Rustic Hammock-Style Wilderness Chair




Introduction: Rustic Hammock-Style Wilderness Chair

Build a hammock style wilderness camp chair fit for a Scoutmaster.  Made from only Logs and Rope, this stout chair will beat any of those flimsy folding camp chairs when it comes to strength and comfort.

So here you are in the middle of the woods far away from the comforts of home.  You've got a campfire to stare at as a make-do substitute for the Telly.  
Unfortunatly, those folding camp chairs just don't provide to the posh Lazy Boy type relaxation that have become a necessity at home but, that's ok... you can adapt - this is camping after all....

When personal comfort is at risk... a whole new panicked sense of self-preservation arises - and the Wilderness Survival  instincts kick-in. 

Remember, stay calm, don't panic, keep a level head and survey your surroundings.  This is no time to be squeemish about being seen in a less than stylish, non-state-of-the-art, inexpensive, heavy, non-folding camp chair.  

In the Bush, an ugly rustic log chair could just make all the difference for your survival.  It may be your only means of getting out alive (while being reasonably comfortable and relaxed of course).

Step 1: The Chair in Action

Time to improvise...

When life gives you (tree) Limbs... make Limb-aid?? or Lounge-aid?? or Leasure-aid??  

What ever you want to call it, nothing will Aid YOUR  tired Limbs more than a comfortable wilderness hammock chair to rest them in?

Step 2: Materials

Rope, Rope, Rope
Logs, Logs, Logs

The netted seat portion of the chair requires a lot of rope to complete!
The exact amount used for this chair  was not measured. The rope came packaged in 150 ft rolls, and at lease 4 or more rolls were used.

A total of  (6) Logs are needed. Each about 7-8 feet in length.

- Two of the logs need to be at least 6" in diameter.  This is so they are large enough to accept a Dovetail cutand still be strong enough to be the main "A" frame of the chair.

- The other four logs can be a smaller - 3 to 4 inches in diameter

Note: Smaller diameter logs are shown for the tying demonstration in the Instructable.

Note: The logs used in this project were pre-harvested. The camp had removed some trees for an activities field and the logs were salvaged from the firewood pile.  
Cutting of live trees solely for the construction of this chair is not endorsed.

Step 3: Form an A-Frame

To create the main "A" frame for for the chair, place three logs along side of each other.  The two outboard logs should be the larger 6" diameter logs.

A Tripod lashing is used to secure the top of the three logs.

Step 4: Tripod Lashing

Start the Tripod lashing by tying one end of the ropearoung one of the outboard large diameter.
logs using a Clove Hitch (knot).

Weave the rope in an over-and-under fashion around the three logs.  This is called WRAPPING.  Be sure to pull the rope tight after each pass.
- Complete at least 3 passes of Wrapping.

Step 5: Fraps

 After completing at least three passes of Wraps, it is time to add Fraps.  Fraps pull the Wraps together and tighten the joint by acting as a wedge between the logs.

Place at least three Fraps between log 2 and 3 and then cross the rope over the center log and add another three Fraps between logs 2 and 1.

Tie another Clove Hitch around an outboard log to secure the end of the rope.

Step 6: Stand the Tripod

 Stand the three logs on end and splay the three legs appart.

The outboard logs (1 & 3) form the main vertical legs of the "A" frame.

The center smaller diameter log forms the trailing Kick-Stand legthat holds up the "A" frame.

Step 7: Dovetail Cuts

Two  Dovetail joints are used to attach the Cross Brace between the chair's main "A" frame legs.

The Cross Brace could have been lashed to the "A" frame but, the Dovetailing adds a bit of structural integrity to the bottom brace of the seat.

To make a Dovetail Joint; make two 45 degree angled cuts about half  way through each of the larger diameter "A" frame legs.

The distance between the bottom of the angled cuts should be about the same dimension as the diameter of the log being used for the Cross Brace.

Step 8: Clear Out the Cut

 After making the two angled cut, make several vertical cuts to a similar depth.

The small wedges of wood left between the cuts can now be removed with a screw driver, knife or ax.
Prying something into the vertical cuts will cause the wood segments to break-out along the grain.

Step 9: Cleaning the Cut

 After chipping out the major wood slice chunks, finish cleaning-up the triangular opening with horizontal cuts from the saw, ax, or knife.

Step 10: Cut the Dovetail Pin

Both ends of the Cross Brace need to be formed into a triangle profile to fit into the Dovetail cut.

Use an ax to add the bottom "flat" to the ends of the Cross Brace log.

Step 11: Side Flats

 Make two more "flats" on the sides of the Cross Brace.

Wedge the the, now triangular ends of the Cross Brace into the Dovetail cuts on the legs of the "A" Frame.

Typical Insert Tab "A"  into Slot "B" sort of thing.

Step 12: Net Seat

The labor intensive portion of the chair is the construction of the net seat.  

Clove hitches are used to secure the rope to the "A" Frame legs and the Cross Brace.  
A Sheet Bend is used at the intersection of the rows and columns.

The photos show the progression of the netting process. 


Step 13: Net Making

 The knot used at the intersection of the each row and column is a Sheet Bend (shown below).

