How to Make a Rokkaku Kite

Step-by-StepPage 2 of 3 

The MBK Dowel Rokkaku

How to Make a Rokkaku Kite

For this rokkaku, you need long lengths of 5 mm (3/16 in.) wooden dowel. Enough for the three spars of 1.0 DL (120 cm, 48 in.) each. They are easily cut to the lengths required with a small cheap hacksaw.

The Dowel Rokkaku - bowed spars.
  • Lay down a dowel over the center crease of the sail plastic, mark it at the exact height of the sail, and cut off at the mark. Round off the tips with a wood file. This is the vertical spar.
  • Cut off two very short 0.01 DL (1.2 cm, 1/2 in.) lengths of dowel. Round off the tips with a wood file. These will be used as the bow-line toggles. You can use thinner dowel for these if you have some lying around. I use 4 mm dowel for toggles.
  • Lay down some more dowel across the width of the sail, mark it at the exact width, and cut off at the mark.
  • Round off the tips with a wood file, then add a bow line so the depth of the bow is 0.06 DL (7.2 cm, 3 in.). With the kite flat on the ground, that's how far the tips should be from the grass. This is the upper horizontal spar.
  • While the glue is drying on the knots, do those previous two steps again to create a third spar. However, the depth of the bow this time should be 0.1 DL (12 cm, 4 3/4 in.). Now you have made the lower horizontal spar. The photo shows both spars with bow lines attached. See how the upper horizontal spar has less bow.

How to Make a Rokkaku Kite
Spar Caps

Prepare 10 lengths of electrical insulation tape, each one about four 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.

The Dowel Rokkaku - close-up of tip cap tape
  • Spread out the sail, with the edge tape facing upwards.
  • Lay down the upper horizontal spar over the sail, so it would bow away from the sail if you attached the toggle. With the toggle unattached, line up the tips of the spar with the upper corners of the sail.
  • Cap one tip of the spar with tape, by sticking tape down over the dowel and plastic then folding it around and under the plastic to stick on the other sidea bit tricky, so take your time!
  • For added strength, put another piece of tape around the leading edge. The part of the first tape that was sticking out is now folded back under the leading edge by the second piece of tape. See the completed cap in the photo.
  • Now do the other tip of the spar similarly, using two more pieces of tape.
  • Similarly, attach the lower horizontal spar to the sail, using another four pieces of tape.
  • Finally, slip the vertical spar between the horizontal spars and the sail plastic. Cap the top and bottom tips of the dowel with the remaining two pieces of tape, attaching them to the sail.

How to Make a Rokkaku Kite
Lashing the Spars

The Dowel Rokkaku - shoe-lace tie on vertical spar.
  • At both crossing points, lash and glue the spars together, using a short length of flying line. Fix each knot with a drop of glue so it can never come undone.



As mentioned earlier, there's more kite making on this site than you can poke a stick at :-)

Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?

The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads — printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.

Every kite in every MBK series.

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