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The Star Kite

This pretty kite possesses two interesting features. One is that there is a centre piece of metal foil, which reflects the light; this is an effective decorative device. The other feature is that the kite is equipped with balancing cups, to assist its flight. The cups help to produce up-currents of air which give lift to the kite. Consequently, it should do well in a light breeze. Being designed for gentle weather, the kite is lightly constructed. The framework is comparatively slender. The kite must be handled with care. As will be seen in Fig. 7, it is formed with a double frame - a diamond and a cross shape. The frame, A, is made first. Use 1/4 in. x 3/16 in. stripwood. Cut four pieces, each 1 ft. 5 in. in length. Assemble them in the shape of a square, by means of mitre joints. Small corner pieces, cut from 1/8 in. plywood to the shape of a triangle are fixed to the underside of the joints with glue and fine fretwork nails. An alternative method of joining the frame is also shown (B, Fig. 7). In this method, two of the strips measure 1 ft. 4 1/2 in. Secure these joints also with glue and fine fretwork nails. Drill holes to receive the nails part-way through the wood, so that it will not split. Make the joints as firm as possible, in view of the fact that this is the main frame.

The cross-shaped frame C (Fig. 7) requires three pieces 1/4 in. x 3/16 in. stripwood, D and E. Cut D, 2 ft. in length, groove the ends, and drill a small hole through, 1/2 in. from the bottom end. Fix this to the underside of the frame A, in the position shown, with glue and two 3/4 in. fretwork nails, the ends of which are turned over and hammered flat. This strut divides the frame, A, into two equal parts. You will need next a centre-piece, F, which is cut from 1/8 in. plywood and is 2 in. square. Glue and nail it to the underside centre of the strut D. Use 5/8 in. fretwork nails, bent over and flattened at the ends. To this centre-piece and to the frame, A, glue and nail the two short cross-struts, E. Each measures 11 7/8 in. and is notched at the outer end. The idea of using two short pieces, is that they fit flush with the frame, A, which would not be possible with a long through strut. The bracing string, G, is added next. Thin strong string, knotted at one end is used. Thread it through the hole at the end of D (Fig. 7). Pass it in turn over the ends of the cross-struts. Bring it back to where you started. Bind it round the strut end once or twice and tie at the first knot. Strips of insulating tape neatly applied, will hold the string in place in their grooves. Apply tape also where the string crosses the main frame A. Keep the string taut, but do not pull the framework out of shape.

Note that the bracing lies on the underside of the frame A. The inner strings, G and H, come on the top side of the framework. They go from corner to corner. As these are difficult tying places, a special method is used. Loops of string are made at the corners. To them the bracing string is attached by means of another loop (see Fig. 7). It will be realized that on the actual kite, these loops are drawn up and fastened securely. The bridle is of string which is stouter than that used for the bracing. Four pieces are needed. Two are 1 ft. 9 in., and two, 2 ft. 11 in. in length. The tying points on the framework are indicated by asterisks. These points have been chosen to improve the stability of the kite and also because they represent the strongest parts of the framework and so are the obvious points to take up the strain in flying the kite. The shorter strings are fastened at the top points. The method of securing the strings to the framework is shown in detail at I (Fig. 7). J (Fig. 7) shows actual length of bridle strings when they are tied. Next cover the framework with unbleached greaseproof paper. First attend to the small triangles formed by the ends of the cross-struts and the bracing. Cut four pieces, measuring 8 in. at the base and 41/4 in. high, narrowing to a point. Glue these to the top sides of A; also to the cross-struts, and wrap over the strings. The main cover is 1 ft. 5 1/2 in. square and is glued to the sides of A.

The Star Kite

Turn the kite over and glue strips of paper to the underside, over the strings G and H. The result should be a secure, well-stretched cover, and with this type of kite, this should not be difficult to achieve, as the framework is all on one level, and is not bowed. There are several ways in which the kite can be decorated, according to preference. A simple and pleasing way is shown in Fig. 7. Broad bands of bright colours are used. A square of metal foil previously mentioned, silver or gold, is glued at the centre. This will shine and flash in the light. It will be easier to do the decorating before the cover is fixed in place. A feature of this kite is its use of three balancing cups, 3 in. in diameter, attached to the lower ends of the framework. They are described in detail in the section on 'Accessories' and are decorative as well as serving a useful purpose.

The strings which hold these are about 6 in. in length after they have been tied in place, and before the cover is added. Alternatively, paper tassels may be used. Details for making both of these are given in Chapter 7 in 'Accessories'. Tie the kite string to the bridle, where it is knotted together. This method does not permit of the line being adjusted on the bridle as is the case with many of the kites described. Such adjustments are made to alter the angle of the kite to the wind. Therefore to keep the kite at a proper flying angle it may be found helpful to fit a tail. The line for this could run through the centre balancing cup, and it would be about 5 ft. in length. This tail could be regarded as additional equipment which could be fixed or removed as required. Therefore it would be tied in such a way that the knot be easily undone. Again, practice in flying the kite would soon indicate what adjustments should be made in this direction, that is to say whether a tail were needed or not, or whether the tail should be made heavier or lighter by adding or removing some of the paper pieces.

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