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  1. #1
    stevebo's Avatar
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    Top rail for hammock stand?.... 12ft?

    I would like to make either a pipe hammock stand; or a turtle dog stand for indoor hanging. I am using a big guy bridge hammock- needs to be 12 ft or so to accommodate the suspension triangles. What do you guys recommend to use for the top structural member? Im kind of a big guy- 240 lbs. ( 1 inch conduit isnt going to cut it!). I know there several excellent hammock stands for sale out there, but my hammock budget for the year is pretty much bankrupt-so unless there is a government bail out for under financed hammock hangers- im looking for an affordable diy alternative! Thx for the help!
    Last edited by stevebo; 06-13-2022 at 13:53.
    FYI: If you want to know what type a certain bear is, sneak up behind it and kick it. Then,
    run like crazy and climb up a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and eats you, it's a black
    bear. If the bear just pushes the tree over and eats you, it's a grizzly bear : )


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

  2. #2
    Senior Member jcksparow's Avatar
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    I've made a variant of the Iron Man hammock stand, which uses galvanized steel pipe, and it's pretty bombproof. A few observations, based on my experience:

    -It's heavy as hell. If you're planning on using this only indoors and don't plan on moving it around often, that might not be a deal-breaker.

    -You can go with common threaded fittings or structural pipe fittings that use set screws and a hex key to lock down the connections. The former is significantly cheaper, the latter being easier to break down.

    -The design is flexible to allow for changes in length and height according to your needs. Whatever dimensions you end up making it though, you want to ensure your suspension is attached to the upright pieces as close as possible to where the top bar attaches. This is because you want that top rail taking the brunt of the compression forces, rather than pulling the upright poles in towards each other. The hammock hang calculator is a good place to start determining precisely what height/length you need your poles to be to accommodate your particular hammock and suspension.

    -Speaking of the top rail, you can make this as long as it needs to be for your purposes, but you'll want to limit the number of connections as they will weaken the rail. An unbroken top rail would be ideal, but most suppliers only carry 10' sections max. Two pieces with a join in the middle is fine. I went with 3 pieces and 2 unions to make mine as easily transportable as possible, and there is a tendency for the rail to bow where the pieces join. I usually stick a dowel rod or PVC pipe in the middle where the pipes meet to counteract that.

    -Since you're going to be using this indoors, another thing you can do to save yourself a few bucks is to swap out the short pipes that make up the feet for some 2"x6"x6' (or larger) boards. There are structural T-fittings made for the base of railings that can be bolted to a plank of wood which will likely be kinder on your floors in the long run anyway.

    Hope that helps!
    "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." -Mark Twain

  3. #3
    jakev383's Avatar
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    I'm a similar weight myself, using either a Chameleon or a Blackbird XLC hammock. I built a pair of TurtleDog stands and used the toprail for chain link fencing. It's held up well for me over the last year doing car(truck) camping. I don't recall what it cost me to make them, but looking at the Lowes website, each 2x2 is $4 (need 6) and a toprail (10.5 feet) looks like $20. A 21' piece is $53 and then you can cut it to whatever length you wish.

    Next I'm building one of the Simple Bipod Stands since I removed some chain link fencing and have some extra toprail piece laying around now (plus my 2 kids have commandeered my other stands). I just ordered the parts from tarps.com on 6/12 and received shipping information today that the pieces will be delivered on 6/17. The 4 open-L fittings were $28.60 and shipping was $15.31 for me. You'd need a few pieces of chainlink toprail for this, so not sure how that would fit your budget.

    I guess that's a round-about way of suggesting chain link toprail Maybe you could find some on craigslist or FB marketplace too. Could also buy one piece and see if a fence company has a cut-off piece you could get free/cheap to get the extra 2' you're wanting.

  4. #4
    cougarmeat's Avatar
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    I made a pipe stand out of ... pipe. It was really heavy. I'd like to say it is strong - and it probably was - but I only had access to 10 ft pipe. So it had a joint near one end to add a piece for extra length; making it either 13 ft or 15 ft. long. But when I'm under it, I can't help but think about that joint and heavy pipe over my head.

    To be fair, it never hinted at failing. But, because it was an effort to screw and unscrew the pieces - being careful with the threads, and "someone" else's option that it was ugly - when in fact it was beautiful - it was religated to pieces stored on the side of the house.

    Now I have an Official Turtle stand and its top bar is about 4-inch shock-corded 4 ft (about) sections of aluminum "pipe". So you might find a long piece of aluminum pipe in a store that sells irrigation supplies. That top bar doesn't have to be heavy and the diameter doesn't matter (within reason).
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

  5. #5

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    Steve-

    I've got one of those galvanized pipe stands (it sits outside actually) and holds up well.
    It was shockingly expensive a few years back... I'd hate to price it again now

    That said- I messed up a little in buying 6' pipe for the ends as it was way too high for a bridge to attach right at the T where it's strongest.
    Also- for the Big Guy I felt like I could use a small extension (13' total) on each end of the top rail.

