Hammock With Curved Stretcher Bars




About: I'm a refugee from Los Angeles, living in backwoods Puerto Rico for about 35 years now and loving it. I built my own home from discarded nylon fishnet and cement.

There are two standard hammock designs that I know of. In one, the cloth, or string, all comes to a point at either end of the hammock. Movement in the hammock is limited, and one feels a little squooshed by it all. In the other, there are two straight stretcher bars at either end to keep the hammock opened up. If you lie too close to the edge, it all turns over and you land on the ground.

This is a new idea. Stretcher bars keep it open, but they are allowed to bend, which reshapes the hammock. You can sit sideways in the hammock comfortably and you don't fall out if you lie at the edge. If you lie diagonally in the hammock, you can stretch out pretty flat.

For flexible stretcher bars I used 3/4 inch PVC pipe, with the rope going through the pipe. Knots where the rope enters and exits the pipe keep the rope from shifting position. With just the two ropes coming from the ends of the pipe, the pipe would continue bending until you were sitting on the ground. What prevents it from bending too much are the two ropes in the middle. Adjusting the length of those ropes lets you adjust the curve and the shape of the hammock.

This hammock is made out of heavy nylon upholstery canvas that I got on sale once. The canvas dimensions are 56 inches wide by 8 feet long. The stretcher bars are only 28 inches, resulting in a bunching up of the cloth on them. I had to do that because at full width, the hammock took up too much space in my living room. The hammock is probably about 20 years old already. Nylon lasts a long time if you keep it out of the sun. This is an indoor hammock, sort of taking the place of a living room couch.



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    4 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Hi Thinkenstein, I realize it's been about 18 months since you posted this Instructable, so I'm a bit late to the party. I did something similar to this after reading your post, but instead of PVC pipe I used a long hickory stick that I bent into an arc while it was still green. After it was dry and hard I cut two pieces about 18 inches long to make my curved bars, and I drilled holes near the ends for the suspension cords. The curve of my bars isn't adjustable like yours because the hickory doesn't bend after it's dry, so I only have two suspension cords on each bar instead of 4. The short curved bars make the hammock very comfortable, with no danger of tipping, and the bars are short enough that the heavy cotton hammock fabric bunches up tightly on the bars and doesn't shift. I enjoy my hammock even more with this improvement. Thank you for sharing your ideas with the Instructables community!

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Nice to hear back from people who actually do something with the ideas I post. Thanks for sharing your hickory stick variation.


    Reply 3 years ago

    I imagine a lot of people use the ideas they discover here but don't think to say so. Among your many Instructables I've found several that appeal to my needs and amusement. I may be making a tenor tootaphone soon, and I want to try your PVC bending method to make a freeform pond fountain and a garden trellis. You have good ideas for using ordinary materials in innovative ways. Thanks again for sharing them!