Monday, October 10, 2011

Mother of Invention Monday...Hammock Holder...

It was said that Necessity is the Mother of Invention...so...

Today we are looking at my hammock holder.  During our recent vacation to Branson and Silver Dollar City we purchased a GREAT hammock from a lady named Mary Hoelterhoff, Rainbow Hammocks who was one of the craftsmen at SDC that weekend.  In speaking with her, I was explaining my homemade hammock holder and she asked that I show her the holder so it would give people another idea for how they can use her hammocks.  Her hammocks are rated for 450 lbs of weight and two people.  So, here we go...

I originally made this hammock holder for my old hammock (see it in the picture between the tree and camper?)which was not rated for nearly as much weight as the new hammock, but it the materials I ended up using will work just fine for the new hammock as well.

I have a tree on one side but needed something to hold my hammock up on the other end.  I was checking around on the internet and couldn't find anything that I liked that didn't cost and arm and a leg. 

So, I thought and thought and came up with this.

You will need:
2-2x4's
1-carriage bolt with washer and nut long enough to go through both 2x4's (mine is 5/8"x4")
4 (or more depending on how you secure the holder) min. 3/8" 10mm spring hook (the larger the better)
1 heavy duty s-hook
Rope (at least 1/2" and rated for more hanging weight than your hammock is rated for and as much pulling weight as you can find)
drill (to make the holes for the carriage bolt)
saw (to make the notches in the bottom of the boards)

I went "shopping" in dad's barn and found a couple of 2x4's that were about 4 feet long.  This is a good length for storage in my RV.  My brother, Tom, helped me with the rest.

We went through his toolbox and found a 5/8" steel carriage bolt that was long enough to go through both 2x4's and using his drill press, he drilled a hold large enough to accommodate the carriage bolt through both 2x4's. 

He then cut a notch in the bottom of both boards so that I could put a rope around the bottom to keep the legs from spreading too far or collapsing if needed.  (I haven't needed the notches at this point because the feet of the holder have sunk into the ground and are stable.

We put the carriage bolt through the boards so that the notches were to the outer edges and tightend the nut onto the bolt.  Total cost:  $0  at this point...How cool is THAT????

I then had to figure out how to make it work.  I had a thought in my mind and went to work.

I first used one of those tie down straps with a ratchet.  I put one around the tree and used one to wrap around and through the 2x4 holder.  I had decided that I wanted it to go both around the 2x4's and through the V part for a secure hold.  Wrapping it turned out seemed to cause some torque on the 2x4 holder when weight was put onto the hammock and the frame wanted to spin.

When I sat on the hammock, I found out why it stated that the tie down straps said that they were not to be used for towing because they broke and I ended up on the ground.  As I sat there on the rocks thinking "this is gonna leave a mark" I decided that I had to rethink my plan.

I headed to Wal-Mart (I know but there isn't a lot to choose from around here--like a climbing store or specialty store) and found this rope.  It is rated for 362 lbs with something around 1,000 lbs pulling weight.  It is also soft and easy to knot.

Next, I found this 3/8", 10mm spring link rated for 425 lb.

And then, I got some of the heaviest S-Hooks that the store had and got to work.

I wrapped some of the rope around the tree with a spring hook on one end and a rope loop on the other end.  I made sure it was fairly tight, but not so much that it would harm the tree bark and attached a small screw for the rope to get "caught" on on the side away from the hammock.

I then took a small piece of the rope and a spring hook and hooked it around the top of the 2x4 holder.  See it?  It is going horizontally around the holder by the carriage bolt.

Note here that each time I cut the rope I used a lighter to burn the ends so they wouldn't ravel.

Next, I brought a longer piece of rope around the holder vertically and ran the rope through another spring hook and in this case I decided to attach it to the steps of the camper using another of the spring hooks to anchor it upright.

You could use one of those tie out stakes or tie down stakes to anchor the frame.  Just be sure it is rated for a really large load or huge dog.

The premise you are looking for is that there will be tension on both sides of the 2x4 holder which will keep the holder upright.

Then, I brought the chain from the hammock over the top of the holder

and used the S-hook to hook onto one of the spring hooks and the hammock chain.



Voila!  The hammock is up and will hold a LOT of weight--even while swinging.

I have not had the need to secure the bottom of the 2x4 holder with a rope because it has kind of sunk into the gravel which has kept it from spreading out and collapsing.

This was planned so that it could be used as a pair in the open if you didn't have anything to anchor to (like a tree) on one side.

Total cost is under $20--most of that cost is the rope.

Man is it GREAT!!!!

If I were to do this again I would do the following:

Make the 2x4's longer--probably about 6 feet.
Moved the carriage bolt down a bit to create a bigger V at the top for the rope and hammock to hang through.

But, all in all, it has worked perfectly for us for the past couple of years.

6 comments:

  1. Excellent idea! Where there's a will there's a way I guess. Ha! My husband is camping tonight and tomorrow night too. We just have a small pop-up camper though. He's gone fishing with one of his friends up in the smokey mountains of NC. Not so sure he'll have very good weather though. We're getting rain today (in GA). Enjoy your hammock!

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  2. Brillant idea! Now enjoy the hammock!

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  3. Kelly--I hope they have fun fishing! My family had a pop-up while I was growing up. We had some fun times in that! Can you please send some of that rain this way? We could use a couple of inches--over a few days--not all at once!

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    Gail--Thanks! Gman and I both layed in it yesterday and even had a dog with us and it did fine! Yay!

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    Val--LOL Mother of Invention. :) Kind of channeling Hick perhaps?

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