Dec 18, 2007 at 9:42 am #1226346
@beemancronLocale: Southwest US
I am attempting to make my own trekking poles using golf shafts. Does anyone know of a source of this type of handle? I love the feel of cork….
Thanks for any input.Dec 18, 2007 at 11:48 am #1412941
It's not exactly the same… but I used bicycle handle bar wrap that is made of cork. I actually like the wrap that is synthtic foam and it holds up well too. Foam wrap for tennis raquets or field hockey sticks would also work pretty well, not very costly and it's pretty light.Dec 18, 2007 at 12:09 pm #1412944
Victor KarpenkoBPL Member
@viktorLocale: Northern California
Try fishing rod parts companies…
orDec 18, 2007 at 12:10 pm #1412945
Casey BowdenBPL Member
@clbowdenLocale: Berkeley Hills
Contact Gossamer Gear and ask if you can buy the grips they use for their poles. I did this last year and have been very happy with the results.
htmDec 18, 2007 at 5:17 pm #1412971
@maynard76Locale: New England
Thanks guys I was asking myself the same question. Im also making some poles – for winter. ThanksDec 20, 2007 at 7:26 am #1413198
Matt MahaneyBPL Member
@matt_mahaneyLocale: In the District
I found this. Of course inner and outer diameter need to be checked. Also, I found that searching for "ski pole grips" or "ski pole parts" was fruitful. If you find anything else, let us know. I'm looking at making my own poles as well. Good luck with the poles I'd like to know how they turn out.
Here's a source, but who knows if they'll sell two grips to MYOGers.
Can't hurt to ask.
If you have any luck with Champion Shine I like to hear about your experience.
MattMar 6, 2008 at 10:29 pm #1423346
I made a set of trekking poles from carbon fiber golf club shafts from 5 wood metal drivers from Goodwill.
I sawed them off with Dremel tool cut-off disk.
I made handles from a kid's toy modeling clay-like product called Floam (TM). This consists of tiny polystyrene beads in a water-soluble binder.
I found the Floam on the kid's craft aisle at Wal-Mart. There were two cups, one orange and one silver. Net weight wet is 3.5 oz (100 g). You can see the finished orange handle in the photo. On the bare shaft, you can see the holes (about 3/16") I drilled in the to give the Floam some tooth to grip to. Each cup has just enough (about 1.75 oz wet) to mold one grip.
To mold the grip, I first kneaded the Floam to mix thoroughly. I formed a sheet and wrapped it around the grip. I then alternated squeezing with each hand. This made a symmetrical grip that I could use in either hand. If you'd rather, you could make one for your left hand and one for your right. Since my shafts were slightly different lengths, I opted to make them so either would fit either hand. I can then use the long pole on the downhill side of the trail. ;) It helps to spread your fingers apart slightly when molding. The Floam shrinks a bit when it dries. I hung the pole handle end down to dry. Every 30 minutes or so, correct the shape since it can sag a bit. It takes several days for the Floam to dry completely. It never hardens completely but dries somewhat spongy, very comfortable in the hand.
The Floam is not waterproof and might start to disintegrate if soaked in water. For this reason, I coated the handles with silicone sealer diluted with paint thinner (just like seam sealer). This didn't attack the Floam. The sealer gave them a nice grippy feel, also.
Finished weight was about 4 oz per pole before sealing. I'll try to get a more accurate weight and some field test results over the next couple of weeks.
RobertMar 7, 2008 at 6:49 am #1423365
Wow… that's kind of crazy, but it would give you custom handles…Mar 7, 2008 at 6:52 am #1423366
Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Cheers on a very outside-the-box solution!
– SamMar 8, 2008 at 3:23 pm #1423519
Here is my second attempt at making a custom trekking pole handle for a carbon fiber shaft salvaged from a golf club. The handle is made from Floam (TM) modeling compound.
The orange handled trekking pole (previous post) weighs in at 3.7 oz (105 g). The silver one weighs 3.9 oz (111 g). The silver golf club had a longer metal shaft.
Loki rubber trekking pole tips fit well and add 0.4 oz (11 g) each.
I believe the handles themselves weigh around 1 to 1.5 oz apiece.
RobertMar 8, 2008 at 3:32 pm #1423520
Very nice Robert. Curious to see some pics of the grips with alot of miles on them. Any notable long term limitations that you have noticed so far?
