How to construct a Pell

I recently got back into SCA combat, and perhaps my biggest hindrance at the moment is being out of shape.  One way medieval soldiers trained is by using a "pell".  This is basically a post that you can beat on with a sword.  I had been contemplating sinking a post in the back yard, but I was inspired by this movie, made by Sir Gemini.  His method allows one to make a portable pell, I figured this would be great for use inside my garage.

I made my pell a little different from the one in Sir Gemini's movie.  The major difference is I added a cross-braced "foot" to make the pell less likely to tip over.  My total cost was about $60, the most expensive item being the rope at $.75 a foot. 

Click on the thumbnail images for larger pictures.

Here you see the supplies.  I bought them from Home Depot. 

1) 1 Cedar Landscaping Timber
2) 2-foot section of 4" PVC pipe
3) 5-gallon bucket
4) 60 feet of 3/4" thick rope
5) 1 60-pound bag of cement.
6) 1 two-by-four

Sir Gemini recommends using a "peeler core" for the upright post, but I have never heard of such a thing nor seen them at any of the big-box hardware stores.  Fortunately, landscaping timbers are 4 inches in diameter with flats cut into them.  This means they will fit into a 4" piece of PVC pipe fine.


The first step is to cut the pole.  I wanted my pell to be about 6 feet tall, so I chucked up the pole in my bench vice, marked the pole at 6 feet, and cut with a hand saw.

Next I made a counterbored hole in the top end of the pell.  This was to secure one end of the rope.  First I made a 1-1/2" diameter bore part way into the timber.  Then I drilled the rest of the way through with a 3/4" bit.  I fed the end of the rope through the pole, melted it severely with a blow torch, and then pressed it against a scrap piece of wood to mushroom it.  The mushroomed portion fit down into the counterbore and will not pull through.

Next I wrapped the post with the rope.  In hindsight, 60 feet was not enough.  I could have used probably 80 feet.  As I wound the rope down the post, I tapped the coils snug with a mallet.


Next I cut my piece of PVC pipe.  I stuck it in the bucket and marked the height with a sharpie pen.

Next I chucked up the scrap end of the landscaping timber into my vice, and slid the pipe onto the timber.  This held the pipe so I could cut it using a hand saw.

The pipe fits!  Next I taped each end of the pipe closed with duct tape, to keep the pipe from filling with cement.

Next I made a foot.  I marked the width of a two-by-four in the center of each foot piece, scored the two-by-four with a circle saw set to a depth of 1/2 of the two-by-four, and then chiseled out the wood.  This let the two two-by-four feet nest together.  I then screwed them together.

Next I put a piece of two-by-four in the bottom of the bucket.  I ran a couple of screws in from the bucket side into the feet, then I flipped it over and ran several screws in through the feet into the piece of wood inside the bucket.

Lastly I put the PVC pipe in the center of the bucket and filled up the bucket with cement.  I then watered the bucket, poked the cement around a but with a sharp piece of metal, and let it sit overnight. 

The finished pell!

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