Keystone Muses

Keystone MusesMuse Workshop – the aftermath…

There are a couple threads going on a couple different forums (plus Facebook) with info about our workshop this past weekend.  In the interest of making a central depository for questions, shares, links, etc., this page is dedicated to our class.

If you would be so kind as to remind me in the  comments section below of any source links you would like, as well as any questions, etc. you might have.

A personal thanks to Bob Matteo for the loan of your workshop Muses from 2005.  Having them available was a great help in recreating the lost Muse patterns.


  • I guess it’s been out a couple years, but I somehow missed it.  3M is offering a consumer/hobbyist version of their 1/4″ adhesive transfer tape gun. The gun I’ve used and recommended for years is the 3M 714 ATG.  After doing a Google search, the new gun/applicator seems to be identical, but is pink.  It also includes 2 rolls of good tape.  Amazon has it for $16.38! – The 714 sells for $48 without tape.  I have a pink one on order, and will report back when it comes in, but the internet says it’s the same piece, just a different color.  And you know, if it’s on the internet, it must be true. ;-)
  • update – I ordered, and have take delivery on, the pink tape gun.  While there are some minor cosmetic differences, the pink “Advanced Tape Glider”, and the 714 ATG seem to be functionally identical.  It comes with two rolls of tape that seems to be the ATG 908, which is functionally identical to the 924 I use, but in an acid-free composition. If you might be interested in adding an ATG tape gun to your tool kit, this is a great way to go!
  • The adhesive transfer tape we used in class was the 3M 924 ATG, not the 926 as seen on the box.
  • For those of you that made copies of the patterns – I ask that these are for your personal use, and please don’t share outside our group.  I retain design and intellectual property rights.  Thanks.  I may publish the plan later, but for now…
  • You can find the frame specs for your Muse, as well as the other retired BMK kites here.
  • I’ve use the Gütermann threads in my kites for the last 12-13 years.  A couple years ago,  Gütermann reformulated most of their lineup, making improvements across the board.  The result, in my size range, was the Mara 100.  Gütermann’s Mara 100 is the best thread I’ve used.  Clean, consistent, fuzz-free.  Look for Mara 100 on the label.  What I’ve seen is on a yellow core.  If your local shop doesn’t carry it, see my link below.


30 thoughts on “Keystone Muses

  1. Steve Tapp

    I bought some 1/32 styrene from McMaster-Carr for templates. Ken uses something thicker around 1/16 but I was able to cut the plastic with a good pair of scissors and finish the edges with a sanding block. I made two new sails last week using all the new techniques we learned (except for the sticky mat) and its amazing how much quicker and easier it gets with experience. Don’t read this Ken – I even added new vent panels to an ‘extra’ Mongoose I have. Worked well with the stiffer breeze we had at the beach this past weekend. Am also the proud owner of a pink tape gun though it’s not used yet.

    1. kmac Post author

      I buy .040 styrene, and laminate it. Did yours come rolled? If so, like mine, it has a curve. I glue a second layer curve to curve, which flattens out the pattern panel. I then do my final shaping and sanding until I’m happy with the pattern.

      I use a snap-blade knife to cut the styrene.

        1. kmac Post author

          I use CA (superglue). I like the Gorilla Glue brand CA. A little thicker, and it doesn’t seem to get as brittle and subject to shock failure.

          A word of caution when you’re putting down that much superglue, of any brand. Do so only with good ventilation, the fumes are nasty!

      1. Steve Tapp

        Mine came as 3 foot square sheets rolled up for shipping. They laid flat pretty quickly when unrolled. Laminated sheets would certainly make the templates more durable. A sharp knife can cut into the styrene pretty easily. The styrene is easier to work and hold up better than the poster board I used for my first set of templates. Thanks for the tip Ken!

  2. Larry Krablin

    Alert -

    Nancy and I flew our Muses yesterday at Wildwood. First impression is that they both flew REALLY nicely. Thanks Ken. I do have one caution, however, for anyone who did not have Ken set up their bridle. I realized (late) that when Steve and I set mine up, we omitted the step of melting a little knob on each end of the link line in the bridle. The result was that mine came untied, and I lost one, maybe both bits of line. I’m sure I can replace them (maybe white instead of black), as I have Nancy’s as a model.