JeffMar 8, 2008 at 5:42 pm #1423536
No long term tests yet–just neighborhood walks. I left one out in a rainstorm with no noticeable effect. They are quite firm, and the handles seem to be well bonded to the shafts. I'll post updates as I use them more.
RobertMar 23, 2008 at 2:06 pm #1425313
The Floam (TM) trekking pole handles worked well through two days of hiking at Big Bend NP. The first day we hiked about 8 miles through the open dessert. (We had a zone backcountry permit.) Temperatures ranged from about 55-85 F. This was very rough trekking around/between/over lechuguilla and other spiny plants. The next day we hiked on the Pinnacles trail and climbed Emory peak, about 10 miles round trip with about a 2000 foot climb. We hiked in light, wet snow near freezing. The last morning was below freezing.
The handles were very comfortable. I was concerned that they would only be useful in one position since they were molded to fit my hands, but I found I could use them in several positions: letting my pinky dangle off the bottom to shorten them, or grabbing to top to lengthen them. The set I make, I will try wearing gloves to compensate some for the shrinkage.
The only problem I noted was that the silicone seal sloughed off like dead skin after a sunburn. Anybody have any waterproofing ideas?
I wouldn't hesitate to use these again on a two or three day trip. I'd be concerned about hiking in wet conditions for more than a few hours.
RobertMar 23, 2008 at 8:06 pm #1425344
Great report Robert.
When you said "I wouldn't hesitate to use these again on a two or three day trip" is this only because of precipitation precaution, or do you not think they would theoretically hold up to the daily abuse of a thru-hike? Of course assuming you didnt have any water degrading issues.
I will give it more thought but right now Im thinking you could have the handles dipped in some kind of rubber or something(i think you can buy home kits but not positive).
Thanks for thinking outside of the box Robert. I am thinking of making some poles for my daughter(almost 5) and think she would have a blast making them as well as using them. Maybe the rubber dipping would be a great long term solution or maybe someone else has a solution? I think even without any long term field data these will certainly hold up to a 5 year olds grip(I would hope).
Here is a source for the dip http://www.plastidip.com/Mar 29, 2008 at 12:11 pm #1426105
Thanks for the Plasti-Dip suggestion! It sounds like it might do the trik. I have seen similar products for dipping tool handles.
The handles seem to be plenty durable enough, even for a through hike, IMO. I'm concerned about the handles disintegrating while hiking in an all-day rain. If you Google "make your own imitation floam" you can get some insights into the material. The imitation stuff is made from Elmer's (TM) white glue, borax, and foam beads. The instructions that came with the Floam say you can remove the stuff by soaking it in water. Kept dry, no problems. Soak in water for a long period of time, and it falls apart. Light rain or even a soaking while not in use don't seem to bother them much if they can dry out.
I'll soak one overnight to see what happens.
I like your idea for the father-daughter project.
–RobertMar 29, 2008 at 10:51 pm #1426166
I bought a 14.5 fl. oz. can of Plasti Dip at Harbor Freight Tools for $7. The can is tall and skinny, and it looks like I can dip the handles. I scored three more carbon shaft golf drivers at Goodwill for $4 each. I plan to make second pair of trekking poles for my son and then dip all four handles in Plasti Dip. I don't want to open the can until I'm ready to dip all four. The Floam takes about a week to dry completely, so it'll be a week or two before I can tell how well it works.
RobertApr 1, 2008 at 2:31 pm #1426567
Looking forward to seeing how that plasti-dip works out for you Robert. I was reading and found that some of it can be thinned for spraying application. Maybe experimenting with thinning it could create a thinner lighter coating? Just ideas to play around with. I will be picking up some floam and dip pretty soon and trying this out with my daughter. She cant wait to have her own poles.Apr 1, 2008 at 6:18 pm #1426600
Joe KusterBPL Member
Having worked with plastic dip stuff it might cause a pretty sweatty grip over time. What about polyurathane like is used for sealing wood?
Actually after thinking about it a bit, why not just add a standard adhesive into the mix during making the floam. That should remove the possibility of it disolving. Add a layer of cling wrap over it while shaping it – I'm sure it'll peel off over under use leaving the foam which would be more comfortable than a pastic dip coating.Apr 4, 2008 at 10:42 am #1427104
The Plasti-Dip worked great! I opened the can and poured some out into another can to leave room for displacement. The can size was just right for the handle. It took two coats (30 minutes apart) to get a complete coating. I don't think thinning would help because I think it would take more coats, but if you want to try, the can has thinning suggestions. The solvents in the dip did dissolve some of the exposed polystyrene beads, but the second coat covered these rough areas. Here is the result next to the can:
Here are the finished handles:
The handles are still springy to the touch and quite comfortable.
