Fig. A.

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Fig. B.

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Fig. C.

The secret, then, if it may be called a secret, lies in the proper shaping and balancing of the kite in its construction, a proper tilting of the kite's surface to the breeze, and the use of keels or balancers sufficient to give additional poise in times of special disturbances.

PLATE. I. Kite Construction

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The framework, which is usually made of wood, should be light and tough. Some frames have been made of aluminum tubing. Sometimes a light wood of large dimensions is preferred to heavier wood of smaller size. Spruce is considered a very satisfactory wood, but yellow pine, basswood and white cedar are very good. In the large-sized kites, bamboo is excellent, but split bamboo for body construction lacks sufficient stiffness; it is very serviceable, however, in bending for forms, but not for bows in tailless kites. In California the boys use a three-foot redwood shingle, called a "shake." It is of uniform thickness and is split into sticks about 7/16 or 1/2 inch in width.

In the plain kite, the sticks should be lashed together with string, as nailing weakens the stick. In lashing two pieces together, they should be wound diagonally in both directions, with a few rounds between the sticks and around the other windings, to tighten the whole lashing. See Fig. D.

The covering is a very important part of the construction, not only in the material used but in the way it is put on. Probably more kites are covered with tissue paper than any other material. If a good grade of tissue paper is used, it makes a very satisfactory covering for our Southern California breezes. There is a great deal of difference in the grades of tissue paper. A much stronger paper is the Japanese or Chinese rice paper, which usually has to be pasted together, as it comes in rather small sheets in this part of the country, although it is possible to get larger sheets. With large tailless kites, a network of string is sometimes strung over the surface to be covered, to give support to the paper. For box kites and large surface plain kites, lining cambric is very serviceable. It comes in all colors, is inexpensive and durable. Some prefer silk, and some don't, because it squeezes the pocketbook too hard. A flimsy covering is not as good as one with a little stiffening. In drawing on the cloth cover, care must be taken to avoid getting the goods on the kite too much on the bias, as there will be more sagging on one side than the other. (For folding kites see the bibliography at the end of this article.)

The string is an essential part, for if the string breaks - !! For small kites of about three feet a four-ply cotton string is about as good as any. A well twisted cotton string is much to be preferred to a hemp string. The seine twine, running from 6 ply to 72, is a very serviceable kite-line. For very large kites, small rope and wire are used. The string should be about twice as strong as the kite usually pulls in order to meet emergencies. Remember your string is as only as strong as its weakest point, and a string soon loses in strength if it is allowed to get wet - more so, if it is not thoroughly dried afterward.

Fig. 7 of Plate I, shows the best way to let in the string at the end of the sticks of the framework. A saw is used to make the cuts, as the knife is liable to split the wood. Directions for stringing a tailless kite might be of value here. We will present our framework with two pieces lashed together, the bow in the middle, the spine at one-fifth the distance from the top, and with the saw-cuts as indicatd above at the end of each stick. Start by tying string around top of spine at a, Fig. E; pass around b, c, and d. Draw it fairly tight through a and tie again. Now, b in this illustration is a little higher than d. This should not be so. We now measure and make ab exactly equal to ad. As soon as they are equal, take string and wind securely b and d. See Fig. F. Now measure and secure bc and cd, for the spacing of ab and ad will not necessarily bring bc equal to cd, as the spine may be bent.

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Fig. D.

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Fig. E.

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Fig. F.

Some kind of a classification of kites seems necessary before taking up the modes of construction. We will first separate them into two general classes, each large in itself:

A. Plain-surface kites.

B. Box kites.

A can be subdivided as follows: (1) kites with tails, (2) tailless kites, (3) Figure kites. B may be divided thus: (1) square or rectangular, (2) triangular, (3) cylindrical, (4) tetrahedral. It is possible to combine not only the A and B features, but each may be used in tandem, as shown on Plate I, Fig. 5, or they may be compounded, as shown on Plate I, Fig. 2, and Plate II, at the lower corner. Constructions belonging to kitology, but not exactly kites in themselves, are the messengers, parachutes, signaling devices, wireless aerials, photographic apparatus, and many other appliances.

Plate ii GroupII Tailless - Two or more spines, and modifications of Group I,

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