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  1. #1
    Senior Member jbphilly's Avatar
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    School a newb

    I'm not sure what prompted this, but I was laying in the hammock down by the Schuylkill River yesterday and started thinking how great and easy it would be to learn to make my own hammocks. They would make pretty great gifts, I could distribute them to all my friends, I could maybe start a neighborhood basement-business even. Point is, I figure making a gathered-end hammock is pretty darn easy and it would be pretty fun to do. My mom has a sewing machine (I have to go dig it out of her attic and see what kind it is - hopefully it's up to the job) and can teach me how to use it. As for everything else, there's internet tutorials.

    Anyway, I have a ton of questions. The list may expand as I think of more.

    1. Fabrics. I guess there's a whole subforum, but I'm just hoping to find an overview of what fabrics are good for hammock usage. Specifically,
    a. What's the lightest fabric that's strong enough to make a hammock out of?
    b. What's the strength cutoff point of various fabrics?
    c. What's the cheapest fabric that's strong enough for a hammock?
    d. What's the most comfortable (nicest feeling against the skin I guess) fabric?
    e. What fabric gives the most warmth/wind blockage?
    f. What material should I use for thread for sewing things like end channels where strength is key?

    2. What's the cheapest suspension option if I were making a number of hammocks to give to non-backpackers (i.e. weight is not an issue)? (assuming tree-friendliness in all cases)

    3. How wide/long should a hammock be to accommodate an extra-tall/heavy person? Two people? I'm 5'9" and 140 pounds and my current hammock is 9'6" x 4'6" and it's more than enough room for me.

    4. Where are good places to find deals on fabrics if buying in small quantities? Larger quantities? I assume online is probably the best way to go for price.

    5. Is making a double-layer hammock any more complex than just a single-layer one?

    6. How do you figure out what the ridgeline length should be for a hammock, assuming you're aiming for a 30-degree angle of hang?

    7. Bug net material - what are various options, what's the cheapest, lightest, most protective against all bugs, most see-through?

    8. How would you rate the difficulty of adding an integrated bugnet to a hammock with zipper along the side?

    9. If doing the above, and hanging the bugnet over the ridgeline, how do you make sure it's closed at the ends of the hammock?

    10. Let's say my mom's sewing machine turns out to be too old/broken/low-quality. I know literally nothing about these devices. What should I know if trying to cruise Craigslist for a decent used one? I don't really have any plans of sewing anything heavier than hammock material. MAYBE quilts someday, but if I needed to, say, have end loops added to webbing, I'd just order them already made.

    11. How many folds should I put in the hem when making an end channel for a gathered-end hammock? How many stitches?

    12. What makes a hammock "asymmetric" as Hennessy's and a few others are advertised? How does the WBBB have a "footbox" and "shelf?" I assume it has to do with shape of fabric but I can't picture how it would work.

    Thanks for any and all answers. It's possible this interest will pass, but I think it could become quite a fun hobby.
    Last edited by jbphilly; 10-24-2011 at 18:02.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bhinson's Avatar
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    Hey, You should check out the DIY forum on here
    Seems there are a lot of DIY guys and gals on here
    That can offer a lot of help
    This is your one stop shop for all Hammock knowledge

  3. #3
    but enough about me hppyfngy's Avatar
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    You ask a lot of questions for someone from Philly...

    I'll answer one. Yes, your mom's old machine will be great, assuming it works. Might need a tuneup.

    There. My work here is done.
    Last edited by hppyfngy; 10-24-2011 at 18:12.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member G.L.P.'s Avatar
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    everything you asked about can be found in the DIY section
    get a cup of Coffee sit back and start reading

    again don't forget HF's is not a place to start a neighborhood basement-business
    for making hammocks
    It puts the Underquilt on it's hammock ... It does this whenever it gets cold

  5. #5
    Senior Member jbphilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hppyfngy View Post
    You ask a lot of question for someone from Philly...

    I'll answer one. Yes, your mom's old machine will be great, assuming it works. Might need a tuneup.

    There. My work here is done.
    Awesome. What does a tuneup consist of for a sewing machine?

    @bhinson: Uh....this is the DIY forum?

  6. #6
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    Here are some detailed directions that may give insight to some of your questions: http://www.tothewoods.net/HomemadeHammock.html
    Shug
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  7. #7
    but enough about me hppyfngy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbphilly View Post
    Awesome. What does a tuneup consist of for a sewing machine?

    @bhinson: Uh....this is the DIY forum?
    First, see if it works. If it works, use it. If not take it to a shop and get an estimate on getting it fixed and ask them if it's worth fixing. (you can also ask that here, many knowledgeable folks here to tell you about your specific machine.)

    Next, check out what Shug said and then read a bunch of tutorials. They're coming out the ying yang around up in here...


    (Actually, a tuneup consists of getting all the little gremlins out and giving them a nice bath, and then then putting them back in. Well, I think it's gremlins. It must be gremlins. I can't explain how these things work otherwise...)
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  8. #8
    olddog's Avatar
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    That's alot of questions, I'm a diyer and I can't answer many of them. Drag that old injector out of the attic, dust it off, few drops of oil, grab a old rag and run some stitches. Then go to your local fabric store, introduce yourself cause you're going to be there a lot. I'm leaning more toward polyester fabrics, but that's just me. I've one poly suit lining gathered end that is less than 8 oz that has held me at 220 lbs. My new hiker in progress is ripstop nylon, probably ok in the field but not a good house hammock. Have to wear clothes to sleep, too slick and sticky feeling. Just try a breathable, blow thru it yeah they will look at you, soft comfortable fabric 4 yds to start with, you can use the excess to practice on. Those stitches don't have to be perfect and don't hesitate to rip them out if you aren't happy. I've maybe ripped out half of what I've sewn. Mostly read this forum, sometimes the searches can be tedious but it's there. There is a little leaning curve but in 6 months or sooner you will be a DIYER.


