Vintage Box Kites

by David

Tetrahedral

Tetrahedral

Tetrahedral
Unique Cellular!
Flying Wing

Q:

I'm trying to reconstruct some vintage box kites for use in a series of photographs and wondered if you may know from what materials these are likely to have been made and where I might find more info on how to construct them.

Any ideas gratefully received.

A:

Off the top of my head, I can offer the following snippets of info on vintage cellular kites...


  • For smaller kites, paper was often used as the sail material. Sometimes spars were pasted to the paper, before the kite was tensioned up. Otherwise panels were cut out with tabs which were then folded around spars before being pasted down to secure the panel.

  • Larger kites often used silk panels, with light oil rubbed in to reduce porosity to air.

  • The very smallest and lightest kites sometimes used balsa or bamboo strips for the spars (frames). Bamboo can be heated to achieve curvature - such as can be seen in one of your photos.

  • Larger kites used rectangular-section strips of light wood such as bass, pine or spruce. I think paper was still used on some of the smaller kites with such spars.

  • Hemp twine and/or hot glue were used to attach the wooden pieces together.


Here are 2 books by Charles Miller that have been brought back into print by Amazon. They could be very helpful for your quest, being first published in the early 20th century...

Kitecraft and Kite Tournaments - 1919


The construction and flying of kites


Also, try this publication for details on traditional materials and construction techniques...

Box Kites


I'm sure almost everything you need will be in there somewhere! Trying to find the same info just lying around on the Web somewhere might prove to be a long slog - I think the books are your best approach.

One final comment. Cellular kites such as the ones featured in your photos can vary enormously, limited only by the creativity and ability of the designer. They tend to attract mathematical types of people. Therefore, plans or instructions for the specific kites in the photos might not exist :-)

Best of luck with your project...

Comments for Vintage Box Kites

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 27, 2011
No Problem.
by: Tim Parish

You're welcome David - by creating the page, others will be able to find it too, by using the Search Engines.

Oct 27, 2011
Thanks!
by: David

Thank you so much for taking the time to give these answers.

All very useful and gratefully received.

Many Thanks,
David.

Oct 26, 2011
Kite Plans On The Web
by: Anonymous

Thought you might like this link as a helper to anyone wanting to attempt their own tetrahedral kite making?

http://www.tetralite.com/

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to About Kites.




E-book special of the month (25% off)...

Click to get 'Making The MBK Parachute Kite'

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 119 cm (4 ft) wide Parachute kite. It's not quite that wide in the air since the canopy takes on a distinct curved shape when inflated. This 14-cell kite performs best in moderate to fresh wind speeds. That's 20 to 38 kph or 13 to 24 mph. In gentle winds, this kite will hang in the air at fairly low line angles. In fresh winds, it pulls firmly for it's size, so small kids should only fly it while supervised!

Every kite design in the MBK Soft Series satisfies the following points...

  • Materials are plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
  • Tools are a ruler, scissors and a marker pen - and nothing more!
  • All cuts are along straight lines.

For the greatest chance of success, I make recommendations regarding the materials. For example, the type/weight of plastic, type/width of tape and line type/strength. Close enough should nearly always be good enough, since the design is well-tested and should be tolerant of small differences from my original.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Parachute kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.



What's New!

  1. Rokkaku Kite

    Aug 16, 17 06:00 AM

    This previously published page is full of general info on this type of kite, including some history. With a video clip and a good photo, it's worth checking out...

    Read More









 


E-books


Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



More E-books...





Testimonials
(unedited)

"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 decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."

_________________

"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!



More E-books...





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