DIY Carbon-Fibre Tent Poles ... Trekking Poles ???

2:58 p.m. on June 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Being the inveterate "tinkerer", amateur "Rube Goldberg", "Professor Gadget", "McGyver"-wannabee ... I am drawn to come-up with "stuff" that works for a lot of applications in my life ... and, hiking / backpacking / climbing are somewhat front-and-center.   I am a horn-player by trade (Trumpet / Fleugelhorn, etc.)  Also, guitar and mandolin player .   I buy, sell, trade, repair, refurb music instruments.   Former-wife was a certified band-instrument repair tech.   I paid for her college-training in this pursuit, and a LOT of shop tools;   and now that we are 'no-more', I 'inherited' a substantial stash of shop tools.  I'm pretty handy with tools, and have a high mechanical aptitude.

Anyhow, I recently was perusing a couple local thrift-stores, and ran across a bunch of used carbon-fibre shaft golf clubs.

"Light-bulbs" went off in my head.

Simply sawing-off the heads of the golf-clubs would provide the raw materials for fabricating (with little trouble) excellent, VERY LIGHTWEIGHT and sturdy, tent-poles and/or fixed-length trekking poles.

Is my idea sound ... or, not worth the trouble?

BTW -  I can acquire the golf clubs for about $2 apiece.

________________________________________

   ~r2~

11:52 p.m. on June 10, 2011 (EDT)
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At $2 apiece whatchya got to loose in trying to fabricate something you've obviously been thinking about. Who knows, ya might be on to something good

1:16 a.m. on June 11, 2011 (EDT)
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Go for it.

8:03 a.m. on June 11, 2011 (EDT)
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I would give it a try; sometimes my ideas work, sometimes they don't, but either way I learn & have fun making stuff.

8:59 a.m. on June 11, 2011 (EDT)
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This is the kind of encouragement I need.

It's like you guys and I are 'kindred-spirtis';    like-minded ...  ever curious ... adventuresome (naturally !) ... frugal / thrifty.

Remember those TV commercials of the 1980 / 90s ... A mind is a terrible thing to waste ?

BTW -- I also saw a couple fibreglass fishing poles ... about 7-8 ft long.  Inexpensive, also.   I was wondering (?) what they might be used for, in an altered state.   (I don't fish)   Any ideas?  Mike?  Maybe I might simply keep one for its intended purpose. 

__________________________

 ~r2~

12:33 p.m. on June 11, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert,

Just a note. For trekking poles I would want rigidity, not flex. However, both fishing rods and golf clubs are intended to flex. Also, carbon fiber rods will often break/explode/collapse if the thin wall is scratched. It would be hard to avoid getting some deep scratches from rocks on a trekking pole.

Regards,

Reed

1:16 p.m. on June 11, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

Robert,

Just a note. For trekking poles I would want rigidity, not flex. However, both fishing rods and golf clubs are intended to flex. Also, carbon fiber rods will often break/explode/collapse if the thin wall is scratched. It would be hard to avoid getting some deep scratches from rocks on a trekking pole.

Regards,

Reed

 

Hmmm ....   Good points, Reed.   Thanks for bringing to my attention.

I was thinking of fabricating a set of trekking poles for a girlfriend, that is new to hiking.   I would not take her on a challenging hike, at this early juncture.  Probably, not much exposure to sharp rocks ... although, she is from Philadelphia, and there are a couple great hiking venues in the area.   Delaware Water Gap comes to mind.  Rocks?  Yes.  But, the 'large' kind.   Like in "boulders".

Besides, I have a great set of trekking-poles -- Black Diamond "Alpine Carbon Corks". that are up to just about any extreme application I might encounter.   I don't think there are any poles that are as sturdy, and at such a light weight.

" ... and the beat goes on ....".

___________________________

~r2~

1:49 a.m. on June 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Im not to sure, but isn't cutting carbon fibers difficult? In any case two bucks a piec qhat a steal!!

