THANKS SO MUCH for the tips – I had no idea. (Duh!) 8) We ended up building a 34′ pole (capable of up to 41′) using the vertical building technique (once I was enlightened!). At Home Depot, we found some expensive ($27 each) but very strong 6′ x 1 1/2″ dia. aluminum poles with interlocking threads at the butt and top end. Essentially we screwed the 4 – 6′ sections together and added a 10′ x 1 1/2″ diameter PVC top pole for a total height of 34′. I trialed these at home, starting with 2 – 6′ sections and the 10′ section preassembled lying on the ground; then I (alone) easily raised it to vertical and leaned the top against my house; then I pushed it higher up, still leaning one contact point against my house, and added 6′ sections to the bottom; eventually the mast reached well beyond my roof. I felt this would simulate the effect of using 3 manned guylines to stablilize the top sections while we pushed the bottom higher vertically and added mast sections. Using a pulley attached with a eye bolt as a halyard, I attached 100′ feet of line to raise the flag like a normal flagpole. This method of raising the actual flag allows for building, raising, and stabilizing the mast first, avoiding the flag itself catching wind and acting like a huge sail – demolishing the pole before it is stabilized. We planned to fly our 6’x10′ flag and hoped to fly the 8’x12′ monster! I successfully trialed a 4’x6′ flag at home. :flag: At the base, I also added a 2″ x 5′ PVC pipe sleeved inside a 3″x46″ long PVC pipe to the bottom of the the metal pole. (I placed the base of the metal pole inside the 2″ PVC pipe and the 2″ pipe inside the 3″ PVC pipe, creating a collapsable/telescopic sleeving effect at the base. NOT using the additional PVC bottom section (or with the PVC bottom section fully collapsed – without expanding the bottom PVC “telescoping base”), would allow us to build and use a fixed length of 16′, 22′, 28′ or 34′ at the summit depending on how many 6′ pipes we added to the bottom (depending on conditions and tree height). If we added the telescoping sleeved PVC pipes to the bottom we could raise it further in 1′ increments to 38′ using the 2″ pipe with bolts as pins, and up to 41′ also using the 3″ pipe with bolts as pins. This bottom telescopic plan was never tested under the weighted load of the mast, but I see no reason it would not have worked. Expanding the telescoping sleeved PVC base would require a second set of 3 guylines attached at mid height to manage the added height. I don’t know how unstable the top might become, but I suspect it wouldn’t change much with tethering. (The highest guylines were attached at the bottom of the top 10′ PVC section.)
On summit day 9/11 :flag: , we opted to leave behind the bottom PVC poles, as 34′ would likely be plenty. It was. The trees at Zealand were roughly 18-20′. We accidentally partially broke one screw tip on one metal pole. So we actually only used 3 -6′ poles + the 1-‘ PVC top, and raised it to 28′ which was plenty – the entire 10′ top section was above the trees. So we guyed it out and raised our monster flag – the 8′ x 12’ flag. SUCCESS!!! :flag: :flag:
In hindsight, the 6′ poles sections proved difficult to manage when trying to raise the base and additional 6′. Shorter 4′ sections would have worked much better (like the previous 23′ version I’d built at home with 4′ PVC sections bolted together). Raising the pole 6′ more means holding the base of the pole over your head holding just the very bottom of the pole. Crazy! After one OOPS (breaking the tip of one pole not quite screwed in yet) we tried again with success. Once the flag was raised the halyard line was used to secure the top of the pole (above the flag) from one direction only, as a hedge against the wind. This could require monitoring and retethering if wind direction changed suddenly.
So for future I’ll probably build a very tall PVC mast in 4′ sections with a simple internal pipe to connect/reinforce the connection, and use bolts as pins and/or duct tape to “hold” the joint in place. For a very tall pole and a large flag, I think 2″ diameter top pole might withstand strong winds better and at the base perhaps even 3″ diameter PVC might be worth the added weight.
THANKS everybody for the ideas we worked off to redesign our plan!
:flag: 8) :beer: 8) :flag: