Just Jeff's Hiking Page

"Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose
we came from the woods originally."

- John Muir

Edison Hammock

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~Thomas Edison

I had an idea that I thought would make a big roomy footbox for a gathered-end hammock, and I finally got around to making it. Apparently I didn't put enough thought into it, though...as soon as I laid in it, I realized my mistake. There's no way this design would work with lightweight materials. I'm logging it here so I don't forget and so anyone reading it can learn from the mistake, and apply it to other designs.

DISCUSS this project HERE.

The Design
The basic idea was to cut out enough material from the long side of the hammock so there would be a big area at the feet with extra fabric...which, in theory, would create a flatter area for the feet and get rid of heel pressure and knee hyperextension. I did two things to accomplish this. First, I cut two V-shaped sections out of the right side of the hammock (the side I put my feet on)...then I sewed the V's together, and made a rolled hem all the way down the side. I was going to sew the bug net to that side so I had no worries of those seam ripping from me putting weight on them.

I also had to make sure that the left and right sides ended up the same length when it was time to whip the ends, so I didn't cut the body into the normal rectangle shape. This pic shows the basic shape, so that when the V's are sewn together the long sides will be the same length before whipping.

Here's a detail of the cut fabric with the measurements and seam allowances.

Basic steps to build it were:

  1. Cut to dimensions
  2. Sew darts
  3. Hem long sides, incorporating seam for cut-outs
  4. Sew end channels
  5. Watch UFC. It was sort of a wierd conglomeration of multi-tasking I did here...sewing (ahem...powered thread injecting), while I was watching UFC and cooking dinner on the charcoal grill.
So what didn't work? Well, I feel like an idiot for not realizing this b/c I already knew it...the same principle as when I made the insulated hammocks. The main force on an occupied hammock are longitudinal (ie., most of the stretch is parallel to the ridgeline)...but my seams were perpendicular to the ridgeline. That means that when I got into the hammock, all of my body weight was pulling the seam open...and I could immediately see thru the seam along the thread holes. This may end up working with heavier materials, but definitely not with 1.4 oz polyester, and it violates my KISS principle of not introducing unnecessary possible points of failure. So I'll probably cut off the shaped portion and just have a 100" long kids hammock in my extra gear bin.

I'm naming this one in honor Edison...the hammock itself is a failure, but it reinforced a valuable lesson to the experiment served a purpose. And I have another plan shape a footbox that doesn't violate this principle...we'll see how that one works out.

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