Monday, October 27, 2014

Stobie Poles

It's funny what you become interested in on holiday. Or maybe it's just funny what I become interested in.
On the other side of the world from my home, the object that fascinates me more than anything else in the country is the Stobie Pole. Yes, poles supporting power lines. Something never seen on a postcard.
It seems that South Australia is short of straight trees suitable for making poles. Gum trees are wooden knots so not suitable for the job. If that wasn't enough of a problem, termites love wood so even if you have a straight length, it will be dinner pretty quickly.
The solution James Cyril Stobie came up with was to make a pole from two lengths of H-section steel filled in with concrete. Apparently alternative designs are regularly looked at but in nearly a hundred years, nothing superior has been found.
I pondered how I'd make a miniature version and thoughts of brass section filled in with plaster had crossed my mind. BRMA member Gavin Thrum has a better solution (seen on the right) with the metal section filled with basswood. This provides a suitable texture and is pretty close to the right colour.
Why they don't appear on a postcard though, remains a mystery.

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