From: Bruce Lambert 
Subject: [FK] bowsetter
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 16:06:39 -0800

Installing a bow using Bruces Bow Setter

   When making a kite, I prefer to use contact cement to hold the kite parts together.   After I have applied the contact cement to the bow, spine and the kite sail in the appropriate places, I wait for 15 minutes for the glue to dry.

   After the glue is dry on all the parts, including any leading edge stiffeners, the FIRST part I install on to the kite sail is the bow.

   When I am ready to install the bow of a kite, this is how I go about it.

   First of all, I have to tell you about the device I use to assist me.   I call it Bruces Bow Setter.   All it is, is a piece of formica about 24 long and 2 wide with notches in it.   I had some scrap formica, so I used it.    A yardstick would work just as well.

   I cut notches into the Bow Setter precisely where I want the bow tips to be located on the trailing edge of the kite.    I do this by laying the Bow Setter on the kite template and marking the location where the notches need to be.   The notches in the bow setter are aligned with the exact location I want the tips of the bow to be located.

   At the point in the kite making process when I want to install the bow, the kite sail is lying flat on the worktable with contact cement already applied and dry.   Next, I lay the Bow Setter across the kite sail and align the Bow Setter so the notches in the bow setter line up with the right and left bow tip positions marked on the sail, ( I mark them using an ultra fine tip marker through a small hole drilled in the template at the location where the bow tip is to be ).   Then I secure the bow setter to the worktable using masking tape.

   I use carbon fiber rods for the bows in my kites.    Carbon fiber, is not as uniform around its circumference or along its length as it may appear.   For example, if you hold a 24 length of carbon fiber rod with one of the ends in each hand and try to compress or bend the piece, you will notice the carbon fiber will rotate around its axis like it is trying to find its natural bend or position.   This is the way I want the bow to be oriented, so it has found its natural bend.

   After the Bow Setter is taped in place, I bend the bow so it can find its natural bend and place the tips of the bow in the appropriate notches of the Bow Setter with the arch of the bow pretty much vertical or perpendicular to the worktable.   Next, I allow the bow to slowly rotate toward the kite sail so the arched part of the bow ends up laying on the sail.

   Next, I fold the hem of the fabric over the bow from the wing tip to the point where the bow and the leading edge form 2 different and separate angles.   Then I remove the bow setter.   My next piece to install is the spine.