The Christmas gift for the family – our first very own bamboo ski poles

My first set of bamboo ski poles for the family. Simple, cheap and sustainable!

After riding with bamboo ski poles from American Soul Poles for over five years, I have finally made my first very own ski poles, not only for myself, but for the whole family. Well before Christmas, I began probing the internet and ordering all the parts I needed. I bought grips, baskets, ferrules, and tips from Slovenian Tehnomat (pronounced Technomat). I bought bamboo canes from Bamboo Import Europe in the Netherlands. It must be straight thick-walled Tonkin bamboo, Ø16 mm at the thick end and Ø14 mm at the thin end. About 25 percent of the delivery was around those measurements and could be used. The pole straps were sewn by my wife from polypropylene webbing and buckles from Jonic-Textil in nearby Kristianstad.

Everyone in the family could pick their choice of color and basket, which resulted in a colorful concoction with no risk for confusion.

When the bamboo sticks were cut to the proper lengths, several of them had to be filed down at the end to fit grips (whose inner diameter is Ø16 mm) and ferrules (with an inner diameter Ø14 mm) into which the bamboo cane is pressed. Because these ferrules are made of plastic and are not very deep inside, I carved wooden plugs in which I drilled holes, and then screwed a decking screw all the way through, and attached the plug with wood glue, with the screw tip pointing outwards. Then I secured the ferrule onto the cane with Rapid’s eco-friendly hot melt glue while screwing and pressing (see below). The ferrule from Tehnomat have a hole all the way through, of approx Ø5 mm, for the carbide tip itself, and with a screw and hot melt adhesive they are firmly locked to the bamboo cane. My solution with a plug and screw is time consuming, so I will develop my own ferrules of aluminum, similar to Soul Poles’, but for lighter and more flexible bamboo.

For decades bamboo the dominant ski pole material, and I’m far from the first one taking up bamboo ski pole manufacturing in modern times. I’m not even the first one in the family to make bamboo sticks. On the day, exactly 85 years after my great-grandfather launched his Rimfors ski poles in the Östersunds-Posten on December 28th, 1934, I had finally realized something I had thought about for a very long time; making my first very own bamboo ski poles – exactly according to my own preferences.

Ski pole advertisement in the Östersunds-Posten 1934-12-28. Rimfors' poles with elastic basket and aluminum ring is the winter's novelty in skiing.
Ski pole advertisement in the Östersunds-Posten 1934-12-28. Rimfors’ poles with elastic basket and aluminum ring is the winter’s novelty in skiing.
With a knife and file you fix the right diameter, and if you use plastic ferrules, glue a wooden plug with a screw all the way through, then attach the ferrule with hot melt adhesive.
With a knife and file you fix the right diameter, and if you use plastic ferrules, glue a wooden plug with a screw all the way through, then attach the ferrule with hot melt adhesive.