How To Make A Sode Kite

Step-by-Step - The MBK 1-Skewer Sode

This set of instructions on how to make a Sode kite assumes you know absolutely nothing about kite making.

Learn how to make a Sode kite like this one!

You might already have some of the simple tools and materials required. Anything you don't have is easily bought. If not exactly what I used, then at least something pretty similar!

These instructions on how to make a Sode kite might look a bit long, but each step is quite simple to do. Just steadily work your way through from top to bottom, skimming over any detail that you don't need.

At 29cm (11 1/2") across, the MBK 1-Skewer Sode Kite is rather small.

This Sode has dihedral on the horizontal spars, a simple 2-leg bridle and a looped tail. In anything more than moderate winds, you might need more tail than is described here. Like in the photo over there!

1-Skewer kites are fun, but somewhat toy-like :-)  due to their rather small size. Fancy something much bigger to fly, suitable for teenagers and adults?

The "Making Skewer Kites" e-book has plenty of 58cm (23") designs in bamboo skewers and plastic. Plus all the 1-Skewer designs.

A handy approach is to just print out the pages for the kite you want to make next. The e-book is also handy for working off-line on a laptop, tablet or other device.




How To Make A Sode Kite
Sail

Now's the time to read up on the 'tools' and materials required for making a Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

Sail template for the 1-Skewer Sode kite.

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

The 1-Skewer Sode - template marked on 1 side of a plastic bag.
  • Firstly, take a light plastic bag that will fit the entire Template shape within one side, and lay it flat on the floor.
  • Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to the corners of the Template. There is no need to use a T-square, since any small error will be duplicated on the other side of the sail.
  • Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots, as in the photo. Note: the camera has distorted the image slightly, making some of the straight lines curve a little.

The 1-Skewer Sode - complete outline marked on plastic.
  • Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen and ruler.
  • Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it flat on the floor - you can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo.
  • Cut along the black lines with scissors, to create the sail.





How To Make A Sode Kite
Vertical Spar

The 1-Skewer Sode - vertical spar join in close-up

The vertical spar is 1.5SL (43.5cm, 17 1/4") long, so two 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers need to be glued together.

  • Snip the point off 1 skewer.
  • Lay down another skewer, butting together 2 flat skewer ends.
  • From yet another skewer, cut off 2 lengths of 0.3SL (8.7cm, 3 1/2") each. Place these beside the join, as in the photo.
  • Lay down a line of wood glue on each side, and leave to dry. The joint also serves to bring the balance point back towards the tail for more stability.
  • Get down low and look along the skewers to ensure they make a straight line, before the glue sets! The photo shows the join after the glue has set.




How To Make A Sode Kite
Spars

Now you need another three bamboo skewers. The photo shows them laid over the sail, before being snipped to length with scissors.

The 1-Skewer Sode - spars laid out on sail
  • Lay down the glued skewers over the center crease of the plastic, lining up the non-pointy end with the top corner of the plastic. Snip off the other end so the skewer lines up with the bottom edge of the plastic as well. As already mentioned, this is the vertical spar.
  • Lay down another skewer across the top left and right corners of the sail, and again snip to length, removing the point. Also make an easily-seen mark on the skewer at the exact center-point. This is the upper horizontal spar.
  • Using a sharp corner, perhaps a blade of the scissors, make an indent in the bamboo, at the center-point you marked.
  • Do those last 3 steps again, to make another spar. This will be the lower horizontal spar.
  • Finally, lay another skewer across the bottom edge of the sail, and snip to length. This is the bottom horizontal spar. Note that the camera has caused a little curvature in the picture - to your eye, everything should look square.

Those indents will help ensure the bamboo bends at the right spot when you later create the dihedrals!





