How to Fix My Fiberglass Tent Poles

How to Fix My Fiberglass Tent Poles
Although it is heavier than aluminum, fiberglass tent poles are still relatively common because they are cheaper. When a fiberglass tent pole is damaged, the result is often a complete break in the pole. Standard fiberglass repair techniques can help put the pole back together, although it will be much finer work than patching a crack or hole in a canoe or camper shell and requires a more delicate touch.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Hand saw
  • Drill with sanding cylinder
  • Acrylic glue
  • Fiberglass patching kit
  • Power sander
  • Fine, medium and rough-grit sandpaper.
Step 1
Cut away any jagged burs or ragged edges in the main sections of the tent pole with a saw. This usually enlarges any hole or gap formed by a breakaway piece of fiberglass, but don't worry about that. Discard any small fragments left over from the break.
Step 2
Sand the perimeter of the hole or gap, if there is one, so it is concave. Use a drill with sanding cylinder. As the pole is broken, sand first one side of the hole and then the other, taking each section of the pole in turn until the entire perimeter of the hole has been sanded down.
Step 3
Glue the tent pole sections together with acrylic glue. This glue only holds the poles together as you patch the fiberglass, and is not meant to be permanent. Allow the glue to dry as directed by the glue's manufacturer.
Step 4
Cut sections of fiberglass cloth from your fiberglass patching kit, sized to fit in the hole. Each fiberglass cloth for the patch should be slightly larger than the hole itself. Each layer of cloth is good for 1/32 inch, so most tent poles will require four cloths to patch a hole. Then cut at least one additional cloth to wrap completely around the tent pole, around the break plus any additional cracks.
Step 5
Mix your resin, coat both sides of the fiberglass cloth, and lay the cloth into the hole in the fiberglass tent. Repeat until the hole has been plugged. Then coat another cloth in resin and wrap it around the entire break, including the hole that you just patched up. Coat more cloths with resin and wrap these around any other cracks in the tent pole as necessary. Allow the fiberglass patching to dry for at least eight hours, and preferably overnight.
Step 6
Sand down the fiberglass patching with a power sander until it is almost flush with the rest of the pole. Use rough-grit sandpaper to remove excess fiberglass, then medium-grit to even the job out, and finally fine-grit for a smooth finish.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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