(I didn't know if it was better to put this in DIY or DD Hammocks, please move if necessary.)
I’m opening this thread so that there is a central place for DIY spreader bar ideas for the DD Hammocks Frontline and Travel models. If you are like me and you bought an earlier version of either, it is equipped with the outer loops to use a spreader bar but does not come with spreader bars like the newer 2012 versions do.
There are obviously a few ways to make your own 16 inch spreader bars.
Sticks from the field
Pack weight: 0 grams
The simplest and cheapest way, and lightest on your load, would be to find sticks in the field and make a pair quickly. But this might not always be an option depending on your location and available natural resources like trees or supplies like a field knife.
Pack weight: ~60 grams
Time: 10 minutes
Another simple and cheap way is to buy a wooden dowel rod from the hardware store and cut it to length. I was able to cut it to length in store. The only thing I added was a cross cut to each end of both sticks so that the loops could be locked in on each side without slipping and without having to sew the outer ends of the two outside loops. These worked well, and were light, but they didn’t compact down in length.
Tent pole kit
Packweight: ~120 grams
Time: 30 minutes
This is also a fairly cheap option, and the only one of these three that gives you a collapsible pole which helps with packing and even allows you to include them in the supplied hammock bag. They are fiber glass and are a little heavier, probably because I used 9mm poles. Smaller diameter poles will be lighter. Below is a guide to how I made my poles.
Start with the kit and tools. It includes poles, shock cord, two end caps, and instructions. Extra tools: Dremmel, tape measure, marker, and vacuum. You can use whatever you want to cut the poles, I just had this on hand and wanted to use it. Couscous optional.
WARNING: This works better outside in a well ventilated area. If doing thsi inside, the vacuum comes in handy when cutting so you can clean up the waste. By using the vacuum close to the cut while cutting, you can ensure you aren’t breathing in fiberglass particles. Or you could do it outside with a mask.
Connect two poles and measure out 16 inches. There is a dimple in the middle of the steel connector; I put 8 inches right on the dimple. Use the marker to mark the cut on each side.
Using the same two poles, flip them both around and reinsert to make one length. Measure 16 inches again and mark the poles again with the marker. This allows you to make both spreaders out of two poles and perform all of the cutting at the same time. If you are cutting on top of a surface, make sure to elevate the cut or cut over the edge so you won’t cut the surface.
Be careful which attachment you use to cut. I destroyed one of my blades using the wrong one. I used the thicker, flat stone disc the second time and it cut through like butter. It also allowed me to smooth the edges later on.
Discarding the extra lengths, this is what should be left. Make sure to smooth out the cut edges using the disc so they are not sharp.
Using this attachment, I put a countersunk hole on each outer tip so that the knot of the shock cord would have a place to hide. I held the pole and used the Couscous container to stabilize my hand.
Difference between countersunk holes and flat holes
You can see from the next two pictures the difference that the hole makes on the end in hiding the shock cord. First photo is flat, second photo is countersunk.
Using the enclosed shock cord and needle, you can easily thread the cord through the poles. (you can also save this needle for future project involving amsteel cord!)
I used red duct tape to secure the ends of the poles. You could use whatever fancies your liking to clean it up and cap the ends.
That’s it, fairly simple. You may also want to sew the outer edge of the loops on each end to ensure that the poles do not slip out or move while in use. You’ll have enough pole and shock cord to make a second set if need be. (I’ll gladly make someone a set with my extra material if they cover shipping and cost of half the kit ~$12 total!)
What are your ideas? Post them here!