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Re-creating military tent poles (16x32 G.P. Med. Tent)

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Forum topic by FreeWoodistheBest posted 11-29-2018 07:17 PM 5732 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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FreeWoodistheBest

20 posts in 2989 days


11-29-2018 07:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tentpoles

Hello all, I recently purchased a Military 16’x32’ General Purpose Medium tent without poles.
I have seen a sites that sell them, but since they are primarily wood, I plan on making my own set to hand down to my boys for their deer camps in the future.
I was wondering if anyone here has made these poles before? Do you have plans that you would share? or do you have a source for some of the metal parts that are needed?

I plan on using true 2×2 clear wood for the 5’8” poles around the walls, with a metal collar and a center metal pin made from old lag bolts I have laying around. The two center poles need to be light but strong, about 4” DIA, and 10’3” long with a similar pin at the top.

The hardest piece to find information about has been the ridge beam… some sites say it is optional, some say required. some say 4×4 with mating holes for the pins, some say a 2×4 works just fine…

anything will help me and my create memories

Thanks in advance!!
Jeff

-- Don't believe everything you read on the internet. ~ Abraham Lincoln


16 replies so far

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile

FirehouseWoodworking

792 posts in 4733 days


#1 posted 11-30-2018 12:04 AM

In all my time in the Army (I’m retired from the Army since 1996), I never saw a ridge pole for any “GP Mediums”, as these tents were known. That’s not to say that ridge poles didn’t exist, I just never saw one nor did I ever hear of anyone talking about such a thing.

As I recall, the poles were all hardwood. The pins and collars were as you describe. I honestly don’t recall for certain, but I’m thinking the two tall poles used up to the ridge were two-piece poles. I seem to think there was a collar attached to the top of the lower pole half into which the bottom of the upper pole slipped into. But again, I am not certain if I am remembering that correctly.

I believe the poles were octagonal in cross section, so you should be able to make that cross section with a 45-degree router bit or even with your table saw.

As a resource, you may want to at some of these on-line manuals:

http://bailey-engineering.com/govern_files/Manual.pdf
https://slideplayer.com/slide/8028913/
http://www.dla.mil/Portals/104/Documents/TroopSupport/CloTex/shelters/MilSpec/MGPTS.pdf
http://www.eurekamilitarytents.com/Portals/0/MGPTS_T1_041717.pdf
https://www.scribd.com/document/217149358/TM-10-8340-240-12-P-MGPTS-Tent-Manual-2005

They look like they are all more current than my service time, but perhaps they may help you. Or you can just search on “GP Medium Technical Manual” on Google.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

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FreeWoodistheBest

20 posts in 2989 days


#2 posted 11-30-2018 05:05 AM

Dave, first of all, thank you for your service!
Second, thanks for the information and history of the tent. I’m excited now look thru your links and begin working on the tent poles!!!
JEff


In all my time in the Army (I m retired from the Army since 1996), I never saw a ridge pole for any “GP Mediums”, as these tents were known. That s not to say that ridge poles didn t exist, I just never saw one nor did I ever hear of anyone talking about such a thing.

As I recall, the poles were all hardwood. The pins and collars were as you describe. I honestly don t recall for certain, but I m thinking the two tall poles used up to the ridge were two-piece poles. I seem to think there was a collar attached to the top of the lower pole half into which the bottom of the upper pole slipped into. But again, I am not certain if I am remembering that correctly.

I believe the poles were octagonal in cross section, so you should be able to make that cross section with a 45-degree router bit or even with your table saw.

As a resource, you may want to at some of these on-line manuals:

http://bailey-engineering.com/govern_files/Manual.pdf
https://slideplayer.com/slide/8028913/
http://www.dla.mil/Portals/104/Documents/TroopSupport/CloTex/shelters/MilSpec/MGPTS.pdf
http://www.eurekamilitarytents.com/Portals/0/MGPTS_T1_041717.pdf
https://www.scribd.com/document/217149358/TM-10-8340-240-12-P-MGPTS-Tent-Manual-2005

They look like they are all more current than my service time, but perhaps they may help you. Or you can just search on “GP Medium Technical Manual” on Google.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Cheers!

- FirehouseWoodworking


-- Don't believe everything you read on the internet. ~ Abraham Lincoln

View LDSisler's profile

LDSisler

3 posts in 1233 days


#3 posted 01-08-2019 09:40 PM

Jeff,

Did you ever figure out what to do about a ridge beam?
The BSA Troop that I am a volunteer for has recently been gifted a GP Medium Tent, without poles and the adult volunteers restlessly building and gathering poles, but we are short a ridge beam.
So as I am wandering the internet and I stumbled upon this post, I figured I might as well ask about it.

Thanks for your time,
Logan

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FreeWoodistheBest

20 posts in 2989 days


#4 posted 01-09-2019 12:16 AM

Logan, WOW What a great gift!!

I ended up making my own poles for the entire tent. 5’-8” poles for the sides, 6’-3” poles for the door opening, 10’-3” poles for the ridge poles. As for the Ridge beam, I found it to be optional.
Take a look here for original military specifications for that tent as well.

http://www.liberatedmanuals.com/TM-10-8340-211-23P.pdf

The way they setup the tent ridge guy lines, they provide the “stretching” needed to support even a snow load.
This PDF even shows the original staking diagrams to maximize the strength of the internal strapping.

I am still doing minor repairs to my tent like fixing the corner zippers, patching small holes/tears. I am actually toying with the idea of making a wooden door like you see on the TV show MAS*H .

My hunting buddies think I’m bonkers…

-- Don't believe everything you read on the internet. ~ Abraham Lincoln

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FreeWoodistheBest

20 posts in 2989 days


#5 posted 01-09-2019 12:21 AM

Also –

Eave Poles and Ridge Poles before stain


I needed a couple new corner brackets to replace broken ones, made these so the middle cross-bar has a slit, and a sliding piece to close the gap after attaching the strap.

