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The Wing Kite

Robust construction and pleasing design are combined in the wing kite. Because it carries a comparatively large area of framework, which results in increased weight, it may be found to fly best in a fresh to strong wind. However, in practised hands this kite proves to be quite versatile in flight. Begin by forming the main framework. Cut four crossbars for the wings, A, B, C, and D. Each measures 2 ft. 6 in. in length. Use 1/4 in. square stripwood. Make grooves in each end. Cut two longerons from 3/8 in. sq. stripwood, 2 ft. 8 in. in length, which are also grooved at the ends. See E and F (Fig. 18). The longerons are glued and nailed to the crossbars at the positions shown in Fig. 18. Use 3/4 in. fretwork nails. Bend the ends over and hammer them flat. Part drill through the wood to receive the nails and put a spot of oil in the holes. Add eight wooden blocks in the positions indicated. They are cut from 1/4 in. square stripwood and are 1 in. in length. Fix them with glue and nails. A third longeron, G, and four upright struts, H, I, J, and K, are made at this stage, but are assembled later on; 1/4 in. square stripwood is used. The longeron is 2 ft. 8 in. in length and is not grooved at the ends. The struts measure 97/8 in. and at one end are cut in a V shape, which is 1/8 in. in depth. Smooth all parts thoroughly with fine sandpaper. Apply a coat of clear varnish and set aside to dry.

Following this, the framework is braced with thin strong string. Make a start by binding it round and tying it to the right-hand end of the top crossbar, leaving a 4 in. free length beyond the knot. From there take it round the ends of the framework, by means of the grooves provided. Return to where you started and knot the ends together securely. As a safeguard against possible distortion of the framework whilst this work is being done, use the following device. Take two 2 ft. 6 in. lengths of stripwood and bind them near the ends of the crossbars. These are removed when the bracing is completed. Glue strips of material over the ends of the framework to keep the bracing in place.

Cover the framework with cambric or fine calico to make the wings. Two pieces are needed, measuring 2 ft. 7 in. in length and 11 in. in width. This allows for 1/2 in. margin all round. Fold the margin over, iron it flat and sew down to make a hem. If desired the pieces may now be decorated. See Chapter 7, 'Accessories', for suggested designs. Secure these pieces to the crossbars. Use glue and 1/4 in. round-headed fine brass screws with small washers. The cloth should be stretched as tightly as possible, but do not bend the crossbars. Use temporary stripwood supports, and insert between the ends of the crossbars, to keep them in shape. Complete the triangular part of the kite. Make first the two cloth bands, of which only one, M, is shown (Fig. 18). They are of the same material as the wings and measure 231/2 in. in length and 11 in. in width, this providing for a 1/2 in. margin which forms a hem all round as described above. Any decoration should now be added. Form a crease at the centre of each to show where to glue and nail the third longeron, G. The bands are fitted 1 in. from each end of this. Attach the bands to the other longerons with glue and 1/4 in. screws and washers.

The Wing Kite

The next step is to insert the upright struts. They are glued and nailed to the centre of the crossbars and to the top longeron. They must keep the bands as taut as possible without distorting the framework. Cut them oversize and then trim them to ensure a good fit. Strengthen the two end struts with small glued blocks, cut from 1/4 in. square stripwood. Two will be required for each strut. A 5 ft. 6 in. length of strong string is used for the bridle. It is tied to the top longeron in the form of a loop. In order to do this, pierce the cloth bands, 5 in. from each end, and reinforce them at these points with strips of glued material. The kite string is attached to the bridle by means of a bowline knot and a reef knot. See Chapter 7, under 'Knots', for details of these. As an additional decoration, paper fringes may be glued to the bracing between the wings.

19 Great Kites to Make