I always found the French Grapevine lashing an attractive and efficient way to attach a keeper to a crop. When I first bought David Morgan’s book Whips and Whip Making, I was in awe of the Cecil Henderson 20 x 36 strand stockwhip on page 46 and its lashing. I looked at this page so many times, it became mottled and oxidised in my mind until there was barely an image left.
I finally got to see a half cane Henderson whip at the old Murwillumbah saddlery, the owner of the whip was a Ringer in the top end of Queensland and I was surprised to see it was in relatively good condition with Henderson’s oxblood coloured cotton cracker still in place. Below are 2 images of a Henderson whip similar to the one I repaired. This whip is a 12 x 12 x 6ft half plait together with an image detail of its keeper and Grapevine.
Due to some wear and tear to the crop keeper I was asked to replace the keeper and of course the lashing. I studied the lashing and noted it was a series of half hitches with the end tucked under the last five lashings in an over one under five sequence. At first I was a bit reticent to attempt the repair in case I botched the job, but after I practiced the lashing a few times on my own I told the owner I’d give it a go.
The whip had a light 12 strand 7 foot thong tailed out quite fine which reduced to a six strand point with a series of 6 reversed half hitches attaching the fall. The crop was a diminutive 18 inch Tohiti Cane or Lawyer Vine stock with a basic 12 strand plaited two thirds the way up.
When I removed the old lashing I was quite surprised to see there was nothing securing the foundation but a piece of heavy cotton twine consisting of about 6 lashings.
Below is my own 16 x 20 whip and at the top of this post a detail of keeper and Grapevine in which I incorporate similar Henderson construction principles. I have utilised Cecil Henderson’s method of lashing, and then by using a narrower strand of 2 millimetres I have added an extra 2 spirals to the lashing for decorative purposes.