Home | Contents | Kite Catalog | Falconers section | Reels and spools | Knots | Delivery and payment
· Lead time for kites can be short (2 to 5 weeks), but it's often longer (6 to 12 weeks or more), depending on the number and sizes of kites already on order plus, a chaos factor. Since the situation can change over the course of a single day, lead time is well-nigh unpredictable.
· We make kites only after receipt of payment; not in response to telephone requests alone.
· LIMIT: Two kites per order.
· We do not do free repairs or supply free replacement parts, and we don't re-build kites made by other people even if it is claimed they were made by us—worn out, UV damaged, rotted, oxidized, shredded, severely stretched or otherwise mis-shapen kites cannot be repaired.
|Please remember to supply a contact phone number for all deliveries outside the UK|
The kite is an experimental scaled-up Wildcard
The line is an integral part of the kite+line system.
Line is chosen on the basis of both the size of the kite and the wind it flies in. You need light line for small kites and heavier line for big ones, and for any given size you need light line for light wind and heavy line for strong wind.
50-55lb for Little Bears & Whirlwinds in light winds
55-88lb for Clippers in light winds and Whirlwinds & Wildcards in light-to-medium winds
88-110lb for R7 & M7
110-125lb for Wildcards in breezier weather, and anything from
125-200lb (or more) for Troopers
At the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens most flyers used 80lb line regardless—just in case a kite got stuck in a tree, where lighter lines could break with the tugging. With 80lb line they'd more than likely get the kite back (though not necessarily undamaged).
Typical flying line: braided polyester. It has low stretch (less than 4%) which gives good responsiveness. It's reasonably priced, though price varies with quality. It's made for fishing and therefore readily available. Go for uncoated line, or a non-sticky coating. Waxed line can stick to itself on reels, requiring you to pull the line off by hand in light breezes.
The cheapest lines are twisted nylon and monofilament nylon. I still use some old twisted nylon on one reel. Although initially it's a little too stretchy, it's durable and really good for tying knots. Monofilament, also commonly used for angling, is relatively inexpensive, and because it's so smooth gives good flying angles. However tempting, it should be avoided for serious kite flying. While safe to use when brand new, it can part suddenly without warning after it's been used a few times. All it takes is one little innocuous kink to weaken it at a point, creating a stress concentration. You probably won't notice anything until it's too late.
Top of the food chain are the so-called "high tech" lines. These are aramid and coramid fiber lines with sensational strength for their thickness. They go by a variety of trade names. A line that looks like dental floss can have a breaking strain of nearly 200 pounds. Low weight and minimal drag mean high flights and stupendous flying angles, and with almost zero stretch kites flown on them are super-responsive. They do not come cheap, and there are a couple of other downsides to them in addition to cost.
One is that they can be downright dangerous, especially on big kites that pull hard. Think: cheese cutter. They have been known to cut the metal frame of a baby's pram. They've sliced through gloves, skin and tendons. And some can cut through themselves wherever there are knots, which is the reason for sleeving. My now fairly old 50lb Kevlar® line had to be sleeved, which put me off high tech lines for over a decade, but it has never failed. Now, there are "superbraids" with a hard coating applied to the outer fibers, meaning they no longer need sleeving at knots. (Sleeving kits are available from line suppliers for any line that needs it. Alternatively, one can make do with a darning needle or length of thin wire folded back on itself, and some braided nylon utility cord with the inner fibers pulled out.)
Superbraids can be surprisingly difficult to cut intentionally. Special tools are sold for the job, though one can manage without them. Field repairs could be tedious not only because of the difficult cutting and trimming, but also because the stickiness of the hard coating makes many normal knots awkward, if not almost impossible, to snug up neatly and properly. Still, many flyers feel the gain in performance is worth the effort. I have two reels loaded with these lines. In light winds they are astonishing, and in strong winds their minimal drag allows kites to climb to significantly steeper angles than they could with ordinary line. 1,000 feet of 80lb twisted nylon has about 4 square feet of surface area and significant weight. The equivalent superbraid is much thinner and lighter, and can seemingly double a kite's performance. For strong winds heavier lines with a higher breaking strain than necessary can be used for an extra margin of safety and still allow the extra flying angle.
The force the wind exerts varies with the square of the wind speed. With light line you'll get the steepest flying angle and the best possible performance in light winds and thermals, while heavier lines give more steadiness and stability in breezier conditions.
For example, consider line 1/16th of an inch in diameter. 1,000 feet adds up to over 5 square feet of surface area, which equals a fair bit of drag in addition to its shear weight. Modern, super-thin, high-tech aramid or coramid line makes a very significant difference in light winds. The reverse is true for strong winds. Extra-heavy line helps to counter-balance the pull, and the line's inertia and drag help keep everything steady, leaving the kite more manageable.
So, having a selection of lines is most useful, but if you have only one reel, the trick is to have kites for different winds that all require the particular line you've got. In practice, especially if all one's kites are within a particular size range, 2 or 3 lines cover most situations.
