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Bamboo Kite Making Bamboo kite history, design, construction, flying etc

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Old 10th May 2011, 12:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA - Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 3
Historical Kites - Bamboo Useage

I am interested in building reproductions of several historical kites with original materials. Kites from the turn of the century were quite frequently constructed with muslin or cambric fabric and bamboo frames that were tied with hemp cord or wire. Even though these were among the lighter materials available, given their relatively heavy weight (as compared to modern kitebuilding carbonfiber and rispstop nylon) the kites were quite large in order to provide sufficient sail lifting area.

I would like to know what is the lightest, stiffest bamboo that would be good for this purpose. I am also looking for a source for poles of the appropriate bamboo in 8 to 10' lengths.

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Old 15th May 2011, 03:04 PM
greg kono
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA - Washington, Seattle
Posts: 74
I don't know which is the lightest or stiffest, but I think a thin walled bamboo such as Tonkin or black bamboo would work well and be easy to find. Moso would work if you are planning on splitting it. Here's a description of a few bamboo poles and a source on the west coast.

The Japanese kite makers use Madake for their kites, but I haven't had much luck finding a local source for poles.
Greg Kono - - Art Kites, Toys and Workshops

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Old 3rd June 2011, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA - AR, Benton
Posts: 8
Which historical period are you looking at for making your kites?
I make kites for the period prior to 1600 AD.

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Old 27th July 2011, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA Radnor PA
Posts: 1
Yadake on Mainline


I have some yadake ("arrow bamboo" psuedosasa japonica) in my yard (in Radnor.) It is light and stiff. I'd trade some for a kite -- even a simple one.

Are you making historical Amercan or Japanese kites? Sorry if this is a dumb question. This bamboo is very narrow, and not as strong flexible as split madake.

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