Compass
Box 1748 Conway, NH 03818
Phone: (603) 447-2344 Fax: (603) 447-8377

Poles & Such for Pavilions

Preparation is everything. If you are building your own poles you will need to purchase pole stock (wood!) Look at the chart above to determine what you need for your marquee. Use these dimensions only as a guide and a place to start. As you read on you will notice we have filled in the dimensions for your unique tent. We are going to describe how we would build your pole set, if you choose different dimension lumber be sure to factor that into the dimensions given.

DIAMETER CENTER POLE WEATHER LINES (3/8″) PERIMETER ROPES (1/4″) STAKES PERIMETER POLES (optional)
10′ Diameter 9′ 9″ 2@ 50′ 16@ 15′ 16 small
16 large
16@ 5’9″
13′ Diameter 10′ 6″ 2@ 50′ 20@ 17′ 20 small
20 large
20@ 6’3″
15′ Diameter 11′ 3″ 2@ 60′ 24@ 20′ 24 small
24 large
24@ 6’3″
18′ Diameter 12′ 3″ 2@ 60′ 28@ 20′ 28 small
28 large
28@ 6’3″

POLES

CENTER POLE: We use Douglas Fir for the stock in our main pole system. Douglas Fir is stable, does not check or twist as much as some soft wood and is very rot resistant. We use “4×4”s (measuring an actual 3 ½” x 3 ½”). Pick them carefully at your lumberyard remembering you only want to do this once and good poles will cost as much as knot filled, twisted poles.

OPTION A) FOR A “QUICK” UPRIGHT POLE:

Set your table saw to 2 ½” and rip your pole stock to 2½”x 2½”. Reset the fence and blade to rip the stock to an octagonal shape. Cut the pole to length. Shape the pole top to match the conical shape of your tent top. Drill a ½” hole directly into the center of the top end. Cut a ½” piece of round stock steel to 10”, radius the ends and place into the hole.

OPTION B) FOR A FANCIER UPRIGHT POLE:

Adjust your table saw to rip your stock to 2 5/8” x 2 5/8”. When complete run your stock through a thickness planer to a finished 2 ½” x 2 ½”. We like the look of poles with a “stop” so set your jointer fence at a 45 degree angle and the feed table to remove enough wood to make the pole octagonal after four passes. BUT FIRST, figure where you would like the stop to be, usually 9 to 12 inches from the end. Run the stock into the jointer stopping at the same point on each cut and lifting directly up from the table. CAUTION: this is incredibly dangerous as it leaves the cutter blades exposed and ready to take off a finger tip, etc. Pay attention, you will only need poles once in awhile but you will need your fingers every day. Cut the pole to length. Shape the pole top to match the conical shape of your tent top. Drill a ½” hole directly into the center of the top end. Cut a ½” piece of round stock steel to 10”, radius the ends and place into the hole.

YOU CAN ESTIMATE THE DIMENSIONS OF YOUR POLES FROM THE CHART ABOVE. BECAUSE EACH TENT IS UNIQUE, DO NOT cut your poles to final dimensions before you receive your tent. Leave an extra couple of inches on your center pole… much easier to make lumber shorter than it is to make lumber longer.

SLEEVES: If you are using sleeves on your vertical pole (to make it easier to transport) you may want to cut the stock before you do all of the above. This will allow you to work with shorter pieces of wood. Whether you have cut your pole before or after the process, you will wind up with two pieces for your center pole. Fit a sleeve to a pole piece to determine just how much larger your pole is than the sleeve. Set your jointer to take the minimum off of each face of the octagon. Mark the table so your cut is 6 inches on each face. Fit the sleeve and repeat until the sleeve fits snugly. When you are happy with the fit, leave the sleeve on one pole section and drill a hole to accept a nail or screw to secure the sleeve in place.

PERIMETER POLES (OPTIONAL):

Douglas Fir is our choice. “2×2” (measuring an actual 1 ½” x 1 ½”). Hand pick them one at a time for poles you want to work with and look at.

You need a bunch. Set up a system so you are not doing them one at a time. First; cut each pole to the length we have given you. Second; drill a 3/8” hole in one end roughly 3” deep. Third; set up a router or shaper table to cut the pole stock with a 45 degree chamfer bit. Starting the cut about 9” from the end of the pole, chamfer the edge to a point 9” from the other end. Repeat for each edge (4 times for each pole). Cut 3/8” steel stock to 6” pieces. Radius the ends and place one in each perimeter pole.

Yes, you may make a “quicker” set by eliminating all the chamfering and leaving the stock just a “2×2” but it would not be near as impressive.

ROPE

ROPES: Pavilions use a great deal of rope. Most people are using ¼” manila rope for the guy lines. It is important to note that all manila ropes contain oils to preserve the fibers. It is therefore necessary to wash your rope in a bucket of detergent (NOT SOAP). Detergent is designed to break down oils. Oil will not only stain the canvas, but, once in the fabric may create a medium for water to transfer from outside to inside. A five-minute wash is all that is needed. Rinse well and dry. You will notice that the twist loosens, the rope swells, and the length shrinks. Better now than later!

IF YOU ARE NOT USING PERIMETER POLES:

Cut each guyline into the length on the chart and whip each end (the bitter end of any manila rope should be whipped to keep the rope from unraveling. (Too much to explain it here, but any book on knots will show this easy exercise). Tie an overhand knot in one end of each rope. Pass the untied end from the inside of the roof through the grommet on the eave of the tent to the outside. Pull the entire length of rope through until the knot seats against the inside of the grommet. Pass the rope through one hole in the dog bone and then back through the other and tie an overhand knot in the bitter end. This will give you an adjustable loop on one side of the dog bone.

USING PERIMETER POLES:

Cut each guyline into the length on the chart and whip one end. Eye splice the opposite end. (Or tie a loop in one end but an eye splice looks far more finished.) Pass the rope through one hole in the dog bone and then back through the other and tie an overhand knot in the bitter end. This will give you an adjustable loop on one side of the dog bone.

WEATHER LINES: Tie (or splice) a loop into every end.

STAKES

Stakes can be made out of any hardwood but we are convinced you can’t beat metal stakes as they never break and will drive into almost any surface. Make sure that you have more than enough. Make your guy line stakes from 1/2″ steel stock at least 12″ long.

Setup Instructions

Copyright © 1997-2014 Tentsmiths