Making a semi-traditional canoe pole

Feb 1, 2013
Thought I'd christen the poling section on the forum with its first post. I'm very new to poling but have been steadily practicing over the last two seasons. Here's a little photo tutorial on how I made my first pole in case anyone else wants to try. Didn't have the power tools to suit the job so this was done the old fashioned way with an axe and a crooked knife. I ended up using the plans from this document posted over on the WCHA forums (PDF format). Guess my pole is semi-traditional since I didn't cut from a dead standing spruce tree but used milled lumber from home depot

Split off a knot free section of 2x10x12 spruce board I had on hand for another project. Luckily, this was right along the side which meant that side was already squared up so a chalk line was marked 1.5" from the edge. Had to be careful not to split too close to the line but the board split pretty well...

Cutting down the split end with an axe

Cleaning up with a crooked knife

Splurged a bit and purchased a speciality canoe pole shoe. Really works well to sink the end onto the riverbed..

Carved out the end to fit

Attached tip with screw provided

Finished pole oiled up

The bottom 4 feet are kept in an octagonal shape to stiffen the bottom in a strong current. The pole gradually tapers to about 1 1/4" at the top. I'll post up some pics of it in action from last summer a little later...