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Whip Terminology (Part 1): The Complete Whip

July 21, 2009

These posts are dedicated to basic whip terminology.  Part one will cover some basics about the outsides of a completed whip, and part two will cover some terms used to describe the internal construction of a whip.  Part three will cover the names of different types of whips.  It is a daunting task to begin browsing whip-related websites, blogs, and forums without first knowing some of the basic terms you will see used on such sites.  So the goal of these Whip Terminology posts is to equip you with the basic vocabulary to begin thinking about, reading about, talking about, and asking questions about whips.

Not all of the following terms apply to every whip, because some whips are built differently from others.  However, all whips will share a majority of these components.  Part three of the Whip Terminology posts will cover the distinguishing components and characteristics of the separate types of whips.

Another important term to know is “plait” (commonly pronounced  “platt” by whipmakers from around the world, thanks to whipmaking’s predominently Australian roots).  Plait number describes the number of strands a whipmaker braids with.  When someone describes a whip as being (just for example) 12 plait, this means that the whip will be braided with 12 strands covering the outside of the whip (aka the “overlay”) at the whip’s widest point near the butt.  In many cases, as the whip thins, the whipmaker will drop strands out gradually and finish the whip with fewer strands.

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