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How to make a Bridle Board


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How to make a bridle board:

Insert eyelet screws into a durable piece of wood, exactly in position when each loop ends, so the bridle is affixed tight to the board.  How tight?, I don't know, . . .... but you'll have to duplicate the previous effort, so whatever you think is going to work out consistently must be the right answer!

Always pull any directional changing loops or knots tight & at right angles, whenever possible.  This makes tying and untying much easier.

If a bridle leg has two sides (Like the ACROSS component does), build the board so assembly goes forward and then backwards across the wood, parallel.  Don't build a half a bridle leg and assume you'll match it up with the mirrored half during the tying phase.  You have to be able to lay the completed bridle onto the eyescrews and insure it matches up perfectly and it is tight!

Now you have to untie each of the knots (and see how much line length was used up within it).  Take a Sharpie Pen and mark a tiny spot underneath each of the knots, or whatever works for you, but it is absolutely necessary to return "the standard" to it's original exact positioning, after careful measurements.

Draw out the bridle line tight, make marks on the board where the bridle leg components begin and end (for each of the knots or loops).  

Insert a indicator, or label the type of knots used in each of these locations also.

Now buy a set of forceps and learn to tie the knots used on your board exactly the same, using this tool to pinch and hold as necessary.  Exact duplication is the goal!

"Grip" or pinch direclty onto the marks placed into the original bridle (remember?, you placed them there before untying it, right?

. . . with the sharpie?)  Butt the knot up against the forceps for repeatability.

I recommend a silver Sharpie as the marking pen, if you want to make Black bridles.  I wears off eventually and is visible enough for assembly.

This sounds like a lot of work, but from a repeatable standard you can try variations by direct comparison.  You can return to the board and get back to stock measurements at any time.

Eventually you'll develop a bridle that's tuned to suit your purposes and conditions perfectly.  Along the way you'll learn a lot and enjoy the journey.  Each day you fly, you'll become a little more familar with your wing.  Completely different flying conditions and yet you are comparing a single variable each time out.  

I've done this process at least three times between friends in our local kite club.  We take a kite we all own and enjoy, then we chase all the variables in a bridle, sometimes with a specific objective.  The first few options are going to be big changes (literally inches!), eventually though it gets down to little 1/16ths or less.

PS: Whatever line was used to create the board has to be used in the future as well, as the dimensions and marks are based upon how much line length was used-up within the knots.  Changing the raw material size (from 100# to 170# just as an example) necessitates a new set of marks & possibly repositioning the eyescrew locations too!

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i like useing the stock bridle and getting the measurements and once i get them all its as simple as matching the 2 together the stock and the 1 i made so far its been working for me john ill send you a shot my pic is to big for  here

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I wanted better performance than the stock bridle offers.  My kites "feel" better, particularly in light wind conditions.  (Naturally that could just be one person's opinion!)  In my own defense though, I've retro-fitted dozens of kites for people with a custom bridle.

If you are happy with what is available from the factory, great!  You have saved a bunch of time and dough.  Creating a better bridle is a matter of significant time in testing.  Our club began the journey in 1999 and it continues on even now, although the changes have become miniscule since we started the project.

Our goal was a quad that could fly in no wind, but still use the SLE tubes in the leading edge sleeve.  As you can imagine a lot of effort went into prototypes and testing to reach this objective.

Do you need a replacement bridle?,.... "NO".  Would you notice the difference on your kite?  Many have made the change and I get requests occasionally, particularly after allowing other to try out one of my kites.

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  • 6 years later...

Eliot and Cath Shook (flying smiles kites in Corolla NC) sell several bridle versions, particularly for the 1.5 platform. You don't have to make your own board for bridle fabrications anymore,... no need to bother me either!

The Shook Palace sells 3 versions: the stocker, the 1point6 version and the French Bridle. Your preferences are the only thing that really matters, ideally you have determined your preferences by direct comparisons on the same identical kites with only one variable considered at a time.

The biggest impact is the addition of magic sticks, bridles are more about oversteer and responsiveness. If you like what you know, great. If you want to experiment it has never been easier! Order a different bridle for 25 or 30 bucks and give it a few weeks of testing in various conditions. what did it help, what did it hurt? Every change effects everything working together. Only your own opinion actually matters, test and decide for yourself. A new bridle and magic sticks can take an old kite and craft into a new favorite without a big investment.

Personally? I find the stock bridle has too much oversteer and slop for my local low/no-wind conditions. I want it arc-welded tight and immediately responsive (some may say twitchy). I want long throw handles and some flex in the frame too. I never fly in winds higher than mid-20s unless I'm traveling to the coast.

Try experimenting, you might just like how it feels on the ends of the flying lines.

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