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The Hexagonal Kite

This is a simple flat wing kite, which can be readily adapted to different sizes. It has a lively performance, and does well in a gentle breeze. It is one of the class which is not bow shaped. This bow shape forms what is called the dihedral angle, and as we have seen in the comments upon the Tonking kite, dihedral improves stability. On the face of it, therefore, it would seem that the Hexagonal kite will not be so steady in flight as those which are bow shaped. But the reader will observe the way in which the bridle is tied. The purpose of this is to provide some stability in flight. This stability is further improved by the use of a flexible tail. The framework is formed by three pieces, A, B, and C. These are 2 ft. 6 in. in length, and are cut from 3/8 in. square stripwood. Slightly notch the ends of the pieces, at D (Fig. 6). These provide a seating for the string bracing. Make halving joints at the positions indicated (E, Fig. 6).

These joints will have to be made with care, so that the saw cuts do not go too deep, and the pieces fit snugly. Use a fretsaw with a fine blade for this. Join the pieces with glue, after smoothing them thoroughly with fine sandpaper. It is recommended that cross-shaped strengthened, cut from 1/8 in. plywood, be fixed over these joints with glue and thread, as shown at F (Fig. 6). The completed framework should be smooth, firm and straight. Next, add the bracing. Use thin strong string, which must be quite taut. To achieve this, make a temporary support as shown at G (Fig. 6), and lash it to the framework. Now tie the string to the top left-hand strut. Take it to the top right-hand strut, bind round and tie. From there, in the same manner, take the string to the other ends of the framework, and complete the bracing by tying at the point where you started. Remove the support. The bracing needs to be carefully and neatly done, to maintain the framework in the right shape, and to provide a firm support for the covering material.

The cover is made of unbleached greaseproof paper. It is chosen for its strength and lightness - very important factors. The paper is generally obtained in sheets measuring 20 in. x 30 in. so two of them will have to be joined together to give the required width. Lay the framework on the paper and mark the shape of the kite with a pencil. Add a margin of 11/2 in. all round for overlapping, and cut out. At this point the cover may be decorated. A simple design is suggested at H (Fig. 6). Strips of coloured paper of the same kind and glued on, may be used. Other designs are given in 'Accessories'. Attach the cover to the framework. Apply glue to the outer half of the margin, fold this over the strings and fasten down. Please note that the cover, in order to be perfectly flat, is fixed to the framework on the reverse side of the cross-shaped strengthening pieces. Cut 3 in. wide strips of paper and glue these to the inside of the cover over the framework. They will help to strengthen the cover against the pressure of the wind. Pierce the cover at the centre, so that the bottom bridle string can be threaded through. Cut a hexagonal-shaped piece of thin cardboard, pierce it through the centre, and glue it to the centre of the cover. Take a 3 ft. length of strong string and tie it securely to the centre of the framework, passing it through the cardboard shape. A loop of string completes the bridle.

For this use a piece 4 ft. 6 in. in length, and tie it to the top ends of the vertical struts. Tie the bottom string to the centre of the loop. The kite line is attached to the bottom string by means of a bowline knot and a reef knot. An alternative method is shown at I (Fig. 6). Cut a 3 in. diameter circle from 3/16 in. plywood. Drill holes through it at the positions shown. Thread the top loop through the top holes, and tie the kite line to it. Thread the other bridle string through the bottom hole and knot it, using a bowline knot. This will permit of adjustments being made, by lengthening or shortening the bottom bridle string. The tail which is 6 ft. in length is attached to a loop of string tied to the bottom ends of the vertical struts. A paper tassel can be fitted to the end of the tail.

The Hexagonal

Further decoration may be in the form of fringes cut from paper 12 in. wide and folded and pasted together to form a double thickness. These are fastened over strings tied in the positions shown. The colour of the fringes should match the general decoration scheme. By way of further comment it may be said that this kite should take-off successfully from the hand, without outside help. Success in flying depends upon the right amount of tail. For example, if the kite moves unsteadily, then the weight of the tail must be increased by adding extra paper pieces. On the other hand, if it does not lift, and tends to drag down to the ground, then the tail must be lightened. The position of the kite line is important. Generally it is tied a little above the centre of gravity. This centre may be ascertained by using the method described in Chapter 8, and also mentioned in the instructions for the Pegtop kite. A little practice will soon show what adjustments to make.

19 Great Kites to Make