Box-kite – How to Make a Box-kite – Homemade Kites

Of the more pretentious kites, none is as popular as the rectangular box-kite.

Box-kites may be purchased ready-made in a number of sizes, but they are not cheap, and it will pay any boy to take the time necessary to make one.

While their construction requires considerable more work than the single-plane type of kite, it is not difficult.

Box-kite - How to Make a Box-kite - Homemade Kites

Fig. 23.—Raising the Box-kite.
Box-kite - How to Make a Box-kite - Homemade Kites
Fig. 24.—The Box-kite.

Figures 23 and 24 show a kite of scientifically developed proportions. Pine, spruce, and whitewood are the best materials for

The Kite Sticks, though any strong, light-weight wood of straight grain may be used if easier to obtain. If you live near a lumber yard or planing-mill, possibly you can get strips of just the size you require from the waste heap, for the mere asking, or for a few cents get them ripped out of a board. If not, you will find it easy enough to cut them yourself with a sharp rip-saw.

The Side Frames. 
Cut the four horizontal sticks 3/8 inch thick and 3/8 inch wide, by 36 inches long (A, Fig. 25), and the four upright connecting sticks (B, Fig. 25) ¼ inch thick, ½ inch wide, and 10 inches long.

Tack the upright sticks to the horizontal ones 6 inches from the ends of the latter, as shown in Fig. 25, using slender brads for the purpose, and clinching the projecting ends. In fastening these sticks, be careful to set sticks B at right angles to sticks A.
After fastening together the side-frame sticks as shown in Fig. 25, lay them aside until you have prepared the cross-section of the kite.

Box-kite - How to Make a Box-kite - Homemade Kites

Fig. 25.—Make Two Side Frames like this.

The Covering for the End Cells. 
A light-weight muslin or tough paper should be used for this material. Cheese-cloth will do if you give it a coat of thin varnish to fill up the pores and make it air-tight, after it has been put on. The light-weight brown wrapping-paper now so commonly used is good covering material.

The cell bands for the kite illustrated should be 10 inches wide and 5 feet 9 inches long. If of cloth, they should be hemmed along each edge to prevent raveling and to make a firm edge. If of paper, the edges should be folded over a light framing-cord and pasted. Sew together the ends of the cloth bands, or paste the ends of the paper bands, lapping them so the measurement around the inside will be exactly 5 feet 8 inches, the proper measurement around the sticks of the finished kite.

Box-kite - How to Make a Box-kite - Homemade Kites - Fig 26

Fig. 26.—Cross-section of the Box-kite.

Assembling the Kite. 
Slip the bands over the side frames, spread the frames to their fullest extent, and hold them in this position by means of sticks sprung in temporarily between upright sticks B. Then measure the proper length for the diagonal braces C (Fig. 26). These sticks should be notched at their ends to fit over the sticks A, as shown in Fig. 27, and they should be a trifle long so they will be slightly bow-shaped when put in place. In this way the frames will keep the cloth or paper bands stretched tight.

Box-kite - How to Make a Box-kite - Homemade Kites - Fig 27

Fig. 27.—Detail of Diagonal Braces.

The notched ends of the diagonals should be lashed with thread to keep them from splitting. Lashings of thread around the frame sticks A, as shown in Figs. 25 and Fig. 27, will keep the ends of the braces from slipping away from the uprights B, which is the proper position for them. Bind the braces together at their centers with thread, as shown in Figs. 24 and 26. Coat the lashings with glue after winding them, and the thread will hold its position better.
The cloth or paper bands should be fastened to each horizontal frame stick with two tacks placed near the edges of the bands.

There are several methods of Attaching the Bridle, but that shown in Fig. 24 is generally considered the most satisfactory. Of course, the kite is flown other side up, with the bridle underneath. The three-point attachment has cords fastened at the two outer corners of one cell, and a third cord to the center of the outer edge of the other cell; and the four-point attachment has cords attached at the four outer corners of the kite. The ends of the bridle should be brought together and tied at a distance of about 3 feet from the kite. It is a good plan to connect the ends to a fancy-work ring.

Box-kite - How to Make a Box-kite - Homemade Kites - fig 28

Fig. 28.—A Good Hand Kite-reel.
A Good Hand Kite-reel that can be held in one hand and operated by the other is shown in Fig. 28. Get a ½-lb. size baking-powder can for the winding-spool, locate the center of the cover and bottom end, and with a can-opener cut a hole 1 inch in diameter through each (Fig. 29).
Then cut two wooden disks 5 inches in diameter for the spool flanges. These may be cut out of thin wood. If you do not wish to take the trouble to cut them round, just saw off the four corners diagonally, making the pieces octagonal. Bore a 1-inch hole through the center of each piece. Tack the can cover to the exact center of one disk, as shown in Fig. 30, and the can to the exact center of the other.
Then fit the cover on the can, and glue a strip of cloth or heavy paper around the joint to keep the cover from working off, and the spool will be completed.

Box-kite - How to Make a Box-kite - Homemade Kites - fig 29

Figs. 29 and 30.—Details of Hand Kite-reel.
The axle upon which the spool turns is a piece of broom-handle 10 inches or so in length (Fig. 30). Bore two holes through it in the positions shown, for pins to keep the spool in its proper place. Wooden pegs can be cut for pins. For a winding handle, pivot a spool on the right-hand disk by means of a nail or screw. The inner flange of the spool handle may be cut off as shown in Fig. 28.
Both hands are frequently needed to haul in string quickly enough to bring a kite around into the wind, or to handle it when it pulls very strong, and then there is nothing to do but drop the hand reel upon the ground, unless you have an assistant to give it to.

A Body Kite-reel comes in.

With it strapped about the waist, it will go wherever you go, and always be within easy reach. Figure 31 shows one simple to make. The spool of this is made similar to that of the hand reel shown in Fig. 28. If, however, you wish a larger winding-spool, you can use a larger can than the baking-powder can—a tomato can or syrup can—and increase the diameter of the wooden flanges accordingly.
Instead of the spool turning upon the broom-handle axle, the axle turns with the spool, so the spool must be fastened to the axle.

The axle supports A (Figs. 31 and 32) should be about 7 inches long, 4 inches wide at the wide end, and 2 inches wide at the narrow end. Cut the holes to receive the axle ends a trifle large so the axle will turn easily. Cut the connecting crosspieces B of the right length so there will be about ¼ inch between the ends of the spool and supports A.

Cut the crank stick C as shown in Fig. 33, bore a hole for the axle end to fit in, bore another hole in the edge for a set-screw to hold the stick in place on the axle end, and pivot a spool in place for a handle. If the hole in the spool is too large for the head of the nail used for pivoting, slip a small iron or leather washer over the nail.
An old belt or shawl-strap should be used for strapping the kite-reel to your body. Fasten this to the ends of the axle supports A by nailing the strips D to them as shown in Fig. 32.

Fig. 31.—A Body Kite-reel.   Fig. 32.—Detail of Axle Support.
Fig. 33.—Detail of Crank.

LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO., BOSTON Published, August, 1915