Recently I was with my family and friends in Borgafjäll. In my eyes it’s one of the best and most versatile ski resorts in all of Sweden. Here are well-tuned ski routes that offer perhaps Sweden’s best forest skiing. And here are rolling slopes that scream for our steel edges. The groomers are only half groomed to leave the powder untouched until it is caressed by our carving turns. Snow falls abundantly in this part of Lapland’s interior. Therefore it’s strange that we are almost anlone each time we’re here. You can usually count the number of skiers in the area on your fingers and toes.
In addition, there are several peaks here for randonée and backcountry skiing. Many within reach from our hut with the skins already put on. Some folks actually even drive from Åre to ski in Borgafjäll and its surroundings. For my part, I took the train with my family. We got on board in the evening, and went to bed in our own sleeping compartment. And when we woke up in the morning after, we were soon at the Dorotea train station. There we were welcomed with hot chocolate and cinnamon buns on the platform. It can hardly be easier to travel to the mountains, and certainly not in a more eco-friendly way. Furthermore, the diesel train now runs on rapeseed oil. It feels like Christmas!
Lost ferrule—which is the most suitable glue?
Things got even better when the bamboo poles were suddenly in the majority in the ski resort. Bamboo ruled in Borga. Twelve pairs of bamboo ski sticks, in all colors and features, all made at my home in Brösarp. This means that we were fewer than twenty skiers on the mountain. But say the happiness that lasts forever. Already on the first day, the ferrule, with tip and basket, disappeared from one of my friend’s poles. Luckily he found it again. And the next day I was able to borrow a glue gun and attach it again.
Exactly why the ferrule came loose, I do not know for sure, but I have two theories. Either more space is needed for the hot melt adhesive between the ferrule itself and the bamboo. Or the glue sticks I used, Rapid’s PRO+ for wood and metal, are too hard and stiff at low temperatures. Maybe a combination of both. After talking to Rapid and their glue experts, we will test Rapid’s PVC & cable. This hot melt adhesive has less resin and is therefore a softer glue. That means it will remain flexible down to lower temperatures than the PRO+.
The ferrule was very tight on the bamboo stick. So, before I glued the ferrule back to the pole, I carved off a little more bamboo to make the diameter smaller. This way I created a little more space for the glue. I used a whitish, semi-translucent glue stick with much less resin, unlike my yellowish PRO+.
Testing different types of glue
Switching to epoxy, or any glue other than glue sticks, is not an option for me. Hot melt glue is not only more eco-friendly. It’s also much more practical if you need to replace the bamboo stick, extend or shorten your ski pole.
According to the material description, the glue that should be best suited for wood and metal is, as I said, Rapids PRO+. But, that applies at normal temperatures. Now Rapid has been kind enough to send me a package of their glue sticks for PVC, cables, glass, and various types of plastic. It’s a softer glue. It remains to test and compare the tensile strength and flexibility of the two adhesives at cold temperatures. Exciting! And a report will come eventually.
Anyway, it was easy to fix my friend’s ski pole and the rest of the week it worked perfectly fine.
P.S. After summer, I plan to develop my ferrules with one or two turns of internal thread in the bottom of the ferrules. Same principle as screw-bolt and nut. Until then, I secure the ferrules with a pop rivet to prevent baskets and tips from getting lost in the snow. See picture below!
Updates on the glue and ferrules
Rapid’s soft hot melt adhesive PVC & Cable stays flexible in cold temperatures much better than Rapid’s PRO+. The theory is correct. A softer hot melt glue works better for bamboo ski poles. So, I now use Rapid’s PVC & Cable. My new ferrules are also upgraded with an internal thread, so they are secured like a nut and bolt now as well. Glue + threads = ultimate strength!