I thought it would be interesting to document an original project as it went along, adding and editing steps as I go, maybe including suggestions or comments from the community.
There is a chance that this project will finish up in a merely decorative wall-hanging, instead of a flyable kite, but that's a risk I'll have to take.
Step 1: The Background.
We collected the feathers with no real purpose in mind, just to "do something with them".
As I rifled through the feathers, laying them out to see what we had, I noticed that we had some matching pairs - feathers from opposite sides of the bird.
The pairs looked ... like ... wings ... sails ... I ought to make a kite!
Step 2: First Thoughts.
I turned to the web for inspiration, and found a single page of a single website, in Italian, with some grainy photos of what we could call "native American kites". As far as know, there is no tradition of kite-flying in pre-colonial America, and the Babelfish translation made little sense, so I assume it was somebody like me, inspired by feathers. Unfortunately, his kites used lots of feathers, fastened to the frameworks I wanted to avoid.
Except for one.
It was made of a handful of feathers, arranged in a rough X shape. I couldn't see how the feathers were fastened together, but it was enough. I laid out my feathers in the pattern you see below, and I thought ... yes...
Step 3: The Problem
The arrangement I had, they barely touched each other. Several were tip-to-tip. But I had banned myself from adding a frame...
Snipping the tip off each feather, I found I could push a cocktail stick in to join pairs of feathers, and the join was loose enough to allow adjustment, yet stiff enough to manage without glue. Serendipity!
Step 4: Binding
A quick scan around the shed turned up elastic bands, left over from my forcemeter Instructable. Perfect.
A few quick snips, a few knots, and she's done.
Step 5: Next...
I've tried dropping the kite in a horizontal position, and it stayed level, but spun about a vertical axis. A quick twist of the feathers cured that, just as I hoped.
I need to bridle it up. I'd really like to avoid needing a tail, so I may need to use a four-leg bridle, anchored to each point where the feathers cross. That will be a pig to balance.
Anyhoo, that's where she stands. As they say; watch this space.