2:58 a.m. on June 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Fiberglass fishing rods are actually fairly fragile; they don't have a lot of tensile strength and will snap easily, so they would be worthless as trekking poles.  I've never worked with carbon fiber, so no thoughts there except that as noted, a golf shaft is most likely made much differently than a trekking pole to allow for a certain amount of flex, depending on the model of club. What you might look for instead are carbon fiber ski poles, which will be much more like a trekking pole. All you would have to change are the tips.

6:01 a.m. on June 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Hmmm .... (again).   More good points.

Ski poles are showing-up in the thrift stores ... along with skis and boots.   Saw a couple pairs in the same store where the golf-clubs and fishing-pole are located.

How do you folks that have contributed suggestions and "issues" feel about using the golf-clubs and fishing-poles for tent poles?    Of course, the golf-clubs would have to be "sectioned" together in some fashion, to gain proper height.  

I presently don't have a tent that needs poles.  But, ....  (down the road, I'm sure there will be others).

_____________________________

~r2~

2:15 a.m. on June 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey Robert,

 

I was at my local Goodwills today and along with a ton of good deals today I managed to mess around with some carbon fiber golf clubs.  I messed around with them for a while and found them to be just ridged enough to press very hard without bending.  When they did bend they seem to have a large amount of flex.  I guess I should have known that as I've watched Pro golf and when they show the slow motion swings you can see them really flex.  I think that TOM D's suggestion of using ski poles would be best if you want some cheap hassel free poles, but I think your thoughts on using carbon fiber golf clubs has has some merit.  After playing around with them I think that I would  only use the woods myself as they are much thicker than the irons or putters.  It is, yet again,  amazing that there are $80-$90 clubs at the Goodwill for $2.99.  Pretty darn silly, but might make for some cheap poles.   As for tent poles they might work as well if one can figure out a good hassel free connector system.  I have a VE-24 that I need poles for and the clubs might be the trick as new ones are really, really expensive and poles on ebay are going high right now in the on season.   For tent poles I think that carbon fiber irons might be better than the woods unless yoiu want really thick poles such as those found on expedition or base camp tents.   Let me know if you do anything as I'm interested.

8:26 a.m. on June 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi, Brian ~~

Glad to know I've gotten some sound minds to thinking along with me on this.

I agree with you about the thicker "woods" clubs being a better choice for trekking-poles.   I will be on the look-out for ski-poles, as well, as Tom suggested.

Not sure about the tent-pole connector systems .... 

I think I'll 'scarf-up' a few of these golf clubs at this amazingly cheap price.   I'll probably cut the heads off with a diamond-encrusted carbide blade I have for my hacksaw.   Or, perhaps, with the Dremel tool with a proper cutter tip / head.   I also have a little jeweler's saw.   The obvious cutter tool would be the Fein Multi-Tool ... which I am lusting for ... but, at $500, I'm going to have to wait.

_______________________________

   ~r2~

4:42 p.m. on June 14, 2011 (EDT)
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I think there are some much cheaper copies of Fein MultiMaster Tool which I belive cuts via vibration rather than moving blades.  I would also suggest wraping the cutting area with tape, maybe duct tape, to prevent or keep splintering to a minimum.  Though before investing in another tool just for this,  I would go and buy one of the clubs for the porpose of trying different cutting methods.  Heck at $2.99 there cheaper that a good candy bar (Cadsbury).  Remember to wrap every area to be cut with tape and cut thru the tape not at the edge of the tape.  In fact I just remembered that as a chimney sweep I've had a fiberglass pole or two break.  All I did was use a hacksaw to cut them and retach the quick connect to them. I also used a drill bit on them to put in a set screw to make sure the quick connect stayed on the pole.  Nuthin worse that getting a loose brush stuck in someones chimney.  I only mention this because it seems to me that fiberglass poles and carbon fiber poles seem to break in a like manner.  Both my fiberglass chimeny poles and some of my carbon fiber fishing poles seem to splinter the same way when the break. 

