Homer's Travels: The Hiking Staff's New Tip

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Hiking Staff's New Tip

I like my hiking staff. I picked it up during a geocaching hike on the punchbowl trail back in 2003. I've been using it ever since. A good hiking staff helps keep you steady going up and down steep trails and helps you keep your balance during river crossings. A good staff will provide some protection against hostile wildlife, though my staff has never been needed in this capacity. I'm kind of sentimental about my hiking staff - I'm weird that way.

Over time the tip of the staff started to split. I thought about buying a metal table leg tip but I was unable to find anything that would fit the end of the staff. A co-worker of mine makes furniture and I asked him where I could find what I was looking for. After suggesting that I go to a sporting goods store to buy a "real" hiking staff (Blasphemy!!) he suggested repairing it with epoxy. It turned out to be a good idea. I used a piece of PVC pipe over the end of the staff as a mold and filed the pipe with epoxy. After letting it set for about 48 hours, I used a dremel tool to cut the PVC pipe off. It took some elbow grease to pull off the pipe but it turned out great. I thought the epoxy would be rock hard but it turned out to be rubbery. The epoxy acts as a kind of shock absorber. The rubbery tip helps to grip and not slip. The picture is from the Paramount Ranch Hike where I tried the new tip out for the first time - A successful repair.

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