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Happy Hammock Stand

Made out of 14 cedar 2x4s and a lot of epoxy, this bent-lamination hammock stand was easier to build than I expected. So easy, in fact, that my plans consisted of a sketch on a post-it note. Here's how I did it...

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First I created a large curved mold from particle board. To start, I marked a centerline on the particle board. Then I built a makeshift trammel from 2x2s. I attached the trammel's lower 2x2 to the underside of the board in line with the centerline. And I supported the opposite end sort of tenuously on a piece of plywood scrap. The pivot of the trammel is just a screw. There is a particle-board spacer between the 2x2s. Then I drilled a hole for a pencil 89" from the pivot screw. (The distance of the arc from the bottom of the particle board isn't critical. Just make sure the apex of the arc doesn't go beyond 2' so you can get two from the same piece of particle board. You can see my post-it-note plan in the foreground.

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Mold parts

After removing the trammel (Don't throw it away!), I cut out the arc with a jigsaw, staying about 116 " away from the line. Then, I traced a second arc on the other half o the particle board and cut it out. I clamped the two halfs together and used a belt sander to sand the radius smooth to the line. Then, I drilled some large clamp access holes.

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Sacrifice the trammel to complete the mold

I then cut up the trammel into 3" blocks and used a trim nailer to tack them between the bottom and radius of the arc as shown to form the mold.

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Epoxy, epoxy, epoxy. Clamp, clamp, clamp

I bandsawed and sanded 8' cedar 2x4s into 38 x312 " strips. I got three strips out of each board. And I needed to mold 5 curves. (So I needed 14 2x4s.) Then it was epoxy, epoxy, epoxy and clamp, clamp, clamp. Each curve consists of 8 strips, which I glued up in 2 sessions of 4 strips each. I used West System epoxy and hardener. And pretty much all of my paltry clamp collection. When the epoxy was hard, I belt-sanded off the excess. Then I jointed things back into flat a bit. Then sanded some more.

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Form the feet

One of the 5 curves was cut in half to form the feet. I sawed a flat on the ends so they would stand up. The others were cut down to 90" arcs and bolted together—two at the base sandwiching a protruding arm from either end—overlapping about 18".

I needed to notch the feet to accept the main curve of the hammock stand. To do that, I set the large curve assembly on the floor and butted the feet against it, holding it upright. Then I really just eyeballed where it appeared the curve would intersect the feet and marked them. You can see in this photo that the mark is about an inch or so down from the apex and squared off along the edge. The width of the joint is the width of three sandwiched curves bolted together. I used a handsaw to cut a bunch of kerfs, connecting the marked line to the outside corner of the foot, sawing close to the line. Then I used a chisel to break and pare away the waste.

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Smooth the joint

I used coarse sandpaper adhered to a long block to smooth away (mostly) the kerf marks in the foot joint. While I was doing that, I tested the fit beneath the curve assembly. My goal was to raise the bottom of the curve off the ground about 12 " or so by wedging the feet underneath on either side. So I sanded until I was happy with the fit.

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Attach the feet

The feet get lag-screwed in place from the underside. Here you can also see the bolts holding together the sandwiched curves as well as the flat on the bottom of the feet.

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Add hardware and hammock

I added some hook bolts at the ends of the stand's arms. Placement will depend on your hammock length or how tall you are. Then I finished it with some oil-based paint that I had asked for the home center to leave untinted. If you want to do the same, ask for oil-based "deep" base or sometimes "E" base. This is the base that they reserve for the darkest colors so they don't put white pigment into it. They will insist you are crazy, but ask them to dip a stir stick in and dry it. It looks milky-tan, but it comes out clear like varnish. It still contains a bit of UV-inhibiting pigment and any outdoor fungicides or whatnot that the paint company uses already.

Once it's dry, hang your hammock and you're ready to do nothing.

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