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  1. #1
    Senior Member rjcress's Avatar
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    rriiiiiippp...thud...##$@^!

    In the spirit of "Meet the Robinsons" (a great movie, by the way), I am proud to report that I FAILED!!

    Yep.

    I happily crawled into my new DIY gathered end hammock (eventually to evolve into a WBBB clone, with addition of side panels, pull outs, footbox, bugnet) for my very first night sleeping in a hammock... ever. Something didn't feel right. Even laying diagonal, I couldn't get flat or comfortable. I was just about to get out and move the brand new whoopie out further to the end when I heard the dreaded ripping sound. I felt around trying to find it, but nothing.
    Must have been the tree strap stretching (darn stretchy tree straps!), I thought.
    Then I heard it again.
    This time when I felt around up by the head end whipping I poked my whole hand through a hole.
    As I tried to carefully turn to swing my legs over the edge and get out, the whole thing failed.
    Lucky for me, I was only a foot or so from the ground, and the only thing injured was my pride.

    I have a guess why it failed, but am hoping for a second (or more) opinions.

    Background:
    I'm 6'4" tall, ~190Lb, and cramped in my friend's HH Explorer Asym. I'm also brand new at all things hammock related and not sure what length hammock will fit me best. I plan to use my hammock for backpacking, so the plan was to start long, and trim down after some experimenting to find the right length. No need carrying around excess fabric and stick out from under the ends of my fancy new 12x10 hex tarp.

    Starting fabric dimensions were 12'8" x 5'. Fabric is a Polyester/Nylon blend taffeta from Hancock Fabrics. I don't know the weight, but it feels thicker and heavier than my 1.9 oz sil ripstop. I hemmed the sides, then hemmed the ends, leaving a channel for the whipping line. I mostly followed Knotty's directions for the gathered end hammock whipping.

    And all was right in the world.

    Well, sort of.
    This thing was HUGE. I felt like I had to be able to shorten it.
    I read where someone used a descender ring like a napkin roll to experiment with different lengths (sorry, not sure which thread that was in). I made a small paracord loop and started sliding it in from the head of the hammock to see where it started to feel too short. Then I moved it back towards the head end a bit to try to dial in the right length.

    Awesome! I found what felt like just the right length. Man that thing was comfortable! Well, it was comfortable for the 10 minutes that I was in it. I figured I needed to sleep in it overnight at least once before deciding on the final length, cutting it down, and re-whipping.

    So, I finally got my whoopie slings done yesterday. Mostly finished the tarp the day before. Forecast was for a low of 68F last night, maybe with some rain. Seemed like the perfect time to test everything out.

    The things that I did different than Knotty's video were a) slide the larks head at the end of the whoopie in past the whipping to where my little paracord loop was... the one that I was using to adjust the length of the hammock body, b) didn't use ripstop, c) I used HC4U's loop thingy to attach the ridgeline through the whipping instead of looping it over the end of the whoopie. However, the loop thingy pulled out and I ended up tying it off at the whoopie, so I guess it ended up being knotty's way. d) had a figure 8 at the end of my whoopie instead of an eye splice.

    When the fabric failed, the tear started in the center and spread in a straight line across the fabric to the side hems. It tore on the hammock body side of the whoopie larks head. So, I'm guessing there was just too much strain on the fabric on the hammock side of the whoopie (as opposed to on the tree side of the whoopie).

    Hmmm. Also, since the hammock was soooo long, and the whoopies added a foot to each end, I couldn't find ideally spaced trees. I was using trees around 20 feet apart. I had to pull the whoopies fairly tight before getting in to keep it from sagging so much that I touched the ground.
    I suspect this added considerably to the strain on the fabric.

    When I started writing this I felt pretty confident that the failure was due to connecting the whoopie's larks head too far in from the bundle created by the whipping. However, I'm having trouble visualizing how the whipped end would relieve much/any of the strain, as the larks head appears to constrict the same no matter where along the hammock body it is attached. I'm wondering now if the bigger contributor may have been the tension on the whole setup caused by setting up on trees that were too far apart.

    Sorry to be so long-winded. Just trying to fill in any info I think could be useful in sorting out what happened.

    So, what do you think caused the failure?

    BTW, The rip was at the place I was going to cut to shorten the hammock. So, if I can sort out the likely cause and feel confident that it won't happen again, then I'll just hem that edge, whip, and use at the current length.
    (ie. if it was just that I used the wrong fabric, then I'll trash this, else, I'll correct the issues and reuse this decapitated hammock body)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "I keep telling myself that if I make perfect seams, nobody will believe that I made it... " -JohnSawyer

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  2. #2
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    This probably isn't much help but....Stuff Happens.

