DIY – Portable Hammock Stand & Schwenker

Well, we had a wonderful summer – cooking, camping, grandkids visiting, and now winter has finally arrived. I’ve decided to add another category to the blog, “Do It Yourself” – and will add some of the DIY projects that interest me over time.  This post will be the first installment of that new category.

Over this past year I’ve lined up several projects and recently started gathering the rest of the materials needed to bring one to fruition – building a “portable” Hammock Stand & Schwenker, (think German BBQ).  I could have used that Hammock part this summer while we were RV Camping with the 5th Wheel over at Santee Lakes.  Since one of the parts, (the ridge pole), is just over 10 feet long – the portability is a bit at question, but I could just toss it in the 5th wheel until we set up camp.  (“Portable” is a relative term?)

Background

I got the original idea for this some time ago when I heard of TurtleLady’s Bamboo Stand over on the HammockForums.net web site.  (I don’t post there – just “lurk”).  Later on, in the summer of 2013, user “Banana Hammock” posted a stand which also used two tripods with a ridge pole suspended between them which I found fascinating because his design used 3/4″ steel conduit.  His innovation was inspired by the German “Schwenker” design as seen in the article Heavenly Schwenker: German Recipe and Grilling Style.  (If you follow that link, you will see some pictures in the construction that heavily influenced my own efforts).  Unfortunately, all of Banana Hammock’s images showing his own creation have been removed and I can no longer find them – but the description and those pictures of the German BBQ were enough for me to proceed.

3/4″ Steel Conduit is available locally from Home Depot in 10′ lengths. I also picked up a couple of 3/8ths inch spring links, several carabiners, and a couple of Nite Ize Figure 9 Carabiner 150 lb. Black Rope Tightener.  (I was frankly surprised, pleasantly so, to find the latter at Home Depot).

1/2″ x 4″ eye-bolts with 9/16ths nuts on them were located on Amazon.com – National Mfg N221-309 1/2 x 4-Inch Zinc Eye Bolt – Quantity 10.

There are a few other things you would need, obviously a Hammock if you are interested in doing this – or if you are like me and already have one, you probably also have most of the other “accouterments” you would need.

That screwdriver and big old ball peen were originally my father's tools.  I think of him a lot any time I run into a project that requires a lot of patience.

That screwdriver and big old ball peen were originally my father’s tools. I think of him a lot any time I run into a project that requires a lot of patience.

None of the pictures available on-line presented a good way for spreading a half inch eye bolt far enough to accept two others - so this evening I just used a lot of patience and made it happen, (twice).

None of the pictures available on-line presented a good way for spreading a half inch eye bolt far enough to accept two others – so this evening I just used a lot of patience and made it happen, (twice).

Had to keep re-setting that big old screwdriver - its face is 1/2" - same as the eye bolt diameter.

Had to keep re-setting that big old screwdriver – its face is 1/2″ – same as the eye bolt diameter.

Eventually, having spread it as far as it would go driving straight into the eye, had to turn things to the side to spread it further.

Eventually, having spread it as far as it would go driving straight into the eye, had to turn things to the side to spread it further.

Take it easy Dave - - "patience" I can almost hear my dad whisper.

Take it easy Dave – – “patience” I can almost hear my dad whisper.

I considered using a steel splitting wedge to spread the eye open farther, but instead just used my hand for a clamp and gently tapped another eye until it seated inside the other one.

I considered using a steel splitting wedge to spread the eye open farther, but instead just used my hand for a clamp and gently tapped another eye until it seated inside the other one.

Then repeated with a 2nd eye-bolt - this looks just about right.

Then repeated with a 2nd eye-bolt – this looks just about right.

If you can do it once, and you are patient enough - you can repeat the process.  Later on I closed the two "open" eye-bolts with the ball peen.

If you can do it once, and you are patient enough – you can repeat the process. Later on I closed the two “open” eye-bolts with the ball peen.

"Fixin to get ready" - tape measure, cutting grinder tool, set up to clamp down 3/4" steel conduit, currently in 10' lengths.

