Calling all polers/ingineers...

-- Last Updated: Nov-24-07 12:05 PM EST --

A question fer any polers/ingineers out thaar.

Lets say yer kin only find 10' closet poles at de local Homecrapo or Blowes an' lets say yer want ta make a 12' pole. (Ah'm still gonna try an arbor supply fer an ash 12 footer. Ah's make my own but long lengths of ash be'a extremely hard ta find in these here parts)

Add extensions?

Is de best way ta do dis be to add 1 foot sections ta each end of de 10' pole usin' dowel screws, epoxy and glass instead of a two foot extension in de center? Ah'm a'guessing that there be less shear force, leverage vectorin', proton nucleation, tri-linear flatulational gorgonzola, differential trapezoidal deformation, Dilithium crystal implosional anti anti-matterharpengoober...

"Reverse polarity, Mr. Scott, dammit - reverse polarity!" "Captain, de engines kin'na take it anymoorrr!"...... "Scottie, don't bother me with those trivial matters. Can't you see I'm busy showing some alien green chick my phaser!".....

Ahh! Sorry, ah' went away fer a minute there, ah'm back.

In other words in real life canoo polin' conditions - are poles less likely to break near de ends or de middle? Thanky kindly.

Fat Elmo

the best of the bad choices for adding
… length would be to add it to the top (end nearest you head).

Personally, I’d keep shopping.

Good luck!

Ack! College flashbacks

To answer your question, you need draw what we ingunears call a “shear and bending moment diagram”.

Some examples are here:

As you can plainly see, your pole is the represented by the light blue pole shaped object in the diagram. Various black arrows, dark blue arrows, yellow shapes and orange “twist the beer bottle cap this way to open” symbols are applied.

Then you do some math, and draw the graphs on the bottom. These will tell you exactly where your pole will break when it gets jammed between some rocks on the downstream side of your canoe.

Usually, these diagrams are used by bridge ingunears when designing bridges that go OVER water. If you are going to use the diagrams for canoe poles that go UNDER the bridges and ON the water, then you need to draw everything upside down from the way they are shown, otherwise your answer will be negative where it should be positive, and positive where it should be negative and some sort of time-space vortex is likely to occur.

On the more practial side
Everybody knows that if you need to make a stick longer, you can only do it by adding something at the end.

If you try to make a stick longer by adding something in the middle you first have to make two shorter sticks. Then you add something to the ends of those short sticks.

Gad Zooks! Mint…
Ah’reckons ah’s gonna have ta git Yeoman Janice Rand ta ‘splain all dat ta me waan she puts some stress forces on me’ pole.


I also have been unable [so far] to locate a nice 12’ piece of wood, so I use a 10’ pole I made from a rod from Lowes. In real life my pole has a “foot” and a “head”—[I don’t switch ends when I pole]—so if I truly wanted to splice some more length to one end of the pole, I’d add it to the “head” end.

When I was building my pole, “gulfcoaster” recommended to me that I dip the ends in Liquid Plastic. I found this product at Lowes and dipped both ends of my pole in it. It’s pretty cool stuff. I bought black, but I think it comes in other colors too. On the “foot” of the pole the Liquid Plastic coating gets worn off pretty quickly with use, but on the “head” it remains a smooth, rubber-like surface which is easy on the hands.

I’m not sure how you intend to extend your ten-footer—[maybe a metal rod insert?]—but once you have it sanded smooth and waterproofed, you might paint some of that Liquid Plastic stuff over the joint to make it smoother on your hands.

Personally, I wouldn’t try this extension idea. I’m still in the market for a good 12’ piece of wood, but in the meantime I get lots of use with my dinky little ten-footer.

Good luck.


depending what type of poling

– Last Updated: Nov-24-07 4:28 PM EST –

you're doing FE. If you added a foot to the ends, and managed to get the end stuck between a couple rocks, I see an 11' pole in your immediate future.Also if you're poling in soft bottom, the plastic goop would work well, but granite bottom poling gets me thinking the plastic would wear off real quick, and copper endcaps like I use or the endcap/bolt combo for better grip is advisable. I haven't had any problem finding 12' lengths, although my first pole (now Aarons backup) is 10.5 feet. Perhaps sleeving with a 2' length of aluminum over 2 6' lengths of dowel would be preferred. This would allow a 6' storage length, convenient for when you paddle, but would be a compromise for poling. It'd really throw a crimp into getting "into the groove". Ever think about aluminum? You'll be there eventually anyway:-).

Two piece poles
Ed Hayden makes two piece poles from 6’ lengths with a ferrule in the middle. They seem to hold up pretty well.

Duckworks sells some ferrules that might work.

Get the 10 foot pole
then soak it in Viagara.

I think a 2 piece would work out fine.


2-piece pole is mighty convenient
I started with a 12 footah from the D-pot. It snapped and became Frankenstick after it got rebuilt a number of times, ultimately with a CF ferrule not quite in the middle.

