Introduction: How to Make a Push Pole for Punting
I have been looking for a push pole for my 10' jon boat - sometimes the water is very low in my local river and I need a little help with sandbars.
A Push Pole is what a pole for punting is called.
Push poles in the US are usually sold in sporting goods catalogs for duck hunters.
I couldn't find one for a reasonable price online - the better ones were over 100 dollars.
So after looking at what was available online, I figured I could make my own first and see if it did the job.
I looked at all the extension handles available at Home Depot and settled on
a 6' to 11' handle from Mr Long Arm. they make many different types and lengths, the one I choose was 6 foot of heavy yellow fiberglass with an aluminum extension which LOCKS using a positive latching method instead of a tension screw. I had a hard time loosening the screw type in the store...out in the boat with wet hands I don't have a chance.
Push Poles need a 'foot', most commonly they look like a Y or a T, like a polo mallet.
I planned to make it from PVC of a similar diameter to the rest of the pole.
I also got some Stretch and Seal Silicone sealing tape (which has no adhesive of its own) because my T section doesn't fit snuggly on the butt end of my pole and I don't want it to fill with mud and water.
1 Mr Longarm (or other FIRM extension handle)
1 PVC T-connector
2 PVC End Caps
1 PVC short pipe
1 PVC Glue
1 Roll of Silicone sealing tape
1 drill bit narrower than the screws
4 1" Machine screws
Step 1: Measure the Foot
I am only using the pipe sections to connect the cap to the T section.
The 2 caps and the T Section alone are as large a foot as I need.
and it needs to be smooth with no cracks or unevenness where river plants can get tangled making it hard to pull up from the bottom.
Insert the pipe into the T-Section and mark where it ends, then do the same with the cap.
In my case each was about 3/4 of an inch, so i want a bit less than 1 ½" of pipe for my connector.
I marked it ALL the way around the pipe, since it is easier to CUT the pipe by rotating than to try to cut straight down from one side to the other.
Step 2: Cut the PVC Pipe
Use your hacksaw blade to cut the PVC pipe sections.
if you don't have a handle wrap some rubberized first aid tape around half a section of hacksaw blade.
Rotate the pipe and cut all around it, it is a lot easier than cutting through from one side to the other.
When you have 2 sections you may need to go around and smooth the edges with a sharp edge so that it will slide nicely into the connectors.
Step 3: Connect the PVC Sections
PVC Glue works fast...it is a mixture of methyl ethyl ketone, cyclohexanone, tetrahydrofuran, and acetone. What it is doing is also liquifying some of the PVC so that it will bond with other PVC as basically one surface. So it works FAST.
Don't screw around. It's not reversible as far as I know.
Line up your pieces, smear the glue around one side, insert it all the way.
I smacked mine down on the table a couple of times to make certain it was all the way in.
Then do the other side.
Remember you want the CAP flush with the T-Connector.
Step 4: Tape the Butt End
I don't know if you can see that the foot is loose on the butt end of the pole.
it is just sort of hanging off it.
The Silicone tape should fill the gap between the butt end and the foot as if it were a sock.
I experimented a couple of times and found I only needed 1½ turns around the pole to get the tape as tight as possible and still get the T section onto the pole.
If I had thought about it, I would have bought another type of epoxy for this part.
I could have used something else.
as the PVC glue is ineffective on the silicone tape.
I used some anyway figuring the inside of the foot would at least form fit to the butt end.
If you have a PVC T-Connector that fits snuggly on your pole end, you can skip this part.
But remember this will be submerged and you don't want it filling with mud or water.
Step 5: Fasten the Foot to the Pole
Even if i had epoxied the foot onto the pole, I would still screw it on for good measure.
You need machine screws which are threaded all the way to the head so that there is no gap for duckweed to get entangled.
Mark where your screws should go with the marker.
DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE EXACTLY SAME SPOT ON ALL SIDES.
If you use longer screws, they may strike each other inside and not be straight.
Just make them off by a hair.
Drill PILOT HOLES with a drill bit that is smaller than the shaft of the screw.
Then screw the foot on the pole.
Step 6: Go Punting.
Total cost for me was about $25 not including the pvc glue which i only used a bit of.
but that was only about $5
Go out and push your boat around.
You can use other poles for this project, but they can't have much bounce in them.
so fiberglass and thick aluminum are your best bet.
I tried to find a Pool Skimmer handle but I found this first.