The Happy Man Kite
Kites are made in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are conventional, such as the box and the pegtop; others are more original, and to this class the Happy Man Kite belongs. It is a humorous novelty and will cause some amusement when it is flying in the air. A novel feature is the imitation ladder, which takes the place of a conventional tail. The little man has indeed climbed to the top, hence his smile of achievement. Much of the appeal of the kite depends upon the making of the figure. To simplify this, a pattern for enlarging is given (Fig. 11). Though the kite is unusual in form, the principle of sound design and structure have been kept in mind. First, there is a broad cover area for buoyancy. Secondly, the kite is bowed in the interests of dihedral, which improves stability. Thirdly, the ladder-tail is more than a novelty; it improves stability, by helping to keep the kite on the right course. Begin by making the framework. The backbone, A, is cut from 3/8 in. square stripwood, which must be straight and free from blemish. It is 3 ft. in length, and is grooved slightly at the ends. The positions for the crossbars are marked on it. Measuring from the top in each case, these positions are: one, 5 1/2 in.; two, 1 ft. 3 1/2 in.; three, 1 ft. 8 1/2 in., and four, 2 ft. 6 1/2 in.
Now prepare the crossbars B, C, D, and E. All are formed from split cane, about 1/4 in. thick. They are grooved at the ends. B and D are 2 ft. 1 in. in length; and C and E are 1 ft. 1 in. Drill small holes through, 1/2 in. from the ends. Next, form them into a bow shape. Bend them into shape by firm but gentle pressure of the hands. The application of dry heat in the form of a gas jet or electric fire may also be helpful in conditioning the cane for bending. The curved shapes are retained by means of bowstrings which are threaded through the holes provided, and tied securely. Draw the bowstrings taut in order to achieve a proper tension on the canes. Leave a 5 in. tail to one of the bowstrings at F. The depth of the curve at the centre of B and D is 21/2 in.; and there is a proportionate depth for C and E. This depth is achieved by bending C and E until their curves match B and D. Secure the crossbars to the backbone at the places which are marked. Glue small blocks to the backbone on either side of the bars, to help to keep them in the right position. Glue and bind the crossbars to the backbone. Smear the bindings with thin glue to reinforce them. Note that the bowstrings lie clear of the backbone on the underside of the framework (Fig. 12).
Use thin string for the outline bracing. Tie a length to the bowstring tail marked F. Take it over the crossbar B; over the top of the backbone, and to the other end of C. Bind round and tie. Proceed by taking the string to the other ends of the framework, and bind round once or twice in each case. Finish by tying to the bowstring tail where you started. Check that the bracing string is taut and that the crossbars are level. Use lightweight cotton material, such as cambric, for the cover. A square yard will be sufficient. Fasten it to a board with drawing pins. Now take a sheet of paper and mark on it a pattern of 5 in. squares. On this, enlarge the figure which is illustrated in Fig. 11. Allow for a margin of 2 in. all round. The sides of the feet, the arms, ears and top of the head are drawn separately and are attached by the overlaps indicated by the dotted lines. Pin the paper pattern on the cloth and by means of carbon paper transfer the drawing to the cloth. When this has been done, paint the figure in suitable colours, using fabric painting oil colours. Allow sufficient time for the paint to dry, and then cut out, not forgetting to include the margin.
Fasten the cover to the crossbars with glue. Fold the margin over the bracing strings and sew down. See that the cover is evenly stretched and neatly secured. Next, take the separate parts, such as the arms and ears, and glue them on to thin cardboard for stiffening. Attach them with glue at the positions shown by the dotted lines. The bridle string is tied in the form of a loop at the points marked X in Fig. 12. Strong string, 6 ft. in length will be needed. Pierce the cover in the appropriate places, and thread the string through. Glue small cloth washers to the cover where it is pierced, to prevent the material fraying. The kite line is attached to the bridle by means of a bowline knot and a reef knot. Two ladder strings, 6 ft. in length, are tied to the small bar which is glued and nailed to the bottom of the backbone. This 1/4 in. square stripwood bar is 5 in. in length, and the strings are placed 4 in. apart. The rungs are made from strips of cardboard, and are 5 in. in length. At the ends of these make slits, and insert the strings. Space the rungs about 6 in. apart. A little practice will soon indicate the correct number to carry for a flight, for which reason they are made to be removed or replaced easily. The kite is fairly large in size, and develops quite a strong pull in a wind. The bridle and the line must be adequate to meet the strain which is imposed. The young reader is advised not to allow such a kite to attain too great a height or fly it in too strong a wind.