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  1. #11
    Senior Member Flatliner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WV View Post
    Follow Bill's advice, and don't hesitate to ask more specific questions as you work. There's sort of a standard maximum spreader bar length of 80% of the fabric width, so for 53" fabric, you could have 42" spreaders, which I think you'd find more comfortable. I'd suggest not doing recessed spreader bars for your first hammock. That will give you freedom to experiment with different spreader bar lengths and suspension triangles. One thing I've found when I've made longer hammocks for people much taller than me is that I like them, too. I still make my backpacking hammocks just long enough to save weight. You might give yourself the luxury of an added 6" in hammock length. The choice between a regular bridge with a 6" or so side cut and a PBH with straight sides is up to you. Both are good. One is easier to build than the other. They feel slightly different. (You know which I like.) The PBH may put more stress on the fabric, so a single 2.2 oz is a good idea. I actually like the feel of nylon better than polyester, though the occupant's weight probably affects the amount of stretch quite a bit. Dobby is half poly and half nylon. One of the main reasons I use it a lot is that it's calendered (therefore downproof). Don't even think about making your first hammock insulated with goosedown. Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
    What do you think about this:
    Bridge Hammock -Design 2.JPG
    Just an out of shape middle aged guy who loves doing outdoor things with his great kids...

    www.hikerspantry.weebly.com

  2. #12
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    I don't own a bridge. Just curious. It seems that most bridges are narrower at the foot end. Pros and Cons?

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flatliner View Post
    What do you think about this:
    Bridge Hammock -Design 2.JPG
    End bar bridges ain't exactly my specialty- but add 6" in length at least fer your height.

    Are you belly heavy or torso heavy? As in are you built a bit barrell chested or is your weight all belly?

    If you're barrel chested I'd go to 6.5" depth of cut with the extra length.
    If you're a bit more belly oriented go 7" depth of cut.

    End caps? That can affect the size of your pattern too.
    If you integrate them... your total length of pattern is much longer.
    If you sew them on... you need to add a little seam allowance to sew them on.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Flatliner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    End bar bridges ain't exactly my specialty- but add 6" in length at least fer your height.

    Are you belly heavy or torso heavy? As in are you built a bit barrell chested or is your weight all belly?

    If you're barrel chested I'd go to 6.5" depth of cut with the extra length.
    If you're a bit more belly oriented go 7" depth of cut.

    End caps? That can affect the size of your pattern too.
    If you integrate them... your total length of pattern is much longer.
    If you sew them on... you need to add a little seam allowance to sew them on.
    Thanks Just Bill,

    The drawing intention is to show finished length. I am pretty competent with the sewing aspects of the project. The finished length should be 8" longer than my height. Would you still go longer than that? I am belly heavy so you would recommend 7" cuts? I will end up doing separate pieces for the ends, probably with a flat felled seam. Honestly, I haven't decided on bug net, winter cover, or any of that but again, I am experienced with those aspects. Only the bridge design part is new to me. Wherever this ends up, I will come back here with pictures and final sizes, etc.
    Just an out of shape middle aged guy who loves doing outdoor things with his great kids...

    www.hikerspantry.weebly.com

  5. #15
    Senior Member WV's Avatar
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    Sounds like 7" cat cut would be good, but that's not my specialty, either. I think you could make the foot end narrower if you're worried about weight. Definitely add to the length. I'd suggest planning to sew on separate end caps. That way you can see how the hammock feels and make spreader adjustments before committing to a shape or size of end cap. There are lots of possibilities. Personally, I like Grizz's "origami end cap", but I've used various flat panels and gathered end caps, too. Work on the hammock first. The end cap is step two ...
    cartoon Then a miracle occurs.jpg

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by TominMN View Post
    I don't own a bridge. Just curious. It seems that most bridges are narrower at the foot end. Pros and Cons?
    Bit complicated...Not really any pros or cons so much as trade-offs and technicalities.

    I don't have the exact numbers but what yer saying is a bit misleading, but understandable as it's not that relevant to a user.
    As I value my pattern I try not to get too detailed about others patterns but speaking generally.

    There is a difference between the bridge BODY and the bridge SPREADER BARS being different sizes.

    Most, if not all the other bridges I have seen made by others are symmetrical bodies, as in you could fold the pattern in half and it would match (technically into quarters too).
    I believe this is true of all other commercially available bridges.

    WV's peoples bridge is an exception, the Ariel is (usually) a symmetrical pattern. My 'Happy Medium' is a symmetrical pattern, the Big Guy/Luxury is not.

    From there... you can shove any size spreader bar appropriate for the bridge body in and get one of two results:

    Equal size bars- a fully symmetrical bridge (no head or foot end)

    Unequal size bars- a distinct head or foot end.

