Re: To Cat or not to Cat, was re:Tyvek
- "1) Do you use grossgrain or webbing on your tarps around the
perimiter seams? I can't tell from the pictures."
No, I've never understood why folks do that, I just hem the edges.
On the 130"x126" tarp that I configure as a hammock tarp tent I put
velcro on the ends so that I can close the ends off when I want to
and that shows up as a black edging in the photos.
"2) How do you determine the "amount of sag" over a given distance
for best results. I always thought it was about 1 inch of sag for
every 1 foot linear, but it looks like you use lesss than that. It
looks to me like Brian uses a lot more sag in his tarps."
I determined it by guesstimation. I looked at photos, also set up a
rectangular tarp in the backyard, stretched it taut into a catenary
ridgeline as a tarptent and came up with 5" for 10'. I then just
generated the curve on a spreadsheet and plotted it on templates of
up to 12 feet. I wouldn't recommend comparing Brian's curves to
mine, although it appears we are doing the same thing, we are doing
it in a little different way since I use the catenary curve on the
ridgeline and he doesn't. I'm kind of using surgery and he is kind
of using brute force. There are some specific stretch
characteristics of the orthogonal weave silnylon that comes in to
play along with the amount of tension you apply to get a taut tarp.
Anyway, here are some points along the curve I use on the templates:
For 12 foot template
0' (center): -7.22"
+/- 0.5': ...-7.14"
+/- 1.0': ...-7.02"
+/- 1.5': ...-6.77"
+/- 2.0': ...-6.42"
+/- 2.5': ...-5.97"
+/- 3.0': ...-5.42"
+/- 3.5': ...-4.77"
+/- 4.0': ...-4.02"
+/- 4.5': ...-3.17"
+/- 5.0': ...-2.21"
+/- 5.5': ...-1.18"
+/- 6.0': ... 0.00"
For 6 foot template
0' (center): -1.80"
+/- 0.5': ...-1.75"
+/- 1.0': ...-1.60"
+/- 1.5': ...-1.35"
+/- 2.0': ...-1.00"
+/- 2.5': ...-0.55"
+/- 3.0': ... 0.00"
I actually use two templates because the longest one is so difficult
to manuver, one for up to 6' long and then I tape two six foot
sections together to have one for up to 12'. Each of the templates
are 12" wide. I just plotted mine on the cardboard sewing board
(comes as 3'x6' with 1" grids) and cut the templates in straight
line segments (I think it was 6" segments), figuring the hems
sufficiently take out the straight line segments. You just use the
center portion of the templates to match the length that you are
"I really like your idea of the tarp tent and that is what I am going
to build although I would like to make it 120 X 96, any thoughts on
that (is that too small, or what would you do different)? I also
want to use a straight ridgeline, not cat cut. I think this would
allow me use it better as a tarp only shelter (no hammock). I also
see you have a third tie out in the long side of the tarp, would
this be needed if the cat cut (sag) was deeper?"
The size tarp you need will depend on your hammock, especially the
length. It is a three dimensional problem and if you go back and
look at my hammock tarp tent photos this will be apparent when you
look at the length of the ridgeline and compare how far that exceeds
the length on the tarp tent near the ground. I can tell you that 96"
is not enough width.
I recently saw where another person used plastic drop cloth to model
a tent design... I thought that was very clever. Why don't you get a
9'x12' piece of 2 or 3 mil plastic drop cloth, use reinforced
strapping tape and make a model to see what dimensions you want and
where you want to put your tieouts and panel pullouts? That might
also give you a feel for what catenary curves might do to help the
tautness. On my 96" wide tarp I used 3 tieouts on the long side of
the tarp, I think I need them. On the 126" wide tarp I used four
tieouts on the side and panel pullouts at the same spacing, the tarp
tent configuration dictated the placement of those.
- Well, I actually find the hanging method to be quite easy. I use rolled kraft paper for my
patterns and a lightweight metal decorative chain purchased at a home improvement
warehouse. Instead of relying on a wall that's as long as I need for the curve, I have a 1" x
12" x 10' board that I use to put everything on (I store it against the wall behind the couch
in the living room so it's out of the way and out of sight when not in use). I cut the paper
into strips 10 inches wide (the paper comes in 30" width), and use 2 spring-loaded clamps
($3 each) to hold the paper to the board. Then I measure the center point, how far down I
want the curve to go, and mark where I want the chain to hang. Open one clamp slightly
and slide one end of the chain under it. Pull the chain until it is as taut as it needs to be
for the curve, stick it under the other clamp, and trace the line. Setup time is about 5
minutes and drawing the curve takes another minute. It's also very easy to adjust the
Not knocking the templates. I just wanted to share that it can be done easily with the
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "zippydooda" <zippydooda@y...> wrote:
> Having finally done this last night, I gotta say that the templates,
> or at least the X-Y coordinates, are the way to go. Being one who
> did not like the template idea, I hung the fabric on the wall, spent
> quite a while trying to get it level and straight and keep it from
> sagging too much between the support points, and all that, and then
> trying to dangle a rope, figuring out it was too heavy, and then
> dangling a thread so I could mark out some points and play connect
> the dots.
> It would have been MUCH easier to use the spreadsheet and then mark
> out several dots, and then connect them with the ruler.
> Gravity is NOT your friend - once you get the material off the floor,
> bad stuff starts to happen. In a fitting bit of irony, you get
> little catenary curves between your support points that cause
> headaches when you are trying to make your nice big cat curve.
> Now to sew along the line...
> Bill in Houston