I'm off to buy more Floam for a second pair for my son.
RobertApr 4, 2008 at 10:52 am #1427107
Thanks for your suggestions. I haven't tried to make my own Floam-type substance. Some other adhesive than the white glue for the DIY version would probably make it waterproof. What kind of "standard adhesive" did you have in mind? I considered epoxy, but the probability for a gooey, sticky mess seemed pretty high. The plastic food wrap suggestion seems like a good idea. I'm pretty happy with the Plasti-Dip.
RobertApr 4, 2008 at 11:04 am #1427109
Robert, Those look great. I am happy to see everything worked out. This project is on my ever growing list of to-do's. When I make them I will post up to show what they look like.
One question. Where did you find carbon fiber golf shafts? I was under the impression synthetic golf shafts where fiberglass?
Thanks for showing of your project and thinking outside the box. Im sure my nephew would like to make a pair to. This could also be a great project for scout groups to. Just a great idea.Apr 4, 2008 at 11:07 am #1427111
On the topic of alternate binder for the do it yourselfer. Maybe using silicone? I just dont know how messy it would be but im pretty positive it would be waterproof, and still jelly feeling.Apr 4, 2008 at 11:23 am #1427112
Joe KusterBPL Member
Silicone would be pretty heavy wouldn't it? It also has a long cure time. If applied thin it might not have enough adhesive to do the job, but it might be worth trying.
I was thinking of adding a bit of something like Gorilla Glue or similar. It doesn't dry too fast or slow, something like a 5 minute working setup time and cures in hours. I wouldn't add too much or it'd make things too firm and override the smooshy nature of the floam. It's not as likely to disolve the beads as epoxy but would still be plenty strong for a hand grip. Again, this is just theoretical.Apr 4, 2008 at 9:44 pm #1427216
I got the golf clubs at local Goodwill and the Salvation Army Thrift Shops. My local Goodwill shop has a 55 gallon drum full of assorted golf clubs for $3.95 each. I am pretty sure two of them have graphite shafts. These are EXT drivers by Kunnan that are labeled "graphite" on the top. The others are other brands, but the wall thickness, weight and flexibility indicate to me that they are of similar construction. I just looked through the bin for black shafts instead of metal ones. I cut the golf grips off with a razor knife.
Another reason why I think they are graphite instead of glass is that I drilled through them with a high-speed steel bit without any trouble.
RobertJul 17, 2015 at 1:16 pm #2215428
The original Floam (TM) trekking pole handles have worked well through 160 miles on the AT and numerous day hikes. I had to renew the plastic coating. The lack of length adjustment has not proved to be a problem.
I made a new set of hand-grips using a composite of thermoplastic and foam beads. The thermoplastic I used is polycaprolactone, or PCL. PCL is used for 3D printing, splints and sutures. It comes as white pellets and is sold on Amazon or ebay. I used Polymorph brand. It melts in very hot water and hardens to a very tough, white nylon-like plastic. It starts off white but goes clear as it begins to melt. When you take it out of the hot water, it is pliable and stiffens gradually and gets white as it cools. Even though hot, it doesn't stick to your skin, and it's heat capacity is low, so it doesn't burn.
By itself, PCL is quite dense, so I used it as a binder for polystyrene foam micro-beads that I removed from a neck pillow. I cut a seam to open the pillow and poured out some beads. Do this outside, out of the wind. It's messy; it sticks with static electricity and blows in the wind. I used two parts foam beads and one part PCL beads by volume. A half cup of PCL pellets and one cup of foam micro-beads make more than enough for two hand-grips. I poured them into a pint-sized container half full of water straight from the teapot and stirred with a plastic spoon. I then removed the blob and kneaded it until the mixture was uniform. I then divided it into two equal portions and remelted each in a fresh batch of hot water. I was able to mold this over the golf club handles. When the mixture was too stiff to work, I just immersed the whole handle in a container of hot water for a couple of minutes and molded them some more until I got a comfortable shape, and the two handles matched. It took several cycles to get what I wanted.
PCL is nontoxic and biodegradable, but it is not porous, and it sheds water. Unlike the original Floam handles I don't think they will need the dip treatment to waterproof.
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