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Functional Differences in Low Versus High Plait Counts

July 22, 2009

This probably goes without saying, but the number of strands a whip is braided from is exponentially less important than the skill and experience of the whipmaker. An excellent whipmaker will be able to make an 8 plait whip that performs better, is balanced better, and will last longer than a 16 plait whip made by a mediocre or average whipmaker.

24 Plait & 8 Plait Thongs

24 Plait & 8 Plait Thong Comparison

That said though, an 8 plait whip and a 16 plait whip made by the same whipmaker should handle and be balanced extremely similarly to each other. It’s true that a higher plait count will provide slightly more fluidity (as well as the opportunity to incorporate some fancy braiding patterns). But blindfolded and then given an equally well-made and equally broken-in 8 plait, 12 plait, and 16 plait whip, there will only be a small percentage of whip handlers that might be able to tell the difference.

A higher plait count also means thinner strands, so if you accidentally nick the braiding of the whip on a rock, a twig, or a belt buckle or something like that, the thinner strands will be more likely to break. If the strands are thicker, it’s more likely that the nick won’t slice through an entire strand, and that strand won’t actually break. However – if you’re crazy enough to be smacking your whip around on gravel or concrete, you’re probably going to end up with broken strands no matter what your plait count is. 🙂

So to try to sum up my point… Higher plait counts have their pros and their cons, but the differences are pretty minor so long as you’re getting a whip from a skilled and experienced whipmaker. In my experience, high plait counts tend to be mainly a cosmetic choice.

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