Oops! Off goes the tip and basket

Fabian Rimfors with bamboo ski poles in Borgafjäll. Photo: Andreas Hillergren

Recently I was with my family and friends in Borgafjäll. In my eyes 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 but are only half groomed to leave the powder untouched until it is caressed by our carving turns. Add to that the fact that snow falls abundantly in this part of Lapland’s interior and that you can usually count the number of skiers in the ski area on your fingers and toes.

In addition, there are several mountains here for backcountry skiing, in 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 in Hässleholm in the evening and woke up in our own sleeping compartment along the Inlandsbanan trail in the morning. Soon after the Dorotea municipality welcomed us with hot chocolate and cinnamon buns on the platform. It can hardly be easier to travel to the mountains in a more environmentally friendly way, as the diesel train now runs on rapeseed oil. Feels like Christmas!

To create more room for the hot melt glue I carved the end before I reattached the ferrule on my friend's ski pole.
Two types of carving – one by day and another by night! To create more room for the hot melt glue I carved the end before I reattached the ferrule on my friend’s ski pole.

Lost ferrule – which is the most suitable glue?

It 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 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 from Borgagården’s carpentry workshop and glue it back on 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, which has less resin and therefore is a softer glue that remains flexible down to lower temperatures than the PRO+.

The ferrule was very tight on the bamboo stick, so before I glued the ferrule back, I carved off a little more bamboo to make the diameter a little smaller. In this way, a little more space was created for the glue, which now was a whitish, semi-translucent glue stick with much less resin, unlike my yellowish PRO+.

Rapid's hot melt glue sticks: PVC & Cable for plastic and glass, and PRO+ for wood and metal. The question is: which one works best and keeps the flexibility in low temperatures?
Rapid’s hot melt glue sticks: PVC & Cable for plastic and glass, and PRO+ for wood and metal. The question is: which one works best and keeps the flexibility in low temperatures?

Tests with 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 environmentally friendly but 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.

/Fabian

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!

Borgafjäll probably offers the best forests for skiing in Sweden, thanks to the well trimmed ski routes.
Borgafjäll probably offers the best forests for skiing in Sweden, thanks to the well trimmed ski routes.
Ski route Vinkeln in Borgafjäll, first through a few birch trees and later through a well trimmed spruce forest.
Ski route Vinkeln in Borgafjäll, first through a few birch trees and later through a well trimmed spruce forest.
Six out of twelve pairs of bamboo ski poles in Borgafjäll. The bamboo maffia was often in majority in Borga.
Six out of twelve pairs of bamboo ski poles in Borgafjäll. The bamboo maffia was often in majority in Borga.
Northern lights may have nothing to do with bamboo ski poles, but it's always nice to round off a good day on the mountain with these beautiful green lights.
Northern lights may have nothing to do with bamboo ski poles, but it’s always nice to round off a good day on the mountain with these beautiful green lights.
On my eldest son's poles, I secured the ferrules with a pop rivet. I drilled a 3.5 mm hole through one side of the ferrule and bamboo and put a pop rivet with the same diameter to prevent the ferrules from coming loose. A drop of wood glue in the hole before the rivet is in place protects the bamboo from moisture inside. If you need to change the bamboo stick, just drill in the middle of the rivet with the same drill bit.
On my eldest son’s poles, I secured the ferrules with a pop rivet. I drilled a 3.5 mm hole through one side of the ferrule and bamboo and put a pop rivet with the same diameter to prevent the ferrules from coming loose. A drop of wood glue in the hole before the rivet is in place protects the bamboo from moisture inside. If you need to change the bamboo stick, just drill in the middle of the rivet with the same drill bit.
Back in the day, like on my great grandfathers bamboo ski poles, the Rimfors' model, they also used a metal piece to anchor the ferrule and basket to the bamboo. Here with a slit pin right through the pole.
Back in the day, like on my great grandfathers bamboo ski poles, the Rimfors’ model, they also used a metal piece to anchor the ferrule and basket to the bamboo. Here with a slit pin right through the pole.