When the whip is new
Upon delivery, your whip will be pretty stiff. Don’t worry as this is normal. As you use your whip, it will “break-in,” as we say, becoming more supple over time and adapt to your cracking style. Think about it like getting a new pair of leather shoes. They too might be a bit stiff and uncomfortable initially, but as you wear them, they’ll loosen up and form perfectly to your foot. Refrain from trying to speed up the breaking-in process by bending the whip back and forth and putting large amounts of leather dressing-/conditioner on it. Just use it like you normally would and give the whip some time.
- Only use your whip on grass or other smooth surfaces. Do not crack your whip on sand, gravel, or pavement, as this significantly damages your whip! Don’t practice wraps on trees, as they can similarly damage the whip due to their abrasive surface.
- Don’t get your whip wet. Moisture can get into your whip and cause mildew. If you want to crack whips on rainy days, getting a paracord (or other synthetic) whip to complement your whip collection might be a good idea!
- If your whip is fitted with a leather fall, give it a light coat of leather dressing-/conditioner after every other cracking session or so, as this keeps the fall in good shape and prolongs the lifespan of the fall.
- Don’t crack your whip without a cracker/popper.
- Use protective eyewear and make sure that anything you don’t intend on hitting with your whip is well out of reach.
Storing your whip
- Your whip has a “natural curve,” meaning it coils easily in a specific direction. Pay attention to this and only coil your whip along this natural curve.
- Store your whip lightly coiled, lying down, away from direct sunlight and pets! Dogs, in particular, might think whips are perfect chewing toys.
- Don’t expose it to extreme temperatures for long periods. In other words, please don’t leave it in a hot car or outside during the winter.
Maintaining the whip
Treat your whip with a light coat of leather conditioner 2-3 times a year (depending on your climate). I primarily use Fiebings Aussie Leather Conditioner, but other brands like Pecards Leather Dressing or Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP works just as well. You can find a jar of leather conditioner at your local Tandy/leather store, online, or wherever you could buy horse gear.
IMPORTANT: Do not use any liquid oils (Neatsfoot oil, for example) on your whip as these products are not suited for whips.