How To Make A Barn Door Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 2 of 3 

The MBK Dowel Barn Door

How To Make A Barn Door Kite

For this Barn-Door, you need long lengths of 5mm (3/16") wooden dowel. It is easily cut to the lengths required with a small cheap hack-saw.

The Dowel Barn Door - spars and toggle.

Note: The length of bought dowel can be somewhat inaccurate. So if you have bought 2.4 meter lengths of dowel, you might have a couple of centimeters less than you bargained for! Hence I cut my 120cm spars from 1.8 meter lengths of dowel.

  • Lay down dowel diagonally over the sail, cutting off a length that goes from the top-left corner to the bottom-right corner. This is one diagonal spar.
  • Do the same for the other diagonal spar which goes from top-right to bottom-left.
  • Lay down dowel horizontally over the sail, and cut it to length so it goes from the left-most corner to the right-most corner. Mark this dowel with an 'H' since it is your horizontal spar.
  • Cut off a very short 0.01DL (1.2cm, 1/2") length of dowel. This will be used as the bow-line toggle.
  • Using your wood file, round off the tips of every piece of dowel you cut off.

Now there's a little work to be done on the horizontal spar. Use 20 pound flying line if you have some, otherwise just use some of your 50 pound flying line. With this kite laying on the floor, each tip of the horizontal spar will be 0.08DL (9.6cm, 3 3/4") above the floor.

How To Make A Barn Door Kite
Spar Caps

The Dowel Barn Door - horizontal spar cap close-up.
  • Prepare 8 lengths of electrical insulation tape, each one about 4 times longer than it is wide. Stick them by a corner onto something handy like a table edge. You can remove them one at a time as needed.
  • Lay down the horizontal spar, lining it up with the corresponding corners of the sail. TIP: Rest the horizontal spar over the 2 diagonal spars, and weight the center down with a book. This should keep the bow-line knots on top, and the spar curvature pointing in the right direction while you get the tapes on.
  • Cap each end of the spar with tape, by sticking it down over the dowel and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other side - a bit tricky, take your time!
  • For added strength, put another piece of tape across the cap, folding the corners around and under the sail plastic. The photo up there shows the completed cap.
  • Do the other tip of the horizontal spar similarly, using another 2 pieces of tape.
  • Now slip the diagonal spars into place, sliding the dowels between the horizontal spar and the plastic sail. Use one piece of tape each to cap the four tips, attaching them to the plastic sail.

How To Make A Barn Door Kite
Lashing The Spars

The two points where the diagonal spars cross the horizontal spar need to be lashed together. There's the top-left one in the photo.

Use a drop of glue to secure the knot and also to prevent the dowel from slipping through.

The Dowel Barn Door - attachment for diagonal spars.

Now take a 0.3DL (36cm, 14 1/2") length of 50 pound flying line and tie it around one of the diagonal spars, right where the diagonal spars cross.

Use a Granny Knot right in the middle, so there is an equal amount of line coming out from each side of the knot. See the photo over there.

The remaining steps...

The Dowel Barn Door - diagonal spar attachment details
  • Make a hole in the plastic right where the spars cross.
  • Wrap each loose end of line around the crossed spars - twice. The loose ends should go around in opposite directions. See the top photo.
  • Pull the lines tight. Tie them off tightly against the dowel, right near the hole in the plastic. A Granny Knot is fine.
  • Pull the 2 loose ends together, and tie them into a Simple Knot near the end of the line. See the middle photo, where the line has also been fed through the hole in the sail.

After the bridle has been made up, one line connects to where the spars cross, with a Lark's Head knot. This is shown in close-up, in the bottom photo.

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Wind Speeds

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1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

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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
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13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
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17–21 knots
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Strong breeze
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32-38 mph
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