[CAM] Looking for a few good pavilion owners...

carlos at VIGIL1.com carlos at VIGIL1.com
Thu Apr 2 01:19:35 CDT 2009

>Would ridgepole repair be a class possibility?
>I don't know what all is involved.

Not too much to teach there, really.  This letter should fill the
need, but if it doesn't, then maybe a class is a good idea.  Without
an engineer's formulae, tables of material strengths, and so on, I
don't think such a class would be too long on its own.

Replacement is always a good option.  New, unbroken material isn't

If a metal pole broke, I would just replace it, as a rule.  I
wouldn't trust a single weld in a ridge pole of my tent, especially
in higher-stress -- for the pole -- situations where ridge failure is
even more problematic than in low-stress situations.  For instance,
storms aren't just harder on tent poles; pole failure is harder on
you in a storm.  Also, if *metal* broke under normal use in the first
place, I'd wonder if ti was good metal to have used to begin with;
and it probably deformed, making it harder to rejoin the ends for a

Beyond that, for a wood pole, about the simplest fix you might make
is to put the pieces together, then screw or bolt plates of metal to
them, across opposite sides of the break.  (You could use something
other than metal, but what else is quite as strong for its size?) 
That would brace the wood to keep the broken ends from falling down
and apart again.

Using a pipe section that fits the pole as closely as possible, as a
sleeve, is just an extension of the same idea, essentially a single
plate that wraps all the way around the pole.  If you really wanted
extra strength, I suppose you could *also* (not only) drill a hole
into each side of the break -- make sure they line up! -- and slip a
steel rod of the same diameter in, across the break, maybe epoxying
it, too.

If there is a top or bottom to the pole when it is "installed" in the
set-up tent, the bracing plates should be across the top and bottom. 
That way, the plates help to bear the load along with the
screws/bolts.  Placement is obvious on a squared pole.  With a round
pole, just set it up so that your bracing plates are towards the
ground and sky.

How many screws or bolts should you use?  Well, overkill is generally
better than another failure; just make sure that there is still
plenty of wood between the screws or bolts.  If you use screws, use
screws that are at least long enough to go halfway through the wood. 
And since not all screws/bolts are created equal, ask someone you
trust to help you pick some or verify them as useful after describing
the way you want to use them.

To some degree, without rigorous formulae and materials data, these
types of fixes are just a matter of trial and error (after asking for
advice to learn from others' prior trial and error).  I sunk some
bolts into the ends of my pavilion poles, so that the grommets in the
canvas could slip over their heads, for the canvas to be held onto
the poles.  Most have held, many have bent some in their two or three
years of use, and one has broken off.  I'll have to replace at least
that one broken bolt before being able to use that pole again, so
I'll replace them all when I do, instead of waiting for more
failures.  And I'll just have to ask around to guess what will be
better than the bolts I bought, for stresses applied sideways (for
which bolts aren't really designed).  :)

While I think that should just about cover it, others who read this
may well have something more to add or clarify, which is great.  If
anyone is left with questions after reading this, please ask, too :) .

-- Dahrien  =)

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