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The Festoon Kite

This kite looks very attractive in flight, and is one which is well worth making. It is a combined kite, that is, two kites arranged on one backbone. It has a comparatively slender framework and needs to be handled with care. The backbone, A, is 3 ft. 6 in. in length, and is cut from 3/8 in. square stripwood. Make halving joints, 6 in. from the top and 1 ft. 6 in. from the bottom (see Fig. 10). Make shallow grooves at points which are 2 in. and 3 in. from each end and also one at the centre. Two crossbars, B and C, are each 2 ft. in length, and are cut from 3/8 in. x 1/4 in. stripwood. Complete the halving joints at the centre of these, and also make shallow grooves at points which are 3 in. and again 1/2 in. from each end. Rub the frame pieces to a smooth finish with fine sandpaper, and check that the joints are a tight fit. Assemble the framework with glue. Strengthen the joints by gluing cross-shaped plates to the underside. These are formed from 1/8 in. plywood. They are 6 in. in length and 6 in. in width (see Fig. 10). Bind round the plates and the joints with fine string, and smear the binding with thin glue to hold it in place.

Brace the framework with thin strong string. Tie a length to the backbone at the point D, and take it to the groove E, which is 3 in. from the right-hand end of the top crossbar, pass it round once or twice and tie. Bring the string to the centre backbone groove, bind round and tie. From there take it to the groove which is 3 in. from the left-hand end of the top crossbar, and lastly to the point where you started, where the string is securely tied. Repeat the procedure for the lower half of the framework. The outer bracing strings are now added, being secured at the grooves which are at the ends of the frame pieces. There should be an even tension on all these strings, and the backbone and crossbars should be at a correct angle. The next step is to prepare the covers. Cambric or unbleached greaseproof paper may be used. Lay the framework on the material and draw the shapes with a soft-grade pencil, allowing a margin of 2 in. all round for overlapping. It is a help to pin the material to a board whilst this is being done. The covers may be decorated at this stage. Suggested designs are given in Chapter 7, under 'Accessories'.

Use fabric painting oil colours for cloth, and lacquer for paper covers. Allow sufficient time for the paint to dry and then cut out. Attach the covers to the backbone and crossbars with glue. Fold the margins over the inner bracing strings and fasten down. Use glue for paper, and sew down in the case of cloth covers. The covers should be as firm and smooth as possible. Turn the framework over. Prepare 2 in. strips of the material and glue them to the covers and around the framework within the area required. Decorate the kite with festoons. To do this, tie lengths of strong thread in the form of three loops, at the points shown. Take strips of paper 2 in. in width and 6 in. in length, fold them down the centre, and cut slits at intervals in the centre fold. Now cut the strips in fingers to make the fringes. Open the strips, apply glue down the centre and wrap around the loops. Cover the outer bracing string for the top kite with fringes. A paper tassel on a 1 ft. length of thread is suspended from the bottom of the backbone. A pennant may also be flown from the top of the backbone. See Accessories', Chapter 7, for making these.

The Festoon Kite

The bridle is tied to the backbone in the form of a loop at the positions shown (Fig. 10). Use strong string, 6 ft. in length. The kite line is attached to the bridle with a bowline knot and a reef knot. Apply strips of insulating tape to the ends of the framework, to prevent their splitting, should the kite hit the ground suddenly. Like other kites, this one will need adjustments of the kite line in order to achieve satisfactory flight. Apart from regulating the position of this line, other adjustments may take the form of lengthening the tassel string, or sometimes using a thicker string. The increase of weight thus obtained will tend to pull the bottom of the kite down. This action will bring the kite nearer to the vertical, if the flying angle is too shallow, that is, if the kite is-inclined too much towards the horizontal. When a kite assumes a shallow angle it will not climb. If on the other hand, the tail is too heavy, the kite will assume a near vertical position, and by reason of this will tend to be blown backwards by the wind meanwhile gradually losing height. It is essential that the correct flying angle be established, and this is achieved mainly by observation and adjustment.

19 Great Kites to Make