    Without gettin any more compicated:

    Shove a wider bar into a bridge and you get a flatter, wider section of bridge hammock. You also greatly diminish the stability as the width of the bar approaches the width of the fabric. A spreader bar hammock in a backyard is not a bridge but has spreader bar equal to the fabric which is why those hammocks are so tippy... push a bridge hammock too far and you run into the same problem.

    To attempt to balance that problem you can put a shorter bar in the other side... increasing the depth and increasing the stability.

    Since your shoulders are much wider than your heels... this balanced solution is fairly common.

    Again the BODY is not any narrower, but the spreader bars are different sizes.

    The downside or tradeoff is that your bridge is no longer 'flat'... though you can play with this a bit by altering your suspension height if you hang the bridge level you'll notice.
    Basically as you shorten the bar the bridge gets deeper... lengthen the bar the bridge gets shallower.

    This can make side sleeping more difficult and belly sleeping functionally impossible. There is always that one guy who will chime and say he can belly sleep in a RR much the same way there is always someone who is an exception to every rule the second you try to write one down. But most folks find in this type of bridge back and semi-side sleeping are really the only options due to the shallower head end so for the most part you're in a similar position as you would be in a gathered end... but your calf ridge issue is usually resolved.

    Not sure exactly if it was Grizz playing around with cutting some weight who first realized the added benefit of trimming one bar or if'n Brandon or another who first went that route, but it was altering the bar size, not the pattern that led to it. In theory... the opposite discovery could have been made first but it doesn't work quite the same if you simply alter the pattern. It's much easier to make up a set of wood spreader bars in say one inch increments and play around until you are happy than it is to sew 40 bridges to test it.

    The first bridge (BMBH) from Jacks was and still is an equal bar bridge with a truly flat lay in that each end is of roughly the same depth as the center when occupied.
    I have yet to see the UL version in person but it appears to be a shallower version of the original... which would IMO be an improvement.

    The RR from Warbonnet is an unequal bar bridge. While this cuts out the shoulder squeeze complaints and severe depth of the BMBH... it's like shoving a wedge pillow into the BMBH to pry it open a bit and elevate the shoulders. This makes the bridge tippier, more exposed to wind, and requires more tree to tree distance.

    Not suggesting there is a good or bad- just a trade.

    I could make a very educated speculation on Dutch's bridge design... but haven't seen one so it would just be a guess. Offhand: Looks like the double ridgeline and chameleon type system/accessories are the innovation rather than any dramatic change in the bridge body itself. Again- just an educated guess so no offense to Dutch if there is some magic hidden in the pattern I can't eyeball from my desk.

    That's what WV was suggesting as the advantage of an end bar vs a recessed bar bridge... when building an END BAR bridge for yourself you can build a basic bridge body and then tune it to fit your body by playing with spreader bar lengths.

    More or less... most of the bridges you can buy are more or less the exact same bridge with some minor variations on this theme.

    Recessing the bars from the ends and working with asymmetrical patterns is a different subject... and changes in bar size of much more than an inch generally means a new pattern is required. Unlike other projects where a seam ripper and elbow grease might let you save it... a busted bridge design goes in the garbage or collects dust on the shelf. If you're feeling thrifty maybe it gets cut into some stuff sacks.

    But basically the goal is the same: build the best bridge you can for what priorities you deem to be the best.
    Have a problem and you can solve it. If you don't have a problem there is nothing to solve.

    If you're designing one... it is a highly technical art.

    If you're laying in one... art is always subjective.

    You'll know what you like when you like it and don't need to worry overmuch about why it is exactly you like it.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flatliner View Post
    Thanks Just Bill,

    The drawing intention is to show finished length. I am pretty competent with the sewing aspects of the project. The finished length should be 8" longer than my height. Would you still go longer than that? I am belly heavy so you would recommend 7" cuts? I will end up doing separate pieces for the ends, probably with a flat felled seam. Honestly, I haven't decided on bug net, winter cover, or any of that but again, I am experienced with those aspects. Only the bridge design part is new to me. Wherever this ends up, I will come back here with pictures and final sizes, etc.
    84" is a pretty standard end bar length... depending on your fabric width to bar length ratio you'll 'lose' a few inches of each end due to the way the bridge fabric distorts under the spreader bar so that ends up about right for a 6' tall fella.
    That's why I'd say closer to a 90" length of pattern with a 7" cut is better. You add seam allowances to that...

