General >> General Slinging Discussion >> Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of pouch?

Message started by justbarak on Jan 9th, 2004 at 2:30am

Title: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of pouch?
Post by justbarak on Jan 9th, 2004 at 2:30am
After abandoning web resources on the net years ago b/c I couldn't find much on sling braiding I was surprised and happy to find this excellent site just today.  I flipped through the gallery and noticed the sling braided by Benjamin Scott.  Assuming he's in the forum or others here know - how was the pouch made?  Is it wrapped or a flat-braid pattern?  I couldn't tell, but it looked great.  Very precise.

I've done a lot of sling braiding - a lot of improvisation based on Adele's book and the 250 braids book.  I also grew up in various third world countries including Ecuador, and my brother and I spent a fair amount of time defoliating the jungle with homemade slings and generally frightening more than harming local wildlife.

I'm also interested in some of the pouch patterns in Adele's book.  She covers the braiding techniques, but not pouch making.  Some of the more complex designs almost seem as if they were woven rather than wrapped.  Anyone here have any "save" in fancy pouch patterns?  ;D I've managed a few basic patterns in the standard wrapped split pouch, but a lot of the ones in her book have much more complex patterns and even pictures like llama.  

Anyway, I'm quite happy to find myself here, and invest my 2 cents for a high return.  


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by Chris on Jan 9th, 2004 at 3:04am
Ben is here all the time, just under the name "Whipartist".  I'm sure he, and others, can tell you everything you need to know.

Welcome to the forum,

Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by David_T on Jan 9th, 2004 at 8:27am

Chris is right, Ben is the dude you want to talk to about braiding...His woven slings are awesome!

If you want any info on slinging concrete, I can help you some there ;D

Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by Whipartist on Jan 9th, 2004 at 6:39pm

Welcome to the forum.  It sounds like you're advanced already!  What circumstances caused you to grow up in such diverse places?  If you can, send some pictures of some slings you've made to Chris and he'll put them on the gallery page too.

As for the cradles, Jim Burdine makes traditional Andean split cradles.  I'm not sure how advanced he's gotten with patterns, but he makes them.  I never liked making them myself, because it's difficult to stop the color from the underneath strands from coming through.  The only way to prevent that is to use quite a few strands for your wefts (I think that's the right word).  I mean that you have to gather quite a few strands together so that your cradle looks nice, and is thick and wide enough.  Then after you make the cradle, what do you do with the extra strands?  Well this is why traditional Andean slings have thick braids adjacent to the cradle.  Typically 24 I think, but perhaps 32 sometimes.  

Besides the typical braiding, as you know, there are other ways that Andean's and others made slings.  Zebra wraps and so on.  That's a whole different ball of yarn.  I prefer the braids, but I never liked having to do such wide braids adjacent to the cradle.  The reason is, because they can't be continued to the end of the cords and so you must drop off atleast 8 strands--all of the sudden--and still make the whole thing look good.  As I've seen in pictures, even the Peruvians have some trouble with that.  So I worked out my own design that requires less strands.

The black and white sling uses a 16 strand cradle and 16 strand braids for the cords.  No strand dropping.

I get questions about this, so it's good for me to lay everything out here to save myself the trouble of writing it again.

I made the cradle with a knotting technique I learned in a friendship bracelet book I got from the craft store, years ago.  I heared there are websites about it, but I've never seen any.  Boyscout or girlscout or something like that.  Look up "friendship bracelet knotting."  I'll send anyone who's interested, pictures from the book, on the basic techniques- just email me  They aren't great pictures but you can learn from them.  You can see a few more pictures of my sling at  I'll post some of them here.

I use a knotting technique called V knotting.  Each half of the cradle is composed of two sections that knot together in the middle at a V like angle.  You can just knot from left to right at an angle or from right to left at an angle, but if you adjoin the two angles you are able to make a more detailed product.  Actually there are many complex patterns you can knot, but I stick with some of the more basic stuff because I think it looks better and produces a more solid cradle.  

The complex part isn't the knotting, it's the actual cradle design.  That took a few years before I really figured out how to do it right.  My earlier slings tended to fray and wear at the edges because they were exposed to the greatest wear.  Now I construct the cradles in a different way in order to make them durable.  The inside of each side of the cradle has an extra section of material I use as a "wear pad" to take the wear of rock slinging from the main pouch.  It also acts as a natural hinge and allows the cradle to naturally work in either an open or closed position.  It's pretty cool.

Basically I split the pouch into two 8 strand sections from the split cradle, that adjoin into one 10 strand section that goes over one 6 strand "wear pad" and then encompasses it as I knot it together before forming the cords. It's side by side 8&8, then over under 10&6, then the strands from the 10 knot around the 6, then I do some knotted wrapping, then I do the cords.  I convert from the split cradle into the 10over6s by taking each side of the cradle, dropping 3 strands from the inside of each side, and then continue knotting the two sections together into the 10 strand adjoining section (leaving the 6 strands hanging underneath).  After I do that, I turn the thing over and knot the other 6 strands that were hanging underneath.  

Now it would be impossible to bring two V V sections together, so I fill in the section inbetween with knotting to change the angle from VV to a big V again.  I can't explain that, but if you figure out the other knotting, I think this section may become more clear to you with a little practice. I think you'll be able to figure it out between the text and the pictures.

Lastly, I forgot to add earlier, that I start each section of the cradle from the middle.  This way everything looks symetrical.  I have to do some more of that "fill knotting" to make it work, but it does.  Some patterns work better than others for that.  I hope this helps.  It will make more sense after you've tried to do the knotting yourself.  Write me and I'll send you those pictures of the book's pages.

