Dowel Roller Kite - Worth The Effort

by Mark
(Lake Shore, MD, USA)

I was really excited to build this kite. I used some of the suggested improvements. I built the kite using Tyvek cloth. I made both spars with a 6" bow. I went with the extra bow cause I am flying this kite on the Chesapeake Bay.

I attached the sail ties to the end of the aft spar and reduced the keel size. I attached the keel to the aft sail verses the vertical spar. I did this by gluing two pieces of cloth together and leaving the top split. I fed the keel through the slit and glued the two individual pieces to the sail. I ran a piece of red duct the full length of the kite verses the sticky tape. I put some extra pockets on the back for the vertical spar to pass through.

The first time I took the kite out, it went up immediately. Shortly after it flipped over and dived immediately into the only tree around. It took me about 30 minutes to get it down and I broke the front spar while doing it.

After some quick repairs I took it out a second time. This time the front spar snapped in half in about 20 seconds. The wood dowel quality here is sketchy at best. After replacing the spar again, we were back at the park.

Once again the kite flew, but did a nose dive into the ground. I noticed when it did this that the sail tie on one side was longer than the other, which is why I believe it was flipping over. I adjusted the sail ties and added a nickel at the back of the keel just to make sure.

On the fourth trip, the kite flew like a dream. The wind was about 6 mph and the kite took right off. It had good pull and was perfectly stable. I am really happy with the kite now and I get tons of comments when I fly it. Definitely worth the effort!

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Nice feeling
by: Tim Parish

Yes, it's a good feeling when persistence pays off! Hope you get many more long high flights out of your new Roller.

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Barn Door is a traditional American design, and this MBK version has delighted many of this site's visitors over the years.

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Get the e-book for making the MBK Barn Door kite. Down to a mere $2.95 for this month.

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What's New!

  1. Flying A Kid's Kite

    Oct 26, 16 07:00 AM

    A previously published page which offers some thoughts on how small children relate to kite flying - broken down into age-groups. Partially based on experiences with our own son, Aren...

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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

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"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."


"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."


"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"


"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"

Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

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Wind Speeds

Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7