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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 knots to begin with, but eventually you will discover the convenience and satisfaction of using all the 'right' ones!
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.
Looking for line? This flat winder of 50 pound twisted polyester will do the job for most small to medium sized single-line kites.
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, our MBK kites have logged quite a few hours over the years!
For beginners, here is a kite parts glossary. Just in case you come across an unfamiliar term or 2 in these descriptions and illustrations.
Line Mending Knots
Other Useful Knots
Like to see a video clip? Just scroll down to near the end...
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.
One last thing - see my knot strength page if you are curious about how various knots can weaken your flying line. Yep, we are all flying on line that is considerably weaker than the advertised breaking strain :-| At least at the bridle end, some sort of knot is always required!
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
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.
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
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!
"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."
That's our Dowel Rokkaku kite below, with it's 4-point bridle which is unfortunately hard to see in the video. 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!
50 pound line is a handy size for flying lines and bridles to suit small to medium sized kites. Sparred kites up to about 1.5 meters (5 feet) across. Be aware that soft kites in similar sizes can pull quite a bit harder, particularly when the wind picks up!