I got my ferrule from CLC down in Annapolis but just checked to see if they still got 'em (dey do, scroll down the paddles page at But my gawd, dey got expensive, Elmo. $53!! I seem to recall paying about $35. Could be the price of oil or maybe the price of Euro’s if the thing is made across the Atlantic–they are used for EUROPEAN paddles. Add shipping, the price of the sticks, and a bit of epoxy, and you might as well get one of Ed Hayden’s poles, which he used to sell for about $100. Course, then you got a clanky, cold piece of aluminum, not a lovely wood pole.

If you put in a ferrule, put ‘er right in the middle. That way, you can more easily transport the pole, and you can take it apart and lay it in the bottom of the boat when you switch to paddlin’ Extremely convenient, IMHO.

DO NOT use the stainless ferrules CLC sells, or any ferrule that has a graduated transition above the male half of the ferrule. You need a ferrule where tube ends press against another tube end. Graduated tube will over-cram itself together when you are pushing up a rapid and ruin itself plus become a one piece paddle again.


The title of your post reminds me

– Last Updated: Nov-25-07 1:04 PM EST –

of a framed saying hanging on one of my cohorts walls back when I was in the work force.
"Once I couln't even spel ungineer. Now I are one"

Sorry I can't help you with your wood pole I am one of those eletrican types.
How about a big long piece of EMT?


I haven’t tried this, but might do it soon as my recycled pole vault pole is not working as well as I thought it would.

I would buy the nicest spruce 2x? stock that you can get. Look for boards that have a clear run down one edge. You usually find the best wood in the biggest boards so look at 2x10s and 2x12s. The grain might not be just right and there may to some pin knots.

Rip 1x4 inch strips(you can do this with a hand circular saw with a fence if you don’t have a table saw) from this and rearrange them for strength, maybe even turning every other one end for end. laminate 6 strips back together for a 1 1/2 square blank and round it with whatever tool you have that works.

The only problem with this is the stick will be stiffer in one orientation, but I think that might be useful.

Ah’ stand coorecked…
MintJulip set me straight on de spellin’ - it be really spelt - “ingunears”. Thanky kindly anyway, Jack.

Fat Elmo

My poles are all laminated. I cut the stock 1 ½ inch wide and about 7/16 inch thick and sandwich three layers together. Stager the end joints so none of them align with others. Trim the blank square (I like 1 ¼ in.) and make round.

My 12 footer is made from 8 pieces of stock none longer than 6 ft. The end joints are mated at 45 degrees. A longer scarf would no doubt be better but I have experienced no joint failures so far.

I tried out Conk’s poles at Raystown. His cedar pole was stiffer than it had a right to be, and nice and light. His ash pole, while heavier, is stiff and lively. Nice poles, both, so if you decide to laminate, you can be pretty sure of a good result following “the Conk way.”

OK Woodworkers - - Idea - -
I know Homeless Depot and Low Budget don’t carry 12’ poles anymore. (just checked myself recently) Nobody has a 12 foot closet these days. (Wonder why???)

What if - -

Take some scrap ash boards, Strip to 2" width, and epoxy then together to make a 12’ x 2" x 2" board, Run it through a table saw at 45 degree’s and cut chamfers on all four sides.

Finishing options - - Hand plane it round, Leave it octogon, only round off the area you need.

I recall seeing somewhere in a catalog, a device that looked like a freakin big pencil sharpener that was used to make round ends on logs for log furniture. Could something like that be used to round off this pole??

You could just as easily send it down to engineering deck and have Scotty have a go of it with a claymore. I’m sure Kirk wouldn’t mind.

You could make a router jig to do it.
Not sure of the best set up as I’ve never considered it, but you would obviously want a router table set up with a flat bottoming bit, maybe a spiral bit. Would have to figure out a way to allow the board to be turned slowly over the bit and moved forward by hand through the length to get it perfectly round.

I would much rather knock off the corners on a table saw at 45, then again at 22.5. Then just use a table or hand held belt sander. A hand plane would work too, but be much more work.

try bamboo
i bought an 18-foot cane pole and sawed it down to 12 feet. it works great, strong and light, and cost like $12.

Interesting idea
but it’s gonna be pretty hard to find a Bamboo pole in Jersey, and slim to nil in Northern Ohio

    • Good idea though

Boo in NJ
I know of 5 different stands of bamboo within 10 miles of my house in central NJ. Place on rt 36 near Belford has bamboo. More common than you think. Rutgers has a bamboo forest in New Brunswick.

Boo sounds worth a try but the air pockets might make it tough to get down quickly to the river bed. Of course this may not be a problem in all poling situations. Going up quickwater with no or few obastacles and very shallow water would probably be fine for boo.

I use one end of the pole most often in flat open, shallow, fast water but find it a necessity to use both ends when ascending a drop. A heavy end gets the pole down sure and fast. Hope to make a woood pole but use a modified telescoping aluminum pole from Cabelas.

A 12 footer might be a bit unwieldly. 10 to 11’ works for me.

If I was set on a making a 12 footer from a ten footer I’d laminate strips to both ends as it will add strength as well as wieght and balance to get the pole down.

For an experiment, try to cut the 10 footer in half length wise and shift the pieces until you reach 12’ and epoxy back together. Then laminate strips on each end staggering the ends toward the center of the pole.