...and from mere bits - the substantial incarnate!
Sweet. The sail is nailed down to the working surface, the spine is installed and the bow is sprung into the fixture - at the ready.
Here's the disqualifier. What we're getting into at this stage of the game is the binding. The fifth element of kite construction. Binding is all the stuff that unites the various components of the kite into a one piece unit. That's right, glue and tape. Of all the things I have been taught or learned building kites, the binding required the most time to absorb. Still absorbin'. I get real tweekie at assembly time. I thin glues, measure tape and handle it with tools, paint the bridle material, re-measure, do tests with scraps, curl my tongue out the corner of my mouth, get all hunched down over the piece, re-re-measure, put a dab of tape on there and stuff like that.
All the while I'm thinkin' - see. "If this is the last kite I ever build. will I do my best. Am I doing my best work right now. Every second. I. there gonna' be love in this kite, or what. After I'm dead and gone and somebody picks up one of my kites, we're talking to each other, you know. My love is still here. So the disqualifier is, the techniques involved are so detailed (the way I'm doing it now) that written descriptions of the process would be too complicated. That's it. Involved, detailed and complicated. To describe in words anyway. To top it off I stop in the middle of the whole deal, install the bow and then continue. What we need to do is get together and trade kite secrets. Or at least use pictures. So for now I'll just go over the basics.
Think of the binding not as nails "and" wood, but wood "with" pegs. The binding should work with and complement the whole.
Always incorporate components to serve double or multiple duty when possible. For example. A piece of tape can be an adhesive, a stiffener, a weight, a bumper, a spine reinforcement, a contrasting colored nose locator - lots of things.
So far kite symmetry has been an automatic. A sail cut with the half template, a reliably consistent synthetic bow - the spine and all... The following tasks require a more conscience effort because you'll be working a little at a time, one operation at a time on either side of the kite.
Less is more.
Execute one task at a time. Then do the other side if necessary.
Make a tab at the end of the tape roll every time its used. Less fumbling.
Tape is only half stuck when first applied. To remove. Do it quick and in a direction away from the center of the kite or away from a sharp corner. To stick. Burnish it down with a tool.
Remove air bubbles by piercing one end of the offending bubble with a needle and deflate toward the hole with a burnish- ing tool.
Slightly recess tapes that run parallel to an edge. Keeps the dirt out.
If a tape runs up to and touching an edge. Run excess tape on to the working surface and trim later.
Tapes that run over the spine or other part ought to look like there spray painted on. Use a tool for this too.
Setting the nose and tail tapes square. A reference line is drawn at a ninety degree angle to the spine near the nose and tail. The tape is started by tracing the line on the working surface. Continue over the nose of the kite spine and all. Trim tape to remove kite from working surface later. Make the reference line with a square using the spine as a starting point. The distance from the nose/tail that the square is set is determined by the width of the tape. If the spine is tapered this must be accounted for.
Cutting/Measuring tape. Hang an overlong length of tape from above, sticky side away. Assuming the end is cut to angle use static from your body to draw the dry side on to your finger. Grab the sticky side with a plastic palette knife. Hold a small steel straight edge on the dry side and measure from the bottom of the tape. Scissor to length. The end of the straight edge makes it a cinch to cut ninety degre. angles. Drop the strait edge and scissor and you got the measured tape on the tool. Install. Look Ma. no fingerprints on my MYLAR kite!
Trim corners from tapes that are exposed and flat to the sail surface. That way its less likely the tapes will be loosend, trapping dirt, bridle, flying line etc.
Make a booger. With an acid brush glob some artists quality rubber cement directly onto the working surface and let dry. Roll up into a snot ball. To remove errant or extra rubber cement from kite, roll the ball over portion to be removed. Don't misplace rubber cement on fibrous sail material, Paper, TYVEC ect. Pulls the hairs right out by the roots. Plan, measure calculate.
Thin rubber cement with Bestline solvent thinner. Contains Heptane - really stinks. Thank you Trenton New Jersey. "Gentlemen, no matter what the time nor what happens, we march on Trenton in the morning. Is that understood?. (Gen. George Washington. Can make ya' goofy too. Yippee. Whoops, just busted my glasses. Start with an amount of thinner then add the cement.
. Making straight folded hems. Place a heavy sheet of paper between the working surface and the material. Etch the hem line with a plastic knife and a straight edge. Leave the straight edge in place, slip the knife under the hem and stroke along the straight edge - all the while increasing the angle thus beginning the fold. Works good on ICKYREX too.
. Whew, just be glad we are not trying to make a bamboo bow with written instructions. If you can use any of this type of information and are less than familiar with its contents worry not. Its just like art in kindergarten but a little more advanced. N' boy oh boy there is a heap of materials out there to mess around with. Just as many tricks and techniques too.
Yeah, go ahead and get the leading edge, nose and tail tapes put on there and next time we'll install the bow. Got to thank Brian Johnsen for some of this stuff. A lot of other people as well. Oh and all the Indian guys I took lessons from but never met. Thank you Brian, thank you other people and thank you Indian guys. The rest. Well its just love I guess.