Lastly, lastly.  I put a few drops of elmers glue on the places on the inside of the cradle that take the most wear.  It works very well to reduce wear down, though the design is durable anyway.  You can see in the first picture where the glue is.  

Hope that helps :)

Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by justbarak on Jan 9th, 2004 at 9:28pm
I would send some photo's of my slings but they have disappeared.  I give most of my slings away and keep one on hand.  I lost my favorite sling over the summer and haven't taken the time to make another one.  It was a wild four color 16 strand braid made from wool/hair of camel, sheep, alpaca, and dog.  I was pretty proud of it.  But like most things I carry with me everywhere, I lost it.  Oh well.  (the dog yarn I found in an obscure wool shop in Taos, New Mexico).

My parents were/are medical missionaries, so we spent the bulk of our growing-up years overseas (Costa Rica, Ecuador, Sierra Leone, and Papua New Guinea).  My brother and I were fortunate in that my parents were very intensional about making it a positive life for us.  Many missionary kids return to the States very messed up.  But we loved it.  My wife and I are planning on doing full time missions in humanitarian relief and development just as soon as we can get rid of our school debt.

Now that I look at the close-ups of your pouch I can see that it is the friendship bracelet.  I've made a few of those.  I can probably work out from your description how to repeat it.

When I braid my my slings with the split pouch I use a 16 strand braid with the standard 8 braid wrist-loop, which then doubles over and creates the 16 strands for the rest of the sling.  I braid down to the pocket and at the final inch before the pocket I braid in another 16 to 32 strands depending on the thickness of the strands.  Then I take a separate weft strand and do a half hitch wrap down the section where I braided in the extra strands.  Then I split the unbraided warp threads into two sections and wrap it, then four sections and wrap it.  Then split it into eight sections and wrap four on one side and four on the other for the split pocket, join the eight back into 4 on the other side of the split and wrap it, join it down to two and wrap it, then braid an inch and cut out the 16 or 32 extra strands and do a half-hitch wrap up, braid in the weft and then cut it off and then finish off with the original 16 strands.

Once I figured out the technique it wasn't hard to braid in the extra strands on a maru dai, and I've learned some things by trial and error that make the pocket come out symetrical.  Your method and other methods definitely have their perks though and I'm interested in trying it out.  That's one reason why this site is so nice.  Many brains.    :)  However, you hinted at one of the pluses that a traditional wrapped sling pouch has over a knotted pouch- durability.  Maybe not so much durability as repairability.  Once a strand in a braid or knotted braid is worn through it's near impossible to fix.  On a wrapped pouch, the weft/wrap strand protects and stiffens the internal warp threads that are essential to the strength of the overall sling.  The weft will wear through eventually from sharp or abrasive rocks.  When this happens you simply unwrap it back a few steps, twist on some extra weft (this is were natural fibre is nice), and then use a needle to wrap the warp again, tieing off the two ends where they come together... you have a little tassle, but it doesn't get in the way.  I don't know of a way to fix braids or knots, but I haven't messed with it much.  

Anyway, that is my experience.  I'm in the middle of creating a fairly extensive website instructional on sling braiding.  I started it about a year ago when I got frustrated with the lack of info on the subject.  There seemed a lot on braiding techniques, but not much on pouches, and everywhere I went people seemed to be reinventing the wheel over and over again.  I am far from definitive on the subject and I scrounge for new info and new techniques where ever I find them, but I felt I was far enough along to contribute something both worthwhile and fairly culturally accurate.  I'm just starting a new sling this coming week, and with the help of my brother (who owns the digital camera), I'm going to use it as the picture reference for the first edition of the web pages.  I will definitely let you guys know when it is up.  It will probably be about 5 more weeks.  

Jim Burdine actually gave me my start in Andean style sling braiding - how ironic.  When my brother and I came back to the States in '95 we gave up many of our jungle ways  :P but came back to slinging a few years later.  With the internet's help I discovered sling braiding and Jim, who graciously provided me with a bit of email instruction.


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by Whipartist on Jan 9th, 2004 at 10:16pm

I knew your parents were missionaries. †That's why I asked †:) †I'm glad it was such a positive experience for you, that you've decided to spend your life that way aswell.

Your skills in sling braiding are apparently extensive. †I suspected that too. †I'm very excited about your website!! †You're right that if a knotted cradle get's a strand cut, it can cause a gap in a section. †It tends to not unravel, but let just one key separate from another. †That's why I altered my design to make the extra pad on the inside of the sling. †Originally, when I just split the flatbraid (knotting), the edges would wear off on the release side of the cradle. †Now wear isn't a problem, and even if the pad were to wear mostly through in a few years, it still wouldn't hurt the overall strength of the cradle. †I've done some abrasion experiments to make sure. †I especially like the knotted cradle because of the hinge effect that the pad creates. †It's hard to show in pictures but the split sections open and close without causing crimping on the inside or outside of the sections. †I kinda stumbled upon it after a lot of experimentation. † †

With the traditional method, it's easy enough to add the strands for the extra thick braids adjacent to the cradle, but the hard part seems to be to cut them out on the other side of the cradle. †Not hard I mean, but messy. †Most of the Andean slings I've seen just leave them hanging there as neatly as possible. †So I think you're wise to wrap off the joint. †I was thinking of doing it that way originally, but still I disliked the lack of symmetry. †It's no big deal though, now that I think about it. †It indicates which cord is your release. †