    I recently had a DIY HH fail using 1.9 ripstop. I looked it over very well for any indication of cause. According to the user, it started at his heel (sock feet) and rapidly progressed until failure. All I could come up with was speculation.

    In the butt area, there is more weight, but spread out over many more square inches. In the heel area, there is not a lot of weight, but very few square inches of contact. Kind of a pressure point if you will. Maybe it was just faulty fabric, maybe I ran over it with my rolling chair while sewing it and damaged it, who knows?

    There are some taffettas which are heavier than the 1.9 but the weave is much more loose. I found this out while looking for a down proof taffetta for a TQ. I incorrectly assumed taffetta was taffetta.

  3. #3
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    Nice write up. Sorry for the failure.

    I have no idea. Good luck

    cutter

  4. #4
    Doctari's Avatar
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    To me, It looks like the fabric tore where you had sewn it. Or is that an optical illusion?
    3 of my hammocks are sewn ends with the suspension going through the resultant "tunnel", but the stitches are long compared to what yours look. Close (short) stitches with too large of a needle (even with a small one it can happen) can cut the fabric, or at least weaken it: Think the perforations in TP. I am always careful about sewing anything ACROSS the fabric & usually set my stitch length to at least 1/16 (my guess) & I sew VERY slowly.

    I hope this helps. Without holding the fabric I'm just guessing.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member rjcress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctari View Post
    To me, It looks like the fabric tore where you had sewn it. Or is that an optical illusion?
    Optical illusion.
    The only stitching across the body is at the hem in the whip, which is the far left of the picture that shows the tear. I had the whoopie's larks head just to the left of the tear (as oriented in the picture), but there was no stitching there at all.

    Your thoughts on stitching creating a perforation make perfect sense, just no stitching at the failure point this time.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member 1022's Avatar
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    guess

    The fact that you felt like the lay was uncomfortable or not flat, combined with the tear starting in the middle and progressing out towards the edges makes me think about the "gather". if more of the middle of the hamock body fabric was pulled through the para-cord, or whoopie, then the middle would be "tighter" or under mor tension than the sides - slightly. this could lead to the non-flat lay, and if enough of your weight was being carried by the middle of the hammock , and not distributed evenly across all-or-most of the hammock body, that could lead to a tear. If the fabric happens to have a lower strength also ( because of a defect, or just because of the material/weave) this could also have contributed. Since you already own the fabric, it might be worth re-sewing and testing. (hang low :-) this is just a guess based on your descriptionof the lay, and the tear starting in the middle...

    Good luck with the project!

  7. #7
    Senior Member rjcress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1022 View Post
    ... if more of the middle of the hamock body fabric was pulled through the para-cord, or whoopie, then the middle would be "tighter" or under mor tension than the sides - slightly. this could lead to the non-flat lay, and if enough of your weight was being carried by the middle of the hammock , and not distributed evenly across all-or-most of the hammock body, that could lead to a tear...

    Good luck with the project!
    Thanks, and I agree.
    Sadly, I didn't think about that scenario when I attached the whoopie. Certainly looks like that could be the explanation.
    "I keep telling myself that if I make perfect seams, nobody will believe that I made it... " -JohnSawyer

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  8. #8
    MarshLaw303's Avatar
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    Isn't the failure due to the extreme angle of the suspension and the added force that puts on the hammock? If i understood your statements above the suspension was "pulled tight" this surely wouldn't be true of a 30DEG hang so perhaps all the force was transferred directly to the fabric bellow the whoopie instead of down the 30DEG of the suspension. This is my speculation. THe fabric should have been more than enough since i hang my 300# in 1.9 single layer.

    -Tim

  9. #9
    Senior Member rjcress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarshLaw303 View Post
    Isn't the failure due to the extreme angle of the suspension and the added force that puts on the hammock?...
    Thanks for your thoughts.
    That is where I'm leaning.
    Likely a combination of a few factors, but it seems most plausible that the tight hang (as in almost zero sag when unoccupied) was the key factor. Also, since I didn't have the whoopie at the whip, it is likely that I did not have even stress across the width of the hammock due to uneven pulling of fabric through the whoopie larks head (like 1022 said).

    Anyone have different ideas?
    "I keep telling myself that if I make perfect seams, nobody will believe that I made it... " -JohnSawyer

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjcress View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts.
    That is where I'm leaning.
    Likely a combination of a few factors, but it seems most plausible that the tight hang (as in almost zero sag when unoccupied) was the key factor.
    Wow, almost zero sag would put a ton of tension on your suspension and hammock. You probably had 8x or more multiplier of weight if you were that close to zero degrees off horizontal.

    ~Dan

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