Here’s a project that’s been on my bench for a while. A bent-lamination hammock stand:
It basically consists of 5 bent laminations (one of which is cut in half for the feet) and some hardware. Here’s the quick rundown of how I did it.
To make a mold for the curves, I used a makeshift trammel from 2x2s to draw an 89″ radius on some particle board. Be sure to mark a centerline. You’ll need it later.
I cut out the curve with a jigsaw, traced a second radius from the first, and clamped them together to sand the radius smooth. Then I drilled some clamp access holes along the top.
The trammel was sacrificed to build out the mold. Add book-binding tape or painters tape along the curve (not shown here) so the glue-up doesn’t stick to the mold.
I bandsawed and sanded 8′ cedar 2x4s into 3/8-thick strips. I got three strips out of each board. Then it was epoxy, epoxy, epoxy, and clamp, clamp, clamp. I made 5 of the curves. Each one consists of 8 of the 3/8″ strips, which I glued up in 2 sessions of 4 strips each. (You can see why this was a just pecked away at over time.) I used the centerline of the mold and a corresponding center mark on each strip to keep everything lined up. When the epoxy was cured, I jointed, sanded planed—whatever I could do to smooth the sides of the curves.
4 of the curves get cut down to 90″ arcs and bolted together—2 at the base sandwiching 2 arms. The remaining curve gets cut in half to form the feet. Here, I’m cutting out the joint on the feet where they meet the stand. Lots of handsawn kerfs. Then a chisel to break and pare away the waste.
Sanded (somewhat) smooth with a sanding block. Close enough.
The feet get lag-screwed in place from the underside. Here, you can also see the bolts holding together the sandwiched curves. There’s about 18″ of overlap on the sandwiched parts with three heavy bolts on each end.
Add hardware in the arms for holding the hammock at the height of your choosing, hang the hammock, and enjoy! One of my friends said that it looks like a big smile. Seems appropriate.
I got a nice email from a reader, Bill, who built one of these hammock stands. He widened the beams to 4″ and the foot to 4-1/2″. And he used pressure-treated pine and Titebond III. I think the changes give it a really nice look and make it cheaper and more durable than mine. Here is a picture and some helpful tips that he sent along of his build process. Thanks Bill!
1) I used pressure treated pine…approx 20 boards, $120. Need to be selective for straight grained wood.
2) Thickness of each laminate was not critical (3/8 to 1/2″). Just be sure all 5 beams end up with same approx thickness (3″).
3) I increased the beam width to Approx 4″ (except the beam for the feet was 4.5″)
4) During glue up, always add new boards to the crown of the beam,do not add one board to top and one to bottom of the beam (like an Oreo cookie) before clamping. I tried this once and the resulting beam had voids due to lack of proper clamping pressure.
5) Support the clamping form on sawhorses (like in your photo) not on a workbench. The workbench approach limits clamping access. Also the bottom of the clamping form needs half-circle holes to accommodate the changing angle of the clamps as you place around the radius of the form.
6) Pipe clamps were the best style of clamps for this project.
7) A hand held electric planer does an excellent job of cleaning the squeezed and hardened epoxy from the freshly glued-up beam. The sides of my beams were not perfectly square to each other, but this did not seem to matter. I would not spend a lot of time trying to ‘true it up”.
8) The most difficult task was drilling 1/2 ” holes in perfect alignment thru the 3 beams at a time. I used a 2” thick template that was pre-drilled with the 3 holes properly spaced. I then drilled each beam separately with a hand drill, hoping the holes would all align during assembly. This was not a perfect technique.
9) Applying epoxy to the bottom of the feet might help preserve them over time.
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