Whipping the Grip on a Hickory Club

This album shows the basics of my process for whipping the grip on a hickory club. It's another fairly large one. As always, see the individual pictures and their captions if you want all the details, or skip if you don't want details. Comments and questions are welcome. In these pictures I am whipping the new grip that I put on in the Gripping a Hickory Club album. However just the same procedures would apply if replacing whippings on an antique grip.

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This is almost the only special 'tool' I use - a stick in a small vise that I picked up. I can put a spool of thread on the stick, and the thread will unwind easily as I pull it.

For the vast majority of my whipping - everything except repairs and spliced necks - I use Crawford's 4-cord waxed linen thread. This is quite strong, whips well, and gives a good appearance.

I always want to whip from 'thin' to 'fat', so I start on the shaft and whip up onto the grip itself. First the thread is looped round the shaft and over itself.

Then the thread is passed round for one more loop, and again over the free end.

Now the thread on the shaft is moved up close to the grip, where I want to start the whipping, and tightened onto the shaft by pulling hard on both ends.

Once the thread is tightened onto the shaft, I trim off the free end short of the grip. There is a method where the free end is taken right under the whipping to the far end, and then tied off to that end of the whipping, but that is not what I do.

Now I continue to wind the thread onto the shaft, as tightly as possible.

I am just drawing the thread off the spool, mounted on my vise / stick arrangement.

Whipping from the bare shaft up onto the grip itself is rather tricky, especially with a grip like this, which is quite thick. If you keep the thread tight and keep winding it on each turn laid against the previous one, it should work out. You could also bevel the bottom edge of the grip leather with a sharp knife or a razor blade... but I don't generally do that.

Here the whipping has 'climbed' onto the grip, and the tack is almost completely covered.

As a 'puller' I just use a loop of thread, knotted. This is a thinner, very strong, unwaxed, artificial thread. Some people use thin wire. And you can get specially made pullers, with little handles.

Once the whipping is past the tack, I whip in the puller.

I continue to whip over the puller until I've got almost 1/4" of whipping over it.

Then I cut off the thread, about 1" past the puller.

Now I use tweezers to open up the loop of the puller.

And pass the end of the thread through the loop of the puller.

Next I pull the end of the thread tight, and draw the puller back under the whipping by pulling on the knotted end.

Here the puller is back to the point where it is just trapping the free end of the thread against the whipping.

Now I continue to pull, and draw the free end of the thread under the whipping.

The free end has been pulled through under the whipping, and protrudes.

The excess free thread is trimmed off with scissors or a knife.

And here is the finished bottom whipping on the grip.

I have mixed feeling about top whippings. Being so narrow, they tend to come loose and unravel very easily. Honestly, I often don't replace them on antique grips, if they don't seem needed. But I do always put on a top whipping when I do a new grip. And here I am starting the top whipping.

Now I have taken a second turn, wrapping the thread tightly over itself.

With a top whipping, the end of the thread needs to be cut off very short, as the whipping itself will be small.

And the puller needs to be inserted immediately after the first two turns are tightened.

I try to wind top whippings as tightly as possible, to help them stay in place.

Once the top whipping is as far up as it can usefully go, the end of the thread is cut off 1" past the puller.

And the end is passed through the puller with tweezers.

The end is pulled as tight as possible, before drawing back the puller.

Now the puller is pulled back, trapping the end thread.

And the end is pulled under the whipping.

The end is out, back where the puller was initially inserted.

Now the excess is trimmed off.

And here is the finished top whipping.

And here the whole grip, with both whippings.

At this point, if I were working with a grip where the leather was smooth side out, I would treat the grip with Lexol leather conditioner - wipe on with a sponge, leave for about 15 minutes, then polish off with a cloth. This helps to soften and waterproof the leather, and gives a better grip. But with a suede side out grip, nothing of that kind can be done.

Ken Leedham, GHSC. If you have questions or comments, please email