How To Make A Sode Kite
Attaching Sail

The 1-Skewer Sode - attachment of spar tip to plastic with sticky tape
The 1-Skewer Sode - attaching the spars
The 1-Skewer Sode - attaching the spars 3.
The 1-Skewer Sode - attaching the spars 4
The 1-Skewer Sode - glued cross-over point
  • Lay down the vertical spar skewer over the sail, and wrap a short length of clear sticky tape around the top tip, securing it to the top corner of the sail. The first photo shows the top tip in close-up.
  • Stick a short length of sticky tape over the vertical spar, near the lower end of the sail. See the second photo.
  • Lay down the upper and lower horizontal spar skewers and attach their tips to the corresponding corners of the sail. Use the tape sparingly.
  • Attach the bottom horizontal spar to the plastic by wrapping tape around the tips, like all the other spars.
  • Fold the tabs over the skewers and stick down with several small squares of tape. The kite should now look like the third photo.
  • Bend the upper and lower horizontal spars in the middle (one at a time), until they start to crack at the indent! Carefully increase the bend until you can get the kite looking like the one in the fourth photo. Around 20 degrees of angle from the floor on both sides.
  • Dribble some wood glue all around where the bamboo has cracked. See the bottom photo over there.

Wait for the glue to dry. It should still be flexible enough to allow more adjustment of the dihedrals if necessary, and yet stiff enough to hold firm in flight. If not, just add some more glue!





How To Make A Sode Kite
Bridle

Try this Kite Winder from Amazon, if you are not sure where to get suitable flying line. The 20 pound strength is ample for all the Skewer Series kites.
The 1-Skewer Sode - bridle loop
The 1-Skewer Sode - completed bridle
  • Cut off some 20 pound bridle line to a length of 1.5SL (44cm, 17"), and tie a very small Loop Knot into each end. See the top photo.
  • Poke a hole in the plastic sail, just above where the upper horizontal spar crosses the vertical spar.
  • Poke another hole in the plastic sail, just below where the lower horizontal spar crosses the vertical spar.
  • Poke the Loop Knots through the holes and tie off around the vertical spar with a Double Wrap Slip Knot.
  • Now take a length of flying line about half a skewer long, and tie one end to the bridle line with a Prusik Knot Tie a small Loop Knot into the other end. There's the whole bridle, in the bottom photo.
  • Secure each knot on the vertical spar with a tiny blob of wood glue.





How To Make A Sode Kite
Tail

The 1-Skewer Sode - attaching the looped tail.
  • Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored plastic for the tail. Mine is black, to contrast with the orange sail. Make it 12.0SL (350cm, 140") long and 0.2SL (5.8cm, 2 1/4") wide. Knot pieces together if necessary, to get the full length. Avoid taping, because it adds weight!
  • Slit the plastic sail near each tip of the bottom horizontal spar, just enough to slip the ends of the tail through. Tie off each end of the tail with a single Half Hitch. Pull until firm, then snip off any excess plastic poking out of the knot. See the photo for the end result.



At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer Sode!

The 1-Skewer Sode - attaching the flying line.

To attach the flying line, just Lark's Head the flying line to the short kite line as in the photo.

Coincidentally, the position of the Prusik knot in the photo shows you how to set the bridle for moderate winds.

In lighter winds, you could try shifting the Prusik lower, by just a few millimeters (a small fraction of an inch)






How To Make A Sode Kite
Flying!

The little 1-Skewer Sode kite in flight on an overcast day.

Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-to-moderate wind kite and won't like being launched in a gale.

Out In The Field

My collection of real-life Sode kite stories is worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by taking loop after loop off the winder.

Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20 meters (around 50 feet) of line. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more line out.

If the kite persists in looping around and not going high, just keep adding tail until it settles down. The picture up there shows 5 year old Aren flying this latest version of the 1-Skewer Sode in a gusty breeze. Some extra plastic was added to the tail loop to settle the kite down a bit.

Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make a Sode kite!

The video below shows that longer tail in action! The breeze was moderate way up there.




Now, just in case you have actually made and flown this kite at least once already...




Ever Made This Kite?

You've probably read a kite-flying story or 2 of mine, after they appear under the "what's new?" link on this site. I sometimes wonder if anyone else has made and flown this particular design...

If you feel your efforts really paid off when the the kite finally got airborne - please type a few paragraphs in here telling us all about it!

P.S. I can only accept stories of at least 300 words. Just mention a few details like the weather, onlookers, the kite's behavior and so on - 300 words is easy!

Please Enter A Title

 

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New! Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...



Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...

For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!

 

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