Kite lines can break suddenly and unexpectedly. Sometimes it can take no more than a quick jerk or tug from a thermal, or a burst of turbulence. Sometimes there's an almost invisible weak spot on the line, or some small cut or wear. The line may even be brand new. As the Scouts say, "Be prepared."
Watch when winding line onto reels - make sure it goes on evenly and flat; nurture the habit of winding with a side-to-side action so you don't have to watch it constantly. The objective is to avoid a buildup of coils of line at the reel sides, which can roll off under tension. The line can then pull underneath and get severely stuck in what we call a "bird's nest."
Through normal use, kite lines eventually develop weak spots. Always keep an eye on your flying line as it goes out or comes in. Be on the lookout for frayed spots, cuts, pronounced kinks, surface abrasion - any damage that could weaken the line. Cut these out then-and-there and use a Blood Knot (or Double Grinner) to join the line. A small, sharp pocket knife (or scissors) comes in handy in the field, as does a cheap lighter for melting the raw ends of knots after trimming - in a pinch it could all be done with just a lighter. Replace worn out line before it breaks!
The first 10 or 15 yards of line at the swivel end is most likely to show signs of wear, and can be chopped off periodically, re-tying the swivel; this job is best done at home.Never leave discarded sections of old flying line in the field.
Bear in mind that line won't be stronger than the weakest links, so it pays to learn a few good knots. Fishermen have an arsenal of excellent knots; for the rest of us a good knot book is a useful reference. Try to find one that indicates the relative strengths of the knots, and look for knots between 90 or 95 and 100% efficiency. Many common knots actually weaken the line, reducing its strength by as much as 50% or more.
Back to top
|Plastic Kite Spools|
|UK delivery for spools: £4.00 (1st Class) or £3.45 (2nd Class) inc. VAT|
(£3.33 w/o VAT)
|We currently do not stock flying line - click here to jump to UK suppliers listed below|
|HARDWARE: click on links for details|
|Swivels / Snap Swivels / Link Swivels|
|Snap swivels consist of a snap and a swivel. Many (though not all) ready-made snap swivels are sold with breaking strains based on the stronger of those two parts, not the weakest - usually a bulky swivel on a weaker snap. Now, with cheap, poorly-made copies made from inferior metals flooding the tackle market, you don't get breaking strains at all. Therefore I began making up my own, all suitable for kite flying.|
|UK delivery (up to a dozen items): £1.70p 2nd Class | £2.00 1st Class|
|(click on swivel names below to view)
medium for 55 and large for 88-110lb lines
Medium for 50-55lb line: 20p each (17p w/o VAT)
Large for 80-110lb line: 25p each (21p w/o VAT)
|Snap Swivels for Light Lines|
|Hooked Snaps on Standard Swivels
for 40-85lb lines
|140lb-test MustadTM stainless steel snap on Japanese rolling swivel rated 175lb (Sakuma size 1/0): 35p each (29p w/o VAT)|
|Hooked Snaps on Small Stainless Steel Swivels
durable and lightweight combinations for 25-90lb lines
|140lb-test MustadTM stainless steel snap on small stainless steel 180lb-test Mighty-MiniTM swivel: 50p each (42p w/o VAT)|
|Snap Swivels for Medium Lines|
|Duolock Snaps on Strong Durable Swivels
combinations for 80-110lb lines
150lb-test Duolock snap 220lb-test 100% stainless steel Mighty-MiniTM crane swivel: 65p each (54p w/o VAT)
150lb-test Duolock snap 250lb-test silky-smooth VarivasTM 'Power Crane' swivel: 80p each (67p w/o VAT)
|Extra-strong Snap Swivels|
Crosslock Snap Swivels
serious swivels for 100 to 150lb lines
175lb-test American 'best quality' crosslock swivel: 60p each (50p w/o VAT)
200lb-test stainless steel crosslock snap on 310lb-test 100% Mighty-MiniTM swivel: £1.40 each (£1.17 w/o VAT)
200lb-test stainless steel crosslock snap on matching 310lb-test silky-smooth stainless steel swivel (from France): £1.90 each (£1.58 w/o VAT)
Heavy Duty Coastlock Snap Swivels
for 115-150lb lines
176lb-test MustadTM ball bearing swivel with coastlock snap out of stock
270lb-test all-stainless steel Mighty-MiniTM coastlock snap swivel 85p (71p w/o VAT)
175lb-test Cabela'sTM premium coastlock ball-bearing swivel: £2.20 each (£1.83 w/o VAT)
|Ready-made Lure Line Release Linkages for Falconry: click on links for details|
|UK delivery: £1.70p 2nd Class | £2.00 1st Class|
|Running SnapAways |
For clipping your lure line onto a Ringboom anywhere on the kite line
|On-line SnapAway Kit
|A Running SnapAway linkage with Ringboom
and choice of mini carabiners
|A. £11.00 (£9.17 without VAT) bare, with NO carabiner clip
B. £15.50 (£12.92 without VAT) with choice of 7cm Singing RockTM mini carabiner or 7cm StubaiTM screwgate mini carabiner
C. £17.00 (£14.17 without VAT) with light alloy 6cm KongTM mini carabiner
· easily attached - no knots
· won't damage kite line
