Leather whip maintenance and care
Leather whips will always need maintenance. Here are a few tips to make your whip last longer, first of all never let your whip dry out. Put leather dressing on it occasionally, leather whips do not take kindly to water so try and keep your whip dry. If you do get it wet dry it out as soon as possible with a soft cloth. Whips are not designed to be whacked on rough or sharp surfaces, so keep your whip away from anything like that. Always try to crack your whip on lawns, grassed paddocks, carpets or keep your whip off the ground.
Do not put your whip in the sun for long periods of time. Store your whip, loosely wound, on a flat surface or hang it up as close to the keeper as possible, do not kink or wind your whip to tight.
The keeper should be nice and tight, click here to find out how to adjust the keeper.
The fall should not get shorter than 350mm long, click here to find out how to replace a fall.
Crack a whip only if there is a cracker on it, click here to find out how to make a cracker and how to put a new cracker on. If one of the strands brake just behind the fall hitch, stop cracking the whip and fix up the hitch, click here to find out how to tie a new hitch. Oil the wood on the handle with linseed oil or leather dressing at least once a year to stop the wood from splintering.
How often do you oil your whip?
Every day use
A whip should be oiled occasionally, if you use your whip every day in dry weather then you should oil the whole thing it least once every two weeks, the fall and about a foot of the thong every week. If you get the whip wet, then you may need to oil it more often.
Twice a week use
If you use your whip once or twice a week, then oil the whole thing at least once every two months, the fall and about a foot of the thong every month, if you get your whip, wet then oil it more often.
Once a fortnight use
If you use your whip once a fortnight then oil the whole thing at least once every 4 months, the fall and about a foot of the thong every 2 months, if you get your whip wet then oil it more often.
Once a month use
If you use your whip once a month, then oil the whole thing at least once every 6 months, if you get your whip wet then oil it as required.
What sort of leather dressing to use
Any sort of leather dressing will do the job but a dressing with lots of bees wax in the dressing is better. A saddlery shop usually has leather dressing for whips or you can use shoe polish from your local grocery store. You can also make your own leather dressing. Some people use plain block soap however, you will need to oil the whip more often.
How to make your own leather dressing
A common recipe is as follows: four parts clean fat, one parts bees wax, two parts glycerine, melt the ingredients together in a desired pot or tin (one that will not melt). Set aside heated mixture to cool and stir the mix a couple of times as it is cooling to stop the ingredients from separating. If you can’t find glycerine just use the bees wax and fat, mutton fat is suppose to be one of the best fats to use but any clean fat can be used. You now have your very own leather dressing which does not require refrigeration.
A good way to clean fat is by putting about half water half fat in a pot and boil it, set aside to cool, the undesirable particles sink and all the fat floats. Once cooled the fat becomes hard and can be scooped off.
Click on the bubbles to find out more about the Australian stock whip.