    So going from scratch- I'd do a T fitting at the base and the top rail so I could extend the 12' top rail with two 6" pieces per side.
    I'd buy 5' pipes (or shorter) for the verticals. At the time... figured all 6' piece would be good and it was for a gathered end, but not for the bridges.

    I do hang the Happy Medium on it easily and weigh 235lbs these days.

    All that said-

    I would simply get a 16' 2x4 and a 16' 2x6 and build an upside down T beam and trim it to length for my next ridge pole.
    The only advantage of paying for the Galvanized Pipe is that you can break that stand down for transport.

    One of these days I keep meaning to build one to simply hang from the floor joists in the basement (with no legs)
    If you were confident of your ceiling joists (and hitting them) you could go that route (or climb into the attic to back them).

    If not- you can build legs under it.

  6. #6
    PappyAmos's Avatar
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    Here's what I did.... may be helpful.
    This was copied from my post (#1300) on the turtledog stand thread. Several comments followed including adding rubber feet for increased slip resistance and also a limiter chain or rope for each set of legs to prevent over-spreading
    Another One

    With an event coming in a month where hanging in the trees is in doubt, I decided I needed a set of these.

    I chose to start with 7 ft 2x2s and the hinge mount and using the hppyfngy angle method at the top. I'm not fond of having metal overhead so I bought 4 of the surplus fiberglass poles ($4 ea). I have a Hennessy Explorer Deluxe with the hex tarp. I cut one of the fiberglass pole down to fit the tarp.
    So the stats are:
    Ridge Pole = 13' 1"
    Stand Height = 81"
    Height of hole in hinge for S-Hook mount = 6'

    I reinforced the ends of the poles with dowel inserts - had to add some PVC on the big end to fill it up. The ball-and-loop bungies provide just enough tension for the tarp and also ensure the pole sections will stay together.

    The attached pics show the two ends, a view of the setup with my hammock and tarp attached and a view of the setup loaded with my 220 lb heiny in the hammock. Note: there is no creaking, cracking or other sound when I get in. The fiberglass poles seem to bear the load just fine.
    You may note that spread limiters are installed but not tightened - I may decide to saw the tops of the 2x2s off to allow a little more spread. I have also decided to guy the stands on each side for stability.

    I have only read about half of the volumes you guys have written on these stands so please chime in with comments to help me make them better.

    Chuck

    .
    Attached Thumbnails

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevebo View Post
    I would like to make either a pipe hammock stand; or a turtle dog stand for indoor hanging. I am using a big guy bridge hammock- needs to be 12 ft or so to accommodate the suspension triangles. What do you guys recommend to use for the top structural member? Im kind of a big guy- 240 lbs. ( 1 inch conduit isnt going to cut it!). I know there several excellent hammock stands for sale out there, but my hammock budget for the year is pretty much bankrupt-so unless there is a government bail out for under financed hammock hangers- im looking for an affordable diy alternative! Thx for the help!
    I've always used chain link fence top rails for that. If you get a couple off them and cut them right you can have a three section top rail that stows away easily when you don't need it.

  8. #8
    stevebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverTheHill View Post
    I've always used chain link fence top rails for that. If you get a couple off them and cut them right you can have a three section top rail that stows away easily when you don't need it.
    So even at 240 lbs, having 3 sections of fence rail is strong enough????
    FYI: If you want to know what type a certain bear is, sneak up behind it and kick it. Then,
    run like crazy and climb up a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and eats you, it's a black
    bear. If the bear just pushes the tree over and eats you, it's a grizzly bear : )


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

  9. #9
    New Member
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    I’m 210lbs
    I use 2- 5 foot sections of 1”emt and 4 foot section of the fence top rail sized just slightly bigger than the emt — 6” in on each end I drilled a bolt as a stopper and use the fence rail as a long coupling for the EMT — making my top rail 13 feet long total

    No issues with both my ridge runner and my luxury bridge

    It will sway, head to foot, if you get in too violently but it settles quickly — I have 20 nights in this setup

    my ridge pole is 6’2” high or so, I don’t have to duck under it

  10. #10
    jakev383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevebo View Post
    So even at 240 lbs, having 3 sections of fence rail is strong enough????
    I only use 2 sections (and no EMT inner sleeve), and am 225-ish. If you're making it for indoors do you need to have it in 3 sections?
    Either way - the slop in the joints where the pieces go together will introduce your play in the ridge rail. The less joints, the less it will flex upwards when you get in. The legs are supporting your weight and the top rail is only to keep the legs from tipping/falling inwards towards each other. You get some upward bowing of the rail when you get in from the two sets of legs being pulled inwards toward each other by your hammock and the rail forcing them to stay apart. It's like grabbing either end of the pipe with your hands and trying to bend the pipe in half.

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