Making a Collapsable Staff

The finished staff will appear like this:

The staff is made up of PVC pipe with a shock cord inserted through the middle to keep the sections together.

First, we will gather the materials.

  • PVC Pipe: You will need a length of PVC pipe of a length equal to what you want the final length of your staff to be.
  • PVC Couplings: You will need inside couplings. These are not normally sold at hardware stores. I found mine at McMaster Carr (It is possible to get by without couplings by shimming smaller pipe to fit inside the larger pipe. However this is a lot more work.)
  • Elastic Cord: You can either buy a length of elastic cord (some sporting goods stores and McMaster have them) or cut up bungee cords from the hardware store and tie them together.
  • PVC Cement: There are multiple types of pipe cement for differnt types of pipe. They will be found close to where you find the pipe at the hardware store. Be sure to buy a cement intended for PVC since other types will not create the proper bond.
  • Pipe Caps: If you will be hiding both ends of the staff, you can use pipe caps with holes drilled in them to insert the cord. Otherwise you will need to insert a pin in the pipe to keep the cord secured on both ends

Begin by cutting the pipe into the number of sections you wish to make up your staff. You need to be careful and make this cut as square as possible since any irregularity will need to be filled when you finish the staff.

Here you can see the three sections along with the PVC fittings used to join them.

Next, glue the fittings into one pipe section per fitting. You will not glue the other half of the fitting since it will need to be free to allow the sections to come apart.

If you're using pipe caps, drill a hole in each one and glue one of them into one end of your staff. Next, tie a knot in your elastic cord and thread it through the hole and through the first pipe.

To thread it through the rest of the staff, thread a small string through the cap on the other end and through the remaining sections. You can then tie the string to your elastic cord and use it to pull the cord through the staff. Join all the sections together and knot the cord tight to keep it from pulling back through the cap

Here you can see the cord tied after it has been inserted through the hole in the plug/cap. This will leave the knot exposed so you will have to cover it up somehow. Also, I am using an inside cap which is sized to go in the fitting of the next lower size pipe. Since I am using 1 1/4 inch pipe this is a 1 inch inside plug. If you are using a different size pipe you will most likely need to use a cap which goes over the outside of the pipe but the hole and knot will be the same.

After the cord is tied, your staff is now collapsible. You should be sure to clean it before you paint or your paint will flake off. Also be sure to use primer intended for plastic.