    Finished length is a bit misleading in bridges. Your 84" blank may come out say 80-81" finished with a basic hem and a little extra... but you'll only be able to actually use about 72-75" of it.
    So that is where some of the confusion and mystery lies here.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    Bit complicated...Not really any pros or cons so much as trade-offs and technicalities.

    I don't have the exact numbers but what yer saying is a bit misleading, but understandable as it's not that relevant to a user.
    As I value my pattern I try not to get too detailed about others patterns but speaking generally.
    ...

    I guess what I was picturing was the bridges I've seen that have (more ore less triangular) end panels. Those end panels seem to (generally) define end widths. Yeah, I can see, even with end pieces, that the spreaders could be shorter than the top edge of those pieces.

    What I see in this discussion, however, is a hammock with a one piece body. Again, knowing little about bridges, I wonder about those differences...

    (Speaking of course in theoretical generalities)

  9. #19
    Senior Member Flatliner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    Bit complicated...Not really any pros or cons so much as trade-offs and technicalities.

    I don't have the exact numbers but what yer saying is a bit misleading, but understandable as it's not that relevant to a user.
    As I value my pattern I try not to get too detailed about others patterns but speaking generally.

    There is a difference between the bridge BODY and the bridge SPREADER BARS being different sizes.

    Most, if not all the other bridges I have seen made by others are symmetrical bodies, as in you could fold the pattern in half and it would match (technically into quarters too).
    I believe this is true of all other commercially available bridges.

    WV's peoples bridge is an exception, the Ariel is (usually) a symmetrical pattern. My 'Happy Medium' is a symmetrical pattern, the Big Guy/Luxury is not.

    From there... you can shove any size spreader bar appropriate for the bridge body in and get one of two results:

    Equal size bars- a fully symmetrical bridge (no head or foot end)

    Unequal size bars- a distinct head or foot end.

    Without gettin any more compicated:

    Shove a wider bar into a bridge and you get a flatter, wider section of bridge hammock. You also greatly diminish the stability as the width of the bar approaches the width of the fabric. A spreader bar hammock in a backyard is not a bridge but has spreader bar equal to the fabric which is why those hammocks are so tippy... push a bridge hammock too far and you run into the same problem.

    To attempt to balance that problem you can put a shorter bar in the other side... increasing the depth and increasing the stability.

    Since your shoulders are much wider than your heels... this balanced solution is fairly common.

    Again the BODY is not any narrower, but the spreader bars are different sizes.

    The downside or tradeoff is that your bridge is no longer 'flat'... though you can play with this a bit by altering your suspension height if you hang the bridge level you'll notice.
    Basically as you shorten the bar the bridge gets deeper... lengthen the bar the bridge gets shallower.

    This can make side sleeping more difficult and belly sleeping functionally impossible. There is always that one guy who will chime and say he can belly sleep in a RR much the same way there is always someone who is an exception to every rule the second you try to write one down. But most folks find in this type of bridge back and semi-side sleeping are really the only options due to the shallower head end so for the most part you're in a similar position as you would be in a gathered end... but your calf ridge issue is usually resolved.

    Not sure exactly if it was Grizz playing around with cutting some weight who first realized the added benefit of trimming one bar or if'n Brandon or another who first went that route, but it was altering the bar size, not the pattern that led to it. In theory... the opposite discovery could have been made first but it doesn't work quite the same if you simply alter the pattern. It's much easier to make up a set of wood spreader bars in say one inch increments and play around until you are happy than it is to sew 40 bridges to test it.

    The first bridge (BMBH) from Jacks was and still is an equal bar bridge with a truly flat lay in that each end is of roughly the same depth as the center when occupied.
    I have yet to see the UL version in person but it appears to be a shallower version of the original... which would IMO be an improvement.

    The RR from Warbonnet is an unequal bar bridge. While this cuts out the shoulder squeeze complaints and severe depth of the BMBH... it's like shoving a wedge pillow into the BMBH to pry it open a bit and elevate the shoulders. This makes the bridge tippier, more exposed to wind, and requires more tree to tree distance.

    Not suggesting there is a good or bad- just a trade.

    I could make a very educated speculation on Dutch's bridge design... but haven't seen one so it would just be a guess. Offhand: Looks like the double ridgeline and chameleon type system/accessories are the innovation rather than any dramatic change in the bridge body itself. Again- just an educated guess so no offense to Dutch if there is some magic hidden in the pattern I can't eyeball from my desk.

    That's what WV was suggesting as the advantage of an end bar vs a recessed bar bridge... when building an END BAR bridge for yourself you can build a basic bridge body and then tune it to fit your body by playing with spreader bar lengths.

    More or less... most of the bridges you can buy are more or less the exact same bridge with some minor variations on this theme.

