Using Conduit for legs
This reply is for WVwander, from the Turtledog thread, who asks for experiences using conduit and dowels for legs in a lashed tri-pod stand. I feel the reply more properly belongs in this thread, although the history of the Turtledog and Turtlelady stands is intertwined. We are in such good company here!
I have used short sections of 1/2" conduit quite successfully in a hybrid stand for many years with steel pins at the connections of the legs and more recently, 1/2 Conduit with wood dowel connections, with less success, in a more compact traveling stand. My at home nightly hang for the past 3 1/2 years uses 6" steel rod connections, secured into the bottom half of each leg. A friend of mine had a metal working shop and so those came fairly easy when we made that first tri-pod stand.
For the record, that first stand was essentially what we would now probably call a Turtledog stand made with metal legs. It has a seriously over built homemade metal hinging system. My friend loved working in metal, you see! It IS portable, but very heavy because we used angle iron and steel rods for the hinging, and a heavy conduit ridgepole with a 15" steel rod connector inside for the join. The weight of that first portable prototype motivated the move toward bamboo, lashings, and the chain link fence ridgepole. But eventually I returned to 1/2" conduit in an attempt to be more compact.
The steel pin connectors for the legs are heavy when we have six, 6" long. To lighten that, I used 5/8" dowels and sanded them down to fit snugly into the 1/2" conduit. That worked very well for me for several years until one night when it did not. There are photos of it in various motel rooms and friend's homes earlier in this thread
Slick floors are the hardest set up. One night, arriving late at a friend's house, very tired and distracted by two large dogs helping me, I set the stand up on a old hardwood floor at one end and forgot to put anything under the legs to provide traction, and had not set the adjustable limiter cords well. I sat in the hammock and immediately one leg slid out. The result was a broken wooden dowel connector. It was a very low hang so I was not hurt in the fall. My friend saw the leg start to slide and she grabbed the ridgepole so I was saved from that threat. I continue to use that stand, but have fashioned 6" pins for it out of threaded steel rod filed down to fit very snugly. (These were the skill set and tool sets at hand in yet another friend's shop while traveling.) I have screws through the conduit to limit the drop of the pins into the bottom section of the legs. Yes, these are heavy but I've decided that weight is necessary.
It is my belief that the strength of the spread limiters and stopping the slide tendency at the floor surface are the more crucial concerns than the actual strength of the leg join materials, if they are reasonably snug and in-line and dynamic loading is avoided. Being careful when loading AND when unloading the stand is very important to using these small, lighter materials.
If the wood dowels get wet, they can swell and can be really hard to dry out to remove for dismantling. Mine never did that from just nightly dew in outdoor use, but in a major rainstorm, they did.
WVwanderer, I hope you are successful in your quest for a compact stand that meets your needs. I look forward to seeing your results here with pictures, although I myself am behind in this regard. We have all benefited from the generous sharing of photos and advice from many friends here and in the Turtledog thread.
Hang happy and safely,