Home Depot Canoe Pole
a two piece aluminum pole from the same source. Includes a link to a good source for tubing.
ACA poling schedule. Check back in January for next year.
Shaw & Tenney, down east in Maine, sell spruce poles.(bottom of the page)
Home Depot Canoe Pole
On the Home Depot Pole …
Make sure you get the 5/16" screw/bolts like the directions say. After successfully making one pole, I went to HD to get the bits to make two more a year later. Turns out I forgot the screw/bolt size and picked up 1/4" by mistake. They broke almost immediately. You need to use the 5/16 size.
Also, you can lightly trace around the pole with a hand saw to create a neat and clean place to start whittling. There's no need to to start with a tapered carving like the picture shows. I think using a saw to score the area to begin whitling makes a neater and cleaner job.
My last bit of advice is to first punch then drill the brass cup from the inside before placing it on the pole. I found it surprisingly difficult to find and drill the center of the brass cup after it is hammered onto the pole.
This is all super easy, and fun!
Ok, one more bit of advice ... Begin looking over the closet poles at Home Depo long before you need to actually make one. That way you can pull the trigger on a nice, straight 12 footer when one presents itself (which may not be very often, depending on the actual HD store). The bigger Home Depot stores stock a much better supply of these things.
Riverstrider mentioned this one on the Raystown TR. Thanks Chuck! Pole and Paddle, also down Maine sells spruce and ash poles and tips. The website is worth reading even if you don't want a pole.
Closet dowels: shaping, selecting
If you have access to a mitre saw with adjustable depth stops, or a table saw, you can do all the shaving by saw. Figure out the depth of “shave”, material to be removed, set the saw accordingly. Place the pole on the table of the saw, and cut repeatedly on the area to be shaved, rotating the pole, and moving the pole so that the saw kerf covers the whole area to be shaved. This will produce a uniformly rounded shave of the exact depth you are looking for.
That’s good advice on selecting a straight-grained dowel. I thought I had done so, but my pole snapped on it’s third trip. Thus began it’s transition to a two piece “frankenstick”. There’s a store I frequent near Gambrills (JP Fuller) that specializes in outdoor maintenance products such as mowers and chain saws. They do a lot of biz with the professional lawn, garden, and aroborist community. On one visit there, I noticed 12 foot poles, which they stock for use on pole saws and pruners. When I first saw them, they had ash poles, but when I went back to buy one, they had basswood and fiberglass poles. I considered the FG, but bought the basswood for a fairly economical price ($20 range).
The pruning pole is very straight grain and very light (2lbs after addition of copper caps, dowell bolts, washers, and nuts). It has an octaganal shape. I planed down the corners of the octagon just enough to remove the edge. It is a bit too flexible for some uses, but among frankenstick, an Ed Hayden aluminum pole, and the basswood, it is the one I use the most. Pushing up rapids, I find it lacking in stiffness and use one of the other poles, but I switch back as soon as the conditions are less demanding.
So, if you have a store in your area that arborists use, you might consider a pruning pole over a closet dowell. I might try adapting one of the FG poles next time I feel a need for a new pole. If you get to it first, let me know your results.
~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD
OK I wasted most of the AM
On that site. I guess I will be busy this PM catching up.