Making a Spruce Pole

Feb 1, 2013
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 these plans from this document posted over on the WCHA forums (PDF format).

Hand split out a knot free section of 2x10x12 spruce board. Luckily, this was right along board's edge which meant that side was already squared up so a chalk line was marked 1.5" from the edge...

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...
Last edited:
Jul 25, 2012
Very nice work Murat V, I especially like the sequential photos. Also thanks for the lead on the artist Benson, I played on Amazon and found a book of his work and also one of another who seems to have been interested in American indians. Cheap as I am; got both books coming thru inter library loan.

Back when the solotripping web site was alive, we had a member "steve in Idaho". He did/does (?) a great deal of poling and reports about it. Sure seemed to be a real decent person, I sure wish somehow he could be told that this forum exists. I'll bet you guys would have a lot to talk about. He seemed to use aluminum poles he had made a great deal.

Thanks again, Rob
Feb 14, 2013
Thanks for the nice comments, Rob!

Murat steered me here. I'll be posting some poling stuff soon.

I do use the aluminum poles a lot, but I also like my wood poles. That reminds me....I have an ash pole blank roughed-out that I need to finish....
Feb 14, 2013
Murat - Nice work on the pole. When are you going to put the shoe on the other end and start having some real fun? ;)