Working with Bamboo
I have provided some information and background materials that
might be helpful in order to get acceptable results more quickly with
traditional materials (such as bamboo and paper).
Bamboo is a
great kite making material because of its versatility and low cost.
Unfortunately most bamboo sold in garden centers (Tonkin sticks) has a relatively small diameter.
The sticks are very difficult to split straight and evenly.
A limited number of
bamboo nurseries now sell bamboo logs that have been imported from Asia or
South America. Only by using logs with a diameter of over
5-6 cm and a wall thickness of circa 5 mm (see the photos) one will get really good
and reliable results.
Other practical information about working with bamboo
can also be found in the following publications:
- Gallot, Philippe. Fighter Kites. 29 Original Designs to Make and Fly. St.
Martin's Press. New York, 1989. Pages 12-13 provide a short introduction to
working with bamboo, while pages 15-16 have some black and white pictures
of bamboo techniques.
- Ha, Kuiming
and Ha, Chiqi. Zhongguo Hashi Fengzheng (Chinese Kites from Master
Ha). The Commercial Press. Hong Kong, 1986. Pages 128-147 describe (in
Chinese) several designs for traditional Chinese kites. The illustrations
provide insight into the various techniques for working with bamboo.
Tsutomu. Kites Sculpting the Sky. A Practical and Aesthetic Guide to
Making Kites. Elmtree Books. London, 1978. Pages 90-92 show and describe
the various step necessary for building a bamboo frame.
Wim. Indonesische Vechtvliegers en Varianten (Indonesian Fighter Kites
and Variants). In: Vlieger (No. 2). Den Haag, 1999. Pages 5-7 are a detailed
narrative (in Dutch) on how to cut and carve a bamboo bow for a fighter kite.