though.

Now, let's get to the fun stuff :)

Update:
Here's a short vid showing that it's indeed the real deal.


 
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Your link for the star knot is no longer working. I think this may be the same one you were talking about:

https://sites.google.com/site/newknoticalarts/tuto...

Your whip looks nice, good instructable.

ch5 (author)  MadisonCountyParacordist7 months ago

Yes,thanks.Your link is indeed a mirror of the tutorial I was recommending.

yamnitram3 years ago
Hey CH5,
brilliant set of instructions. Time estimate right on and what an excellent whip to end up with. The missus and I went into the back garden and were breaking the sound barrier within minutes. Excellent. Thank you
ch5 (author)  yamnitram3 years ago
Thanks for your comments :)
I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Any pics ?
yamnitram ch53 years ago
Hi CH5
Here are a couple of photos.
Rather than a nail I used an old kite strut for the handle. I lengthened the first four strands to run the length of the handle as I thought it would hold together better. To finish off I screwed a round head brass head screw up the center of the rod. I am contemplating doing a knot on the end of the handle but having tied it in larger rope the thought of doing it in paracord is giving me the willies. Maybe I will just polish the screw head and call it a day as it does look nice and works very well.
thanks again
Martin
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ch5 (author)  yamnitram2 years ago
Thanks :)
Seeing all those pictures makes me wish i had much more time to try out all those color variations.
essigurken2 years ago
Great design, excellent and clear instructable. I've been working on mine on and off for a while, and just finished it. Figured I'd share.

I didn't have much luck with the knot you used to secure the cracker, so I made up my own. pictures and video below.

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ch5 (author)  essigurken2 years ago
Awesome ! thanks for sharing the pictures :)
Spy_643 years ago
I finally made my second whip. Black and pink. Took about a week to make. I used mosquito cord for the crkacker... best thing I have found yet, works amazingly. Also, instead of using duct tape for wrapping the core, I used light automotive shrink tubing. I was hesitant at first, but it made the whip less rigid and really gave it more crack. This whip ended up being 10ft. from handle to cracker.
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ch5 (author)  Spy_643 years ago
Sweet :)
I guess you only used one ping doubled strand to achieve this pattern ?
( I'm stressing that so people could have various recipies for differnt patterns from the comments )

Nicely done!
good stuff... here are pictures of a few whips I have made, and by the way I'm only 16 so I'm sorry if the picrtures don't look very "professional" XD

The 100 % complete ones are shown in close ups, the 8ft blue one is gutted paracord with simple round diamond and tripled 4 strand plaiting on the handle, the black one is a 10 ft 8 plait "Indy" Bullwhip made of... the DIYer's best friend Duct Tape
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ch5 (author)  WataAtaCrackahJack3 years ago
These look nice !
I was wondering: how good does the duct tape one perform?
What did you use on the inside ?
It looks great.Did you fold the tape strips lengthwise to get a thinner non-sticky band ?
I
Spy_643 years ago
I have found that mosquito cord works exceptionally well for a cracker. Light weight, super strong, flexible and small diameter (1/16"). Its sheathed with nylon like paracord but has a twisted pair of very tough nylon string in the core.
Spy_643 years ago
After many many hours over several weeks of evenings, I have complete my own using these instructions. I have made a few changes including larger lamp chain... which I think ultimately is the cause of mine being a bit shorter; from the tip of the handle to the tip of the fall it is 7ft. 3in. to the tip of the cracker it is 8ft. 3in. Lookng at your star knot and handle compaired o mine, I believe the spike I used for the handle was a bit larger, but it tapers nicely to the whip. I had to use more material in the plaiting for some reason I cannot explain and still ended up too short on the plaiting. Also, I think I pulled the plaiting too tight, as my whip is very rigid and in some spots was not able to hide the drop strands very well because I could not slide the bottom strands up enough to hide them. I thought the red stripe would make the whip stand out a bit more. Like yours, I fastened the star knot with a Mathew Walker knot, but I crowned the star knot to fill the hole in the end and have three passes through the rabbit holes. I put a turks head on to mark the top of the handle. Unfortunately, I did not know how to hide the ends to the Matthew Walker or the Turks head nicely, so there is a small dot where I melted the ends where each string came out. Also, I cut the ends off short and melted them to the half hitch knots where the fall attaches because I got ahead of the instructions, where you left the ends just cut short, but it ended up looking fairly nice regardless. I didn't have any medium diameter string, so I made the cracker out of some of the guts from the cord and it worked extremely well. This whip cracks incredibly loud and easy. All in all, I am very happy with the results of my first attempt. I think my next will go faster and a bit smoother. There are a few things I may put my own twist on with the next one. One of the bigger changes I may make next time is using shrink tubing in place of duct tape. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise on this project, I enjoyed doing this immensely. (c;
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ch5 (author)  Spy_643 years ago
Hi, your whip looks very nice :)
I featured your comment so everybody can see the results near the top of the page. I also planned on using multiple color strands, but didn't have long enough strands of matching colors at the time.
How many orange strands did you use ? My guess from the pattern would be one ?
Very nicely done, and thanks for your support :)
wangerton4 years ago
so I'm layin on the couch snappin my paracord bullwhip around the room like I tend to do when I decided to revisit your instructable.
After perusing the comments for quite some time I realized no-one has actually posted a pic of a bullwhip they made using your directions.
So here is some photographic whippage for your ogle-ing pleasure. It aint perfect but neither am I. Your instructable was excellent, well written, easy to follow, at least if a dullard like myself could do it, well, you know.