The other thing with the traditional method is that you can start with your fingerloop and work up from one side. †I start from the middle of the sling and tie off my fingerloops when I get to them. †I like a double loop so that works for me. †I find the simple flat braid I use is the softest and easiest on the finger. †I used to use a round braid but I got blisters. †It's an 8 strand braid done like a 3 strand braid. †Outside to the middle. †

You braid in another 16 to 32 strands for the thicker sections! †Whoah! †48 strands. †Do you have a core when you do that? †I'm curious how long it takes you to make a sling? †I don't have a Maru Dai, I use a card, and it takes me 20 hours atleast. †

I've been wanting to make another sling, but I've been too busy with other projects. †I couldn't find some good alpaca wool either, and I intended to use traditional colors. †I was going to do a typical cradle, probably without too much that's fancy about it, and then go from the spiral diamond--like on the one I made--to a reversing spiral stripe. †The spiral diamond doesn't go into a reversing spiral, but I found I could do some strand shifting and make the transition really nice.

It's really cool to have another sling maker on our forum. Stick around! †I'm very curious to see your work, I'm sure it must be beautiful †:)

Jim Burdine is here on the forum with us as Jimb.

BTW, if anyone wants pictures on how to do the knotting technique, write me and I'll send them to you. †I got my scanner working and scanned them this afternoon.
† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †

Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by justbarak on Jan 10th, 2004 at 1:08am
:) It takes a loooonnnggg time to braid a sling.  My brother once stayed up Christmas Eve, braiding from 8pm straight through till 6 the next morning to finish a sling fro a Christmas gift Ė it was only 32 inches long loop to knot.  Iíd estimate 25 to 40 hours for a sling depending on how complex the braiding pattern is and if a put a pattern in the pouch.  Iím getting faster at it though.  I messed up a lot at the beginning and would have to back-braid and re-do it (Iím a perfectionist when it comes to making things).  So as I get more consistent Iím sure that time will decrease.  I watch a lot of movies when I braid :D.  

I actually donít have a core when I braid in, but that is definitely an interesting idea and may end up proving easier than what I do.  I braid in the extra strands effectively increasing the ply count for each strand.  So itís still a 16 strand braid, but rather than each strand being 2 ply, itíll be 4, 5, or 6 ply.  Make sense?  After getting Adeleís book I played around with the Andean technique of holding the strands in hand and braiding.  I had more trouble following her diagrams and picture demoís than I did actually braiding.  I hope to figure it out someday.  I would love to teach it to nationals in countries where I work.  Along with that, Iíd like to figure out how to braid with a core.  I can visualize it with a hollow braid, but not with a regular round braid.  I just havenít taken the time to muck with it.  

Iím not sure why your cradles would not be symmetrical.  Mine are perfectly symmetrical.  Or are you referring to the fact the braid itself runs in a linear direction from one end to another verses out from the center when you braid it?  Your design is really intriguing.  Iím excited to try it out.  The hinging effect is interesting since I know what you mean about crimping.  When I used embroidery floss to make my first slings (which are incredibly strong) the pouch was very stiff.  It wasnít a problem, but the crimping was definitely pronounced.  Using alpaca, the whole sling and especially the pouch is very pliable and I didnít notice the crimping.  

I made my first Maru Dai out of a pre-cut circle I bought at a hobby store, some dowel rods, and a square base.  Works pretty well.  I can clip along pretty fast as long as the spools donít get wrapped up on one another.  Do you hold the card in one hand or is it supported on something?  

Off Topic Ė I find it interesting that you make whips, which I gather came first and then sling braiding.  Plaiting is I believe the correct terminology.  Ask a whip maker Down Under how he ďbraidsĒ whips and heíll probably use one on you :D The irony is that whip braiding has been high on my to-learn list for a while.  Growing up in an Aussie community I was very influenced by heroís like The Man from Snowy River (my horse in PNG never appreciated my attempts at cracking while riding through the jungle though Ė she preferred keeping her ears attached to her head).  The stock whip is my tool of choice Ė I just bought a sweet 12 plait one when I came through Sydney last summer after a mission trip.    Matt Welsby in Auz has a web site and he sells a whip kit that comes with a lead weighted belly (4 plait I believe) and handle and cut lace and instructions for 12 plait plaiting.  He also sells all the raw materials.  Iíd really love to learn how.  What are your recommended sources?  Books, videos, classes?  Welsby apparently has a 5 day course he offers here in the States occasionally.  Iíd love to go to it.   But I probably wonít be able to afford the flight, hotel, and the cost of the class itself.  But in it he teaches about hides, cutting the lace, and you braid a full length bull whip and a full length stock whip.  That would rock.

My wife thinks I have too many hobbies already.  Bladesmithing is also high on my list :P  Someday I'll move to Akantexas in Arkansas and go to the bladesmithing school there.


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by Chris on Jan 11th, 2004 at 1:04am
Humm... it's that kind of talk that makes me realize that there are some areas of slinging that go right over my head.   ::)

Barak, this site you're developing sounds great.  If you need a place to host it online, I'll accommodate you.  There is lots of general sling information out there, but very little on braided slings.  I've wanted to put together a small article on how to make a simple pouched sling, with step by step photos, but haven't found the time yet.  Between the two of us, and the content contributions from a number of other members, we're rapidly filling the informational void for slinging.


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by justbarak on Jan 11th, 2004 at 2:50am
nah... sling braiding uses about 10% brain power to initially figure out the braiding pattern and where to put the strands and everything.  Then the remaining 90% brain power is slowly melted down into something resembling moldy cheese over about 30 hours of mind-bogglingly dull repetative movements ;D  You'd pick it up right fast.

