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The Pegtop Kite

The Pegtop is a good choice if one is looking for an easy-to-make kite. The framework is a simple two-piece unit. When this is covered, and a bridle and tail added, the kite is ready for flying. It is not, however, one of the easiest of kites to handle. Technically, this is because it lacks inherent stability. Stability means that if a kite is disturbed from its path of steady flight by, say, a change of wind direction or speed, it will tend to right itself. Inherent stability means that this balance or steadiness is achieved by the design and construction of the kite. We may say then that the pegtop kite tends to be unstable in a changeable wind. This very fact, however, may be an additional reason for making such a kite, and the operator finds much satisfaction in skilfully handling it in flight. The pegtop may be made in different sizes. The measurements given here could be adapted to suit individual requirements. It must be remembered, though, that the larger the kite, the more skill is needed in flying it successfully. The one described here may be thought of as a small trial size, which will teach the young beginner quite a lot about the art of flying kites.

The backbone A (Fig. 2) is formed from 1/4 in. x 3/8 in. stripwood, 1 ft. 6 in. in length and is notched at the bottom end. It must be straight and smooth. For the curved top use a flexible piece of split cane about 1/4 in. diameter and 1 ft. 4 in. in length, and notch it at the ends. Suitable cane may be obtained from handicraft or horticultural shops. That which has a hard outer skin is the kind which is the best to use. It may be bought in 3 ft. lengths. If they are whole pieces, they can be split with a sharp-pointed knife. The cane is curved to a bow shape, as shown (B, Fig. 2). The shaping is more easily done if the cane is subjected to dry heat, such as a gas jet or electric fire. This prevents cracking or splitting. The bow is held in position by means of a bowstring, C, tied at each end. Use thin, strong string because it has to withstand considerable strain. The depth of the curve at the centre is 3 1/2 in.

Secure the cane at its centre to the top of the backbone. Use glue and bind round with strong thread. Apply glue to the binding to prevent it from slipping. Make a neat, firm joint. The strength of the framework depends upon this. The next stage is to complete the bracing of the framework. Use thin strong string. Tie this to one end of the curved top. From there take it to the bottom of the backbone and up to the other end of the top. This string should not be too taut, as most of the strain is taken up by the bowstring. The framework is now complete, and is ready for covering. For the cover use tissue paper or pure unbleached greaseproof! (It is worth while mentioning here, that a larger size in this kind of kite, say 3 ft. or over, would be better with a lightweight cloth cover.) Place the framework on the paper and with a pencil mark out the shape of the cover. Allow a margin of 1 1/2 in. all round and cut out. At this point the cover may be decorated. Suggested designs are given in 'Accessories' in Chapter 7. These are best done on separate sheets of paper and pasted on to the cover. For colouring, one of the proprietary brands of lacquer is easy to apply, and will answer the purpose well.

Attach the cover to the framework, taking care not to crease or tear the paper. Apply glue to the backbone, and stick the cover to it and set aside for a little while for the glue to dry. Next, cut narrow V-shaped slits at intervals round the margin. Apply glue to the curved top, and to the outer half of the margin. Fold this over and fasten it down around the top and the outer strings. 3 in. folded reinforcing strips may be glued round the strings and the top. The kite may be embellished with tassels or fringes. If fringes are chosen, then two loops of string are tied to the ends of the bow and the bottom of the backbone. If tassels are chosen, they would hang from the ends of the curved top. Details for making both of these are given in 'Accessories'.

Pegtop Kite

The bridle, 3 ft. 6 in. in length, is tied to the backbone at the places shown (Fig. 2) in the form of a loop. Use stout string. In order to attach the bridle, the cover has to be pierced. Strengthen the cover where this is done by means of thin cardboard washers, fastened down with glue. A conventional tail is tied to the bottom of the backbone. This is a piece of string 4 ft. 6 in. in length to which are fastened 4 in. folded strips of paper 6 in. apart. (See 'Accessories' for further details.) For the kite line use the kind recommended in Chapter 7. It is attached to the bridle by means of a bowline knot and a reef knot. The method of forming the knots is shown in Chapter 7. These permit the line to be adjusted on the bridle, in order to obtain the best position for flying the kite. Generally the kite line is tied a little above the centre of gravity. This centre may be ascertained by balancing the kite by its backbone on a length of thin stripwood, or even the blunt end of a pencil would serve. The point when the kite remains in balance on the stick is the centre of gravity, and this could be marked with a pencil. A reel is needed on which the kite string is wound. Two types of these are described in 'Accessories'. The size of the reel will depend to a large extent upon the amount and thickness of the string used, but both of the reels referred to are of a convenient size.

19 Great Kites to Make