First attempt at poling

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Tried poling for the first time this weekend and man, it is a lot harder than it looks. I took a small trip down the Beaverkill and used a smaller diameter sapling as the pole. Flat water was ok, but when I tried to go up a small rapid, things just fell apart. Like anything else, this is a skill that must take practice to become good. It won't be the last time because it was pretty darn fun.
 
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Feb 1, 2013
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Glad you enjoyed it. It sure is a fun way to move a canoe. If the sapling you used was green, it probably would have too much flex for going upstream, since you really have to put your weight behind it. I'm still searching for a perfect standing dead spruce to make another pole from. In the meantime, you might need something with a bit more stiffness.

Have you ever seen the online plans for the "Home De-pole"?

http://www.brockeng.com/AmusingRaven/pole.htm

Haven't tied it myself but it might be a fun project to get a functional home-made pole for next time.
 
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The sapling was very green, and very heavy. I put it up in the barn so hopefully it will dry out some and I can work it down to a thinner diameter. I have heard that closet poles could be used, but that link was the first how-to I have seen.
 
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Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
My only pole is a home depole pole, its a cheap way to start poling and mine works fine, I also much improved when I went from a flat bottomed Old Town Camper to a Mad River Explorer canoe. Some canoes make better poling canoes than others I have heard.
 
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Feb 14, 2013
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The Home Depole was my first pole. Now I have two other wood poles and a few aluminum poles. Another ash pole in the making (shop projects have been stalled lately). I still use the closet-rod pole from time to time, and it still is fine after several years - although I've replaced the spikes a couple times, at least.

A word of warning concerning the closet-rod material. My first pole was made of fir, and while it is more flexible than my ash pole, it was easy to finish and has held up well. More recently, I put together a pole from Home Depot closet rod that was made of hemlock. The hemlock pole is stiffer than fir and it is lighter than my ash pole - but hemlock is a real pain to work with. The grain tends to peel out in thin blades. You can't use a scraper effectively to smooth it when it's doing that - it has to be sanded. I haven't proved it yet, but I suspect the hemlock material is more brittle than the fir - and definitely weaker than the ash (which is heavier than both). I would avoid hemlock for a canoe pole. I don't know if that's what H-D is still stocking, but check the label.
 
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Feb 14, 2013
Messages
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Oh - BTW, AHascha...Stick with it and you will eventually notice it getting a lot easier. Your leg muscles will condition to the balancing, and your ability to read the current and control your boat will increase. I found the canoe poling book and video by Harry Rock to be extremely helpful.
 
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Guest

Guest
Glad you enjoyed it. It sure is a fun way to move a canoe. If the sapling you used was green, it probably would have too much flex for going upstream, since you really have to put your weight behind it. I'm still searching for a perfect standing dead spruce to make another pole from. In the meantime, you might need something with a bit more stiffness.

Have you ever seen the online plans for the "Home De-pole"?

http://www.brockeng.com/AmusingRaven/pole.htm

Haven't tied it myself but it might be a fun project to get a functional home-made pole for next time.

I used this method and it worked well using a 12-foot closet pole. Even used it a couple of times. Downside is it has a slight bend in it (in the middle). Upside is that it hasn't gotten damaged in the rafters of my garage.
 
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