Here's what I do for dowels: I go to a home supply store such as Ace Hardware, Home Depot or Lowe's. I find a nice, straight dowel made of hard oak, 4 feet long and 3/8" in
circumference. With a small piece of light-weight sand paper, I smooth the entire surface of the dowel, including the ends. This should take only a few minutes.
We have designed the dowel sleeves of our flags with elastic to hold the silk on your rod, dowel or pole. Just slip your rod into the elastic first, and then into the sleeve.
NOTE: Silk is delicate. Make sure there are no rough areas or splinters in your rod.
HIGH FLYERS ~ If you are looking for a pole for your High Flyer, I recommend an extending fishing pole or a "Panfish Pole, which may be found in WalMart's sports department. These poles do not have reels. Whatever you are using, please note the tip of the pole. If it is very tiny, it will eventually work a hole in your silk, even though the sleeve may be reinforced or padded. The solution I've found for such tiny tips on poles is to hold a small lump of cotton padding at the top, and carefully wrap and secure it with duct tape to your pole. Don't make it too big, or it won't fit over your elastic and/or into your sleeve. This technique works great, in my experience. Please see the photo, below.
NOTE: If the elastic loop is too large and slips on the pole, try wrapping a small piece of plastic tape around the pole, just above where the loop is fastened. This should keep the elastic loop from riding up.
Just be sure not to make the padded tip so large that it won't fit in your dowel sleeve!