sail material for vintage kite

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Hey All,

 Long story short, I am going to be building up a couple designs that were published in the late 1920's, one is a traditional tailless diamond, the other is a "french war" type. Both have a 36" span. I wanted to follow the plans faithfully including the materials and method of construction, spruce rectangular stock, lashed ends, shellac, cotton twines, the whole thing. The only part I am having trouble on is sourcing the sail material. The plans call for "silk" or "cambric" cloth. Has anyone here built using "vintage" materials lately? If so where did you source the sail material? The local fabric shops just give me odd looks and try to steer me to a nylon or polyester. Thanks!!



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in 70's i use cambric for rectangular and diamonds kites but before to cut the fabric i rub it with beeswax and heat to be impermeable. about cambric cloth check this.  for sure the modern cambric is not the same like 1920's just because of manufacturing way. a good source of cambric are cotton bed sheet with a high tread count but i think better is to use silk. square inch by square inch silk is having less weight and is more wind resistant. cambric is better if you will make big kites (3" and bigger) for higher winds 

any way if you will use cambric or silk by mi experience is good to put the spare on diagonal of threads to have equal stretch of fabric.

good luck 

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6 hours ago, Edmond Dragut said:

(3" and bigger)

I'm sure he meant 3 feet, not 3 inches. Silk is expensive and needs to sealed also. It will snag on anything rough that it touches. I would use polyester ripstop, unless it just HAS TO BE the same as the original down to the last detail. Also, be aware that cambric and silk have an enormous amount of stretch on the bias (diagonal to the grain), and you will have to compensate for it in some cases. Read the insructions carefully, looking for any guidelines in that regard.

Most of all, have fun.

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