Knot Tying Instructions

Kiting Knots Used In MBK Designs

There are knot tying instructions here for any stage during the construction of an MBK kite. You can make do with just a few simple ones to begin with, but eventually you will discover the convenience and satisfaction of using all the 'right' kiting knots!

Knot tying instructions for these and more.

The bigger the kite, the more important it is to use the right knots. Often this relates to strength, since safety margins can be slimmer with bigger, stronger-pulling kites.

All of these knots have been used in the MBK kites, particularly the larger Dowel designs.

In fact, my e-books have sections devoted to these knots. So, you can print them all out if you want.


Alternatively, the book Knots: The Complete Visual Guide is an excellent more general guide to knot-tying.




My Kiting Knot Collection...

There's a separate page for each knot, or class of knot, since I have added a few comments on their usage. Talking about usage, these kites have logged quite a few hours over the years!

The Simple Knot

The Multi-Strand Simple Knot

The Multi-Strand Double Knot

The Granny Knot

The Loop Knot

The Double Loop Knot

The Figure Eight Knot

The Lark's Head Knot

The Half Hitch Knot

The Prusik Knot

The Slip Knot

These instructions have been long over-due. I used to get comments like 'The kite-making instructions are great, but I have trouble with the knots...' It was time to fix this problem for good! Of course, some of the simplest knots are just here for the sake of completeness. Yeah, I can be a touch academic at times...

Hopefully, my approach of using multiple close-up photos in each knot tying illustration has made them easy to follow.

There's no completely standard naming system for knots. However, I hope the names used here prove to be both simple and descriptive!

I hope you found these knot tying instructions useful.





Some Rather Vague Knot History

The Simple Knot, and its multi-strand variants is so simple that it is impossible to know for sure when it was first done, by whom or for what purpose! Agree? Heck, a chimp could do one eventually, by fiddling around with a short length of rope.

The Granny Knot, is also known by such names as the Booby Knot or Lubbers Knot. These terms have a not-so-complimentary feel don't they! It seems that sailors and other knot experts :-) look down upon this knot. It probably doesn't appear in too many nautical manuals of knot tying instructions. For good reason, it turns out...

The Granny is not a safe way to attach 2 ropes together, for example. However, it does have its uses in kiting, and you can always apply a small drop of glue to fix such a knot permanently.

By the way, this is also a very old knot, with some examples in museums which are thousands of years old. It goes back a lot further than grannies in the 1940s or 50s!

The Loop Knot and its variations seem to have a nautical origin. Various kinds of loop knots come from European countries like Spain and France, both of which once had great numbers of sailing ships on the sea. For military, trade and fishing purposes.

Even ancient Egyptian ships have been found with intact loop knots in the rigging. These were quite similar to the modern Bowline loop knot!

The Lark's Head Knot is also known as the Cow Hitch, not to mention about a dozen other names! This knot first appeared in manuscripts in the 1st Century, and has been used extensively on land and sea ever since.

I find it's a bit tricky to undo a Lark's Head when it's used on 20 pound Dacron line, but this gets much easier as the line weight goes up. A piece of cake with 200 pound Dacron!

The Prusik Knot is definitely a climber's knot, since it can be traced back to it's Austrian inventor and keen mountaineer, Dr. Karl Prusik. That was back in 1931. Dr. Prusik also authored a book of knot tying instructions for mountaineering.

I use this knot extensively in the bridles of most of my kites, both Skewer and Dowel. No set of knot tying instructions for kites would be complete without it. Unlock, shift it along a bit, lock it again - works great!




That's our Dowel Rokkaku kite below, which owes its steady flight mainly to the 4-point bridle. Getting it all secured and adjusted requires 4 Double Wrap Slip knots, 3 Prusik knots and a Loop knot. Plus a Loop knot on the flying line to Lark's Head knot it to the bridle!



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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Carbon Diamond High Wind Experiment

    Sep 23, 14 01:22 AM

    This day's flying had been anticipated for at least a couple of weeks. A 'drag bucket' added to the tail end of the 2m (7ft) span Carbon and Tyvek Diamond was an attempt to raise the upper limit on the flyable wind speed for the kite. From earlier experiences it seems the unmodified Diamond becomes unstable at around 30 kph.

    The first flight was done with the drag bucket adjusted for fairly minimal effect. As half expected, the kite soon started to fly way over to the left and right. So, the wind speed up there must be at least 30kph! This was down at Brighton Beach, but all thoughts of doing KAP soon evaporated, due to the high wind speed. Not to mention the turbulence coming from some high buildings directly upwind.

    For a second attempt, the Velcro fastener was re-adjusted to considerably open up the intake of the bucket. The bucket being two Tyvek flaps which come together over the tail-most region of the sail. This had an immediate effect. More stability! Unfortunately, the extra drag also helped keep the kite at a lowish line angle in some of the fiercer gusts. Lots of line tension ensued, with a huge amount of distortion apparent in the sail.

    At this rate, something was going to break pretty soon, so I struggled to get the kite down to the sand. After shifting the towing point forward by about 3cm (1") the kite seemed a little more comfortable. When the sail of a Diamond distorts badly, it reduces the amount of effective area below the towing point. This is like shifting the towing point back - adding to the problems of too much wind!

    And then the inevitable happened. The already broken-and-repaired horizontal ferrule gave way and the kite promptly folded up and sank to the sand. But not before I had carefully observed every second of the kite's struggles, trying to learn more about Diamond kite behavior in high winds.

    Just an hour after arriving home, the weather station at the nearby airport was reporting gusts to 50kph! It was less further down the coast, but I suspect the Carbon Diamond felt the brunt of around 40kph for at least a few seconds at a time.

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe the value on offer in that message series!

    Read More





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