My Solution to Bowed Poles

I promised someone a while back to post pictures of how we fixed my bowed poles aka take-up rollers and I forgot. Thanks Jeanne for reminding me to do that. 🙂

When I wrote “Aggravation” yesterday, I forgot one of the biggest frustrations we had encountered. The poles/bars/take-up rollers are made of aluminum which isn’t very thick and after a brief period the poles started bowing. That might not sound like a bad thing but it is. When the pole isn’t straight, the fabric doesn’t roll evenly and I got dippy sides all the way down and then had weird corners. Not good.

This is a known problem also. From what I’ve read, quilters who talked to Grace about it were told they were over-tightening the fabric and putting too much tension on the poles….therefore the bowing. I read the fixes people had used on their poles and we decided the best route was to cover the poles with steel conduit.

When you go to Lowe’s, Home Depot, where ever to buy the conduit, make sure you lay it on the floor and check to be sure it’s straight. Before you go, measure your pole or take it with you. Leave the end caps at home. Check to be sure the pole will fit “inside” the steel conduit. You will need one for each pole. Have the people there cut it a few inches shorter than your original pole. This is necessary so you can use your end pieces to fit into the frame. If you fix your poles like I did just keep in mind that you will no longer be able to use the leader fastening system on the original poles.

ratchet end of pole. The red arrow points to the screw.

Don cut my steel conduit for me. After placing the old poles inside the conduit, he drilled holes through both pieces at each end and inserted a sheet metal screw to keep the conduit from rolling freely (clear as mud?). Here’s a picture of the opposite end.

Arrow points to sheet metal screw

Just a few words of caution….these poles are now very heavy so make sure you don’t drop one on your toes.

You may have noticed velcro on the pole. This is what I use to secure my leaders. It’s industrial grade velcro and is self-adhesive. There is a manufacturing line on the conduit. I used that line to place the edge of my velcro against for a straight line. There’s also self-adhesive measuring tape on the poles.

While I’m going through some things about my system, I’ll show you what I use to keep the ends of the leaders from flapping around during the rolling process. They’re gizmo’s used to hold several wires or cables together. I found them at Lowe’s. I have 2 different brands. I don’t have a preference for either.

"Cable Cuff" brand

"Cable WrapTor" brand

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  1. Jeanne

     /  June 24, 2011

    A million times “Thank you” for sharing this easy fix. I am going to buy the steel poles this weekend!!!

    Now I just need to know if you think the metal carriage was worth your money.

  2. Quilting Tizzy

     /  June 24, 2011

    You are so welcome Jeanne. The metal carriage upgrade is so much better than the wooden one..until the track gets a crack in it. I’d ask if the track has been improved so that it doesn’t crack before I buy it. I’m hoping the replacements I ordered are an improved material. Except for that cracking issue, yes the metal carriage is worth the money.

  3. Donna H Mitchell

     /  August 17, 2012

    You mentioned the weight of the conduit poles. Do you think the plastic end pieces will be able to withstand the weight over time?

  4. Margie Young

     /  June 12, 2014

    Are you still happy with the poles and how do you remove the end caps. Thank you for the great info !

    • Margie, I don’t use it myself any longer as I have an Innova. My sister does use it and the change still works great. The end caps just slide out of the poles that came from Grace.


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