    Check yours.


    1. Larry Krablin

      After further investigation, I find that I have two pieces of what appear to be the same bridle material. One is 10 inches long, the other 13 inches. The link segment on Nancy’s kite is 9 inches, which suggests that the shorter piece I have is the one I thought I recovered when things came loose. I don’t know where the longer one came from – it was apparently rattling around on the floor of the car. Maybe it was a stray piece from the workshop. Anyway, it looks like I can restore the bridle on my kite.

      About knots: I seem to recall that the knots of both ends of that link segment were sheet bends, and that looks consistent with what I see on Nancy’s kite. There is one minor question. It looks like all four of these (on Nancy’s kite)have “pulled through” or flattened (like a Prussik will pull through) so that the knot will slip, with some friction, on both the inhaul and outhaul. The knob (what Andy Wardley calls an anvil) on the end is crucial to getting knot to stay tied, and that’s what failed on mine. The tension on the main bridle segments “straightened” the knots and the ends slipped through.

      While I’m at it, I can add the positions for these knots, based on both Nancy’s kite and the Ken’s marks: upper spreader to knot: 10.5 to 11.0, center tee to knot: 12 to 12.5

      1. Jackie Maciel

        Thanks Larry for being a test probe. I have not flown my new Muse. Steve put the bridle on my kite. So I will take it apart melt the ends of those lines and learn how to make a sheet blend know.

    2. Steve Tapp

      Hi Larry,

      Sorry you had trouble with your bridle. Strange though as out of the dozen or so bridles I’ve tied (not counting the workshop), I’ve never seen a link line come untied. One end coming apart due to a too small melted flange is understandable but for all four knots to fail seems like poltergeists at work :)

      I just setup my workshop Muse (I have flown the kite) and the Muse I bought from Ken. I gave the link lines a good pull test and they are all still nice and tight.

      Anyway the 9″ you mention is the right length. Retie the sheet bends (a simple knot) at the marks ~13″ down from the tow point on the uphaul and inhauls. Pull the knots tight and leave about 1/4″ tail hanging out and melt that end flush with a lighter when done. That size flange will not come apart. There is relatively little strain on the link line so most any light line will do. Something with a little diameter (like bridle line) is easier to tie.

  3. Ben Huggett

    Thanks again for everything Ken.

    In searching wide and far for tacky mats/sticky mats I think the best deal is from American Floor Mats. They have their own website – and they deal directly through Amazon. 24″ x 36″ – 4 pads of 30 each (120 total) – $72. I found a few single pads (30 sheets) the lowest for $45 – but mostly these are sold in groups. As Ken noted these last for months on end, none of us really needs more than 1 pad (30), so I am happy to share with up to 3 others if anyone is interested.


        1. Ben Huggett

          That works well – because I am sure we can arrange something other than having to reship. If nothing else I can come out to Victory and get my growler refilled. Last call for anyone else.

      1. Ben Huggett

        I got my vinyl end caps from McMasterCarr – 100 of the 1″ size (cause you can always cut them down) for $3.46 to $4.61 depending on diameter. That’s about 1/3 of what you can get them for anywhere else. I bought 1 pkg of each up to 1/2″ – so I guess I have close to a lifetime supply. Thanks.

        1. kmac Post author

          If you’re going to be cutting down a lot of end caps or tubing, look at the little cutter they carry. Do a search for item number 8288A51

          Get the one without the lanyard for $7. You can get replacement blades, but the one that comes with it will last you years.

  4. Larry Krablin

    One more question about the tape gun on Amazon. The tape that comes with it appears to be Scotch 085-RAF 1/4-Inch by 36-Yard Acid Free ATG, which does not appear on the framingsupplies site by that name. Is it the same as the 908?

      1. Ben Huggett

        I got mine last week – and used the enclosed tape for a SLK I am working on. Worked perfectly. I could not tell any different from what we had in class.

