Last weekend Kristin and I decided that we are now far enough along on our home improvement that we can start spending our time on side projects and vacations instead. So we spent some spare time in the evenings last week building a hammock stand from materials re-purposed from the demolition and then took it on a weekend trip to the Indy 500.
Repeating a familiar theme for us, we thought, “why purchase a wimpy mass-manufactured hammock stand when you can build your own out of garbage from around the house.” Luckily the garbage we have cluttering up our living space includes 1 inch diameter black pipe formerly used for gas lines, some chain from our old wall hung pot rack, and a brand new hammock. (Our hammock count is actually up to three now and still no place to use them)
I made this quick sketch and free body diagram to approximate the geometry and loads the stand would experience.The double nest hammock we intended to use lists a 400 lb limit. Also the pieces of the stand needed to be small enough to fit in Kristin’s car. We ended up with four pieces of 1 inch diameter black pipe each about eighty inches long. We already had a few ninety degree elbows but needed to purchase two more forty-five degree elbows to reduce the total angle between the legs to forty-five degrees. We also could have used three forty-five degree elbows to make it more symmetrical, but that would have totally blown our budget of zero dollars.
The final product turned out reasonably well. We were both nervous to sit in it at first, but it was actually quite sturdy. Also the ends to which the hammock attaches are much higher than the run-of-the-mill store bought variety, so you don’t need to stretch the hammock super tight to keep your butt from dragging the ground. The couple of minor drawbacks are (1) that it is not easy to move which makes it hard to follow the shade of a tree throughout the day, and (2) the old gas pipe is dirty and leaves an oily residue on your hands; even after Kristin wiped the pipe down with soap and water.
Here’s the final bill of materials and some short instructions.
4 pcs. 1 inch dia. x 80 inch length black pipe (free)
2 pcs. 90 degree elbow to join pipes (free)
2 pcs. 45 degree elbow to join pipes ($2.85 ea.) (I bought galvanized since black pipe elbows were out of stock)
2 pcs. 1 inch dia. x 2 inch black pipe nipple to join elbows ($1.22 ea.)
4 pcs. 2 inch welded ring to hang chain from between elbows (@1.18 ea.)
6 pcs. 3/4 inch x 18 inch round steel stake ($2.28 ea.)
2 pcs. 3 mm. x 12 foot cord from outdoor outfitter ($0.20/ft)
2 pcs. cord tensioners to tighten staked cords ($14.95/pack of 10)
2 pcs. 3 foot length of chain (free)
1 pcs. hammock (free)
= $34.33 total cost (only $34.33 over budget)
The stand can be assembled as it appears in the picture. Not shown is that four stakes were driven most of the way into the ground and the pipes slid over them. This keeps the pipes from moving on the ground.