Polers.......aluminum pole construction?

So, I got the local steel supplier to order me in some 1.25" 6061 aluminum and I picked it up today. I’ve looked, and haven’t been able to find any 1" expanding plugs like those used in Fred Klingener’s two-piece pole instructions. I also noticed mention of delrin plugs but don’t know where to get them (and don’t own a lathe).

So - what are y’all using for your aluminum pole ends? Online sources for parts?

this ain’t proper…

– Last Updated: Jun-19-08 4:45 AM EST –

but I use copper end caps from the local hardware store. Drilled a hole thru them for my home de-pole the first set, now I just plumbers goop 'em on, and wrap a little duct tape for cosmetic nirvana. Not as good a grip as the bolt, but easy to snub with and find a purchase poling.
Tried making epoxy plugs with a bolt in them, but they broke out of both Aarons and my poles w/in a half mile of put in, doing some aggresive climbing.

A few thoughts
You might try carving plugs from hardwood.

I’ve heard of folks turning plugs on a drill with a Sureform. Delrin as well as wood.

You want a press fit (very tight) so if you start with a 1.125" rod you won’t want to take much off.

You can buy delrin rod from McMaster Carr www.mcmaster.com. 1.125 diameter $27 per foot for PTFE filled $16 per foot for glass filled. I believe the PTFE is what Ed Hayden uses but I don’t know why.

ptfe is teflon
maybe it slides in easier? I used ptfe strips for a sliding hatch on my old sailboat. Lasted forever, doesn’t degrade, abrade.

Sources for aluminum. Sleeve-end.
Wow, I am surprised to hear you got the tubing. A few years ago I looked into it and couldn’t find any. I talked to some fabricators who could order it for me, but was told they’d have to order a gross, and since they didn’t regularly have demand for that tubing, they’d only do it if I bought the whole gross. So I am envious that you found somebody to get you a single tube.

Matt, what are you buying at the Depot? I looked around and didn’t see anything there that looked suitable.

What if Steve inserts a dowell into the end of the tube and then just puts a copper or aluminum sleeve (open ended) on the dowell? I suggest that because I have heard that an, open, soft metal tube can provide a good grip on rock. With the dowell interface, when the sleeve becomes unacceptably mangled, Steve could just change the sleeve.


I glued on heavy wall pvc pipe caps.lighter than copper and cheaper.


Thanks …
…for the varied responses, guys!

Matt – it looks in the photo like the improper-copper cap on your aluminum pole has concaved slightly from use, correct? Does that help your grip on the rocks? Does it show any signs of wearing through? And how difficult will it be to replace (I haven’t worked with plumbers goop) if it wears out?

Tommy – thanks for the source for Delrin. This is also a possibility for me, since I have a drill press.

Chip – the local supply house is a real service-oriented outfit. I have friends who have worked there for years. Still, I was surprised that they would order me a single tube. There was one catch - it had to come in 20’ length. So I have an extra 8’ pole now that I don’t know for sure what I’ll do with. Also, I wish I would have noticed that there was a slight bend in the tubing before they made the cut, so I could have had them cut it out. Now it’s in the middle of the 12’ section. It’s only 5° or 10°, so I don’t’ know if I’ll bother to try straightening it.

Your idea about the hardwood plug and soft metal sleeve is interesting. I do have that extra tubing. Hmmm……

Rblturtle – What glue did you use? Is the cap not slippery on rocks?

……I do have a wood lathe with no motor attached and a motor that needs a step-down pulley to make it work. Maybe it’s time to get that together…

Got the closet rod

– Last Updated: Jun-19-08 12:25 PM EST –

at Home depot. 1.5" x 12', I'm guessing ash. It's held up for a couple years now, but I don't know if it's weakening or I'm just poling harder stuff, 'cuz it starts fluttering pretty wildly sometimes(RavenJester says that's just me ;-)). Works nice for snubbing and is quieter than the aluminum, so in the calmer water it's preferred. I couldn't find the big end caps there, but my local hardware store has them, and I buy him out (6 caps) every now and then.
Good eyes on the concave end, and yes, as it gets broken in it starts to collapse. I like it concave, gets a decent grip. Eventually it will crack, but gives plenty of warning before breaking. I'll start getting water in the pole thru the crack, and when I'm thru pretending I'm Ahnold, I replace it or them. Easy to replace. The goop holds "good enough" but not "too good."
I really want to make a high quality wood pole. Love the quiet, but need the strength. What're you guys using for a good strong wood? Spruce?

