I made this flogger for a theme party. People seem to like it, and a couple have asked me to make them one.
The feel of this piece is a little different to what you might be used to, at first you get a scratchy thud from the ropes, followed by a bigger thud with sting from the knots tied in the end.
It is a fairly easy piece to make, and because the idea is to have something that looks like it was made in the jungle, slight imperfections aren’t going to ruin your build of it.
Because the handle is made of bamboo, you will need to create this over a period of time, varnish on the handle is a must do, bamboo splinters are definitely not something you want in your hand.
- Piece of 30-40 mm diameter bamboo (gardening shops often sell 6 foot lengths for a few dollars)
- 43 feet of natural rope. I use home made jute, but anything will do. I don’t recommend you use Sisal rope unless you love picking splinters out of people. (You may need more or less, depending on the diameter of the bamboo)
- Insulation tape or any other kind of tape that is fairly strong but comes off easily without damaging the bamboo.
Making the Handle
Ensure that you cut slowly using a fine toothed saw. As you are almost through cut even slower, but don’t panic if it splinters a little. You can use a file and sandpaper once it is cut to smooth out any imperfections.
When cutting the bamboo try and make your cuts straight, it is far easier than trying to get the ends level later, but again, this is a supposed to be a rough looking piece, so don’t get all anal about it. I don’t even bother measuring, I merely eyeball it.
The picture to the right shows two pieces cut and ready for the next step. The lower piece shows the tape that you use to prevent splintering, On the left side you will see the tape is very close to one of the section pieces, try and make sure you have one of these near the top of the handle, not only does it improve the look, it helps prevent splitting right down the shaft of the bamboo.
Now we need to put some holes in the shaft. I use a 22 mm hole cutter near the open end to make the hole for the falls to go through. These hole cutters don’t work well and do a pretty rough job. A little sanding soon fixes it up though. For the hanging loops I use a standard 10 mm drill bit.
You may find it easier if you drill a small pilot hole right through the bamboo and the use the bigger bits to drill through one side at a time from the outside, you will get a neater looking finish. Again sanding the holes to make the smooth and removing any excess chunks is needed.
Once you have all the holes cleaned up, look down the tube and make sure you have it free of debris on the inside, if not then clean this up as well, a metal rod or stick can help here.
Run a fine piece of sand paper over the whole handle, you don’t need to remove all the imperfections, just a quick removal of any grime and rubbish thats on it. Now clean the handle of dust, your about to varnish it.
Get a short piece of string and loop it through the holes for the fall. Tie it to something so it can hang freely in the air. Paint the exterior of the handle, making sure to get the inside edges of the holes. It doesn’t matter if some of the varnish runs down inside the handle.
Don’t put too much on or it will run and dry in clumps, instead aim for a thin coat and do it 4 or 5 times. I use a high gloss floor varnish, it seems to work well and is not slippery when dry.
As mentioned earlier, the amount of rope is a guide only, the larger the diameter of bamboo, the more falls you can fit in. For this piece I need 11 x 46 Inch Strands. I prefer to knot the ends to help prevent it unraveling. This does make it somewhat harder to put everything together, but I think the end result is better.
I’m using home made jute rope, which I will explain how to make another time, but you can use any rope you like. I would suggest using a natural rope if your trying to get the right look.
You will need to thread one piece of your rope through the small hanger hole, as shown in the picture. The aim is to form a loop.
By cutting the rope shorter and tying a knot in it, you could stop at this point, you have a hanger. I prefer to wrap it a few times to make it look more balanced. You may find this much easier by untying the knot and then retying it afterwards. A pair of long nose pliers is a help in pulling it through.
Now we need to put the falls in. Here I am doing 10 pieces of rope in total, making 20 falls of approximately 22 inches each.
Using a sewing awl or if you don’t have one a star screwdriver push the knot of the next fall through and then using a pair of needle nose pliers grab the knot and pull it out with the rest of the falls. This can be a little difficult as you add more and more falls. Remember to keep swapping the side the bite is on.
Congratulations, your Bamboo flogger is now finished.