Even before I started making my ski poles, I thought that the Achilles’ heel of bamboo ski poles would be its “foot”, called ferrule in technical terms. The ferrule is the critical link to which the shaft, the basket and the tip attach. The design must be spotless, or it can come loose, break, or cause other problems. In other words, the ferrule must be firmly attached, have as low a weight as possible, and marry well with both the bamboo shaft, the basket, and the tip. And all this at the same time as it is simple and not too time-consuming during manufacturing.
The ski pole ferrules I bought from Tehnomat are made for cylindrical telescopic poles and are made of plastic. Their advantage is that the basket can then be screwed on and off, but the disadvantage is that the contact area for gluing it with bamboo is small. The ferrule needs to be deeper for a reliable performance. With a drilled wooden plug and screw to attach the bamboo to the plastic ferrule, my first own solution was very time consuming. I need something more efficient, more reliable, and more durable.
I contact a friend, also a passionate skier, with knowledge of CAD. We copy some measurements from Tehnomat’s plastic ferrules for baskets with snap-fix system. I get a drawing and begin my search for a lathe-company for production. I get good contact with Gnosjö Automatsvarvning, a small family business that cares about the environment and climate just like myself. That’s important! After some adjustments, they send me a handful of prototypes (of 6026 aluminum alloy). The ferrules fit perfectly with Tehnomat’s ski pole tip of tungsten carbide. Inside, they are turned with grooves, and outside, the jacket for the basket is perfectly adapted for both Tehnomat’s threaded system as well as their traditional snap-fix system. In other words, my new ski pole ferrules fit both types of baskets.
I manage to replace my old plastic ferrules with the new aluminum ones just in time before taking the train up to the Scandinavian mountain range with the family. I use Rapid’s hot melt glue sticks for professional use. New tests await. Are they reliable? How will they work with the baskets and the tips?