Tents with glass fiber poles are prone to breaking in the mid-section. Sometimes they can be long for the tent and will therefore need cutting. Cutting it the wrong way may result in significant damage to the poles. The poles can either be hollow or solid. Use proper tools when cutting to avoid splinting. Below are a few ways on how to cut a fiberglass tent pole quickly and easily.
Things You Will Need
- Tape measure
- Protective wear
- Masking tape
Fiberglass tent poles are a cheaper version of their counterpart – aluminum. Many reasons might prompt you to want to cut the tent poles. It could be the length is too long and needs reduction. It should have a desirable size that will perfectly fit. Cutting the rod is an easy task that won’t take much time when done correctly. Before you start your cutting process, gather all the necessary materials needed for this project. Then have them all in one place.
Take Safety Precautions First
Handling fiberglass material is not like any material out there. It is not advisable to hold the fiberglass pole with bare hands when cutting it. It is for this reason that you need protective clothing to protect the skin and your whole body. Wear a long-sleeved top if possible and put on gloves on your hands when handling fiberglass. This way, you will protect your hands from cuts.
The glass particles can enter your eye if you are practicing caution. It is, therefore, best if you cover your eyes with glasses to avoid possible injuries. You are also likely to get an upper tract infection when you inhale the particles flying in the air.
Choose The Best Blade
When you want to cut fiberglass, you must the right blade. Have the right tool with designated blades for cutting through fiberglass rods. Fiberglass material is more durable but is prone to chipping. The tools that are recommended for it include a saw blade, jigsaw, and a hack saw. The more teeth the blade you are using has, the better it is for cutting purposes. With so many options at your disposal, finding the right blade should never be a challenging task. A fine-tooth blade is recommended for this project.
Measure The Dimensions
Before cutting the pole, you need to note the exact measurements you want to cut on the fiberglass pole. Lay the tape measure along the rod and mark the place you need to cut. To be more accurate, place your thumb on the tape measure to secure the tape from slipping and giving you the wrong measurements. Mark the place with a pencil and then safely remove the tape measure.
Cover With Masking Tape
Cover the areas that won’t need cutting, but leave at least one inch from the left and right on the spot you marked for cutting. Place the tape measure on the pole and place a mark where to cut with a pencil. Masking tape helps prevent splitting. It reduces splintering.
Place On Flat Surface And Wear Protective Clothing
Cutting it when on a flat surface gives it more accurate results. Ensure the work station is as balanced as possible. Put on your safety glasses to protect your eyes from potential injuries. You also need to wear thick gloves when cutting. Particles from the fiberglass can be released in the air and cause skin irritation or cuts when it lands on the body. Wear a mask – if necessary – to cover your mouth.
Cut The Fiberglass Pole
When cutting, place your hands on the pole to give it support and stay secure on the working surface. The hands shouldn’t be placed far away from the marked area for cutting. You can also place it in the middle of two strong tables.
Position the hacksaw on the exact spot. The blades of the hacksaw should be sharp enough to make cutting easy. It should be able to go through the pole when you add pressure without too much struggle. Cut in a back and forth motion gently with the hacksaw. The hacksaw should have a fine tooth to work effectively.
Cut until you reach the middle and then turn the other part and finish cutting to get an uneven cutting. When you are almost done cutting, remove the masking tape and continue cutting until it is into two pieces. When the rod wants to fall apart, increase the cutting speed to avoid chipped ends at the end.
Use sandpaper to smoothen the tent pole if it had any splinters. Wet the sandpaper in clean water. Place it on the edges you have cut. Apply gentle pressure with the fine grits to have smoother edges. You can also sand with a Dremel. Start with an 80-grit as you move to more grits like 150.
How To Avoid Splintering
Splintering is very common when cutting a fiberglass rod. Wounding a masking tape on the area you intend to cut helps prevent the rod from splitting when you are still underway with the cutting. Also, use the right tool for cutting fiberglass. One with a proper blade will help prevent splintering. When doing the cutting, have the correct technique to have a well-cut rod with smooth edges. Place the rod on a flat working surface and ensure it is supported when cutting. This way, you can minimize chipping.
Fiberglass tent poles need cutting when it is too long. Extra precaution is equally essential when handling this type of material. The particles released in the air while cutting can irritate the skin and pose health issues when inhaled. Always choose the best blade to work with to have the best results without splintering. The cut poles should match the original in terms of sizing. Lastly, always cut the fiberglass tent pole towards its center to avoid rough edges when you are done. You want to end up with a smoothly cut stick to avoid redoing some process to make it even on the edges.