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Setting poles

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by KennyR, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. KennyR

    KennyR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I've been watching too much YouTube lately(under the STAY HOME order) but did find a series of videos about poling your canoe. This looks like fun. The only problem is I know nothing about what wood the pole should be made from, or how long it should be,or what the end caps really are.
    If anyone can enlighten me in my ignorance I'd really appreciate it.

  2. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy

    I made one several years ago out of ordinary construction lumber. I think mine is about 12 feet long and was made from 2 by lumber. I went to a home store and picked through their pile of 2 x6's until I found one that had a large enough knot free zone to get a clear square rip. You can make the shoe out of a plumbing fitting but if you want to get fancy you can buy a very elegant shoe here: I ripped the stock to square and then ran it through the jointer or saw to make it octagonal. From there if you want to round it off you can do so with a plane or spoke shave. Making one is not difficult and is kind of a fun project as you can get as fancy or crude as you like.

    There is more info here:
  3. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I made my first couple out of 12' closet poles from the home center. Finding a straight one took a little time, but they were already round, which made it a bit easier (lazy me!). I think I wrapped the ends in fiberglass, about 3-4" up the shaft at both ends, and capped it with some sort of hardware I picked up. They held up well, and may still be in service with the folks I ended up giving them to. Think lighter weight woods, though... oak and maple would get pretty heavy before long.

    You get a nice view from up there!
  4. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    My father got me started using a pick pole. He guided and worked for the forest service in the Greenville area. That was what he used. I always assumed that pick poles were the accepted standard. When you camp it can be used to hang a tarp over. The one I've used for the last 50 years is ash. I'm guessing it's 12 feet? I'll measure it tomorrow and post the length.
    Peavey sells pick poles I would guess they might sell you one without the pick.
    I'm curious to know if anyone has tried one of their pruner poles, also ash but in six foot would be really nice to have a pole that breaks down when you aren't poling.

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
  5. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Peavey does sell replacement poles up to 16 feet, using the link MGC provided.
  6. OP

    KennyR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you all. Using a pick pole sure makes sense. I kinda figured they'd be made of ash or spruce. Definitely made from something light,strong and springy.
    A 12ft 2X4 and a couple of galvanized caps will make a cheap practice pole. At least it will when I'm allowed anywhere besides the gas station and the grocery.
  7. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Used to be that every wood shed in Millinocket and points North had a couple pick poles in the rafters. You can buy a new one from Peavey but I'm assuming used ones are still available. Head Down East when this breaks and see if you can score one cheap. Ay yuh.
  8. OP

    KennyR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I'll have to look if I get to Maine this summer. I'm in Michigan so I might find one up north or in the UP.
    I can just imagine what shipping would cost from Peavey!
  9. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

  10. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

  11. whalen

    whalen Will canoe, and have been canoed,

    I used a 12ft length of 6061 aluminum tubing, 1 inch diameter. Now priced at about $8 per foot. Pushed foam into the entire length to keep water from sloshing around. Dayton Canoe Club had a New Year's Day tradition of poling on ice and/or paddling among the bergs. To pole on ice I put a wooden plug in one end, screwed a lag bolt into it, cut the square head off, and sharpened it to a point. Worked well. There's nothing like ice poling a Grumman aluminum canoe with a nice sharp keel -- some speed!
  12. ppine

    ppine Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    A friend of mine cut me a piece of western red cedar about 2 1/2 inches on a side. I used to spoke shave to round it up and then a rasp and sand paper.
    I put galvanized bell reducer on one end to protect it. It is just a piece of pipe with openings to different sizes. I hand fit the reducer to stand on with friction and cranked on the end of the pole. It protects the end and the weight allows the pole to sink much more quickly. I made to use on my power boat in shallow water, but I have used it standing in the Guide 18. It is a lot of fun. Faster current takes some practice.
  13. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    :) betcha!

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