As promised, here is the result of this past weekend's efforts . . .
Anyone else tired of working at ground-level, trying to light your alcohol stove, or balance your wood burner with a pot full of water either in the dirt or on top of an uneven rock?!? I've looked at the few versions of tree shelves already out there, and while I applaud the use of a trekking pole to support them, it seems like in some cases, those trekking poles may already be used for your porch-mode tarp setup. Why not create a shelf that is self-supporting from only a tree or post?
I went to the shop and started scrounging around, and the design kind of fell into place as I went, based on materials I had available. The shelf is made of galvanized sheet metal from a piece of old ductwork. I folded all the edges over, and double-folded a small vertical lip on the front edge of the base to keep it stiff. The hinge between the two halves is just the edge of the sheet metal bent around a stiff piece of wire rod. This same kind of rod is also used to make the two tree spikes / attachment points. These are held underneath the base by two tabs riveted on, and the rods slide front-to-back and flip out, allowing them to tuck away for carry. These attachment points are about 2" outside each edge of the base, allowing more room to work without the wires getting in the way. Obviously, something like mason line would be a bit lighter, but either alky or wood stoves could burn through it and then dump the flaming contents onto your feet. So I went with some fine braided wire from an old wind-up wall clock. It's very flexible and doesn't kink like picture hanging wire.
A word on the tree spikes: I am VERY cautious about doing damage with anything I attach to a tree and this is no different. These spikes have a very fine, sharp point, and are used to simply stabilize the base against the different sizes and shapes of tree trunk that it's up against. I don't pound them into the tree, but rather seat them gently into the bark, and they seem to do a great job of holding the base steady. I'm really surprised by how stabile this platform feels, considering it's size & weight.
No, I haven't weighed it yet (gotta get a postage meter, gotta get a postage meter ... ) I'm sure there are ways to shed a few grams here or there . . .
I'd love to get your ideas for any improvements. Wonder if there's enough interest in something like this to add one more cottage vendor to our list?
*** I realize this will probably get moved into the private section soon, so PM me if you don't get a response ***