Joining Skewers For Kite Spars

by Chris Tock
(Hilliard, OH, USA)

Q:

I'm missing the point? And you say join the skewers. It appears you have laid them side by side? And glued them together? Wrapped them in something to strengthen the join? Can you do a close up or a video on this?

I'm a very mechanically inclined, blue-print savvy, machinery builder. Looking at your pictures from above down on the table, it just is hard to imagine what you actually did to join the skewers to make longer ones.

I'm sure everyone new to kite building would enjoy this exploded to a more visual representation of how you are doing this.

Is there already a picture/page with better views?

Great SITE!

A:

Firstly, thanks very much for the compliment! More than 5000 hours of work have gone into this site, so it's nice to get good feedback once in a while.

To answer your question... My standard method to make a longer kite spar is to butt the 2 lengths of skewer together end to end, then lay down either 1 or 2 short reinforcing lengths of skewer beside the join. The bits of paper that you see in some of the pictures are purely to protect the surface underneath from wood glue! The paper gets ripped / peeled off after the glue dries.

I found sufficient strength was obtained by just laying down a line of glue directly over where the pieces of skewer touch. 2 parallel lines of glue in the case of 2 reinforcers. To save time, I never bother to flip the spar join over and glue the other side. The glue tends to seep through to the other side anyway.

I don't know which kite you are looking at, but if you browse through some of the How To instructions for the 1-Skewer designs, you should find some quite close-up views of the reinforced joins. This series was re-done quite recently, so the instructions are a bit better! In fact, here's a link to the 1-Skewer Sode page, which has a close-up of the vertical spar join. The reinforcers are unusually long in this case, but that was just to shift the balance point of the kite back a bit.

Hope this helps. Sometime in the next year or 2, the entire 2-Skewer Kite Series will be re-made. I've made a note to try and make the joining detail a bit clearer, as you have suggested.

If you are working from the online instructions, feel free to contribute a story or 2 about the particular kite design you are making. Assuming all goes well and you get some great flights out of it of course! Have a read of this story by someone who made the 2-Skewer Dopero

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Using A Kite Log

    Aug 20, 14 03:30 AM

    A new page going up soon on this site will feature some discussion on using a Kite Log. Just as pilots of all types of aircraft log their hours, so do some fliers with kites at the larger end of the scale. According to one site visitor who contacted me, more of us should be keeping logs!

    Accordingly, I have put together a small PDF and called it a Kite Log Book Sheet. Today, with a log sheet printout in a pocket, I went out with the Multi-Dowel Diamond kite to test it. The log sheet that is, not the kite ;-)

    The breeze was very light to begin with and the big Diamond had a brief flight to about 100 feet before sinking back to the grass.

    On a second attempt the kite managed to stay in the air. But not without a lot of help from the guy working the line down below! With plenty of weak convection going on, there were periods of faster air and areas of rising air coming through occasionally.

    Eventually I worked the kite up higher and managed to get 75 meters (250 feet) of line out.

    Some video was taken as the Multi-Dowel Diamond kite drifted slowly this way and that at about 50 degrees of line angle. A tension test revealed that the kite was only pulling 2.5 kg at most.

    In fact, on my first attempt to measure the tension, the kite sank out to within a meter (3 feet) of the ground. I promptly put down the scales and hauled the Diamond back up again!

    Time was limited, as usual, so the kite was soon being pulled down. Otherwise, it might have stayed up for another 20 minutes or so without any intervention.

    About This Post: These days, most flight reports are in the short format you've just seen, above. However, longer format reports are done occasionally, which also feature photos and video taken on the day. Here is a link to all those full flight report pages on this site.

    Read More








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