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ch5 (author)  wangerton4 years ago
Hi, thanks for posting some pics, as you mentionned it I didn't get that much graphic feedback on this instructable, it's nice to see some.
Also thanks for your support, doing this instructable took some work, and i'm glad people find it clear enough to follow.
I hope you have fun with your hand made supersonic toy :)

runowicz4 years ago
hey! great instructable - i've made a whip of my own in a few hours :) could you please come up with a formula to calculate particular lengths of paracord for different whip lengths? is it just proportions i'm looking for or is there more to it? all the best, tomek
ch5 (author)  runowicz4 years ago
That's the question I most get since I published this instructable.
But unfortunately, I don't know of any ratio for this.
Especially since many things might make it may vary such as :your plaiting style , the initial materials, the thickness of your differents layers...
I think using simple ratios based on this example should be close to what you'd need, but i'd recommend extanding them a bit , just in case.
That's the only whip I've made so far so I lack data to make the estimates more accurate, but if you happen to try it with other lengths, I'd be interested in the outcome ( lengths you used, length reached, leftovers..)

I'm glad you like it, thanks for your support ;)
( You're from Poland ?Right? )


runowicz ch54 years ago
Thanks for responding. In fact I've made the one to your measurements for my kid (who is really into indiana jones at the mo) but had so much fun doing it, that i'd love to make another, possibly longer. The question is not so much about the length of the plating but about the guts. Logically the guts determine the length of the plating, so I can figure them out. It is just a question of dropping the thickness at the right points. How did you come up with the lengths? Did you just eyeball it? And, yes, I'm very much from Poland (Warsaw at the mo) :) All The Best, tomek
ch5 (author)  runowicz4 years ago
The exact place where the whip gets thinner isn't really critical.
Even I didn't 100% follow the exact measurements I give here.
To make it neat , if the whip is 5 sections long,thinning every 1/5 will probably work fine for the guts, maybe with the end segment slightly longer than the others.
You might also want to add additionnal sections ( and a corresponding number of pair of strands to the plaits) to the whip If you want to make it longer.

Since they're 3 layers, when making each one, drop thicknes 1/3 way of the underlying layer to get an even progression.

I made a ( crappy ^^' ) diagram to better explain it below:
Black bars are the gut sections, blue is the first layer, red is the second one.
vertical green marks show points where the whip loses thickness, note that they end up evenely spaced.

I hope this helps.
( I was born in Warsaw btw ;) )





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runowicz ch54 years ago
thanks a lot :) now i have enough info to figure it out :) (as for you being born in warszawa, well .. it's a small world already, and it's getting smaller by the minute :) regards, tomek
salomon19964 years ago
hello again! :) this instructable is AWESOME! well, i finished my whip, but the only problem is i cant get the star not on the end of the handle, any tips? i will post some pics soon. THANKS!!
ch5 (author)  salomon19964 years ago
I answered that earlier in the comments already: Once you've tied the knot on the table, it will very loosely fit around the nails head. What makes it hold is the very tight matthew walker's knot tied with the remaining strands around the base of the handle. Then just cut the ends of the remaining strands so a few millmeters are left, melt them, and smear around the knot's end like an O-ring. Also, when beginning the knot , i dont melt 6 strands together like on the suggested website but rather cross 3 middled strands "over/under" like In the following. It helps saving some space.( you could also thread them through each orher like in step 15,pic 3 to save some more and make the tying easaier.)
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salomon1996 ch54 years ago
well, i tied my star knot, but i didn't do what the picture above suggests(at that time i had no idea what you were talking about in the other comment) and when i make my mathew walker knot, it just slides right off, it was tight too. any suggestion?(sorry if i am getting annoying with all my questions)
here are some PICS!
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ch5 (author)  salomon19964 years ago
It looks nice in beige too :) I think that from the pics I understand what's going on: The melted part on your knot seems to take up a lot of space from inside the knot, and therefore you're just putting the knot close to the nail tip before tying it, leaving all the strain on the matthew walker. It should look more like the following illustration ( fear the epic paint skillz ^^ ) Using one of the 2 techniques I mentionned for beggining the knot will probably help a lot. The nail's head is supposed to be stuck inside the knot after it is tied and dressed. It will fit loosely. I hope this helps.
star knot.bmp
salomon1996 ch54 years ago
that helps a lot! thank you! i will remake the star knot, hopefully, and see if that works.
Great instructable! You beat me to it! I have made several whips of paracord, but lack the documentation for a full on instructable as of yet. The most recent I made was a snake whip with plastic coated steel cable as the core. Keep up the good work. You have my vote and 5 stars!
ch5 (author)  hailtothkngbby4 years ago
Thanks for your support!
Your whip sounds great ^^
OneEyeyesterday

