Throwing Caution to the Wind

by Dave Schoeff
(Toledo, OH, USA)

Sled made of gift wrap

Sled made of gift wrap

Sled made of gift wrap
Trash bag sled dodging trees and buildings on Sandusky Bay.
Some of the kites the

My wife and I are working on a STEM science unit about kites and kite building. I bought the Big Kite bundle and so far we've coached two elementary age "volunteers" through building 6 kites: 2 dowel sleds, 3 dowel diamonds, and a 2-skewer Sode.

The sleds were a breeze to build and fly like a dream. The diamonds were fun to build but I can't get the bridles right. Definitely a non-starter for a classroom teacher. Jury's still out on the sode since it flew...ish.

The book has been a great resource. Once we get these bridles dummy-proofed, the diamonds look promising.

A note about the title - we didn't have any handy tail material and used some yellow caution tape.

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Jul 15, 2018
Diamonds in the Sky
by: Dave

Follow up on the diamonds. Our elementary volunteers built three dowel diamonds to test various materials. They used a whites trash bag, tissue paper, and brown kraft wrap from an amazon shipment. With some coaching from My Best Kite we resolved the bridle issues and the diamonds flew like birds.

We found a great tail material at our local building material store: plastic flagging tape. It’s a non-adhesive plastic film with a taffeta finish that does not stick to itself. The tail is light and provides just the right amount of drag to keep our diamonds nose to the sky. As a bonus it comes a several fluorescent colors.

We flew the kites at a great site - Maumee Bay State Park. A great location on the south shore of Lake Erie near Toledo, OH. There was a steady east wind at around 11 mph, and the diamonds flew great.

Jul 14, 2018
Bridles etc
by: Tim P.

That's the beauty of sled kites for newbies - the correct positioning of the towing point is built into the sail so you can't go wrong.

As for diamond kites, a 3-leg bridle does require careful adjustment. The upper knot slides left and right to trim out any tendency to turn. The lower one slides up and down to get the 'angle of attack' right. Just a little too far aft and the kite won't fly at all in any wind since it's producing heaps of drag and not enough lift. Shifting the knot even a fraction of an inch or several millimeters can be the difference between 'useless' and 'fantastic' :-)

As for the 2-skewer Sode - a little more tail will settle it down and if the skewers are thin enough (preferably 2.5mm diameter) this kite flies beautifully in light winds. Steep and steady!

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"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!"


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thank you"

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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