Poles for Prayer Flags
Unfortunately, we haven't yet found a source for good flag poles at affordable wholesale prices, so we can't offer them through our website. We're still looking.
Regarding pole height: The bottom of a vertical prayer flags should be waist high or higher, The pole usually goes into the ground a foot or so. For instance, a pole for a 6' prayer flag should be at least 10' tall.
In the meantime, Here are some ideas on making your own flag poles:
Metal pipe is the main choice seen in Asia now days. We used to sell metal flag poles out of 1/2" electrical conduit, but fabricating and packing them for shipping was more than our small operation could handle in our limited space. Metal poles are expensive to ship and we ended up having to charge over $50 for a pole that can be fairly simply made for $5. A 10 length of electrical conduit can be purchased at most hardware stores for under $5, but in order to ship them they must be cut in half. Set screw coupling must be added to connect them back together, and the pole is not as strong as the original 10' section. And then, a 12'-6" pole was the longest we could make. After a few years we gave up on the endeavor. If you have a vehicle in which you can carry a 10' length of conduit, we encourage you to buy one at your local hardware store. The metal poles we've seen in the Himalayan Region are ususally painted sky blue or green. Most kinds of paint will work.
Thick-walled copper pipe will also work for a pole although it’s more expensive than steel or aluminum.
The grace and strength of bamboo makes it a good choice for prayer flag poles. If you can get bamboo where you live - that would probably be the cheapest for you. Garden supply stores often carry bamboo poles. If you live in an area where bamboo grows, neighbors are often delighted to get rid of some of theirs. Try to get something around 1 inch diameter. If you harvest your own bamboo leave a few branches and leaves on the top – that’s traditional.
2” diameter or thicker wood poles are a possibility if you live in an area where saplings are available. The bottom end should be painted with wood preservative before being placed in the ground. Drainage around the bottom of the pole is advised – by using rocks or gravel in the hole surrounding the pole.
Some of our customers tell us they use 1” diameter schedule 40 rigid poly pipe with excellent results. They flex a little but are strong enough. A coupling can be used to split the pipe, allowing the pole to be taken apart to change the flag without taking the pole out of the ground. Some customers have used a larger diameter pipe on the bottom and a reducing coupler.
Commercial Flag Poles
The poles we found on the Internet were pretty expensive and many were too tall, thick or heavy, requiring a poured concrete footing. Our prayer flags don’t require such expensive big poles.
Here are two nice poles that we found:
- 15ft. telescoping fiberglass pole for $78 (plus shipping) (http://www.flagpolesetc.com/flagpoles/fiberglass-telescoping-flagpoles.html).
- 16 ft. telescoping aluminum pole (2” diameter) for $55 (http://www.united-states-flag.com/15teflonstbr.html)
Placing the Poles
For bamboo, metal or plastic poles merely driving a stake or pipe in the ground about a foot and then removing it leaves a sufficient hole into which the pole can be inserted. Once the pole is in place compact the dirt around the pole.
Placing a plastic or metal sleeve in the hole with a slightly larger inside diameter than the outside diameter of your pole is a nice addition. This allows the pole to rotate as the wind direction changes thus keeping the flag from wrapping around the pole. We sell out metal poles with a 1ft. long base piece. A sleeve can also be cast into a concrete base. This makes changing the flags and poles a simple procedure. I put drain holes in my concrete bases to allow any water to escape from the sleeve.
Questions and Comments
We appreciate any other suggestions you might have concerning flagpoles or the design of our prayer flags. If you have and questions we would be happy to try to answer them. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 800-853-2010.