Awesome instructable; thank you! I built one over the course of a few evenings and love it. I'm learning how to crack it, but finding somewhere I won't get noise complaints is an issue; the dogs cower whenever they see the whip come out (no I haven't directed it at them).

I originally tried reinforcing the transition between the handle & the rest of the thong without the tight whipping, just with a triple layer of tape. That was a mistake. The transition looked right while making it, but once I started using it that went out the window. After the first day of playing around, there was hardly any stiffness left in the transition and the whip became very difficult to crack. Fortunately a tight whipping over the top of the cover braid, with an electrical tape cover fixed the issue. I added a long turks head to cover the tape. It looks a bit odd, but it still works. With the restored stiffness, the whip sprang back to life and I can get great overhead, cattlemen's & coachmen's cracks out of it. Still learning other techniques.

Two strands of the paracord inners make for a great popper. Twist them, double over, and allow them to countertwist so you have a 4-strand thickness, which seems just about right.

Two of my fall knot half-hitches started to come loose (cover plait strands), and I don't have enough length to re-tie them (the other 2 plait strands and core still holding). Instead of undoing the whole set of knots I re-tightened the remaining 3 knots and folded the two loose strands back along the plait. I then whipped them using a core strand from the paracord. My first whipping came off, but using a west-country whipping with the ends pulled under the whipping is holding better. It makes this transition area a bit stiff, but I am still able to get cracks with it. Hopefully it isn't what is keeping me from figuring out how to do the reverse cracks needed for cracking combinations.

Thanks again for a great instructible!

ch5 (author)  OneEye15 hours ago
It's always nice to have news from people realizing this project.
Also thanks for suggesting those fixes .

How tight were your plaited layers? Maybe the loss of stiffness also came from overall surrounding slack working its way to the most working spot ?

Regarding the half hitches, what I usually do is melt the ends together well and smear them into surrounding cord.
Sewing the undone strands with a few passes might also be an option, and slightly lighter than whipping.
Wetting the knots before final tightening and letting dry is also a way to end up with a tight knot.

I never got any luck with the standard whiping on working ropes.It always slides undone pretty quick.My go to whipping is the sailsmaker one (http://www.animatedknots.com/sailmakers/)
Although it might not be really appropriate in this case.

Hope you find a good place to master further cracks without complaints :)
Any pics of your whip to share ?
sandezi1 month ago

thank you very mach

flattail made it!2 months ago

Thank you very much! I made one for one of my friends and it works great!

Here are some pictures of the finished product:

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eisener3 months ago

just finished my second. started yesterday and only put around 5 and a half hours into it.

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neodymium7 months ago

I'm trying to figure out what exactly to do with the paracord with the chain in it. I get that it gets whipped to the nail and turned into the core, but do you whip the ends with the chain in it or the ends where the chain doesn't reach?

Sorry if I'm missing something here, I'm trying to fully understand it before I make it, so I haven't even started yet.

ch5 (author)  neodymium7 months ago

I leave out a small bit of cord with no chain in it at the tying point, so the chain begins roughly at the end of the nail.

The aim of having weighted cord is to make the whip behave better, so no point in "wasting" your lest on the unflexible part of the whip.

neodymium ch57 months ago

Thanks, that tells me pretty much what I need to know.

One more thing. If the chain starts right where the nail ends, do you have the chain going right tot he end of the cord on the other side? I realize that paracord can shrink when it is gutted, but will it be that perfect?

mklekotko8 months ago

Quick question about the handle by itself, how did you add that nice "bump" stoppage at the end? You said that it was a start and Matthews but how you actually made it? Did you built it on the handle or separately and attached it?

ch5 (author)  mklekotko7 months ago

It's a star knot, started with 3 cords interwoved at the center producing 6 strands , instead of using 6 strands fused together.

The star knot is made separately, then put on the top of the handle, the nail head won't hold it strong enough by itself, so the matthew alker is then added with the remaining strands to keep it in place.

All of the above has already been mentionned in the various comments, look for a picture of 3 strands assemblen in a triangle for the start of the star knot, and an ugly red and blue paint image describing how the knot is fixed to the handle.

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