Originally Posted by samsara
Pictures or it didn't happen... have you used it yet?
My apologies, but I have been enjoying my TurtleDog stand so much I hadn't gotten around to taking any pictures yet. Here it is:
My stand is far from the prettiest, neatest, or lightest posted here. But it was fun to build and works great. Here are the highlights:
- I built my stand from 2x4s, only because I had several sitting in my backyard that were going into recycling if I didn't use them on this project. They are heavy and seem like overkill. But they were essentially free. I imagine that at some point I will get bored and decide to replace them with 2x2s, or maybe even 1" square aluminum tubing.
- The legs are around 6' long. I drilled 1/4" holes exactly 2' from the bottom of each leg and strung 3' lengths of mason's line between each leg. When I close the tripod, the cords drape but do not touch the ground. There is enough spread for the tripods to be sturdy, and the suspension point on the hinges is still over 5' off the ground.
- To join the 2x4s together, I used 1/4" carriage bolts and wingnuts. They hold just fine, and if for some reason I wanted to disassemble the stands rather than simply folding them, the wingnuts make it really simple.
- To keep the top ends of the two pivoting legs from banging into each other, I mounted them with 4" bolts running through the board in the long dimension. This works fairly well, but the joints at the top of the tripod flop around a bit under load. I will probably redo these two legs with 2" bolts running through the shorter dimension once I figure out how to space the 2x4s so that I can still spread the legs properly. Either that, or replace the legs with 2x2s.
- Like many others, I made my suspension rail from two lengths of 1-3/8" chainlink fence top-rail. Both pieces are 6'3" when disassembled. Since one piece has a 3" swaged section at the end, the assembled pole is 12'3" long.
- I wanted to keep my suspension as simple as possible. So I created two continuous loops from 7/64" Amsteel Blue that are 14" in circumference. I connect these to steel shackles hanging from holes in the hinges. The loops are then simply larks-headed to each end of the pole. With these relatively short loops, the poles are almost 5' off the ground. When I put the stand away in the shed, I just leave the shackles and loops attached to the tripods.
- I space the two tripods so that the suspension loops are about 11'4" apart. This is just about the minimum distance that allows me to rig my tarp without bumping into the legs. When hanging my hammock at the optimum 30 degree sag, the hammock ridgeline ends up almost 4' off the ground, which is around 12" below the top rail. This puts the height of the bottom of the hammock at 12-15" off the ground.
- Because my top rail extends several inches beyond the suspension loops, I ended up turning the tripods sideways so that the rail could pass through without banging into the center leg of the tripod. This works fine, but I may still experiment a bit with the rail length and the tripod spacing to see if I might prefer the more traditional arrangement of the tripods used by most of you who have built one of these stands.
- To create connection points on the rail, I place standard aluminum end caps on each end. I permanently spliced a continuous loop of 7/64" Amsteel Blue that is 24" in circumference to the end of each end cap. I then run this loop forward and essentially half-hitch it around the rail on the other side of the loop that suspends the rail from the tripod. I also attached an Amsteel soft shackle to each loop that I use to connect the whoopie slings from my hammock to the rail. By anchoring the loop to the end of the rail, I keep it from sliding inward. And by hitching the loop around the rail right next to the point of suspension of the rail itself, I route as much of the downward pull from the hammock suspension directly to the tripod and minimize bending forces on the rail.
- I also attach the continuous ridgeline for my tarp to the end caps at each end of the rail. The end caps are not permanently attached to the rail. They are held on by the tension of the hammock suspension and the tarp ridgeline pulling them firmly onto the end of the rail. When I put the stand away, I simply pull the caps off the rails and store them along with their loops and soft shackles on a nail in the shed.
As I said, not the prettiest stand we've seen here. But it works well, and I am particularly happy with the simplicity of my suspension system.