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  1. #1
    New Member Jeff60523's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Reno, NV
    HH Explorer Deluxe
    HH Asym
    Rap Rings

    TurtleDog Hammock Stand: Step by Step

    TL/DR: I used a time-tested design, tweaked it for my needs as a big guy, and built a TurtleDog hammock stand for $85
    Finished product

    Original Post:

    WARNING! Long post!!!

    Thanks to Samsara for starting the thread, Olddog, and Turtlelady and everyone else who has contributed to the discussion... now on to the build!

    Note: There are lots of YouTube videos and HF threads covering the basic build. However, I like having a written step-by-step plan. I actually wrote this out before building anything, then went back and edited it to reflect what I actually did during the build.

    Building off of the basic design presented in the original thread, I factored in my needs:
    • Accommodate my personal dimensions: 240#, 6'4" so I need stability and a slightly higher than average sit height.
    • NO GROUND STAKES! Needs to be freestanding and simple.
    • Flexibility to hang 3 different hammocks as needed:

    • My HH Explorer Deluxe (120" minimum ridgeline length)
    • My son's Warbonnet Ridgerunner double layer (120" ridgeline)
    • Family's "Yukon" backyard napper [cheapo Eno knock-off] (no ridgeline, but seems to hang best with about 120")
  2. PLUS, I want the ability to use either the HH standard asym tarp [132"] OR a HH Hex Tarp [141"] UNDER the top bar (personal preference)
  3. Special thanks to Derek Hansen's excellent Ultimate Hang book and website for the handy tarp dimensions chart! (Saved me from actually measuring mine.)
  4. Minimal need for portability, but not a permanent installation
  5. Renting our current home so can't hang from the trees nor screw anything into the house
  6. Want to be able to throw it into the 8' pass-thru storage bay of our travel trailer in case my son joins us glamping and/or if we're somewhere with no trees.
  7. Thought it might make it easy for my son to use in the living room (or backyard) when we have overnight guests and kick him out of his room
  8. Aesthetics that will meet with my wife's approval
  9. Ability to stay outside all summer in Reno, NV's high daytime temps and no rain.

  10. Materials (A few CHANGES to the original parts list)
    • 6 - 8'x2"x2" cut down to about SEVEN FEET (vs original 6')
    • 2 - Gate hinges (consider buying ONE regular hinge with the same hole pattern as the gate hinge; more later)
    • 8 - 1/4"x TWO INCH GALVANIZED bolts with washers, LOCK WASHERS, and nuts (it bugged me how far out everyone's 2.5" bolts seemed to stick! It's a tight fit, but cleaner. The rotational travel for 2 of the legs on each tripod is minimal so I felt a lock washer vs aircraft nut would be preferred.)
    • 2 - small GALVANIZED shackles (each rated to 660lbs.)
    • <20ft - paracord (I just used some guy line I had on hand)
    • <5ft - rope for suspending toprail (Again, just used some scrap I had on hand.)
    • 2 - 10'6" chain link fence top rail pieces from a local fence company (almost $20 less EACH compared to Lowe's)
    • These are 10'6" long, but 6" is swagged for inserting into another section.

    Tripod build
    I initially went to this online pyramid calculator to work out the dimensions. 17.5* is a consistent number throughout the build. This is a challenging cut to make coming down the length of the 2 front legs (4 cuts total) but my son helped out and they are within tolerance for this job. With those cuts made, I placed their mitered edges together and clamped the hinge by its short side at the point where its outer holes lined up with the center of each leg. I marked and drilled the holes then bolted the front legs to the hinge. Then I clamped another 2x2 to the door jam side of the hinge with the top of the board touching the back of the 2 mitered boards.
    20210408_120645.jpg 20210408_122151.jpg 20210408_122201.jpg

