One of the fascinating aspects of building whips for me is experimenting with different methods, techniques, materials, etc. When a good formula is reached for producing a consistent product, time after time, there’s generally no need to migrate from that design. You know the old saying, "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." I believe in this philosophy for the most part, but with some added tweaking & refining here & there. I’m not saying this because I’ve changed the way I’m currently building whips, but I’m still always thinking of ways to improve on the quality of the whips I build.
Sometime ago, I had an idea to build a slightly more economical whip, or a "budget" whip if you will. Now I don’t particularly care for the term budget, as it’s become synonymous with low quality in many respects. Besides, the word budget is almost synonymous with the term nylon whip. When people think of nylon whips, lower cost & less maintenance are words that come to mind, and rightly so. Yet I wanted to "stretch the budget," so to speak, or push the envelope & see just how much simpler I could build a whip, yet still maintain the quality & performance for which Noreast Whips is known. I wanted to build a whip without even one single plaited belly. Well, I’m happy to say that we’ve added a newer model to the existing whip family at Noreast Whips, The Catalyst.
The Catalyst is a lower price starter whip. Yes, the line you read above is right, this whip contains no plaited belly. As most whipmakers will tell you, and I’d hope that all would say this, that the best method in whipbuilding is the plaited belly method. It proves for a more dense & solid whip, both in function & feel in the hand. Yet I still wanted to build a whip that wouldn’t contain a plaited belly but perform well enough to be sold to the public. Years ago whipmaker Adam Winrich designed his IOAB bullwhip, or "Indy On A Budget Bullwhip," which took off in popularity & became a favorite among Indiana Jones enthusiasts. The IOAB bullwhip contained no plaited bellies, but a packed leather core with strategically placed bolsters, with a simple 4 plait cowhide overlay. From all reviews I’ve read of this whip, it’s a very solid whip, and for many years has been known as one of the best budget cowhide whips available. Adam has posted some videos on www.youtube.com using his IOAB. It performs & sounds fantastic! Adam, by the way, is an accomplished whipcracker & Guinness record holder. Check out his site at www.winrichwhips.com.
Built on a 10 inch aluminum handle, The Catalyst contains a solid nylon core extending roughly 2/3 the length of the whip. This core is layered, tapered & covered with a 14 plait overlay in a solid color, ending in a 6 foot length, just over 8 feet total. The butt is lead loaded to aid in balance, the fall attached in the traditional fall hitch method, as seen on leather whips, as well as all Noreast Whips whip models. The heel knot can be highlighted with a second color choice by request. At this time, The Catalyst is offered in 4 colors: black, tan, dark brown & chocolate brown. The highlight color in the heel knot can be any available color of your choice.
This whip is an excellent whip for the beginning whipcracker. It performs every basic crack with ease & accuracy, as well as accomplishing volleys & multiple cracking routines very well. The desire for achieving a whip that was built as simple as possible, stripped down with minimal parts has been met in this whip. In comparing it to a higher level nylon whip such as a Standard Bullwhip, the differences are noticeable. This whip isn’t meant to last a lifetime, but if cared for properly, I don’t see why it couldn’t last for several years of routine use. For more info on The Catalyst, go to the Noreast Whips website, or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~Till next time, Steve.