I have my own website at this point - still very much in development and I will publish it there.  But I appreciate the offer.  It will not be a short reference.  Right now the outline in MS Word is nine pages.  With full instructions and photo's it will be considerably larger.  You will probably just want to link to it  :)  I'll be relying heavily on input from people like you guys and those here at to correct my mistakes, improve my technique, and offer suggestions.  


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by Whipartist on Jan 11th, 2004 at 11:30pm

Hey, 20-40 hours.  Whoah!  It takes an incredible amount of patience to make slings.  I also watch a lot of movies while I'm doing it.  The hard part is if you loose your count while doing one of the fancy braids!  

What I meant by symetrical is the pattern of colors on the cradle.  If I don't start from the right place, there ends up being a transition on one side and it makes the cradle not match in color.  The shape wouldn't be effected much if at all if I started from one side.  It's the nature of the knotting that you must start somewhere in the middle and do the cords last, because it goes ouward, not inward.

The card method works pretty well.  The disadvantage is that you have to empty slots before you can shift strands.  So it adds little half steps to the whole thing.  With the Maru Dai, you can just braid outright.  The good thing about the card is that it is so similar to doing it in your hand that you can learn to do it in your hand in time, just from practice with the card.  Another thing is that you can keep the tension pretty tight on the braid if you want to.  I use film canisters to hold the yarn as I braid.  The little black ones with the grey lids.  I made the card out of foamboard and it works great.  I hold the work in my hand and it grows out the bottom of my hand as I braid on the top.  It's easy to stop in process and find out where you are later too.

I'm interested in trying a Maru Dai, but this is comfortable, so I might not ever get around to building one.  

As for whipmaking.  I've heard of Matt's classes, but not directly.  I'm a member of the Australian Plaiters and Whipmakers Association.  They're a good source.  I think I have them linked from my webpage.  Ron Edward's book, "How to Make Whips" is the best source I know.  David Morgan's books are good too, but Ron really lays it out.  I don't think Matt's class would be worth your while, but the books would be.  Get some good hides and give it a go after you study up.  

I make mostly bullwhips.  I leave the stockwhips to the Aussie's because they have perfected them down to a science.  If you got a good stockwhip, then you can copy it's taper and weight.  I don't recommend lead loading unless you prefer it.  A well made whip will handle best without it.  And it all depends on what you're going for too.  High level point to point whipcracking or just plain swing and cut.  Most poorly made whips handle swing and cut really well, but the point to point style of cracking requires a really well balanced whip.  It took a long time before I could figure that stuff out.  The physics and all.  Nobody hands it to you on a silver platter, and how could they anyway.  I can make a great whip, but I don't know if I can explain what I do.  It's easiest to just copy greatness than to try to reinvent the wheel.  

Ron's book lays it all out, so if you're already a whip user, you know what you're after in the way of balance.  Just do each part of the process right, and the end product will be better than you think.  That's the way it is for me down to this day.  I never could understand how I could make such nice whips.  I do each part perfectly and it comes out right.

The plaiting is easy to learn.  But be sure to pull each stitch just about as hard as you can.  You can't overtighten a plait in my experience.  Another tip is to soak your strands in water after you cut them, then stretch the heck out of them till they won't stretch anymore, then pair them down to an even width.  You'll have to cut wide, otherwise the end result will be messy.  Try to drop your strands as neetly as possible.  Rolling will make things turn out nicer later, but back up and do it again if you have to.  Don't cut off the dropped strand until you're sure that's where you want it to lay.

There's a lot to it, I'm just trying to remember things that helped me, since you'll pick the rest up from books.  I guess just go slow and do each part as perfectly as you can.  And buy two hides so you won't panic if you do something wrong and run out.  And if you want, a strandcutter may help you to cut the strands.  Though they don't skive the bevel in.  If you don't skive the bevel in your strands, they probably won't fit in quite right.  

I hope that helps :)

Bladsmithing huh?  Me too.  I don't have a wife to tell me that I have too many hobbies.  I have too many hobbies, that's why I don't have a wife  :)


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by justbarak on Jan 12th, 2004 at 1:40pm
The card method sounds cool.  I will have to check it out.  I had a lot of trouble understanding Adele's notation for braiding, and I knew that it was trying to communicate the samething as in the 250 braids book.  Maybe between the card method and her book I'll figure out hand braiding.  Unfortunately the 250 braids book doesn't cover braiding with a core.  The Maru Dai is nice b/c placing and adjusting the strands is easy since you just slide them around.  The problem with the Maru Dai is that if you knock it you can mess up the strings and then you have to figure out where everything belongs.  

Thanks for the whip tips.  I will check out the books.  What is the difference between making bull whips versus stock whips?  Is it just the taper and balance and the longer handle, or are there other nuances or techniques to consider?  I may get Matt's 12 plait stockwhip kit since it would probably provide a pretty good model for balance and taper as well as being a good start for a beginner.  Do you buy hides and material state-side?  An American Kangaroo distributor?   :)  Morgan and Matt sell hides and lace.  


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by archeorob on Jan 12th, 2004 at 2:59pm
:oWoah :o I'm in sling braiding heaven!!!  Barak, glad to have you on the site!  I'm an early sling braider.  I've successfully (or semi-so) completed two, braided slings and am stuck in the middle of my third.  I've been using the card method (because it was easier to build) and Ben, I use film canisters too!  Odd how that goes.

