Andy Hutyera's post on the Wooden Canoe Forums discusses plans for a canoe pole in detail, although these seem to focus on power tool usage, table saws, routers...not my cup of tea. More info the following PDF files...
• Making a Canoe Pole
• Poling A Canoe
A few online sources, including this descriptive one, make mention of using a prefab curtain rod from Home Depot, the aptly named "Home Depole". Others write about finding the perfect dead standing spruce tree with the perfect dimensions to chop down and finish with a crooked knife. My option found the middle ground...I ended up using one of the extra 12 ft long, 2x10 boards purchased to make the bark canoe building bed. It has been cluttering the garage floor for some time but I wanted to save it for something.
As luck would have it, there were no knots in the relatively straight grained portion 2 inches from the squared original edge. A chalkline was marked 1.5" from this edge, but later, I ended up marking out the future pole using a combination square for more accuracy. I also marked out other areas where poles could emerge, but all of these had some knotty flaw somewhere along the length. In the end, the wood was easily (but not evenly) split to reveal the rudimentary birth of canoe pole
Original board; Split out piece
Not as elegant as ripping an even piece with a circular saw, but with my growing aversion to power tools, this was the most appropriate manner to liberate the pole from the board. It was worked down with an axe, loading up chips in the communal fire pit and then further cleaned with the crooked knife.
"Semi-Old Fashioned" way of making a pole
The project gave me the first opportunity to try out the recently made Orien Blade crooked knife. The blade's offset and "crooked" blade angle took some getting used to. The blade was very sharp but tended to pull out the wood in scoops (a flaw in my technique for sure). In the end, I ended up using my flatter, home-made blade crooked knife to work down the edges. The pole is still a work in progress and will need to wait until my next trip up north to finalize.
Silent tools for the job
UPDATE: Pole has been completed - part 2 has been posted here