    Whew, that's about my longest post.
    Most of us end up poorer here but richer for being here. Olddog, Fulltime hammocker, 365 nights a year.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ljcsov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbphilly View Post
    I'm not sure what prompted this, but I was laying in the hammock down by the Schuylkill River yesterday and started thinking how great and easy it would be to learn to make my own hammocks. They would make pretty great gifts, I could distribute them to all my friends, I could maybe start a neighborhood basement-business even. Point is, I figure making a gathered-end hammock is pretty darn easy and it would be pretty fun to do. My mom has a sewing machine (I have to go dig it out of her attic and see what kind it is - hopefully it's up to the job) and can teach me how to use it. As for everything else, there's internet tutorials.

    Anyway, I have a ton of questions. The list may expand as I think of more.

    1. Fabrics. I guess there's a whole subforum, but I'm just hoping to find an overview of what fabrics are good for hammock usage. Specifically,
    a. What's the lightest fabric that's strong enough to make a hammock out of?
    b. What's the strength cutoff point of various fabrics?
    c. What's the cheapest fabric that's strong enough for a hammock?
    d. What's the most comfortable (nicest feeling against the skin I guess) fabric?
    e. What fabric gives the most warmth/wind blockage?
    f. What material should I use for thread for sewing things like end channels where strength is key?

    2. What's the cheapest suspension option if I were making a number of hammocks to give to non-backpackers (i.e. weight is not an issue)? (assuming tree-friendliness in all cases)

    3. How wide/long should a hammock be to accommodate an extra-tall/heavy person? Two people? I'm 5'9" and 140 pounds and my current hammock is 9'6" x 4'6" and it's more than enough room for me.

    4. Where are good places to find deals on fabrics if buying in small quantities? Larger quantities? I assume online is probably the best way to go for price.

    5. Is making a double-layer hammock any more complex than just a single-layer one?

    6. How do you figure out what the ridgeline length should be for a hammock, assuming you're aiming for a 30-degree angle of hang?

    7. Bug net material - what are various options, what's the cheapest, lightest, most protective against all bugs, most see-through?

    8. How would you rate the difficulty of adding an integrated bugnet to a hammock with zipper along the side?

    9. If doing the above, and hanging the bugnet over the ridgeline, how do you make sure it's closed at the ends of the hammock?

    10. Let's say my mom's sewing machine turns out to be too old/broken/low-quality. I know literally nothing about these devices. What should I know if trying to cruise Craigslist for a decent used one? I don't really have any plans of sewing anything heavier than hammock material. MAYBE quilts someday, but if I needed to, say, have end loops added to webbing, I'd just order them already made.

    11. How many folds should I put in the hem when making an end channel for a gathered-end hammock? How many stitches?

    12. What makes a hammock "asymmetric" as Hennessy's and a few others are advertised? How does the WBBB have a "footbox" and "shelf?" I assume it has to do with shape of fabric but I can't picture how it would work.

    Thanks for any and all answers. It's possible this interest will pass, but I think it could become quite a fun hobby.
    Here it goes.

    1. Any kind of ripstop fabric will work. If you want a lighter hammock go with lower weight ripstop. I think as long as you don't dip into 1.1oz and you aren't really heavy, there won't be any problems.

    2. Your best bet with suspension is a pair of whoopie slings (Amsteel) and tree straps (polyester)

    3. I think you want to have a hammock thats at least 10ft long and 5'+ wide. Check out the dimensions on the ENO DN. I can personally attest that you can fit two people in it comfortably.

    4. By far, the best deals for basic fabric is in the Walmart bargain bin. On the downside, this can be hit or miss. A reliable source is diygearsupply.com.

    5. Not really. Just a tad more sewing.

    6. People debate this, but the average consensus is ~83% of the hammock length produces a nice hang.

    7. The lightest and cheapest is tulle. Unfortunately, the tiniest bugs can slip through this netting and it can be a bit fragile. Your other option is no-see-um. It'll keep the tiny guys out and is more durable.

    8. I made a bug sock out of tulle. It was super easy. Its just a giant stuff sack for your hammock.

    9. Drawstring and cord lock

    10. I bought my machine off craigslist for $25. The thing is a beast and does everything I need.

    11. I just put single stitching for the channel. Once you bunch everything up there isn't really any stress on your stitching. The goal is to create the knot, not a load bearing seam.

    12. Asym uses a parallelogram instead of a rectangular piece of fabric. The idea is that it creates a designated diagonal hang and creates a specific footbot where your feet are intended to go. For me, this didn't work out. I felt the asym design was stiff and not as comfortable as my ENO DN.

  10. #10
    but enough about me hppyfngy's Avatar
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    Yeah OD, that made me tired reading it.

    Everything OldDog said!

    Except I really like the feel of ripstop personally. The lighter the better for me. ymmv


    Wow ljcsov! You actually did it!
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    If Happy Fun Guy begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head.
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