After skiing 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’. I want lighter and more agile ski poles with less swing weight* than theirs.
For decades bamboo was 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. Today, exactly 85 years after my great-grandfather launched his Rimfors ski poles in the Östersunds-Posten newspaper on December 28th, 1934, I have finally implemented something I have thought about for a very long time; making my first very own bamboo ski poles—exactly according to my own preferences.
* Swing weight refers to the pendulum motion of each pole stroke and how more weight near the pole tip requires more energy from the skier to move it.