· won't slip - shouldn't fall off
|£1.75 (£1.46 without VAT) with ring for |
SnapAways with adjustable clips
|Note: click here for Line Releases on the web|
|Spare Clips and Rings|
|UK delivery: £1.10 2nd Class | £1.40 1st Class|
|KongTM 6cm Carabiner Clips
small, light and beautifully made mini carabiner from Italy
|£6.00 each (£5.00 without VAT)|
|Singing RockTM 7cm Carabiner Clips
well-made in EU from good metal alloy
|£4.50 each (£3.75 without VAT)|
|StubaiTM Screwgate 7cm Carabiner Clips
locking mini carabiner from Austria
|£4.50 each (£3.75 without VAT)|
|UK delivery: £1.10p 2nd Class | £1.40 1st Class|
|Adjustable Clip for falconry
· fits 13mm clear plastic O-rings
|£4.00 each (£3.33 without VAT)|
|3/4" OD alloy O-ring (13.5mm ID)||10p each (8p without VAT)|
|1" OD alloy O-ring (18.0mm ID)||14p each (12p without VAT)|
|13mm clear plastic "O" Rings
· choice of thin (2.0mm) or thick (2.9mm) rings
· both fit the Adjustable Clips
5p each (£0.04 without VAT) |
10 for 40p (£0.33 without VAT)
|X-Tension Dyneema lines can be knotted without the need for sleeving using the same knots recommended for Western Filament's TUF-Line XP|
Isle of Wight
|Two colors of "Dyneema X-Tension" |
200m, 500m and 1,000m spools | 48.4, 78.1, and 114.4lbs BS
on-line shop: www.uk-hooks.com (click on "Braid")
|German Climax Black Dacron - top quality uncoated Dacron line (white with black flecks)|
web: EMKAY Kites4U Climax Lines
ebay UK - Look for braids and super-braids. One example would be TUF-Line XP, recommended by Welsh Hawking Club members (partly because it is fairly readily available).
Watch for Western Filament's Premium Braided Dacron, too, for a superb dacron alternative to super-braids (Bev uses this).
300 yard spools of Braided Dacron and TUF-Line XP come in 50, 80, and 150 lb. test.
TUF-Line super-braid is coated with a specially formulated synthetic wax so that knots do not require sleeving, although avoiding significant loss of strength still requires the use of certain specific and well-tied knots.
|Kites Up |
|website: Kites Up|
|Line, spools, materials, and reels |
website: The Highwaymen
|Veal's Mail Order
|Good selection of fishing lines of interest to kiteflyers including "superbraids" |
on-line shop: www.veals.co.uk
Back to top
No longer being made:
For many years it was the only proper "deep sky" reel I knew of available anywhere. Had I ever needed a new reel, it would have been one of these.
It's always best to make sure everything is snug before using a reel for the first time, and to take a tool or two along just in case something works loose in the field - even if it's brand new. The central nut on the main axle and its counterpart out of sight inside the hand plate are the most likely candidates, but the nuts securing the knobs can work loose on a new reel, too, as was the case here.
Things can work loose on new reels of this type; it's worth taking one partially apart when it's new and re-assembling it to make sure everything is nice and snug before loading it up and putting it to work for the first time.
It's just the right size and capacity. It's smooth, well balanced, and doesn't wobble when it spins. It's almost an exact replica of the reels Gabriel at the Round Pond in London's Kensington Gardens made in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, if not before. I still use three of his originals.
These plastic kite spools are the next best thing to proper deep-sky reels (see below). They're light, easy to carry and inexpensive. They hold plenty of line, and wind in a lot per turn. Letting line out with drag is easy, and the grip is comfortable for any length of time.
Back to top
|Kaindl Windtronic 2
This is a favorite of mine - it suits my local swirly conditions by virtue of being omnidirectional - it's also very sensitive
the instruction sheet says it floats, so I presume that means it's rainproof, too
May take some shopping around to find
|My Windtronic 2 was on sale, but the omnidirectional Skywatch Meteos and Atmos can be also be recommended (for the same reason, although I don't see a Beaufort scale on the Atmos). A couple of websites list the Meteos as discontinued; nevertheless, there are still over 2,000 pages of references to them on Google|
|Andrew Jones (aka "Wilf"), co-inventer of the Flexifoil, made his own pocketable, hand-held, omnidirectional anemometer some time before 1970. It had three folding, lightweight cups that generated a current through a small electric motor used as a generator, and had a hand-drawn scale that had been calibrated in the wind tunnel at Cambridge University. I thought it was ingenious. Incidentally, small directional wind meters use a spinning propeller whose revolutions are counted by a photoelectric cell, which is also interesting.|
|Into the Wind (USA)
|Skyview Systems Look for "Handheld Instruments"
Back to top
Home | Contents | Catalogs | Falconers section | Reels and spools | Knots | Delivery and payment
Top of page