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Pole Extensions

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Wooden dowels make for convenient wand poles. 48" dowels are frequently used but are not long enough for large tri-string loops. For large loops, people often use telescoping fishing poles. However, it is possible to rig pole extenders for dowels to create long handles.

This page documents a few inexpensive ways to create long poles by allowing one 48" dowel to be extended with another dowel. These can be put together and taken apart in the field.

My 8' pole setup weighs only 120 grams vs over 250 grams for my telescoping fishing pole. I use 3/8" poplar dowels. Thicker dowels are heavier. Dowel weight is determined by the type of wood.

Wood Type and Weight. In Northern California, where I live, the most common type of inexpensive dowel is poplar. Poplar is light and strong. I have used segmented poles up to 12' long. Other types of wood may be quite a bit heavier. My 12' pole has a lot of flex when a heavy loop is attached. For the bottom portion of the pole, a thicker dowel would be needed to use heavyweight loops.

Metal Tubes as UnionsEdit

20131214 edward segmented pole set

A set of 2-foot long dowel segments that fit together to make a 12-foot long pole. Edward used 4 to 6 segments to make most of the giants and supergiants seen on this site.

Inexpensive round aluminum and brass tube can be used. The pictures below show two lengths of 3/8" dowel joined with round brass tube. Friction fit is often sufficient for both top and bottom sections. You may want to secure the main handle to the tube with glue (or duct tape). The extender can be inserted and removed in the field. For a 3/8" dowel, a 13/32" diameter tube is used. For a 7/16" dowel, a 15/32" tube must be used. a 4" tube is sufficient even with just a friction fit.

Here is my recommended procedure for making extendable or segmented poles. Cut the brass tube into 4" sections using a hacksaw. Sand or file the ends so that there aren't any sharp edges or burrs. Make a mark 1" from the end of the pole or pole segment to which you all attach the union. I put the unions on the bottom of a pole/pole segment. Make a ring of superglue around the mark you made and make another ring between the pole end and the mark. Slide the union on to the pole end just past the mark. This will securely attach the union and provide 3 inches of room for the next pole segment. I have tested this with segmented poles made of 21" segements up to 9 feet long. You could probably make a longer pole, but I have not done so.

NOTE ABOUT DOWEL WEIGHT AND DIAMETERS: Not all dowels weigh the same and the actual diameter can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is worth checking the fit between dowel and tube before purchasing the dowels. Two of the local home improvement stores, clearly get their dowels from different sources. The 3/8" dowels from one are a very snug fit (which is good) in a 13/32" diameter brass tube; the other store's dowels slide in with no friction and are noticeably bendier (fine for 4 or 6 foot poles but not great for long pole setups).. Where I live 3/8" dowels are less than $1 for a 48" dowel and are made of poplar which is quite light yet strong. In other parts of the country, poplar is often not available. If your dowels are made of another wood, they could be considerably heavier. My 8 foot poles (made from two four-foot dowels) weigh about 120 grams with the leads, swivels and clips. My 7-foot segmented poles (with 21-inch segments) also weigh 120 grams. Many people use 1/2" dowels, they are very sturdy but can be a lot heavier than 3/8" dowels.

Troubleshooting. If the fit is too loose, use a wrap (or more if necessary) of good quality masking tape. Amazingly, it holds up well. If the dowel is slightly too large, you may want to sand the dowel slightly.

Dowel and tube 03annotated
2013 11 21 bangwool twine IMG 6451

Edward is using a pole made from the segments shown earlier in this section


PVC Pipe FittingsEdit

PVC pipe fittings also make sturdy inexpensive extensions.
20110905 exploded view closeup
20110905 poles joined closeup
20110905 handle and extension side by side

See alsoEdit

Homemade Long Poles

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