5:42 p.m. on June 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Okay since it was mentioned,

The Fein Multi Master is an excellent tool for doing fine, precise work that other tools can not do, I have used one for many years. Both Dremel & Rockwell now make a similar tool.

I have used all three, and use a Fein several times a week. For light duty or DIY stuff the Dremel or Rockwell would suffice, for heavy duty service I would buy a Fein. You can get a Fein Starter Kit that includes the tool, a manual, and a few attachments for around 200.00 USD.

5:56 p.m. on June 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Are the shafts tapered?  If so you might be able to bond them together with epoxy and placing one inside the other as most golf clubs are long enough for trekking poles are they?   

You can find carbon fiber rods tubes and strips of varying sizes at http://www.hobby-lobby.com/carbon_fiber_402_ctg.htm 

8:28 a.m. on June 15, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

Are the shafts tapered?  If so you might be able to bond them together with epoxy and placing one inside the other as most golf clubs are long enough for trekking poles are they?   

You can find carbon fiber rods tubes and strips of varying sizes at http://www.hobby-lobby.com/carbon_fiber_402_ctg.htm 

 Yes, the shafts are tapered, and are long enough (the woods) for trekking-poles.

Thanks for that link, ocg.

_______________________________________

 ~r2~

8:44 a.m. on June 15, 2011 (EDT)
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trouthunter said:

The Fein Multi Master is an excellent tool for doing fine, precise work that other tools can not do, I have used one for many years. Both Dremel & Rockwell now make a similar tool.

I have used all three, and use a Fein several times a week. For light duty or DIY stuff the Dremel or Rockwell would suffice, for heavy duty service I would buy a Fein. You can get a Fein Starter Kit that includes the tool, a manual, and a few attachments for around 200.00 USD.

 

Thanks, Mike.

I didn't know the Fein price-point was in that range.  Competition?   Fein pretty much had a monopoly on this design for years.

I have been in your line of work for most of 30 yrs ... although, about half that time was in civil-engineering (building highways, bridges, etc.) and commercial work (condo's, professional buildings, etc.).   The other half was in high-end residential construction (Long Island's "The Hamptons", etc.).  Not always as a hands-on tradesman, though.  Project management and engineering, "trouble-shooter", etc.

Many a time, I wish I had a Multi-Master ... especially end-cuts on existing baseboard mouldings, etc., and installing cabinets and counter-tops.  The Japanese 'push-pull' hand saws did fairly well, though.   Almost zero kerf.

I would have to justify the expenditure for a Fein ... in using it often enough.

_______________________________

 ~r2~

11:11 a.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Funny, spend $200. to $500., for a tool to cut shafts on $2.00 thrift store shafts..

which, by the way, will not work well as trekking poles.

The linear fiber structure of golf clubs and fishing rods promotes flexing/arching and is not designed for end on impact. When you lean against and flex these, they are not absorbing impact, they are flexing toward failure. They feel whippy and will fail in a hard jam/fall. And then they splinter..

Trekking poles (I'm Leki, but even most brand x's) use a spun wrapped carbon tubing. Different properties than shafts, especially in the end impact strength. Then the question becomes strength of the attachment/expanders, and again the answer is Leki.

So spend your $200. on a pair of Leki Carbon Anti-shock poles and get the best, collapsable/adjustable and light.

and Yes, I am the Leki guy..

P.S. I know the Fein would be used for other things..still funny.

12:33 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Yeaaaaahhhh ....   You are right, for the most part.   I do a lot of repair work on music-instruments, mostly brasswind.

For example, I would use the multi-tool to cut inner-slide tubing (brass or German silver or nickel).   Also, with flex-hones, to clean-out solder blobs, buff-out 'red-rot' (de-zincification), etc.   To fabricate braces (wood) for the inside of acoustic guitars.   Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da.   Probably boring for you.

I have the Black-Diamond "Alpine Carbon Cork" poles (new), so I don't really NEED more trekking-poles.   BTW -- regardless of brand, I prefer cork handles.   A "deal-breaker" for me.   Cork is unsurpassed, in my book.  Easy to 'refresh' them, with a little scuffing with fine sandpaper, and cleaning with denatured alky.

