Comparative Gaff and Pilodyn Testing of DCOI-A and Penta Treated Pole Sections

Viance Gaff Testing2

Article authored by Dr. Andy Zahora, Senior Research Scientist with Viance, LLC.


In many regions of the United States and Canada utility companies are making increasing use of boom/bucket trucks for above ground line/equipment maintenance, but physical climbing of poles by lineman is still necessary and indeed preferred in some circumstances. It is well established that poles treated with oil-borne preservative systems such as pentachlorophenol (penta) are considered by linemen to be safer and easier to climb than water-borne preservative systems such as CCA. DCOI-A in an HSA solvent system was recently standardized by AWPA as an alternative to penta for utility poles and there is a need for data that demonstrate if this new system will have any impact on pole climbability.

The climbability of the DCOI-A treatment in southern pine was compared to penta using gaff and pilodyn pin penetration measurements. Pole sections were quartered, with different sections of the same poles treated with either DCOI-A or penta in an HSA solvent system. CCA was included as a “harder-to-climb” reference system. Results from “slide-hammer gaff” penetration and pilodyn pin penetration tests showed there was no difference in the depth of penetration into DCOI-A and penta treated pole sections. Results from both test methods revealed that gaff and pilodyn pin penetration into the oil-borne treated samples were about 20-25% deeper than in the matched CCA treated pole sections.

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