I'm really glad the topic started.  I've gotten down to the pocket on this third sling and am thouroughly frustrated!  To this point, I've been able to pull off pouches reasonably well, but for some reason, this third one has me stumped.  I spend more time untangling string than I do braiding.  So I gave up, threw it in a box and said that I'd get back to it some day.  However, both of your split pocket designs sound so much easier.

Now the two I've done were knotted in the lovelock cave pattern, making one solid pouch.  Barak, I've been following your description well except for one thing.  What exactly do you mean by wrapping it?  You start off with two strands, wrap it, then four, etc.  does that simply mean winding the string around once?  Anyway, with that one definition, I can start, and maybe finish the third sling.

Ben, your design looks fantastic, but it would require me to learn how to make the freindship bracelets.  Would you mind sending me the sections from the book you mentioned (  I'd love to see them...well, and I'll start bugging my wife...I know she knew how to braid them at one point.

Ah, whips and blades.  Does life get any better?  I hadn't even considered plating whips until Ben got on the forum.  Unfortunately, my wife thinks I have too many hobbies too, so whips are taking their place in a very long line.  Sigh.   I see myself getting started on them in about five years...beware Ben, I'll be looking to you for some explanations!

Thanks guys!


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by archeorob on Jan 12th, 2004 at 3:01pm
Barak, one of the great things about the card is if you have to put it down for a while, big Bulldog clips work great for clipping your strands into place.  I really quite like that aspect of it as I have a one year old that is getting into everything!


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by Whipartist on Jan 12th, 2004 at 6:46pm

I know what you mean about Adele's method.  She's brilliant apparently, because I gave up on trying by her method when I first got her book years ago.  When I got the 250 patterns book, it really helped.  

As for whipmaking.  Bullwhips are a lot heavier, and take a lot more leather.  My bullwhips have 3 bellies!  They are 20 layers side to side.  A stockwhip is a lot faster and easier to manufacture.  But the American bullwhips aren't good for the fancy point to point cracking, so I just make their tapers work out so that the finished product is very powerful.  Depending on how you taper your whip, you'll get more or less power (volume) in the crack, and a greater or lesser speed of action.  

One of the harder things with bullwhips is making them sturdy at the transition between handle and thong.  I invented a spring transition for that area and it works great but isn't easy to manufacture.  I liked making high end whips, because like sling making, it's monotonous.  You want to make the best, and get paid for it, if you're going to do it as a job.  So I did.  

I use a steel pipe for the bullwhip handle.  

The important thing with a stockwhip is to not let your thong get too thick.  If you do, it will be too heavy for your handle.  Just copy the taper in your other whip and you'll have it.

As far as the whipkit goes, I don't know much about it.  Does he pre-cut your strands?  I'm supposing that's what it is.  

Cutting out is one of the tuffer parts because different parts of the hide are more or less stretchy than others and it's hard to get even strands.  It's not plastic!  Or yarn.  It's leather, and very inconsistent.  

Ron's book will lay you a plan out from beginning to end.  I don't know much about Matt's kit.  

Stockwhips are superior whips to bullwhips in general.  Just a better design.  Unless you're after power.  Bullwhips can put out the power!  And a well made Australian bullwhip, though more bulky, should handle about as well as an Australian stockwhip.  All in all, my favorite whip is a well made Australian bullwhip.

Oh yeah.  I don't think a core should be too hard to implement.  I never have, but I don't think it should be too hard.  It allows for color substitution too, when you get really advanced!  Just cross your stitches to the sides of it.  

Oh yes, and speaking of cores.  The weight and taper of your whip is determined by your core more than your plaiting.  Your plaiting, if it doesn't fit the core, will alter the taper of your whip and be messy.  But if you fit your plaiting to your core, then it's the core that is the determining factor.  And even with a whip-kit, you'll have to make judgements with weight and so on to a degree.  Your belly goes down as far as you plait it, and your strands past the belly are as thick as you make them.  And your belly is as thick as you make it.  If you want to use math, like I do.  a plait is a 5/32" layer of leather on top of whatever it goes over.  So your overlay will add 5/32" to your core, and so on.  


Hey I had no clue you were braiding slings!  Awesome.  When you get something nice, send us pictures.  I will be sure to send you out those illustrations of how to do the friendship bracelet knotting today.  The knotting is easy, it's getting it into a sling cradle shape that's tuff.  Look at my instructions and I think you'll be able to get it there.

Look me up when you get to whipmaking :)


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by Whipartist on Jan 12th, 2004 at 6:49pm
Oh yes, Kangaroo. has good deals.  David Morgan is more expensive and has less variety of color choices, but his quality is great.  Some people buy direct from Australia, but I can't in CA because it's illegal.  Who knows why?  Everything is illegal here.


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by justbarak on Jan 12th, 2004 at 11:29pm
Thanks Rob, I'm excited to have found this forum.  Wrapping is simple; over-under-over-under just like you were weaving on a loom.  It's a single, separate weft strand that does the wrapping.  I don't have any slings to photograph right now, so I doctored one of Jim's pictures to here - I don't think he'll mind.

As you braid down, add in the extra strands the final inch before the pocket.  It will add significant bulk to the braid.  Take the braid off the card and use a separate strand to wrap with.  Start above where you added strands and do half-hitch wraps.  Continuous half hitches create a spiral, alternating half hitches create a straight line (you may know all this).  If you make it good and tight it will decrease the fatness of the braid where the strands were added in.  This is part "A" in the diagram.  Once you get to the end of the braid, separate the unbraided strands into two and wrap it over-under-over-under keeping it good and tight (part B).  Stop about every centimeter and shove the wrapped strands together to keep it tight and you shouldn't have problem with the inner warp strands showing through.  You do the split, wrapping the one side (Yellow part of part D).  Then go back and using a separate weft wrap the remaining side of the split (you can use a different color easily for aesthetics).  

