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I'm an planning a project that will need a large dowel…really a pole…about 1.5"-2" in dia about 6ft long. It needs stability in its straightness and strength as it will be slightly top heavy when finished…and I don't know what wood species yet. likely Cherry or Walnut…but maybe even mahogany.

It will be the pole in the processional cross for our church so the entire length of the pole will be visible. Ideally, I let the design and colors I need to match pick the wood and then I come up with a way to get a pole in that species. (as opposed to letting my selection of poles drive the decision.) Is there a source anywhere for this?

I've been contemplating laminating two 4/4 strips about 2" wide, then using a large round-over bit on the corners. That would make a pole with a rounded square shape. Which would be OK with the design I have going but I don't have a feel if that would yield a sturdy pole or not…? seems like it would flex…?

Any help or suggestions with this would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Greg
 

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You can definitely create a round pole with a roundover bit applied to each corner. If you do a good job of gluing up 2 boards you won't have a problem. However, it would probably look better if you used a solid piece of wood.

I think it's a good idea to set up the router on a router table and use the fence to guide you (as opposed to just using the guide bearing).

If you use a 3/4" roundover of a piece that is exactly 1.5×1.5 you won't get a "rounded square", you'll get a round pole. Likewise, you could use a 7/8" roundover on a piece that is 1.75×1.75 or a 1" roundover on a piece that is 2×2.

If you make it with a hardwood (cherry, walnut, mahogany, etc.) I cannot envision it flexing.

When taking off that much material with the router bit, make a couple of passes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rich - Good point. I was worried about securely feeding and registering the correct face of the stock when it gets close to completely round. I suppose a good jig with featherboards would help hold it straight and steady.

Union - Good link, thanks. I'll call them.
 

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You really should consider not using one piece of solid wood for the pole. It will have a tendency to warp and be a lot heavier than it needs to be. People will have to carry this thing.

Andrew has a good post on his website to make a coopered mast for a sailboat that would be much like you are wanting:

http://waderweb.com/plans/fauxbm/fbm_start.htm

Alternatively, you could glue up two pieces and laminate them. They will tend to cancel out the warping for each.
 
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