Kite Repairs

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Find here useful info on how to repair your kites:

Contents

Canopy

Round the corners of any stick on patches so there are no corners that will peel off easily.

Tools

You can use magnet strip and a steel plate or table to hold and align the material in place. The later I put on dry wall tape and some good spread over everything.

Sewing

You can use a home sewing machine to sew around the repair tape (look out for the bladders), go slow. Most canopy rips leave a strip of thicker fabric next to the bladder so it is relatively easy to use repair tape to get the edges back together exactly, then sew around the edges and along the rip. Note: rinse the kite off in fresh water and let it dry completely before using the repair tape.One other little note: when sewing through sticky repair tape, the needle will gum up. I use WD-40 or mineral spirits to clean the needle every couple of feet of sewing. If you can get to a sewing machine, you can do it yourself.

Stitching down the edges of the patch stops it lifting and getting sand stuck to it. A domestic sewing machine will work fine for most sail repairs but will not handle closing a thick leading edge seam.

Don't be afraid to hand sew things. Just take your time and do very neat stitches and you can end up with a really good result.

Repair Materials

Kiteaid sells great products for all torn sails and bladder leaks. You simply iron it on and it will hold permanently without peeling over time. You can buy it off there website

You can buy Dacron cheap at any boat store.

You can usually beg or buy the end of a spool of bonded polyester thread from a sail maker. It has UV inhibiters so it will last much longer. If you can't get that then polyester uphostery thread is good. Don't use nylon, it's too slippery.

V-30 dabond polyester for canopy, V-46 for leading edge/rib repair.

Tapes

Always have some Kiteaid, spinnaker tape, Mcnett Aquasure and some plastic material for the bladders (always used those in the repair kit sold with Cabrinha kites). With Kiteaid, you can iron on the patch and be ready to fly instantly.

Kiteaid works the best. It's an iron-on patch that will resist peeling, sand, uv rays and does not need to sit to dry for 24 hours. With a simple household iron, you can repair a kite that is torn in half in 15 minutes and be off flying again. Be sure to remove the bladder before fixing struts as the heat of the iron will damage the bladder. It uses a thermoplastic adhesive film that "dries" on the sail cloth when at room temperature. It also does not start to slide off when exposed to hot weather like traditional sail tape. Kiteaid will also not attract sand when cooled so it is reluctant to start peeling off your kite.

Traditional rubber based adhesive Sail tape will work also (50%) if you activate the adhesive by HEATING it after you stick it on. Doesn't take much heat. If you use the white sail tape/insignia cloth, you can tell when the adhesive is activated -the tape becomes translucent and the color of the fabric below shows through more. At home I put the canopy on a flat surface, clean and align it, apply tape, place a towel under it, then apply heat. I use a clothes iron that has been turned on to lowest setting, then unplugged for a minute! The adhesive only needs ~40-45c (100-100f) or so to work, so no need to crank it up and melt the kite! In hot weather if you leave the repair tape in the car it will be hot enough to stick well on its own, if you apply some pressure and rub it. For a quick repair, not heating it gives you some sessions usually, you can still use heat to set the adhesive later. Heat can be used to increase the bond of the repair but it can also make the tape slide off the kite when flown in hot weather. This is because most sail tapes use rubber based adhesives.

On a reinforced part of the kite, use some "aquaseal" or other PU that cures flexible to glue the canopy or tube, then throw patches on (both sides, one patch bigger than the other). For long or jagged tears, use cyanoacrylate (superglue) to align and glue (spot-weld) the fabric together before applying repair tape.

insignia cloth is plenty strong for canopy, it's what they use to reinforce a lot of canopies. It could creep I guess, unless it is sewed.

Tearaid works for bladders, leading edge, small or huge full length tears in canopy but stretches too much and could cause you canopy to migrate trough the strut and explode.

Kiteaid seems to be the best product that can hold a strut shut while inflated. Since it is manufactured with a similar fabric that a kite is made out of this allows the repaired section to stretch proportionally with the kite as it flies in the air. This ensures that the repair will last a long time and never un-bond.

Struts

Leading Edge Repair

  • 1. Open up the main seam. Pay attention to how they sewed it.
  • 2. Align the tear edges back together and hold together with a 1-2 inch (2-5 cm) wide strip of adhesive-backed insignia cloth on the outside of the LE. The insignia cloth is just for appearance and to keep the remaining original dacron from fraying.
  • 3. On the inside, sew a matching strip of 4 oz dacron to repair the tear. Use one triple zig-zag stitch on each side of the tear. If your machine doesn't do a triple zig-zag, use 2 rows of single zig-zag. Use real sail thread - it really is different from other polyester threads and it feeds better through heavy dacron.
  • 4. Close up the leading edge. Usually this seam is a single straight stitch, then a fold, then a second stitch through 4 layers of dacron. It's sometimes easier to use a piping foot to do this seam, especially if the kite manufacturer folded the seam around a piece of line (I don't know if anybody does this anymore, but it makes for a stronger seam.)

Tubes/Bladders

Round the corners of any stick on patches so there are no corners that will peel off easily.

Materials

Kiteaid works AWESOME for bladders, leading edge, small or huge full length tears in canopy.

Close the struts before pumping

Don't leave one end of the bladder sticking out because you want to inflate it a little to make sure there are no twists in it.

When you do this ( and forget that end is sticking out) and start to inflate the kite to normal pressure, you are only going to achieve about 2psi before that end that was sticking out ( & must have swollen like a pregnant hamster on steroids), explodes with a very sharp "POP". This "POP" will remind you that you are indeed an idiot and forgot that A) its sticking out and B) you were only going to inflate the kite a little bit.

If the tear was not too long, its "possible" to repair it providing you have some length left. I have repaired it by gluing the bladder across the end before the tear as the tear was about 3 inches long.

Then roll the bladder up to that point and finish with a small cable tie to ensure a good seal. Thankfully the bladder ends are longer than the kite and should have suffiecient length so that it will inflate against the inside of the kite and not be too short and pop again.

Bicycle Tube Patched

Bicycle Tube Patched can be used to repair small holes in the bladders. But the repair will probably only las ta few sessions.

Leading Edge One Pump Tip

When removing the LE of a 1 pump kite, leave the hoses attached to the LE bladder, not the struts, or you'll have to find a way to plug the valve stems. It's way easier to just slide the clamps on the hoses so you can fill the naked bladder.

Delaminating Valves

For delaminated nipples, go to a pool supply store or wallyworld and get vinyl repair glue. Dries fast and works perfect. For ultra heavyduty use Aquaseal but dries slower unless you use accelerator.

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