“Fixin to get ready” – tape measure, cutting grinder tool, set up to clamp down 3/4″ steel conduit, currently in 10′ lengths.

Six pieces measured to 91" and marked for cutting - all I need is Heidi to come hold the ends.

Six pieces measured to 91″ and marked for cutting – all I need is Heidi to come hold the ends.

Good to go for the first cut.

Good to go for the first cut.

Heidi lay down an old towel to catch the filings - bt this is a grinder so there are no "steel splinters".  All six pieces cut to the same length with her help.  Marked the cut ends - I'll be driving the eye-bolt nuts into the other end of each one.

Heidi lay down an old towel to catch the filings – bt this is a grinder so there are no “steel splinters”. All six pieces cut to the same length with her help. Marked the cut ends – I’ll be driving the eye-bolt nuts into the other end of each one.

Gently tapping the 9/16 nut in using Dad's old ball peen.  After several false starts I settled in on sinking them about 3/4" into the pipe.

Gently tapping the 9/16 nut in using Dad’s old ball peen. After several false starts I settled in on sinking them about 3/4″ into the pipe.

This is the beginning of a tripod.

This is the beginning of a tripod.

This is sorta-kinda what it looks like put together.  I am considering re-closing the gap on the open one so I don't have to worry with it.  Doing it this way, one leg will always be just a little bit long, but since each leg is 7.5' long, its not enough to worry about.  I also put an eye-bolt in each end of a 10' section of steel conduit for the ridge pole.

This is sorta-kinda what it looks like put together. Doing it this way, one leg will always be just a little bit long, but since each leg is 7.5′ long, its not enough to worry about. I also put an eye-bolt in each end of a 10′ section of steel conduit for the ridge pole.

After tapping dents in the ends of all the conduit with eye-bolts driven into them to keep the nuts from sliding back out - decided to put things together for the first time.  Missy is very interested.

After tapping dents in the ends of all the conduit with eye-bolts driven into them to keep the nuts from sliding back out – decided to put things together for the first time. Missy is very interested.

Each tripod has a loop of 550 paracord looped down from one of the eye-bolts - here a 3/8ths inch carabiner - the 10' "ridge pole" attaches to that.

Each tripod has a loop of 550 paracord looped down from one of the eye-bolts – here a 3/8ths inch carabiner – the 10′ “ridge pole” attaches to that.

Hammock with "Snake skins" retracted.  Hooked up at about a 30 degree angle but I can tighten it just a bit.  Missy is trying to figure out how Dad is going to get in there...

Hammock with “Snake skins” retracted. Hooked up at about a 30 degree angle but I can tighten it just a bit. Missy is trying to figure out how Dad is going to get in there…

I want the ends of the ridge pole to be more or less "centered" under the tripod.  All forces are pulling "down" and serving to keep things tight.  Missy got to see me lay in it for just a few seconds..

I want the ends of the ridge pole to be more or less “centered” under the tripod. All forces are pulling “down” and serving to keep things tight. Missy got to see me lay in it for just a few seconds..

Those "Snake skins" are great - just slip them back over the hammock - roll everything up into a tight bundle and drop it into a bag or whatever.  Good stuff!  Next will be to rig a tarp for shade.  That also has Missy's approval.

Those “Snake skins” are great – just slip them back over the hammock – roll everything up into a tight bundle and drop it into a bag or whatever. Good stuff! Next will be to rig a tarp for shade. That also has Missy’s approval.

 So what about the “Schwenker”?

Well, I was going to combine it with one of the tripods for the Hammock Stand – but now that I’ve constructed it and know it was relatively easy – I am considering building a 3rd tripod specifically for the Schwenker grill.  Have just about decided that is the way I want to go – and already have a light duty winch, pulley and cable to support that project, (I’ll be over-building heck out of that one).  More later. 😀

 

This entry was posted by dave on Sunday, November 16th, 2014 at 7:13 pm and is filed under Do It Yourself . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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