I'm a Cub Scout Den Leader and we hold our meetings at our church. Each week, one of the Denner's responsibilities is to go to the gym and retrieve a flag, pole, and base for use in the meetings. Unfortunately, these are heavy wooden poles and bases and the boys often have a difficult time getting them to the classroom we use. Also, I'm worried that the flag finial is going to go through the low ceiling in our classroom some evening. Additionally, since these are nice indoor flags and poles and aren’t meant to be used outside, we haven’t had anything to take with us on Pack campouts and other outings. That’s when I came up with this idea of the Portable Scout Flagpole.
I searched the web for camp flagpoles, scout flagpoles, PVC flagpoles, and couldn't find anything that fit my needs. This pole can be used as a 5' indoor pole or a 10' outdoor pole with any type of flag and is lightweight enough, my younger scouts can easily handle it.
Step 1: Materials
All of these materials can be found at your favorite hardware or plumbing store.
1 - 5' x 1" PVC Pipe
2 - 5' x 1 1/4" PVC Pipe
3 - 1 1/4" PVC "T" Connector
4 - 1 1/4" PVC Caps
1 - 1 1/4" PVC Connector
1 - 1 1/4" to 1" PVC Reducer
1 - 2" Round Wire Lock /Pin
1 - PVC Purple Primer & Cement Combo Pack
4 - 10" Common Spikes
Step 2: Cutting
Cut one of the 5' x 1 1/4" PVC Pipes into four (4) 1' pieces and two (2) 6" pieces as shown in the above picture. Use a fine-toothed saw such as a hacksaw or PVC cutters to cut the pipe. Also, most big box hardware stores will cut the pipe for you to your dimensions.
Step 3: Pole Assembly
Please follow all the safety precautions on the cans when using PVC Purple Primer and Cement. Always use these outdoors or in a well ventilated area. Also, when using these products, a little goes a long way. Once you start to cement these pieces together, make sure you push them completely together and twist at least 1/4 turn. You only have a few seconds before the bond becomes too strong to break.
- Cement the 1 1/4" to 1" Reducer to one end of the 5' x 1" PVC Pipe.
- Cement the 1 1/4" Connector to the 5' x 1 1/4" PVC Pipe.
Set these aside to dry while assembling the base.
Step 4: Base Assembly
- Cement three (3) caps to the ends of three (3) separate 1' pieces of PVC Pipe. If you would like a storage area for the ground stakes, DO NOT cement the fourth cap to the fourth 1' piece of PVC Pipe.
- Cement the four (4) 1' pieces of PVC Pipe to each side of two (2) "T" Connectors.
- Cement the the two (2) 6" pieces of PVC Pipe to the center section of these two (2) "T" Connectors.
- Connect the two (2) completed legs to each side of the remaining "T" Connector. DO NOT cement these together yet.
- Place the 5' x 1 1/4" PVC Pipe into the center opening of the center base "T" Connector.
- Place your base on a level surface.
- Using a level or a plumb bob (or even a simple weight tied to a string), make sure the pole is plumb.
- Mark both sides of the center base "T" Connector and the adjacent 6" pieces of PVC Pipe so you will be able to line everything back up after taking it apart.
- Disassemble the center section of the base.
- Prime and cement the center base "T" Connector to the 6" pieces of PVC Pipe, ensuring your lines match.
Step 5: Pole Connection
Now that your connector and reducer are securely cemented to the two (2) pole sections:
- Slide the 5' x 1" PVC Pipe into the 5' x 1 1/4" PVC Pipe (connectors at opposite ends)
- Drill a 1/4" hole through both pieces somewhere between 1/2" and 1" from the 1 1/4" Connector.
- The 2" Round Wire Lock Pin should be able to slide through both pieces, securing them together.
This makes transportation very easy and convenient. You can also see why I didn't cement the fourth cap to the base. With a removable cap, you have a convenient place to store the 10" Spikes, which can be used to stake the base down outside. I had not drilled the holes by the time I took these pictures, but I would suggest drilling a hole at a slight angle in each leg of the base large enough for your spikes to fit in to easily secure your flagpole while using it outside.
Step 6: Putting It All Together
There are three (3) ways of using your new flagpole once everything has been secured and the cement dry.
- With both poles nested inside each other, secure a flag to the pole using the Wire Lock Pin.
- Use the 5' x 1" pole by itself.
- Place the 5' x 1 1/4" pole in the base with the connector on top, then insert the 1 1/4" x 1" reducer that is attached to the 5' x 1" pole into the connector, making a 10' flagpole.
I used a 30" x 48" flag with a sleeve on the fly for these photos, but you could just as easily use a normal grommeted flag. This size flag works well with the 10' pole and doesn't touch the ground when used with the 5' pole. As you can see from the pictures, it was a fairly breezy day when they were taken and it hardly bends at all in the wind.
To use the sleeved flag, I punched a hole near the top of the sleeve for the Wire Lock Pin to pass through. To use a grommeted flag, simply slide the Wire Lock Pin through the top grommet and tie the lower grommet to the pole.
I use the 5' pole with my Cub Scout Den at our meetings as it is easy to transport, set-up, and carry. I also set it up as a 10' pole in camps and on hikes or other outings to easily identify our gathering area.