    Recessing the bars from the ends and working with asymmetrical patterns is a different subject... and changes in bar size of much more than an inch generally means a new pattern is required. Unlike other projects where a seam ripper and elbow grease might let you save it... a busted bridge design goes in the garbage or collects dust on the shelf. If you're feeling thrifty maybe it gets cut into some stuff sacks.

    But basically the goal is the same: build the best bridge you can for what priorities you deem to be the best.
    Have a problem and you can solve it. If you don't have a problem there is nothing to solve.

    If you're designing one... it is a highly technical art.

    If you're laying in one... art is always subjective.

    You'll know what you like when you like it and don't need to worry overmuch about why it is exactly you like it.
    To say I appreciate this post would be a MAJOR understatement. REALLY EDUCATIONAL, thank you for taking the time to spell it out so understandably!

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    84" is a pretty standard end bar length... depending on your fabric width to bar length ratio you'll 'lose' a few inches of each end due to the way the bridge fabric distorts under the spreader bar so that ends up about right for a 6' tall fella.
    That's why I'd say closer to a 90" length of pattern with a 7" cut is better. You add seam allowances to that...

    Finished length is a bit misleading in bridges. Your 84" blank may come out say 80-81" finished with a basic hem and a little extra... but you'll only be able to actually use about 72-75" of it.
    So that is where some of the confusion and mystery lies here.
    Likewise on this post, my 'lightbulb' just went off.

    I have 4 or 5 yards of some 1.9 I bought for another project. I think some experimentation is in order...
    Just an out of shape middle aged guy who loves doing outdoor things with his great kids...

    www.hikerspantry.weebly.com

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by TominMN View Post
    I guess what I was picturing was the bridges I've seen that have (more ore less triangular) end panels. Those end panels seem to (generally) define end widths. Yeah, I can see, even with end pieces, that the spreaders could be shorter than the top edge of those pieces.

    What I see in this discussion, however, is a hammock with a one piece body. Again, knowing little about bridges, I wonder about those differences...

    (Speaking of course in theoretical generalities)
    https://ripstopbytheroll.com/product...=7685978554416

    That's a Bic Bridge.

    While it is one piece of fabric, the bridge itself stops at the ends of the curves.... a little creativity integrates the end cap into the single piece of fabric.

    Point being... think about it more like a pipe cut in half.
    The pipe is the bridge body- the important part you lay in.

    Endcaps are just something you add to close up the ends of the bridge so your stuff doesn't spill out. Much as a cap plugs the end of a pipe.

    So again... bit backwards but I understand your impression looking at the finished product.

    You build the bridge and get that right. As WV alluded to above.
    The bridge you build then dictates the size of the endcap to cut. You can get fancy like Grizz and do all the math to sort out the shape or you can cut a simple triangle (Tee-Dee originated that style I believe).

    That said... once you (the designer) complete this step and add an endcap/seal up the bridge... you've effectively locked in the spreader bar size for the user (customer).
    So again... you're right in the sense that once finished the end does indeed lock things in... but it locks in whatever the designer intended.

    For now the pattern being discussed is just the 'pipe'. Flatliner would need to complete that, see if he likes it. Play around with various spreader bar sizes if he doesn't... maybe even sleep in it for a dozen or two nights to make sure he's happy. Or scrap it and try again. Once he's happy he can get as fancy as he wants to close up the end with fabric or even netting to maintain a breeze. He can add little clips for do-dads or sew on a bit of fabric to support a zipper or leave it wide open and shave some weight.

    But none of those choices affect the bridge itself too much other than the simple fact that once 'locked in' it is done.


    I do adjustable ends on my premium bridges. This allows the geometry of the bridge to actually change based upon how you want to use it and what position you sleep in.
    That said- in real life most folks eventually find their own sweet spot of adjustment and lock them in... but effectively they have designed their own endcap which is why I created the concept originally... a design tool that ended up being ideal for customer and designer alike.

    Fer my simpler ones I do an integrated into the pattern for a fixed end closure but with a different trick to cut down costs for the customer. (no seams means no labor to sew them).

    The adjustable ends do allow some adjustment on pole dimensions but other than a handful of highly specialized customer issues I haven't had to fine tune any pole lengths. But it is an option when needed and here and there it's come up for folks with very specific medical issues or injury. Even then we're talking an inch or less of spreader bar adjustment.

    Hardest thing with a bridge is what a massive difference a 1/4" can make if you're chasing perfection. That said- it's not rocket science to get close enough and usually that is such a massive improvement for those who struggle with other options that you don't need to worry about it too much. So while I'm a psycho about it... most of the time one size fits most is plenty good for most.

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