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Unbending a walking pole

Unbending a walking pole


Postby Alex W » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:51 pm

Is it possible to unbend a walking pole?

I fell on top of my extended walking pole and it now has a slight bend in the middle section. The pole will still work and isn't noticeable when walking, but it is getting near impossible to use the telescopic shortening.

They are Black Diamond Trail poles which are aluminium.

Does anyone know if it's possible to straighten it out?
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby Skyelines » Thu Mar 18, 2021 1:27 pm

I believe that the metal on the "outside" of the bend on a tube gets stretched. To straighten would need the inside of the bend stretching as the outside can't be contracted. The result would be a section of tube with a slightly thinner wall thickness and diminished strength.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby davekeiller » Thu Mar 18, 2021 1:46 pm

That sounds about right.
In principle it's possible to straighten the pole, but it has been permanently damaged by being bent.

What you would need to do is put something inside the pole that's flexible and of the same diameter as the inside of the pole (plumbers use something that looks like a coiled spring) and then gently bend the pole back again. Using a blowtorch to heat the aluminium to soften it might help.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby jmarkb » Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:35 pm

I have successfully straightened slightly bent poles by using a knee, and gently increasing the pressure.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby davekeiller » Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:20 pm

It's possible to straighten a pole over your knee, but it's likely that you'll put a small dent in the pole on the outside of the original bend. The pole will then be of reduced diameter at this point meaning the telescopic shortening won't work, there will also then be a structural weakness in the pole.
That's why plumbers use proper tools when bending copper pipes, and it would be advisable to use the same methods here.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby shinenotburn » Fri Mar 19, 2021 10:59 am

If you regard it as a piece of safety equipment (which is one of the reasons they come with all the paperwork) then stop using it. It is now weaker than designed and if you bend it it will only get worse.

Iain.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Mar 19, 2021 11:01 am

shinenotburn wrote:If you regard it as a piece of safety equipment (which is one of the reasons they come with all the paperwork) then stop using it. It is now weaker than designed and if you bend it it will only get worse.

Iain.


This. I could never trust it again, and sometimes you put a load on a pole in a place where if it gives way, it could hurt.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby AyrshireAlps » Fri Mar 19, 2021 11:58 am

That's why plumbers use proper tools when bending copper pipes, and it would be advisable to use the same methods here.


Won't make any difference tbh, copper has very different mechanical properties than aluminium alloys do. The initial bending of the pole has damaged the structure, bending it back will damage it further. It'll break at some point under load, ie when you're leaning on it, it's only good for the bucket.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby davekeiller » Fri Mar 19, 2021 1:51 pm

It's true that copper and aluminium have different mechanical properties, but the principles are the same as straightening a pipe bought as a coil - you're trying to unbend a metal tube without putting a dent in it.
The difference is that in this case the metal has been damaged by the initial accident.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby Alex W » Fri Mar 19, 2021 3:09 pm

Thanks for all the help and advice. I discovered that Black Diamond do replacement middle sections. Only £10 although post and packing added another £8.95. At least it's cheaper than replacing the pair.

Now all I have to worry about is whether it comes from Austria and I have to contribute to the "paying duty on imports" thread :lol:

I take the point about safety and the increased likelihood of a future failure. With my luck it would be at a critical point in a descent and I would go flying.

I never used poles at all until I walked the John Muir Trail in California and the Guide encouraged me to try poles with the promise that if I didn't like them I could give them back at the first resupply point point. I got hooked on them and now use them all the time on the mountains. I don't know how my knees would cope now without them.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby whiteburn » Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:32 pm

Bending of aluminium alloy CAN leave invisible micro cracks, a pole may survive straightening & last a life time or may snap unexpectedly if overloaded again......life's a risk.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby Booga » Sun Mar 21, 2021 1:37 pm

Alex W wrote:Thanks for all the help and advice. I discovered that Black Diamond do replacement middle sections. Only £10 although post and packing added another £8.95. At least it's cheaper than replacing the pair.

Now all I have to worry about is whether it comes from Austria and I have to contribute to the "paying duty on imports" thread :lol:

I take the point about safety and the increased likelihood of a future failure. With my luck it would be at a critical point in a descent and I would go flying.

I never used poles at all until I walked the John Muir Trail in California and the Guide encouraged me to try poles with the promise that if I didn't like them I could give them back at the first resupply point point. I got hooked on them and now use them all the time on the mountains. I don't know how my knees would cope now without them.


I'm glad to see you found a replacement section, I was going to suggest that. I bent a Leki pole once in the Brecon Beacons after slipping on frozen grass and having to self arrest with the pole! Leki's distributor was very helpful and managed to send a new section out to me. I personally wouldn't feel confident having an aluminium pole that has been bent and straightened as I don't like the idea of any possible weak point giving way when I'm putting any weight on it.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby lochussie2 » Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:41 pm

Going downhill fast puts bends in poles quite often, I've found. I've straightened many times and never had one subsequently break. The trick is to be sure you're bending in the right place and direction to get the bend out rather than just adding another bend. Using 2 hands or in a vice both work.
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Re: Unbending a walking pole

Postby teaandpies » Wed May 05, 2021 10:56 pm

Interesting. I use aluminium arrows and a duff shot into something hard will bend them slightly so there's a tool to straighten them out but if they are in anyway kinked they're done. Now I'm not suggesting that this exact tool would work on poles but depending on how bad the bend is I think it could be fixed. https://www.merlinarchery.co.uk/arrows/arrow-making/arrow-straighteners.html
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