June 21
The Secret Super-Glue Fix

After four festivals in a row, each one of them 'weather challenged', it was nice to spend a weekend at home. Besides, I needed the time to affect repairs and sort out how many sand anchors and carabiners I'd lost over the past month.

In Wildwood, I'd brought out a giant Red Octopus for her maiden flight. And by the end of the festival, this pristine inflatable was sporting an eighteen inch gash at the top of one tentacle. Ouch!!

Sew it?? Patch it? Or fix it with Super Glue??

Super Glue! You think I'm kidding, right? But on low-stress repairs, Super Glue actually works pretty well. Here's how you do it!

Find the Damage

The first step in making a repair is to actually find the damage. That isn't always easy. On an octopus, you have eight tentacles each 75 feet long. Now where exactly was that tear??

I decided to put some paper inside the leg to help highlight the rip and define exactly where the edges were. This would be important later.

Clean and Dry

Make sure the fabric is dry and clean.

Brush the sand or grass off and if you've got damp fabric, let it sit in the sun a few minutes or try using a hair-dryer.

Just don't get too close with all that hot air.

Tape Tear

Now, using regular scotch or masking tape, close up the wound.

Make sure the edges are smooth, not frayed and simply butt them up against each other. You may need to trim off loose threads. Don't overlap and don't leave any gaps. A lot of small pieces of tape work best for this.

Click on the photo for a better view.

Complete Taping and Reverse

Once you have the entire tear taped, you get to turn the section inside out. What you want is clear access to the inside of the rip.

Depending how close you are to a vent or zipper, this can be fun. But the repair will be easier to find again with all that tape stuck on it.

Glue the Rip

Now the fun part! We're going to Super Glue the tear back together.

What you want is a focused bead of glue right over the top of the line that you created by taping the two edges together. And don't spread extra glue all over everything. The important thing is to cover the entire length of the tear. Click on the photo for a better view.

Dry

When you are done, let the glue dry completely.

Take care to not let the fabric shift or blow around so the glue makes contact with anthying else - especially other parts of the kite - while drying.

Patch if Needed

If you have a compound tear with several rips coming together, you may want to add some reinforcement tape to strengthen the connection.

Ripstop repair tape works well but the best stuff we've found is called "Tear Aid". It is spendy -- about $1 a foot - but sticks fast, is transparent, flexes with the fabric, and holds well.

Right Side Out

If you use ripstop. I suggest white since it doesn't shadow as much. And besiudes, you only need to carry one color!

Once everything is dry and complete, you can turn the fabric right-side-out again. Remove the scotch tape and check out your repair.

Complete!

The best thing about Super Glue repairs is that the result is almost invisible. You don't get seams, puckers or shadows on the fabric.

Like I said before, it is not recommended for stress points or stitched seams, but will work well for general punctures and tears.

When you blow out a seam, the best fix is to re-build it by pulling in about 1/3 inch of fabric and sewing over the area. Try to incorporate any "super-ripstop" lines that were stitched to the fabric for added strength.

Punctures and stress tears can be repaired with tape. Masking the front side to position the pieces and then taping the back side will maximize appearance and minimize discoloration.

Inflation Inflation

If you need to inflate a large kite to inspect before or after repairs, there's no need to drag it out to the field and wait for a breeze. What do you think leaf blowers were made for?

Anyway, that's how I spent Sunday afternoon. Hope you had fun too! Next weekend we have a show right here in Lincoln City. Come join us!!

Mega Sled: The 75 square foot Mega Sled is the best rigid lifter we've ever made. It measures 10 feet wide and 7.5 feet tall. Tabs at the base of the kite allow easy tail attachment, and the unique sail tension system lets you tighten or remove fiberglass spars easily. Spars disassemble for compact storage.

Mega Sled

The standard pricing on these monsters is $175. But through the end of June, we'll take off 20%. That's a $35 savings. Let us know what colors your'd like!

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