Secondhand Wisdom, Part 1: Countersinking and Hammocks: Incredibly Important, but Often Overlooked?


I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a certifiable hammock expert (read: 30+ years of experience in the industry).

Let’s talk about the wooden bars you lay between in most hammocks (notable exceptions: some South American-made hammocks, like these, for example).

The wooden bars between the woven bed of a hammock and the ropes that connect to its hanging ends are known as “spreader bars.”

A hammock’s bed weave gets its shape by feeding through the holes of its spreader bars. As you can imagine, regular use of a hammock creates a lot of friction where the ropes run through those holes.

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

In case you didn’t know, countersinking involves cutting a conical hole into a preexisting opening. In traditional carpentry, it’s generally a method that allows for a countersunk screw to fit into place smoothly along a wooden surface.

But for hammocks, countersinking either side greatly reduces that friction created by hopping in or out, or rolling around on a hammock.
Example of Countersunk Holes
Types of countersunk hole angles —

Most of the time, when a hammock breaks, it’s due to an external force: weather, rodents, gravity, or misuse. Without countersinking, the spreader bars 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 hammocks with countersunk spreader bars, consider the Hammock Company, mainly because they’re one of those increasingly rare small retailers that’s still able to compete with the big box companies.

Happy hammocking to you and yours!

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