Hudson’s Bay Company Pole End


At the Peterborough ON canoe museum, there are a few replica poles that have ends prepped by short pipe stubs secured to the pole with axe head wedges.  Here are some pictures of a pole I built using the detail.


These instructions are supposed to be used as an alternative to the ones described at


Parts List







1-1/4” dia x 12 ft long Home Depot closet rod




1” x 2” long Sched 40 black pipe

1” Sched 40 pipe is about 1-3/16” outside diameter and a little over an inch inside. 

Try to get the supplier to cut the sections to length.  Schedule 40 pipe isn’t hard to hacksaw, but a pipe cutter will get the ends more square.


Axe head wedge kit
- wood wedge
- steel wedges









Cut pipe sections to length, deburr, and chamfer ends, inside and out.



Turn or whittle pole ends to slip fit for pipe internal diameter.  Cut a sharp shoulder for the pipe section to bed against.


Notch the pole ends for the wood wedge



Drive on pipe section, drive in wood wedge, cut wood wedge flush.



Drive in steel wedges.  Place them in the pattern as shown.



Admire the result


Return to the instructions at for marking and finishing the pole.


On the River


Functionally, this pole end detail seems to perform its basic function of protecting and stabilizing the pole end, but on the rocky rivers around here (western Connecticut) its performance is disappointing.  It lacks the purchase that the bolt-based details, especially in low angle (pole close to horizontal) situations, and the working edge of the pipe spalls, forming jagged edges that are a threat to canoe, floatation bags, and operator.  The slight overhang (the pipe OD is slightly greater that the pole diameter) doesn’t seem to cause any greater problem with catching or grabbing than other details.


The performance could be improved by using a hanger bolt or a lag bolt in place of the steel wedges, but the assembly would offer no particular advantage over the one that uses the copper pipe cap.




I carry this pole around and use it, partly as an exercise in historical authenticity and partly in search of stream conditions where it’ll work better.  I can’t really recommend it for general use, though.


Copyright Fred Klingener, 2004
May be reproduced with this notice for non-commercial use