Bamboo for canoe poling?

I have bamboo growing in my yard that looks like it would make a decent pole 12’ pole being 1.5" and bigger. Has anyone used it for poling canoes. it is strong and light weight. and the end could be epoxied and glassed and fitted with an endcap. So I wonder if it would be too buoyant being hollow? Anyway I thought I might give it a try.

It’s been tried before, and you might
well use bamboo to get started, but differential drying along the shaft will likely cause the shaft to split, decreasing rigidity and making the shaft somewhat uncomfortable for use. There might be a way to slowly dry and season bamboo to counteract the splitting tendency (which is marked in the groves of large bamboo near us), but then the ends will be getting re-wet while the center less so, so I forsee splitting as being almost inevitable.

If the bamboo is growing in my yard
I wouldn’t worry about it splitting, I would just cut a new one each time I go and make a quick detachable base for it. I would also keep some gloves handy to help keep your hands from being pinched in case the pole develops some cracks or splits in it.

I thought about the spliting

– Last Updated: Jun-09-15 4:52 PM EST –

And when I make bamboo flutes to prevent this you flame treat it with a torch. Aftrer sanding the nodes i could put a coat of epoxy and varnish on it, and cap the ends.

Hi Ken

– Last Updated: Jun-09-15 4:41 PM EST –

We need to paddle together again. I have been paddling with String (Jim) quiet a bit. Bought a wenonah advantage which is a bit smaller than your voyager.

Drill the nodes
Drilling through the nodes will help keep the bamboo from splitting as it dries. That’s what they do for bamboo bike frames. It might be just a bit harder to do with a canoe pole.

a piece of rebar might work for this.
Thanks for the tip about opening up the nodes. I have used rebar before for nocking out the nodes.

Plumbers Epoxy
I have been using plumbers epoxy to seal the ends of bamboo I use for booms for my sailing rigs. Also used that for repairs on gunwales as well as the end of some aluminum poles. Cheaper then resin. I’d go for it, can’t hurt to try it out. If you do please let us know how it goes! Wish I could grow some here in NH!

On the pole…

Bamboo is a bundle of tubes carrying water n nutrients to fronds.

Hardwood is mostly non tube material holding tubing.

The tubes only split, non tube materials dry out holding tubing intact.

I’m at the near tropics with poor soil and enormouswater resources for a long time now. Before in the upper temperate hardwood forest.

‘Wood’ here is not so good with an exception of live oak found …in the well drained uplands.

Bamboo may not dry and wet dry and wet…… I don’t know, search on that.

Ash is going extinct. Cut some ash n leave your bamboo alone. Hickory would be the wood of choice.

Overall, the idea is a negative. You are cutting a young tree down, killing it, as the young plant begins to grow into a tree.

This is despicable.

Hell on the hands
It’s like sandpaper, 8 miles on Sherman creek in Perry County Pa one time, enuff for me. Aluminum is the way to go once your technique is more refined, as they do bend easy.

I would not say that my T6061 Beletz
pole bends “easy”. It has a very slight set at one end after years of use.

Not really

– Last Updated: Jun-10-15 10:15 AM EST –

"You are cutting a young tree down, killing it, as the young plant begins to grow into a tree.

This is despicable. "

Bamboo is a type of grass, not a tree, and is one of the fastest growing plants known. It's about as renewable a resource as they come, so there's no need to over-dramatize the impact of harvesting bamboo.

Did you put a finish on it?
I see they sell tape for aluminum poles as well. I wear gloves when I paddle for sun protection.are gloves a bad idea for poling?


Could be dangerous
I can remember bamboo ski poles (yeah, I know, ancient history). I can also remember that they fell out of favor because they were given to splitting when the skier crashed. They split into very sharp shards that skewered the skier. Y’all be careful.


bamboo could be bad, but carbon shards
will skewer you pretty bad, too.

Castoff, on the buoyancy issue,
most poles have less buoyancy than we would prefer. So the buoyancy of bamboo will probably prove to be a plus rather than a problem. A pole needs to be just “heavy” enough to spear readily to the bottom of the river.

well not finding
bamboo pole failures. Poles were used for carpet rollers. Splitting end to end , but rarely seen.

Here’s a failed failure search:

the aluminum pole would look AAA with a dayglo ethafoam donut on the upper end.

What was the point of linking that?

Down here it can be almost like kudzu.
The National Park Service has been paying contractors to rip out the bamboo thickets along the metro Chattahoochee, and metro park agencies are similarly removing it from city and county parks.

If we don’t get rid of it, soon we will have pandas raiding our garbage cans.