HOW TO: Build a bike polo mallet

How you build your bike polo mallet is totally up to you. There are many ways to make one, with new ways evolving often. Tink in DC has a Flickr set with his how to. There is a Boise blog with a how to called “Mallet making 101“. I have a method that works well for me, here it is.

With a few basic tools you can build a bike polo mallet of your own. Sometimes finding materials is more difficult than construction.

Items you will need:
Ski poles. Usually found at thrift stores. Only use Aluminum poles, also look for ones straight and longer than 46″ uncut.

Plastic pipe. Various types of plastic can sometimes be found.

*Don’t use the white PVC found in hardware stores, it breaks easily.*
bike polo mallet pvc

One type, as seen below, tested and well liked by many NYC players can be ordered by the foot from Mcmasters.com. (Must enter part number 8705k18)

One bolt and nut. (1/4″-20 is used in photo)
A plug or cap for the ski pole
A roll of hockey tape for the grip.

Tools you will need:
A hacksaw
A power drill
A few drill bits, 1/2″, 9/16″ & 5/8″ spade bits and a 15/64″ twist bit to drill hole for 1/4″ bolt
An adjustable wrench

1. Remove the molded plastic hand grip from ski pole. This can be tough, try holding it upside-down with the grip between your feet. Pull on the ski pole and try to kick the grip off by pushing it away from you. Never cut the top of a ski pole because you want to only cut the tapered end.
2. From the top, measure the desired length for the mallet and cut the tapered end of the ski pole.

3. Cut the plastic pipe to the width desired, 6 inches is good.
4. Mark where the hole will be for the ski pole to fit into the mallet head. It is best to make the hole in the middle of the mallet head.
5. Now measure the diameter of the ski pole at the end. Most of the time the spade bit size will be 1/2″, 9/16″, or 5/8″. Remember, you want a tight fit so don’t drill the hole too large.

6. Some options when drilling the mallet head are to only drill a hole in the top,

drill a hole in top and bottom, or to drill a hole in top and a partial hole on the inside of the bottom. With the third method, the partial hole acts as a “cup” for the end of the ski pole to “sit” in. This adds stability, but eliminates the chance of the ski pole sticking out the bottom of the mallet head. Using a spade bit gets a good “cup” effect when drilling.

7. Insert the ski pole into the mallet head.


8. Before you drill a hole for the bolt that will hold the two together, make sure the bit is long enough to go all the way through the mallet head.

And when you drill be sure to go through the ski pole too.

Also, using a drill bit 1/64 of an inch smaller than the bolt will give you a tight fit. After you make the hole you will need to thread the bolt through.

9. After the bolt is installed, tighten the nut enough to slightly distort the plastic, this will keep the nut from vibrating loose.
10. Cut off the exposed threads with the hacksaw.


11. Plug the grip end of the mallet.
* ALWAYS PLUG MALLET ENDS * DON’T CORE SAMPLE YOURSELF OR FRIENDS * IT CAN HAPPEN *
Some handlebar plugs work or you could tape a nickel or penny over the end.

12. Wrap the top 10 inches or so with hockey tape. Or, for more grip, unroll about 2 1/2 feet of tape and twist it into a tight “bead” and then spiral wrap down and back up.

Next give it a good flat wrap to cover the “bead” and some extra at the top to secure the plug and make the top comfortable in the palm.

Now it should look like a polo mallet.

Where can you buy the mallet head material shown here?
Mcmasters.com (Must enter part number 8705k18)

And if this how to was helpful I’d love to see how your project turned out. I’m on Flickr too.