What are the Parts of a Flagpole Called?:
The Shaft, Truck, Finial, Halyard, Winch, Cleat, Cam Cleat, Cleat Box, Halyard Cover, Ground Sleeve, Shoe Base, Dock Mount, Flash Collar, and Lightning Rod
The main part of a flagpole is the shaft. All flagpoles have this part, and some flagpoles have only this part. Most are tapered for visual appeal, but many porch and in-ground residential flagpoles have a straight shaft. They are made of wood, fiberglass, aluminum, plastics, and steel.
The housing of the flagpole pulley that the halyard (rope) runs through to raise and lower the flag. There are many types of flagpole trucks, for both internal and external halyard flagpoles, some of them are:
- Cap style
- Ball / Globe
Finials, flagpole ornaments, or toppers, are decorative pieces attached at the top of the flagpole, typically on top of the truck or as part of the truck. You can have everything from a gold ball or cross to a majestic painted eagle as a finial.
A flagpole halyard is a cable or rope used to raise and lower the flag. The important thing when replacing a halyard is to get the right diameter for your truck. The pulley size determines the maximum size halyard you can have on that flagpole. Since cable is stronger by diameter than braided rope, you can hoist (raise) a larger/heavier flag and control it better in a strong wind with a smaller diameter. The most common halyard diameter is 5/16” – .1875″.
A winch is an internal flagpole part that is installed in the shaft to make it easier for one person to raise and lower large flags.
Cleats for flagpoles are the tie-off point for the halyard that allows the flag to stay up or the halyard to stay put. You can find this part of a flagpole on both external and internal halyard flagpoles. When on an internal halyard pole, they are called an Internal Cam-Cleat flagpole because there is a linear cam in the pole that locks the halyard in place, acting as the cleat.
FLAGPOLE CLEAT BOX
Cleat boxes are used on external halyard flagpoles. This is a protective box that usually locks around the cleat to keep unauthorized people from accessing the halyard and bringing the flag down or taking something other than the flag up the flagpole. Internal halyard flagpoles don’t need a cleat box, or halyard cover, because the pole protects the halyard hidden inside.
FLAGPOLE HALYARD COVER
Halyard covers take the cleat box the next level and protect the halyard near ground level from being cut. They surround the halyard and attach to the cleat box so that fingers and tools can’t get to the halyard inside while still allowing the it to move freely. They are hinged or attached such that the flag can be easily reached when lowered.
A ground sleeve is a steel, or PVC, cylinder slightly wider than the bottom diameter of the shaft and roughly and long as 10% of the exposed (above ground) height of the flagpole. Ground sleeves are the most common flagpole installation method. A hole is dug to accommodate the ground sleeve and allow concrete to be poured in to secure it in place. Then the flagpole shaft is lowered into the ground sleeve, which has centering fins in the bottom (of the steel versions). With a steel ground sleeve, sand is then poured between the shaft and the ground sleeve to lock the shaft in place.
A flagpole shoe base is a collar that is welded to the shaft and has a flange with bolt holes. If you can’t dig down to get a ground sleeve installed, you’ll need a shoe base. Bolts are anchored into the concrete and then the shaft with the shoe base welded to it is lowered onto the bolts. Nuts are tightened on bolts and the flagpole is held in place.
A special type of shoe base is the tilting shoe base – here, the shoe base allows the flagpole to be tilted down for maintenance, rather than having to climb it or use a bucket truck.
A dock mount is like a reverse ground sleeve. A plate has a cylinder welded to it that is just slightly wider than the diameter of the flagpole shaft bottom diameter. There are bolt holes in the plate that allow it to be mounted to a boat dock, home deck, or other flat surfaces. The flagpole is then easily slid in or out as needed. Dock mounts are typically used for sectional and telescoping flagpoles as opposed to single-piece flagpoles.
A flash collar is a decorative finish for the bottom of the flagpole like the Finial is for the top. Flash collars are typically made of spun aluminum and can be color-matched to the pole. Like an upside-down wok, they cover the area directly around the base of the shaft, including the bolts of a shoe base or dock mount or the open space of a ground sleeve.
FLAGPOLE LIGHTNING ROD
Many people think that a flagpole is a natural lightning rod, but they aren’t really. A lightning rod safely dissipates a lightning strike’s electricity to the ground. A flagpole, while often the tallest thing around and therefore “attracting” lightning, will not safely conduct it to the ground unless it also has a lightning rod attached to it. Based on local code it can be a 5’ long copper rod buried next to the flagpole and attached to it via a properly sized cable.