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  1. #1
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    How important are caternary cuts?

    Hi, I've been thinking about making my own DIY hex tarp. However, I'm kinda afraid of measuring, cutting, and most importantly, sewing a caternary cut edge.
    Will a simple hexagonal tarp, with straight edges, have a much looser pitch than a tarp with cat cuts? Looser as in, too loose to be usable in a decent storm?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    MAD777's Avatar
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    It depends on the material somewhat. Silnylon stretches the most of all the available tarp materials and I think it "requires" a cat cut. You can get away without it on most other materials. However, i would use one on any tarp. If the wind gets strong, that edge is going to start fluttering some. Plus, they just look good.

    Yes, a cat cut requires a little more effort but it's very doable. Keep the rolled hems small and sew only 2"-3" at a time.
    Mike
    "Life is a Project!"

  3. #3
    Fish<><'s Avatar
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    If you have tie outs on the sides, you shouldn't have too loose of a tarp. Cat cuts would be best, however, it is not necessary. I think it all depends on the strength of the winds. I wouldn't allow myself to be out when winds could potentially rip the stakes out of the ground or something like that to cause damage to the tarp. That said here is another bit of info for you...

    The purpose of a cat cut tarp is so it can be pitched tighter, which won't necessarily make it stronger in winds per say, atleast that's my thought. If you want a tight pitch just add some center tie outs to your tarp. Also, if you are intimidated by the cat cut, stick with straight angles till you are comfortable enough to sew slight curves. As far as sewing curves like that though, as long as you pin your grosgrain every couple of inches or so prior to sewing, you shouldn't experience any bunching, which is what I am assuming you are worried about. Good luck with your project and let us know how it turns out for you.
    "We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it."- G. W. Sears

    My forum name is Fish<><; I'm in the navy; and I hate sleeping on the ground. If I didn't need ground to walk on or measure resistance to, I think I could happily give it up.

  4. #4

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    I would much rather have straight sides than a cat cut simply because it is easier to deal with if doing doors or trying to push one edge to the ground to block wind driven rain. A couple extra tie loops solve the noise problem as well as strengthening the whole setup. OTOH I tend to think in terms of longer trips where I cannot pick my weather in other than general terms. By that I mean summer/winter.
    YMMV

    HYOH

    Free advice worth what you paid for it. ;-)

  5. #5
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    Alright, thanks for your replies! I'll discuss the project a bit more with my mother-in-law, AKA expert seamstress, but I think I'll go for it!
    I would buy a Warbonnet Edge, but alas, paying $40 for shipping on a $85 tarp seems a bit excessive...

  6. #6
    Fish<><'s Avatar
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    I always knew the in-laws were good for something.
    "We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it."- G. W. Sears

    My forum name is Fish<><; I'm in the navy; and I hate sleeping on the ground. If I didn't need ground to walk on or measure resistance to, I think I could happily give it up.

  7. #7
    Klaussinator's Avatar
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    Not having a lot of experience with lightweight tarps, I was wondering the same thing when I made mine. I went with shallow cat-cuts on the ridge and all edges, hoping to get the best of both worlds. So far I've been very pleased.

    Mine might not pitch as tautly as if I had deeper, more traditional cat-cuts, but even shallow cuts seem to make a difference over using square edges.

    Here's the thread with pics & followup of mine, if you want to see an "in between" option . . . http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=65828


    -Klauss
    My Blog: http://www.klaussinator.com * Check out the new site! *
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    "Forced ingenuity is the drive of a life well lived."

    "But hey, 2 trees anywhere is a bedroom waiting to happen, right?" ~Wolf

  8. #8
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    You can do it! I've done both a hex tarp, with cat cuts on all faces, and the Winter Dream design from DIY Gear, where the edges of the doors were straight but all bottom sides were cat cut. These were my first projects, after hemming around the edges of a couple gathered-end hammocks.

    The way to do the project is to break it down into steps and then approach each step slowly and carefully. I made my pattern/template with string on light building insulation, 6" deep and 6 feet long. If I need a shorter cut, I just use a portion of the curve. If I need a longer cut, I put the curve in the middle, sight it in so it looks good, and free-hand cut the 6 inches or foot that I need beyond the curve.

    In terms of sewing difficulty, the gentle curves you're looking at are really easy to hem. Joining the two sides at the center ridge is far more challenging, no matter what type of seam you use. When you're pushing all that fabric through the machine it's really easy to sew the ridge to the center of one of the faces. As stated earlier, sew a few inches and then check everything.

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