-- Don't believe everything you read on the internet. ~ Abraham Lincoln

View LDSisler's profile

LDSisler

3 posts in 1233 days


#6 posted 01-17-2019 05:51 PM

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LDSisler

3 posts in 1233 days


#7 posted 01-17-2019 05:54 PM

I’ll get pictures of the poles this weekend, but to give an idea…we used some natural lodge poles and some modified lag bolts, we also sealed the bottoms to help mitigate any possible weather and natural exposure damage.

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile

FirehouseWoodworking

792 posts in 4733 days


#8 posted 01-17-2019 11:22 PM

Oh the memories!! . . . Except the snow was usually deeper!

Nice job! Looks very good.

Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

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FreeWoodistheBest

20 posts in 2989 days


#9 posted 07-08-2019 05:58 PM

Here is my update: Set the tent up this weekend and its as amazing as I had hoped :)
ALSO: I did not end up making a ridge beam to span between the posts. I do have a fair amount of sag, and am worried about snow. I am currently designing the beam to hang off the posts, just strong enough to keep the roof up during the night when the temp drops and then we can keep it warm and brush off snow.

-- Don't believe everything you read on the internet. ~ Abraham Lincoln

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

31894 posts in 4143 days


#10 posted 08-06-2021 05:04 PM

Remember seeing a couple Ridge beams…..they had a steel loop at each end, the whould just fit over the pole’s roof pin….at the center pole, both loops were to sit on that pin…..

I also remember those tents to be a ROYAL PITA to set up….had to have enough bodies ( like the entire KP detail) to set one up….

When we’d get back in from the”field”....we had to lay the tent out flat on the ground/parking lot….sweep it off, and let it dry. Then the “fun” of rolling it up…and trying to carry the dang thing inside to wherever the Mess Section wanted it stored….

Was always best to wear leather gloves when do these tents…..Rope Burns….and..them poles always gave out splinters….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Neb505's profile

Neb505

1 post in 117 days


#11 posted 01-28-2022 09:44 PM

How are the poles measured? From the bottom of the pole to the very end, or from the bottom of the pole to the base of the tip? Also, how did you construct the metal parts of the poles? Links to materials would be appreciated. I’m looking into making my own pole too and yours look very nice. Thanks!


Also –

Eave Poles and Ridge Poles before stain


I needed a couple new corner brackets to replace broken ones, made these so the middle cross-bar has a slit, and a sliding piece to close the gap after attaching the strap.

- FreeWoodistheBest


View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

3220 posts in 3632 days


#12 posted 01-28-2022 10:16 PM

The ridge beam was either 3”x5” or 4” x 6”The ones’s I was familiar with had a rectangular collar that fit over the end to couple them together.. If you are going to have a snow load you need the ridge beam. without snow not really necessary.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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FreeWoodistheBest

20 posts in 2989 days


#13 posted 01-31-2022 12:35 AM

Neb505, Thank you for the compliments and the questions.
I measured the poles from the ground to the top of the metal collar.

I cut the octagon shapes out of 2×2 on a table saw, cut them to length.
I used cyclone fence posts to make the collar, I cut them around 4” long, and removed sharp edges.
I used a radial arm saw to take off the shoulders of one end to accept the collars. I left enough meat there to have to pound the collars on gently.
Then I pre-drilled an undersized hole in one end to accept a long lag bolt. As the lag bolt went in and expanded the remaining wood to secure the collars in place.
I then cut off the head of the lag bolts… Not shown here is the most important part of the top end of each post… the collar was too small, it slipped right thru the metal hooks inside the tent… SO I made wooden washers to place on the top of each post as it was installed. I used 1/2” plywood, cut a center hole, then cut the outside with a hole saw.

I did end up making a ridge beam, three pieces total, 2 2×4’s with a “U” shaped connector in the middle and it worked like a champ in heavy snow, and made a nice place to put eye bolts and hang string from to hang wet clothes

I did the same thing for the ridge poles, accept I did not put a collar on top, and I made them 10-5” out of a single 4×4 with no splice.

I have since sold the tent, but I do miss it
Good Luck, let me know if you have other questions.


How are the poles measured? From the bottom of the pole to the very end, or from the bottom of the pole to the base of the tip? Also, how did you construct the metal parts of the poles? Links to materials would be appreciated. I’m looking into making my own pole too and yours look very nice. Thanks!

Also –

Eave Poles and Ridge Poles before stain


I needed a couple new corner brackets to replace broken ones, made these so the middle cross-bar has a slit, and a sliding piece to close the gap after attaching the strap.

- FreeWoodistheBest

- Neb505


-- Don't believe everything you read on the internet. ~ Abraham Lincoln

View Gborroco's profile

Gborroco

2 posts in 73 days


#14 posted 03-13-2022 11:35 PM

Hi there , i stumbled across your post , looking for replacement poles for my 16×32 GP tent , i have the ridge pole you where asking about , I can upload pictures of it if you like . Just one question what type of wood did you use to make your center poles?

Thanks

View FreeWoodistheBest's profile

FreeWoodistheBest

20 posts in 2989 days


#15 posted 03-15-2022 09:59 PM

I sadly sold the tent to a youth event center. They are using the tent as a muster point for adults and others waiting to experience the activities.

As for wood for the poles, I used KD studs and ripped in half first, then cut them to octagons.
I used a standard 4X4 Non-PT for the 10’ poles, and just cut them into octagons as well.
The octagon cutting was not required, but added to the authenticity for me :)

-- Don't believe everything you read on the internet. ~ Abraham Lincoln

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