Each row is secured at the "A" Frame legs and each column is secured at the Cross Brace using a Clove Hitch at these locations.

It is all done with one continuous rope.  (The photos show two different color ropes to highlight the knot tying path).

Start at one end of the Cross Brace and tie clove hitches along the length of the cross brace.  When you reach the other end tie a clove hitch around the A frame leg. 

Work your way back to the starting side tying Sheet Bends to the slack between each clove hitchs on the Cross Brace.

And repeat... ending each row with a clove hitch around an A frame leg

Step 14: Finishing Touches - Arm Chair

Two additional logs are used as Arms.  

They are shown here running between the dovetails and the third Kick-Stand leg of the tripod. 
The Arms are lashed at both locations.  
Future modification -  If we had lashed the Arm logs higher above the dovetails, they might have functioned as proper Armrests.  

While not entirely necessary; the Arms are partially for astetics; completing the triangular star shape of the chair when viewed from the side.

As an added measure of safety; they also act to hold the third leg of the tripod (the Kick Stand) in place.  

Securing the bottom of the Kick Stand leg removes the temptation anyone might have about Kicking this leg out from from under the chair while anyone was in it.  Not that any scout would think of doing that...

You may not need this added measure of safety if you aren't amongst pranksters.

Step 15: Finishing Touches 2 - What's a Chair Without a Cup Holder?

Dual cup holders were made from a birch bark rings. 

When birch trees fall and has been on the ground long enough to begin to decompose; the "pithy" phloem layer just under the bark loosens.  
A bottle sized birch branch was found on the ground and a section of bark was slid off the end as a complete ring.  
Lashing it to the chair with twine provided an excellent place to hold a bottle.

Note: Never cut bark from a live tree!   Scalping bark from any living tree (known as girdling) will  kill it!   If the tree does survive the removal of bark, the resultant scaring is the badge of disgrace of an "ugly camper".   

So now you have a nice rustic chair that is is as comfortable as a hammock.

And really, after all, isn't camping and roughing it in the back woods, all about pampering yourself with creature comforts?  

Now where's the pine cone remote?  I'm really getting tired of watching the fireplace channel

1 Person Made This Project!


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4 years ago

Like it. I'm tempted to make one for my back garden by eating into our winter fuel supply of logs! It'll be more comfortable than the couple of oak sleepers I use as benches at present.


10 years ago on Introduction

I like. I'm wondering if I could make the netting up beforehannd. Then simply have to lash the limbs on site. The netting would be something I could keep in a pack very easily.

In fact, I may build one for an example for my outpost boys. I'm sure most of them would love to build it themselves.

I'll be happy to buy the rope. I love this a lot more that every boy hauling a camping a chair.


Reply 4 years ago

maybe you could reuse a plastic soda bottle by making it into string or rope. Plastic is pretty strong and tying it up this way would make it even stronger. Also, you would be helping the environment by reusing the plastic.


5 years ago

what an absoltuely "ace" idea for a an emergency chair....I love reading this post...thanks....


8 years ago on Introduction

nice work and a entertaining article.

It might be difficult with large diameter logs like this, but I was taught that the outer legs of the tripod should be crossed so that you get wood to wood contact. This page has a good description of this .


10 years ago on Introduction

i use the same frame work for holding logs to do tomahawk throwing


10 years ago on Introduction

do you think this could work with metal instead of logs if i wanted to take it to band-camp or something of that nature?


10 years ago on Introduction

Hey hpsoutharrow, I made on the other day, though my rope was very thin and made of nylon so it isnt as beatiful or sturdy.... oh well..

Great instructable by the way, very easy to understand and EXTREMELY interesting.

See ya,
               Jordan Brow


10 years ago on Step 1

great instructable, why not just use a square lashing instead of going through the trouble of finding such huge logs and then cutting dovetails.  my suggestion admittedly would be less robust however it should be strong enough for an average sized person also would be faster/easier to make


Reply 10 years ago on Step 1

 Agreed... A square lashing would work work in place of the dovetails.  Just wanted to demonstrate a alternate mechanical joint in the field.  Also,  because the the netting  was going to use a lot of rope wanted to conserve the troop's rope supply with joints that didn't require rope.


11 years ago on Introduction

i am 600 lbs and 4 ft wide. please enhace your instructable for me.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

dude that's kind of your own fault so deal with it accordingly


Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

 Dude...I'm Irked!  
Six months ago you asked for a chair for your 700lb, 4 foot 6 inch wide bod.

I go to all the trouble to make this chair out of big ash logs.  And Now... you've gone all Akins Diet on me and dropped a Hundred.

If I'd have known that you were going all svelte-like I could have used popcicle sticks and twine.  Keep up the good work. You're ready to tryout this chair.


11 years ago on Step 1

oh gosh, you have static monsters where you camp too? lol, just kidding. i like this chair set up. i've seen another on youtube that looks like this, but is made with a cloth back instead of netting. good work man.


11 years ago on Step 13

I am impressed!  A picture of step 13.5, showing a couple of more rows would make thing a lot more clear to me.


11 years ago on Introduction

 Love the chair!  Graet photos and verbiage.  But I must say the people in the pictures kinda freak me out a bit.  If I have nightmares tonight I blame you!