You get to the end of the split and keep going with that same weft thread.  The first weft thread I incorporate into the warp for now.  Pair it up and wrap, then pair up again and wrap, then you put it on the card and braid and inch, cut out your strands (pay attention to how you braided them in and cut them out the same.  I add to the four uppers and braid the four lowers, then add to the next four uppers, and braid the four lowers, etc till all 16 are in.  So it creates a gradual increase in diameter over half a centimeter.  When removing them I do the same but subtracting them.  If I just cut them out all at once it would create a drop off that wouldn't look the same as the other side).

Now, you're wondering what happened to the two weft threads - they should have been added somewhere in the braid and cut off; this is a trick I learned.  I use to save out a weft to use to finish off the half hitch wrap over the thick part of the braid.  The problem is is that wrapping down a slope (instead of up the slope as you did on the other side) is extremely difficult and you usually end up with gaps in the wrap which are unsightly.  Instead, just continue braiding through to the end of the sling.  Then come back and use a new weft thread and start at the narrow part of the braid above where you cut the strands out and do the half hitch wrap towards the pocket.  If you do a spiralling half hitch wrap, decide whether or not you want it to mirror the spiral on the other side.  When you get down to the end of the braid at the edge of the pocket, use a needle to thread the end of the weft back under the wrap.  It's tight stuff so you may need a pair of pliers.  Remove the needle and cut off the end of the weft as close to the braid as you can.  Stretch the braid a bit and the weft will disappear inside.  I've never had one come undone.  

One of the ways I overcame the problems of portability and storability of a maru dai was to create what I call a box maru dai.   It is quite easy to make and you can compact it, store your bobbins in it, and take it with you somewhere without messing up the strands.  

Essentially, it is a wooden box that I bought for $5 bucks at hobby lobby, cut a 1" hole in the lid, and gave it removeable dowel legs (should be four, but I could only find 3 for the photo - and ignore the fact that the strands are actually messed up - I was finished with this braid and had taken it off and then I put it back on for the pictures and hap-hazardly arranged it).

I didn't show it here, but I put a rubber band around the rim of the lid to hold the strands in place.  The take the legs out, put the bobbins in the box, and put the lid on.  It works really well.  The only complaint is the diameter of the box.  I was going for really compact and so I got a smaller box, 4" diameter I think it is.  It just means all your strands are closer together which means you have to be a bit more careful when you braid.  I'd get a 6" box which would give a bit more circumference, as well as some added volume for storing bigger bobbins and extra yarn.  

The legs are anchored by wooden bobbins super glued to the inside of the lid and bottom of the box.  Then I just bought dowels to fit the inside of the bobbins.  Overall I think it cost me under $10 and less than an hour to make.

Whenever I finish my web page, all this info will be on the site with pictures and stuff.  Oh, and the braid in the photo is not for a sling.  I was braiding a necklace and used a single ply of embroidery floss.  The diameter of the 16 strand braid is about 2mm.  The pattern is the spiralling diamond and it's really intricate.  I was surprised by how well it came out.

Ok, so enlighten me on the lovelock cave pattern.  I remember seeing in on Jim's web page and I went through my university library trying to find the article, but never did.  How is the pocket made?

Barak :)

Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by justbarak on Jan 12th, 2004 at 11:46pm
Ben, does Ronís book outline how to adjust the factors in making with to produce whips for various purposes?  Iím curious about relationships of taper and balance as it relates to the performance of the whip.  So explain it in terms of ďgreater taper equals...Ē  what, better point-to-point (Iím assuming that means accuracy).  Why is taper so important?  What are the trade-offs in a whip.  More cracking power/volume creates worse point to point and vice versa?  If there are websites that explain all this, or if it is in Ronís book, you donít need to spend hours explaining it all to me.  

Mattís whip kit has pre-cut strands, pre-made belly, and a pre-made handle.  So basically it is giving you experience in plaiting without needing to understand how to make bellies or cut your own lace.  I definitely want to learn how to do it totally from scratch, but I thought it might be a good place to start.  I donít know if I will bother with it or not.  Iíll probably just get Ronís book and see what I think.  I feel like cutting the lace will be the most challenging part.  You say you use math and graphs... Do you use a spread sheet or something to make calculations based on desired length, taper, etc?


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by Whipartist on Jan 13th, 2004 at 3:58am

Hey I like your Maru Dai!  And that's excellent about how to do the second half of the split cradle.  I've only experimented with the traditional design, and your method makes sense!  Wrapping down hill is not easy.

Ok, the thing with whips is that it's easiest to just copy someone elses work.  Even the best whipmakers brag about how they have a Henderson or a King stockwhip in their collection and have figured out the great secret of how to make the perfect stockwhip by doing this and that, etc....

I learned the hard way over 8 years.  It took me 7 years to really figure out how to make a well balanced australian bullwhip on my own without copying anyone elses work.  The fact is I didn't know who was living who could do it.  It's hard to get info and know who to trust and, I started back before I had internet.  

Ron's book won't tell you much about whip taper, but Morgan's book gives hints.  All in all, there's a lot too it, but you don't need to worry about it, just make something that looks about right, and I'm sure it will work great for you.  

Point to point cracking is a term I use to describe multiple cracking techniques that involve volleys from one side to another.  Perhaps you've seen or heard, or maybe can even do, volleys or 4 corners style cracking?  Basically the whip cracks in front and then you pull it to the back to crack behind you, and then say to the front again, and then over you left shoulder.  John Brady's video will illustrate for you if you haven't seen it before.  

