Make handmade wooden tipi tent pegs

If you have a teepee, yurt, or old canvas tent, when the old pegs are lost or broken, with practice it is fairly easy to make your own. Below is a step by step guide showing you how to make the pegs.

The pegs we will be making are quick , throw away objects. Their purpose is to be hammered into the ground. If they to not look perfect, or they do not all look the same, as long as they serve their purpose then they will do just fine .

When we first started tepee hire we would use long pegs made using a lathe. These however proved to be exceptionally difficult to get out of the ground and time consuming to make. With all the tipis we hire out we now use the pegs shown below and they are a vast improvement.

The tools below are the ideal ones to use for the job.

The wooden one on the left is a mall and the metal is a frow.

The frow is hammered with the mal to split the wood along the grain. The frow provides a very accurate split. If you do not have either tool you can substitute the frow for an axe and the mall with a wooden hammer or log.

The best wood to use is ash. The height of your ash log will determine the length of your pegs. A good size is 20cm +.

Split your log through the pith (centre of the wood). To get an accurate split place your frow (in the unlikely event you have one) or your axe along the centre line of the wood and powerfully hit the rear of it with your wooden hammer.

If you have a circular log, below is a diagram to show you where to best split the log.

Once you have split the log, two inches from the top of your stake make a cut with your saw across the grain. This cut will eventually form the notch that holds the rope and needs to be at least an inch deep.

1.5 inches below the notch, chip the wood away at roughly a 55 degree angle to create a v shaped notch as shown in the diagram

You now need to create a tapered end so that the stake is easily hammered into the ground. The face with the notch on is the face that needs to be worked on to create the tapered end. The rear of the peg does not need to whittled.

From below the notch at the top, chip away the ash with you axe (or whittle with a knife) so that it tappers to a point. Be careful not to remove too much wood as this will make the peg very weak, as long as it is thicker at the point just below the notch and thinner at the bottom the peg will go in.


Once you have formed the shape of your peg, square off the corners at the top to prevent the wood splitting when it is hammered into the ground. To do this place the peg upside down. Locate a corner at the top of the peg and 0.5 – 1 cm from the top, lop off the corner with an inward blow of the axe.

Once you have squared of the ends your wooden tent stake is complete. The peg probably wont be fantastic to begin with but as long as it hammers into the ground it serves its purpose.

Below is a selection of finished teepee pegs: