Secondhand Wisdom: Hammocks and Countersinking


spreader-bar-and-rope

We recently sat down with a hammock expert with 30+ years of experience in the industry to talk about the wooden bars used on most rope hammocks.

On a traditional rope hammock, the wooden bars that lay between the woven bed and the ropes that connect to its hanging ends are known as “spreader bars”.

Each spreader bar is used to shape the hammock’s woven bed by feeding the rope through the holes along the bar. As you can imagine, regular use of a hammock can create a lot of tension and friction where the ropes run through those holes.


Surprisingly, very few hammock manufacturers have figured out that countersinking the holes on your hammock’s spreader bar can reduce the severity of the friction between rope and wood.

Countersinking involves cutting a conical hole into a preexisting opening and is often used in traditional carpentry to fit a screw smoothly along a wooden surface. But for hammocks, countersinking either side greatly reduces that friction created by hopping in or out of your hammock and the risk of the rope fraying or breaking.

Example of Countersunk Holes
Types of countersunk hole angles — wikipedia.org

Most of the time, when a hammock breaks, it’s due to an external force: weather, rodents, gravity, or misuse. However, without countersinking, the spreader bar holes are basically grinding a 90-degree wooden corner against the hammock rope whenever it’s in use.

In short, hammocks with non-countersunk spreader bars are basically destroying themselves.

Of reputable sellers that carry traditional rope hammocks with countersunk spreader bars, we recommend these retailers who provide the highest quality in craftsmanship:

Happy hammocking to you and yours!

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