American bullwhips, and more cheaply made whips of any variety, Australian or American, can't do that sort of thing.  They do what I call swing and cut cracking.  That's where you swing the whip up in one direction and then cut it back in the opposite direction to make it crack.  All decent whips can do this, but only the best ones are capable of point to point aswell as swing and cut.  Don't get me wrong though, many whips aren't made for point to point.  American bullwhips just don't have that purpose behind them, nomatter how well made.  

In point to point cracking, a whip that isn't balanced and weighted just right, will have too much recoil at the end, or too much weight to be maneuverable, or be too weak to pull off a crack in the lower powered moves, or not handle right in the air, or jolt the wrist about, or wear the arm out after only a few cracks.  

If you're interested in complex multiple cracking, it's best to just buy a good stockwhip from one of the better Australian whipmakers.  The way you travel that shouldn't be hard.  Otherwise I'd just recommend not worrying about trying to make the perfect point to point whip.

Well balanced whips that are designed for this complex point to point cracking are not necessarily the most powerful whips around.  They tend to be lighter in weight and less powerful, though very efficient.  16 plait is common because it's dense and aerodynamic.

This whole subject of whip tapers and balance is some guarded secret in whipmaking.  So is "cutting out."  Atleast historically.  The masters would get the apprentices plaiting, but never cutting out.  So when they turned them out on their own, they were no competition for the masters.  Raw deal.  Cutting out is the hard part.  I say that whip tapers is a guarded secret, but honestly it iisn't.  It's just that nobody knows why their whips are so good, and even if they did know, they would keep it secret anyway.  

If that whip kit is all cut out, then I'm sure it will go together nicely for you.  If you want more of a challenge and a less nice end product, go it alone with Ron's book.  

I personally, kept graphs as records of my research on whip tapers and honestly I've forgotten most of what I ever knew.  I haven't been making whips for some time, because of a wrist injury.  There's a whole physics behind it and it's just a matter of building a lot of whips, taking them out and trying them, and trying to figure out what does and doesn't work right.  The point (end of the plaiting) should be long, but not too long.  The section that comes out of the handle should drop off weight pretty quickly, but not too quickly.  And then there are whips that are too light.  They just snap, they don't crack.  Honestly, I just barely figured it out and never really mastered it.  I also have found out that there is more than one way to accomplish this same goal.  Henderson's whips (which are supposedly the best ever made) are all wako in my judgement.  They shouldn't work.  But they do.  

Anyway, I do have basic whip tapers figured out and I'll give you a run down here.  

For a basic whip, you're dealing with one thing, air friction.  

Air friction increases exponentially with velocity.  So counterintuitively, the slower your whip moves through the air, the more powerful the crack will be.  I'm not kidding.  I'm not talking about throwing lightly, I mean all else being equal, the slower your action, the more powerful your crack.  

Whips with fast actions, are whips that drop off a lot of weight early on, and thus a great part of the whip moves at a pretty high speed.  As it is doing this, a lot of the energy is bled off by the air friction, and thus the crack is less powerful.

A Morgan bullwhip on the otherhand, carries it's weight way out into the thong.  The whip moves slower as a result and saves energy.  Then in the later sections, the weight drops off more rapidly, and the inevitable air friction comes into play.  But the increase in efficiency is great enough to really improve the whip's power, and it tells when you hear the sonic boom.

Everything with slings and whips is a compromise.  I make a fast whip that has little power, or a slow whip that blows your ears out.  

For point to point cracking, say I make a fast whip that I can do fancy work with, but it hardly cracks.  I dislike the lack of power so I make a slower whip and it's too heavy and I can't pull off that special trick crack I was trying to do.  So then I make a lighter whip of the same speed, and it doesn't have enough power again.  And so I make a heavier whip with a fast action and it is too heavy and fast for me to be able to reverse it's direction at the speed it's traveling.  It can give you a headache.  With stockwhips you can vary the handle length considerably, to balance the whip.  I've seen stockwhips with handles between 16" and 21."  But with Australian bullwhips, the handle length is set when you start the things.  That makes it harder.

So what we can control here, even if we don't understand tapers completely, is this.  The overall weight of the whip, and the density of the plaiting.  

The heavier the whip the more power, in general.  The denser the plaiting, the more power.  

But the heavier the whip, the harder it is to use.  For this reason I don't recommend lead loading.  It's not needed on a well made whip.  Just keep it dense and taper it smoothly and it works well.  There's no magic to it.

Stockwhips use lighter thongs and longer handles.  They start off faster, are faster, and are less efficient at making loud cracks.  But since that's not their only objective, they do what they do well.  There's a balance to everything and stockwhips are very good whips if you know how to use them.  And I'm saying this as an American.  

Trust me, if you stay within reasonable bounds, you won't go wrong.  If the plaiting is dense and tight, and the shape is whiplike, it'll crack ;-)  

I hope that helps, it was just a rant, and I hope it made sense.  


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by Whipartist on Jan 13th, 2004 at 4:06am
I wasn't quite accurate about lead loading.  That's a complex subject too.  The reason I don't like lead loading is because of the sudden weight drop off, because of the lack of balance in the thong, and because of the excess, seemingly wasted, extra weight.  I can make a powerful whip without all that lead if I want to.  

With whip points, don't go too long before you taper up from your point into a slightly larger section.  Just slight, but makesure it's there.  If your point goes on too long, it tends to curve up as you lay the whip out and sort of pooter out.  Make your point about 1'.  That's my advice, but every whipmaker will tell you something different.  And that's a rule about whipmakers.  Their way is the only way, and everone else does it wrong.  That's a rule.