  5. Steve Tapp

    A note of thanks to Keystone Kiters for hosting the workshop and to Ken for agreeing to come out of dual line retirement to teach his techniques. While I’ve tinkered (some say tortured) with Ken’s kites for years, I’ve had little complete kite making experience and was pleased when the workshop was announced. I learned lots of details, most importantly how to make fabric do unnatural things like go around curves and lay flat. The rolled TE was an unexpected surprise. If I could do it again, I would not build a kite but soak up all the details of Ken’s instructions and help others build their kites. Of course it’s always nice to have a new kite :) I stopped on the way home after a 9 hour drive and flew the new Muse for a bit. It flies just like the Muse I bought a few years back and looks just as good – from ten feet away….

  6. Larry Krablin

    About the ATG gun – I went to the Amazon listing and was slightly confused by the note that this item was also available as a newer (slightly more expensive) model, although as nearly as I could make out, the items are identical. ???

    In the reviews there was the usual collection of people who had all sorts of problems, but one made me think – difficulty of use for left-handers. I am right-handed, as were most but not all of the attendees. Given the way the tape is visible on what you might call the left side of the gun, making it hard for lefties to see what they are doing, could you not use it applying tape away from you, lining up with the right edge of the seam line. In that case, holding the gun in the left hand would be natural? It would put the handle at a bit of an awkward angle, I guess.

    1. kmac Post author

      Larry – I missed the “newer model” note, but I’d be willing to bet that the only difference between the two is the packaging.

      If I understand what you’re describing, I think we tried that and the gun body blocked the sight line. Maybe a solution would be to hold the gun in the same orientation as a right-hander would, but using the pinky finger of the left hand, instead of the index of the right, to squeeze the trigger.(?) You would be driving the applicator forward, instead of back, like a right-hander would, but the sight line should still be OK.(?) I can speculate all day, but the real solution will come from a left-hander that uses the tool for more than a few minutes.

  7. Jackie Maciel

    Would like to know about the different weight line used for leach line, wing tip loop, and bridles and a source to get them.

    Also, length of lines for bridles. I know there were 3 different length and 5 lines. I guess I could measure and try to add the extra length need to wrap around the spars. But this would help.

    A source for the mylar material or do we call John Trenapol?

    1. kmac Post author

      Jackie – The leech line is 80# Dacron. The wingtip loops are 160# Dacron. The bridle is 140# Spectra core, and should be available from Kites and Fun Things (Marieanne and Jon Trennepohl)

      I’ll measure the bridle components in the next couple days as time allows, and try to post them in a format that makes sense and is replicable.

      Jon doesn’t carry the Mylar, and I don’t have a source that I can share with you. You might try

    2. Steve Tapp

      There are two ways that I know to measure and replicate a bridle Jackie. The most obvious it to take the bridle off the kite, untie as needed, and measure each segment carefully noting the knots and mark locations. If making several bridles like Ken does, this is the best method. This is a little risky as you have to remember how to reattach and tie the bridle as before.

      What I would do since you have a new un-stretched and properly adjusted bridle is to get a good metal yardstick and measure the bridle legs from the frame to the knots and note all the measurements. Put the ruler against the frame/fitting with the line on top of the ruler, pull the line taut, and read the knot location. You can also verify both sides are the same.

      In the future if you want to make a new bridle, start by attaching new unfinished bridle segments to the frame and measuring out from the frame with the same yardstick. Tie knots and make marks to match the original recorded measurements. While this takes longer and requires a bit of patience, you will have an accurate bridle when finished. You can even tie one side to match the original other half still on the kite, then tie the other half to match.

      You want to record the measurements of the bridle on the kite anyway so you can put the bridle back to factory specs if it ever gets out of adjustment. You should come up with something like 24″ uphaul, 24 1/2″ outhaul, 25″ inhaul. These are the most important measurements and not surprisingly match the Muse I bought from Ken a few years ago.

      1. Jackie Maciel


        Thank you for your suggestion. I found a knot web site that showed me how to make the sheet blend knot used on that stabilizer line. I gather the uphaul goes from the BP to the upper LE APA, the outhaul goes from the BP to the Lower LE APA, and the inhaul from the BP to the spine. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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