Get The Lead Out

Noreast Whips Knot Tying For some time now, roughly the last couple of months, I’ve been experimenting with another change in the construction of some of the whip models on Noreast Whips. For most of the time since I began building whips, I’ve used lead in the knot foundations, as many whipmakers do. From what I’ve learned in my modest whipmaking career, the lead is used with a two-fold purpose:  1. to add a bit of weight to the butt end and, 2. to balance out the weight of the whip’s thong. A whip with a fair amount of thong weight will need a certain amount of weight added to the butt end, in order to aid in the whip’s balance. The most popular method that whipmakers have used over the years is to afix a lead strip on the butt, or heel end, of the whip.

Because of the growing concern of negative effects associated with lead & lead products, I’ve decided to stop using lead strips in most of the whips I currently build. At some time, I will most likely cease altogether from using lead. The first whips in which I stopped using lead were the shorter whips, the Baby Snakes & Baby Bulls. These whips are short enough that I didn’t think the small amount of lead that was used in the knot foundation would affect their handling at all. In the end, I’ve actually realized that the whips handle a bit better. They still crack with ease. I feel that most whipcrackers would not notice the difference. Bear in mind, that not all whipmakers use lead in the butt of their whips, but many do.

In addition to the shorter whips, the Catalyst Bullwhip & Standard Bullwhip models also are no longer containing lead in the heel knot foundation. I believe the performance of these whips without the lead is proof enough that lead isn’t needed in the heel end. All Noreast Whips stockwhips are also built without the use of lead. Those of you who have purchased the whipmaking instructions, in which the knot foundation is constructed using lead, I will be uploading a video soon that illustrates how I’m currently making the knot foundation. If you have any thoughts regarding this new method, feel free to contact me or leave a comment. Thanks for reading!


Noreast Whips.

This entry was posted in Whip making, tutorials, Whip questions, whip supplies, whip kit. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Get The Lead Out

  1. Rhett says:

    Good move, IMHO. I never used lead in my heel knots, but I did inside my snakewhips. The last 2 snakes I built were lead-free and I intend to keep it that way. I think it’s better not to have it around because I make whips in my house where my kids are up under me all day. Lead and kids don’t mix! LOL

  2. Mark Shlosberg says:

    Steve – I purchased the kit/instructions from you about 6 months ago, but was having trouble getting lead strips here so I modified the knot foundation by simply putting a couple wraps of paracord with the core still in it then building the foundation up with the tape and artificial sinew. If I feel the whip needs a bit more weight I hot glue a couple of nickels to the butt in the place of a concho before tying the Turk’s head on it.

    So far my whips are not of a quality I want to show off, hopefully practice will improve that, but they do seem to work.


    Mark Shlosberg

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