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Butterfly Kite

This, one of the prettiest of all kites, is quite simple to make. There is a minimum of framework and the covering is quite straightforward. It can be strikingly decorated. Altogether it is a kite you will want to make. The framework comprises a backbone, A, and two curved pieces, B and C. For A use 3/4 in. x 1/4 in. stripwood, 2 ft. 8 in. in length. It is notched at the ends. B and C are formed from 8 mm. centre cane (round cane) as used in basketry and cane furniture. This should be soaked in water beforehand to condition it. Two pieces, each 4 ft. 8 in. in length are required and they are grooved at the ends to provide a hold for the bracing strings. First shape the two curves. Smear one end of B with thin glue and when it is tacky, tie a length of thin, strong string in the groove, bind round once or twice and tie again. Bend the cane in the form of a part circle as shown in Fig. 14. Bind round and tie the string at the other end, first smearing it with glue to prevent the binding from slipping out of place, D. As you proceed, apply glue at all points where the strings are tied. The length of this string after it has been tied will be about 2 ft. 1 in., D. Tie a second string from the bottom end of curved-shape B to a point which is 6 in. from the top end, Z. The length of this string, E, after it has been tied in place, will be about 2 ft. 3 in.

Shape C in the same manner. Lay one cane upon the other to check that the curves are the same. The shaping of these must be done with care, and without undue force. Next assemble the framework. Bind round and tie B at points which are 6 in. from the top and 6 in. from the bottom of the backbone. Use fine string or strong carpet thread. A small inner curve is thus formed. The depth of this curve at the centre, measuring from the backbone, is about 3 in. Fix C in position in the same way. Bind round and tie the strings F and G at the positions indicated (Fig. 14). Run strings over the ends of the backbone. Glue cloth strips over the ends to hold the bracing in place, H. The discerning reader will notice on looking at the framework that there is a danger of the kite folding up in flight because of wind pressure on the wings.

To prevent this, the following device is fitted. Take a piece of stripwood about 8 in. long and glue and bind it to the underside centre of the backbone. Now glue and insert small blocks to fill up the gaps between this strip and the curved canes. Then bind the canes and the strips together with stout thread. See I (Fig. 14) for details. This device will prevent undue movement of the wings in flight. The next stage is to cover the framework, where required. A glance at J (Fig. 14) will make this clear. Use paper which is light but strong (unbleached greaseproof is recommended). This is generally obtained in sheets measuring 20 in. x 30 in. First join two of them together with thin glue down the centre. Lay the framework on the paper and make an outline with a soft grade pencil. Add a margin of 2 in. all round for overlapping and cut out. Make slits in the margin. This will help when pasting the cover down. Cut out the head and body in card, the thickness of a postcard (see J and K, Fig. 14). Decorate the covering in bright colours, using oil colours for permanence. These look well on foundations of aluminium paint. After these have dried, secure the covering to the framework, the margins overlapping the canes and inner strings. Try to obtain a taut smooth surface. Add the head and body, using thin glue. Turn the kite over and glue strips 1 in. wide and 2 1/2 in. long, at intervals over the small centre curves, and to the cover, as indicated by L (Fig. 14). Two pipe cleaners are glued to the backbone, to stick out above the head, forming the antennae. The bridle is attached in the form of a loop at the points marked (Fig. 14).

Butterfly Kite

Use strong string, 5 ft. in length. It is important to note that this string is looped round the backbone and tied over the centre junctions, Fig. 14 will make this clear. The loose loops are shown for the sake of detail. They must, of course, be tightened up on the kite itself. These tying positions are the strongest points at which to take up the strain imposed when flying the kite. Unless this rule is observed, the result might be a broken backbone. As will be seen, to attach the bridle, it is necessary to pierce the covering. Do this carefully and glue small thin cardboard washers over the holes to strengthen material. The kite string is attached to the bridle by means of a reef knot and a bowline knot. These permit of adjustments being made on the bridle to keep the kite at the best angle for successful flight. This is explained in more detail in Chapter 8. A short tail about 5 ft. in length is required. Details for making these are given in 'Accessories'.





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