Bob and Charmayne's hints and tricks

 #5:  fuzzy tails

Sometimes you need a tail to stabilize a kite. A tail with a lot of drag. This would be a fuzzy tail!

Start with a long strip of 3/4 ounce rip stop nylon about 5 cm or 2" wide.  It can be wider, even a lot wider.  If you need really long fuzzy tails, overlap strips about 1 cm (1/2 ") when you add the line in the center (see below). You do not need to pre-sew the strips together.

Decide if you will ever want to have this tail a looped tail. If you think you will, you will need to leave about 20 -25 cm or 8 to 10 inches of line at each end of the tail. If you will never want it looped, just leave extra line at one end.  Stitch the line down the center of the strip. I use a narrow width, long stitch length zigzag and you want to make sure the needle is penetrating the line most of the time.  A cording foot may help you. What size line? What test? Whatever you have on hand than you can sew easily.

After sewing, tie a loop in the end(s) of the line.

Cut the ripstop nylon from near the sewn line, perpendicular through the edge, down both sides. BIG HINT: Do not cut through the line!!!  Here are 2 secrets for making the cutting go fast...  I use a snap knife, a piece of glass for the cutting surface (better than a green mat in this case), and heavy weights to help secure the tail while cutting. Slice every 1 to 2 centimeters (3/8" to 3/4" inch). Don't worry about getting your spacing perfect. I just slice as fast as I can and get it over with! Some people will suggest a small pair of scissors. After my hand cramped part way through our first fuzzy tail, Bob figured out a snap knife with a sharp blade works so much better. If you take a bit of care, you will find it is no problem to avoid the line. I put the point of the knife a smidge away from the line and drag it towards me, holding a bit of downward pressure on the tail with my free hand. BIG HINT: Do not cut through the line!!! After you have done a few tails or at least are comfortable with the snap knife method of cutting, try this second time saving trick... Fold the tail lengthwise on the line. Secure sections of the tail with heavy weights. Slice the section, move the weights, repeat and finish twice as fast! You are cutting both sides of the tail at once with the same technique you used for a single layer. BIG HINT: Do not cut through the line!!!

Use the loops at the end of the tail to attach it to your kite. Sometimes I add a short line with knot onto the kite and lark's head the tail to that. Sometimes we lark's head the loop around a spar.

slicing and dicing with a snap knife Cutting a single layer of tail.
fuzzy tails on our Martin Lester swallows Fuzzy tails add stability and beauty.

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