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by justbarak on Jan 13th, 2004 at 1:15pm
Ok, so that's a lot of info, but it makes sense.  I know a bit about the physics of whip cracking so it's not too unintuitive.  I can do good single cracks of three or four styles, but I've never learned point to point and I've really wanted to.  I have a list of videos I've wanted to get on whip cracking when money made itself available.  I want to learn point to point and also target cracking or whatever it's called.  Accuracy.  I think I remember reading that lead weighting is good for accuracy.  I definitely can see that a heavier weight would allow the whip to loop more uniformly  

Cutting out - I assume that is cutting out the lace for the whip?  It frustrates me to no end when masters hide their secrets.  Sure, I understand wanting to preserve your market etc.  But the only way the human race progresses is by sharing knowledge.  How will whip making ever become a science and a refined craft if each whip maker must forge their own way, taking years and years to develop a style that works.  If each master was willing to share their knowledge they would be able to actually combine the strength of their styles to produce whips that were amazing in all areas.  In so doing they would not only advance the craft, but preserve it through the interest and excitement of hobby whip makers.  The reality is that they would not lose money.  Each whip maker would still have their own preferences and nuances whip whip buyers would gravitate towards the established reputations and nuances of whip makers they prefer.  

I make bamboo and hardwood flutes and it's that way in the flute making world.  Master flute makers travel world wide visiting other flute makers discussing techniques, styles, physics etc and share their discoveres.  I just spent a day down in Virginia with one of the top five Irish flute makers in the world, Patrick Olwell.  I spent the afternoon talking technique, dimensions, tone quality and he was totally open.  It was fantastic.  Is he worried that I will take over his market?  Heck no.  Mastering flute making takes years and years.  Then you have to gain a reputation in the field.  Patrick has a five year waiting list for his flutes.  Even if I became as good as him I will never have his long experience until he's dead and I'm old.  He he has a loyal  following.  I should imagine that it would be the same for whip makers.  

Oh well... So when whip makers copy Henderson whips or others, do they disassemble the whip so see how it's made, or do they just look at the taper and weight and create their own preferred guts?  Are point to point and accuracy a compromise like point to point and power?  I would think that the power whips would tend to be more accurate because of the weight.  

How long does a whip take to make in it's various components?

Well, this is a great thread on whip making here at the slinging forum ;D


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by archeorob on Jan 13th, 2004 at 2:29pm
Thanks guys!  I'll start on the pocket tonight!  Barak, that was a great explanation, and Jim's pictures doctored up real nice.  As for mine, check out the photos page.  Mine's the red and black one under the name Robert.

It's my favorite one that I've done to date...well, at least until I finish this third one.  It's got a solid knotted pocket.  It's a pretty solid sling, though I added an extra 16 strands to make the pocket and ran into the same thing that Ben was talking about.  What do you do with the extra strands after the pocket??  It's the one weekness that I've seen in the design.

Ah well, experiment, experiment, experiment!


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by magnumslinger on Feb 5th, 2004 at 8:16am
You guys who are so talented and skilled at making slings of authentic, traditional designs makle me feel so guilty sometimes, and I admire you for your patience, craftmanship, dedication and skill.  I always just took the "quick and dirty" utilitarian approach, when seeking materials for sling building.  I have some questions that have beennagging at me:

Does anybody here know what the slings mentioned in Xenophon's writings as "well-twisted wool" were likely like in physical structure?  Has any of you ever built a sling that approximated the "well-twisted wool" sling?  

What about the slings (and bow designs) likely used by the Benjaminites in their civil wars agianst their brothers from the "tribes of Israel"?

Finally, has anyone here tried to build the stiff three cord slings mentioned as being used by the "Achaeans" or Balearic slingers to hit "ant part of the face" at which  they might have aimed?

I think that among the craftsmen here, are many good historians/scholars.

Jean B.

Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by archeorob on Feb 5th, 2004 at 1:39pm
well, I think that most of the braided styles can count as well twisted wool.  Some of the Andean slings recently purchased from Ben definitely fit that description.


Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by magnumslinger on Feb 5th, 2004 at 1:47pm
Thank you!  So, the "well-twised", in your opinion, simply refers to intricate braiding?  If so, that makes good, logical sense to me. It kind of intrigued me, the way they said it, rather than just calling it a "sling", or something like that.  Do you think that the "wool" was necessarily limited to what we would think of as "wool" today (ie. sheep's hair-derived thread material), or oculd their term which we commonly translate as "wool" include other types of materials?

Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by Eoraptor on Aug 1st, 2010 at 4:05pm
:o  The comments on this thread are loooonnnngggg....

Title: Re: Benjamin Scott Gallery Sling - What kind of po
Post by LukeWebb on Aug 1st, 2010 at 4:39pm
 Wow, there's some really interesting stuff in this thread.  I just brought lunch, sat down and took the day reading it... ;D  I have thought a bit about doing something like missionary work myself at times as I would love to see some of these exotic countries and work with the local tribes and such, it would be great to do something like that down in the amazon or in parts of Africa.  I can't say I have ever done any complicated pouches myself as I am new to weaving and braiding, (been doing it about 4 months?) but I have seen some amazing slings from tibet and peru.  I believe there is a thread on here for amdocraft slings from tibet, they are 7$ each including shipping and have some pretty complex work on them, you could probably buy one and use it as a template to replicate one. Forum » Powered by YaBB 2.5.2!
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