You confirmed my suspicions regardin how the bias of the carbon-fibre material is arranged.   I used to build and repair surf-boards; so I know how lateral and axial strength matters.

Thanks for the "tips", dude.

 Yogi Robt

1:49 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Rob, what is the verdict ?

Are you going for it or .......  ?

11:13 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I acquired a bunch of used carbon fiber arrow shafts at no cost from a sporting goods store which I use and plan to use for various inventions. For trekking poles, you will need to join shafts to achieve the desired length, cut with a hacksaw, tungsten-carbide type or if available, an angle grinder. A metal or smaller diameter carbon fiber shaft plug epoxied into one of the shafts and force fitted to the second shaft would allow stow-ability when not used. A standard arrow head (bullet shaped type) would provide an acceptable end piece. You could grind the tip down a bit for safety. Cork would be a good hand hold although fishing handle cork interior dimension would be larger than arrow shaft material. Stuffing the end with a nylon tape and epoxy or polyurethane it in place and then knotted and epoxied below the cork can serve as a hand-hold. Kite flying suppliers carry carbon fiber as well and perhaps in larger diameters, however at cost. Coatings are usually applied to  carbon fiber shafts to prevent fiber damage. 

7:01 a.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Low tech here - I've been thinking along the same lines but from a different angle - sustainability and recycling.

Instead of carbon fiber, I'm been messing around with wooden dowels, since I snap carbon fiber poles with alarming regularity, and I don't think they biodegrade very quickly in trash dumps. $2 at Home Depot gets you started. Glue on Leki walking pole tips and you're most of the way there.

Where can I find trekking pole handles though?

7:27 a.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Callahan said:

Rob, what is the verdict ?

Are you going for it or .......  ?

 

I have acquired several of the golf clubs, and sawed-off the heads.   Have not yet acquired the necessary end-tips.   Trying to figure-out how to fashion and afix wrist-straps.   Will update y'all in the near future.

__________________

    ~r2~

6:40 p.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Bamboo... :)

10:49 a.m. on June 24, 2011 (EDT)
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I am not a fan of Carbon. If ya snap them they are done. At least w/Aluminum you can still use them if bent. I have a pair of Leki Thermolite Aergon XL Anti-shocks. I love them and combined they only weigh in at 14oz. Saved my tail quite a few times. Won't hit the trail w/o them.


2011-06-02_19-48-49_95.jpg

5:07 a.m. on June 25, 2011 (EDT)
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I considered those Leki's.   Nice sticks.

I settled on the Black-Diamond 'Alpine Carbon Corks'.   They're pretty thick in cross-section; very sturdy.   The 'deal-breaker' for me, though, was the cork handles.  Easy to refresh the 'grippy' factor, with a little denatured alky and a light scuffing with emory-cloth or fine sandpaper.

Never tried it, but I'd have to think the cork handles might enable them to float.

______________________

 Yogi Robt

11:49 a.m. on June 25, 2011 (EDT)
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robert where are you on your project? Any pic's as your going? love to see. I watched the show on how they make Lekki's.Interested in how your coming along.

1:50 p.m. on June 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

I considered those Leki's.   Nice sticks.

I settled on the Black-Diamond 'Alpine Carbon Corks'.   They're pretty thick in cross-section; very sturdy.   The 'deal-breaker' for me, though, was the cork handles.  Easy to refresh the 'grippy' factor, with a little denatured alky and a light scuffing with emory-cloth or fine sandpaper.

Never tried it, but I'd have to think the cork handles might enable them to float.

______________________

 Yogi Robt

 I like cork as well but I cant use it. When it gets wet in hotter climates I get blisters(no I do not have soft hands :p)

The Aergon grips work very well when wet, they stay relatively comfortable after hours of use, they are not sweat inducing, and mostly they take very good care of my manicure... (j/k on that last one.)

Funny maybe I will start a thread on trekking poles...

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