    I transferred the parallel plane of the mitered boards to the back leg and made that miter cut. I marked and drilled the holes on the 3rd leg and bolted it to the hinge as well. Realizing I'm not a very good hole driller sucked. In addition to having inaccurate holes, once bolted to the hinge I noticed the 2 front legs tend to want to roll to the outside. I fixed this by fashioning a mending plate from an old light switch cover. I wasn't going to go back to the store, but if I had a 3rd hinge (regular, not gate) i could have used 1 side of the hinge for each tripod, that way the front legs are supported from the front and back.
    20210408_132405.jpg 20210408_161836.jpg

    Mostly for aesthetics, I cut off the tips of the front legs to match the back leg at the pinnacle of the tripod. So now I had a tripod with a nice fitting junction at the top, but the back leg was longer than the front 2. I suspended a plumb line from the shackle, made some triangle calculations to determine the necessary back leg length. (I wish I could tell you that worked. I ended up with a tripod with equal spread across the front, but longer (and equal) spread from each front leg to the back leg. I think its a function of cutting the wrong angle at the top of the back leg.)

    Anyway, knowing I wanted the toprail to be about 6', and the length of the folded tripod to be about 7', I ended up cutting off equal amounts from each leg (with compound miter cuts) so that the collapsed assembly is about 7'.

    With the 1st tripod temporarily complete, it was straight forward enough to:
    • Unbolt the tripod and repeat/transfer the cuts/holes on the wood for the 2nd tripod.
    • Sand and paint the wood (had some paint left over from another project.)
    • Install the hinges and the shackles,
    • Install the eyehooks and cord.
    • For me, i just put the screws 30" straight up from the floor (vs along the leg) for all 6 legs. I made the connecting rope fixed in length between each set of eyehooks.

    Building in the LENGTH flexibility
    • With 2 rail pieces to work with, and a desired finished length when folded up for storage of about 7', I chose to cut 3'6" off the NON-SWAGGED end of the 1st piece and filed/sanded the cut edges smooth. That leaves you with a 7' long piece with one swagged end.
    • When I stick the cut piece into the opposite end of the piece I cut it from, I still have a 10' piece, but...
    • The end caps, with their handy and strong anchor holes, fit nicely, and when disassembled, it will all fit into my trailer's storage bay.

    YOU COULD THEORETICALLY GET AWAY WITH ONLY THE ONE TOPRAIL and not even cut it, but I wanted flexibility. Read on.

    I then cut the other rail at the 4'6" point giving me the ability to have a variety of toprail lengths:

    • 9' = 5'6" (swagged) + 3' (A kids hammock?)
    • 10' = 7' (swagged) + 3' OR 5'6" + 4'6" (My cheapo napper hammock)
    • 11'6" = 7' + 4'6" (Any hammock w/HH asym tarp)
    • 13'6" = 7' + 5'6" (Any hammock w/HH Hex tarp.)
    • My preference is to suspend the toprail within about 6" from each end to minimize bowing. With the largest length & tarp, I needed to bring the tripods a bit closer in; your results may vary.

    • For the toprail, I used a simple larkshead loop on the pole and through the shackle on the hinge. I put a threaded link through the pole cap to make things easy.
    • For the hammocks, you have lots of options:
    • With my HH, I use a carabiner w/rappelling rings
    • With the Ridgerunner, a carabiner and its webbing.)

    Cost (approx.)
    • Wood $22
    • Hardware $24
    • Toprails and caps $39
    • Total $85

    Hope this helps those of you who have been on the fence for this project.
Last edited by Jeff60523; 04-19-2021 at 14:26. Reason: Formatting

  • #2
    Senior Member tlfillingim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Hattiesburg, MS
    Dutch Wide
    HG Dyneema
    SLD &amp; HG
    Hugrs &amp; Mule tape
    Thanks for the write-up. I have s TDS I built several years ago but I wasn't nearly as attentive to detail as you are. This will be the post I send people to when I get asked how to make one.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Central Oregon
    Jeff really nice step by step.

    Thank you for doing this.



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