Ravensjester for a two pc. inexpensive pole utilizes "texas towers" as a source of tubing. Near 6061 in strength, and cheap shipping in 6' lengths or shorter. I'll find the link if anyones interested.

Two-piece pole
I have the link to Ravenjester’s pole instructions too. That’s where I got the idea for the expanding plug - but I think I like the gooped-on coper cap idea better, because it’s simple and I’m stupid (KISS). Anyway - I originally called my local supplier about ordering 6’ lengths to do a two-piece pole. They would have done that for me, but in the conversation, he mentioned the available 20’ lengths - so I bit. My extra 8’ piece may end up as part of a future two-piece.

I’m gonna amble over to HD and see if they have any more of them copper caps and some of that goop.

Texas Towers

I’ve been using this stuff for masts for my sailing canoes. It’s sized to nest so you can buy a piece the next size down to make ferules. ie 1" ferules in a 1.125" pole.

Steve-Kiss sums me up lol
Can’t find freds link for the 2 pc. pole now, but Tommy got the link for the supplies. See, even though you’re the Idaho poling maestro, it’s a small world after all :-).

Thought you had some 1.25" Aluminum
Didn’t you say you have some beefy aluminum poles? Where’d those come from?

Closet rod is not ash. I think it is pine, maybe spruce. I have an ash pole from the arborist supply guys, and it is about my favorite now. LOTS stiffer than closet rod. Lots heavier, too. Around 5 pounds in 12’, octaganol shaped, approx. 1.25"

My two piece, former closet rod pole has PVC sleeves on the end, with dowel bolts out the ends. Its about 12’ and weighs 3 lbs, even carrying more hardware than the ash pole and some FG reinforcing. So, given the weight differential, I am confident the closet rod is not ash. Of my poles, the pvc/bolt end is least grippy on rocks. The sleeves are too wide. As the pole arcs through the power stroke it gets to a point where the sleeve hits the rock and lifts the bolt, and the pvc has no grip. I’d shy away from pvc on your pole tip.


My First Pole
which I still have, had nothing but plummbers apoxy stuffed in the ends. I hadn’t seen the end with a bolt in at that time. I’ve used that pole since 99’ and still love using it. And with all the use I have on it those expoxy plugs still haven’t fallen out or deteriorated in any way.


online source
I get round material (I think I used delrin) from www.onlinemetals.com and used a router to size the end to fit in the tube. You could probably do the same thing with a knife and a file.

beefy poles

– Last Updated: Jun-19-08 6:37 PM EST –

I'm fortunate to have a metal distributer a couple towns away. I remember when the brothers started in their basement, ended up with a huge facility, co-ed bathrooms, power naps as wanted,free tickets to Patriots games etc... sold the company to somebody for 72 bazillion dollars.
My aluminum poles are 1.5" x .065 wall. Bought these because my closet rod poles are 1.5" and I didn't know any better. Actually I like this size, I have big hands as does Aaron, and Aaron noticed some peoples poles flexing more than we'd like. These bad boys don't flex. There's all sorts of sizes, only problem is the price bought in low quantity is pretty expensive.
Freds(RavensJester) suggestion of Texas Towers with the economy of a near 6061 t-6 strength, cosmetically inferior but who cares, 2 x6' pieces for low shipping costs, makes sense to me. If I didn't have these guys 20 minutes away
that's the way I'd go.

Thanks for the heads up on the ash. Wonder if I could make a pole out of 2' lengthes? Really gotta put the chainsaw down after too many coffees one of these days.;-)

Hey Doug, how do you keep the epoxy from getting pushed up inside the pole? I've still got 4 chunks with the bolts sticking out that broke apart after about a half mile up from Hitchcock Chair (remember the 'vous). If I cut the ends of the bolts off maybe I could pop the epoxyblobs back in?