View Full Version : Tent pole construction
I just bought a tent from the Blockade Runner. It is being shipped today so I'll hopefully get it before next weekend. The instructions for making the poles are coming with it but I'd like to get a jump on making them while I'm not rushed. The tent is an 2 door A frame with a sod cloth. It is 8' by 9' by 6' 4" tall. I know to countersink a dowel in each upright that will fit into the ridge beam but I wanted to make sure the exact lengths needed are the obvious choices. A 9' 2x4 ridge beam with a pair of 6' 1/2" (72.5 inch) uprights, right? Do most of you use 2x4's? Any better suggestions? Would round wooden closet rods work for the uprights?
Thanks in advance,
04-09-2010, 06:25 PM
I would wait until I got the tent. I have never seen two tents that had the exact same measurements. It's easier to cut off an inch or two of your poles here or there than to try to put an inch or two back on. ;)
04-09-2010, 07:08 PM
Yes, wait and fit the ridge to the pocket at the peak of the tent before drilling the holes for your upright pegs. No matter how precisely cut and sewn there is always some variance.
Most folks use 2x2 stock for the uprights, but a correctly chamfered upright would be even better.
If you had grommets put in the ridgeline of the tent, you will definitely need to wait to position the uprights.
04-09-2010, 08:40 PM
Yup, be patient and wait, that way you can measure everything as it is rather than the way it's supposed to be. The saddest words in the English language might be "It's supposed to fit." :)
04-10-2010, 07:17 AM
2x4's, 2x2's etc. to me stand out like a nylon flag and elastic suspenders at an event, IMO.
When building new tent poles, I rip down some 1-1/2" square (rough) cedar into octagonals for the uprights (copied from a section of an original at Dr.Sweeney's museum at Wilson's Creek BP)
As for ridge poles for A tents, cedar 2x material ripped down to about a 1-1/2 x 3 (rough) with the top corners 45'd off works like a champ. Pin the uprights with some cold rolled bar, drill the ridge, and you're done.
Cedar ages well, resists rot, and it's light. Now it's up to you as to how to knock the 'new guy' off that blinding white tent- be sure to hand out sunglasses.
04-10-2010, 07:24 AM
If you have access to some woods why not cut small saplings for the upright poles as well as the ridge pole. Just pick hardwood trees that are somewhat straight and 1 to 2 inches in diameter.
04-10-2010, 08:30 AM
I imagine it's 'operator error' because there is always stuff guys are born knowing----here's what goes wrong for me on sapling poles.
They work fine as long as I'm dealing with a correct canvas weight item like one of Petersburg's or Ross Lameroux's confederate flys. Once I get into any of the heavy canvas tents with Sunforger this and that, I get one good use before something is split.
Need some directions with more detail please.
The only ones I ever had that worked, MyDaddy made. Unfortunately, he pegged the top with shiney stainless steel tractor cotter pins. :rolleyes:
04-10-2010, 08:32 AM
You can also check with Army/Navy stores or if near a post, check with the Defense Reutilization Mananagement Office (DRMO) as the up rights that were issued with the General purpose tents (GP Small, GP Med) are almost identical to those i have seen called for in the regs, save for galvanized end caps and pins. You can of course cut them down if they are a bit to tall, but they work great.. and look alot better than 2x2s or 2x4s.
And here is a thread on this issue..
04-11-2010, 03:06 PM
Once I get into any of the heavy canvas tents with Sunforger this and that, I get one good use before something is split.
Mizz L- A little 1/4" rope wrapped around the end of the poles (2x2 or real tree) fixes that problem ASAP. I've used plain old jute cord as a field expedient method to get thru an event with gusting winds that trashed the fly poles.
Of course there was the time we arrived on site only to discover we had left the "lumber" sitting in the driveway. We scavenged several forked poles which were too short,wrapped some rags around the fork ends to protect the canvas and stuck a couple well split flat sided pieces of wood under the poles to raise them up. No ridge made for a rather sad looking sway backed abode but it worked.
Today all our uprights are made from what was originally 4x4 fir posts, cut to an octagon shape and finished with linseed oil. Might be overkill, but they look better than a Lowes 2x2 special & those puppies aren't going to split any time soon.
04-11-2010, 03:49 PM
Well yeah. All my good wood is either fir or spruce except for that under the hospital tent, and it's oak.
Linseed--oh my yes. Cuts down on stuff being too swollen for the joined poles to go together or come apart, as well as preserving the wood. And, when I ground pigment and mixed it for floor cloths, I also painted the poles in colors.
Certainly not a solution for a military set up, but since I own enough canvas to make the Horn by first light, knowing that the deep marroon poles go with the 17 x 17 and the grey poles go with the hand sewn confederate fly guarantees I will arrive with things that go together correctly.
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