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Happy hammock stand

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.

 

UPDATE:

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. 

 

24 Responses to “Happy hammock stand”

  1. Contrary to the vision of your friends smile. I got the addition you needed to add to your Hammock from that first Photo & With just a small amount of extra work ~~~adding the Prow of a viking ship, then adding the carving of a Dragon’s Head. Yelp that there is a replica of what struck horror into the known Saxon world of that time, “The Vikings are A’comm’n” (oars could be added later for a descise to look real, or to look like a exerciseing means, while laying there sipping a Mint-Julip.

  2. Contrary to the vision of your friends smile. I got the addition you needed to add to your Hammock from that first Photo & With just a small amount of extra work ~~~adding the Prow of a viking ship, then adding the carving of a Dragon’s Head. Yelp that there is a replica of what struck horror into the known Saxon world of that time, “The Vikings are A’comm’n” (oars could be added later for a descise to look real, or to look like a fake means of exerciseing to your neighbors, while laying there sipping a Mint-Julip.

  3. This looks fantastic! With the 89 inch radius, what is the distamce between the two hanging points for the hammock?

  4. @john880: It does have a nice creaking sound when you first lay down, sort of like a boat rigging.

    @Bob: Off the top of my head, I think it was around 14′ at the topmost points, which is in the vicinity of a “standard” hammock length. But you’ve got a little wiggle room. If you need longer, you have a little room to leave the arcs longer or don’t overlap them quite so far. If you need shorter, you can either mount the hardware lower along the arc or cut the ends off.

    If you need a lot longer, I think you can increase the radius of the trammel and you’ll still have plenty of room on a 4×8 particle board for the mold. If I recall correctly, I didn’t actually cut the curve out of the full 8′ length.

    Sorry I’m not so precise. After some initial napkin calculations, this was pretty much a make-it-up-as-you-go project.

    Lucas

  5. i just finished my first one of these! used your basic plans there and just kinda winged it from there! turned out amazing!! i cant figure out how to post a pic on here but if u wanna email me i can send it!
    thanks again

  6. Hi Scott,
    I’d love to see pics. You can email them to me at lucas.peters@meredith.com
    LP

  7. And for those who were interested, we recently did the 2-adults-with-2-hardback-books test. The stand held up just fine. I perspicaciously don’t know what the final weight was in the test as my wife was one of the participants.
    LP

  8. I’v been looking for plans like this for a time.Will you be putting in the Wood? Also any more detail information?

  9. Lucas, How wide did you make the mold?

  10. I guess Lucas is away.

  11. Hi Larry. I can’t remember how wide the mold was off the top of my head. It really was just slightly wider than the boards I was using so the clamps could reach to the center. If I had to guess, I’d say I cut the internal supports to 3-1/2″ inches, making the entire mold 5″ wide. That was probably wider than I really needed.

  12. Oh, to answer your other question. At the moment, there are no plans to put this in the magazine. I guess that could change if there is enough interest. But even then, it would be waaaay down the road.

    I don’t have too much more detailed information to offer. This was very much a make-it-up-as-you-go project. If you have any questions, though, feel free to ask. You can email me at lucas.peters@meredith.com.

  13. A reader, Bill, decided to build one of these. He sent a picture. I’ll see if I can update the post to show it off. He widened the beams to 4″ and the foot to 4.5″ and I think it gives it a much more substantial and balanced look. He also used pressure treated pine and titebond III, so he saved a lot of money. Nice work, Bill. Here were some very helpful tips that he sent along:

    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.

  14. How do you determine the angle of the recess in the feet to accomodate the lower part of the arc?

  15. Hey There. I discovered your blog using msn. That
    is a very smartly written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of
    your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

  16. Hi Adam,
    Honestly, I kind of eyeballed it.
    Lucas

  17. Wow!
    Very nice work.
    I was wondering if I could do the same but using plywood?
    Obviously the grain will not be on the same direction. However I think it should be strong enough. Your advice?

  18. Hi!

    Good job! I’ve recently found your hammock stand in internet – just exactly what I’d like to built.
    Can you please be so kind and give me some mor data of the hammock stand?
    What is the approx. distance of the 2 hooks the hammock is attached to?
    What is the approx. height over ground of the 2 hooks? How are the feet attached to the stand, are they removable (bolts?), can you send picture?

    Kind regards Georg (Germany)

  19. Hi!

    Missed 1 question – how much is the overlap of the arches where they are bolted togehter?

    Kind regards Georg (Germany)

  20. Hello,
    nicely done. Something that I’d love to see added would be a removable shade of some type, either a wooden pergola type thing, or a sunsail type shade. The latter would probably be easier to install, remove, and store. Removable so we can enjoy the stars at night but have shade in the day. Any idea how one might be constructed? I’ve googled it, and the Europeans have something similar with a lot of their commercial stands, but I haven’t seen anything like an addon. Thanks!

  21. Would it be okay to use cedar and rip it into 3/8″ strips? Or would the cedar split when you bent it?

  22. Scratch that question about cedar. My eye was drawn to the person that mentioned PT and I thought that was what you used.

  23. Started building a Happy Hammock Stand a few days ago! I am using a mixture of pine and cedar, all cut in 3/8″ strips. I purchased a gallon of Titebond III, and it seems to be working well. I’m adding the layers about once every eight hours. Once in the morning before work, once after work, and once before I get ready to sleep. It’s going a bit faster than I thought.

  24. Thanks: I’m going to make two, one for a gift for my daughter & son-in-law , one for me.




 
 
 
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