Life of Wry

April 27, 2020

You may not know this, but when I selected the name for my blog, back in 2008, it was based on that sitcom from the 50s called “The Life of Riley.”  Says Wikipedia,

The Life of Riley is an American radio situation comedy series of the 1940s that was adapted into a 1949 feature film, a 1950s television series, and a 1958 comic book.

I have no real idea why I did this … exactly. I had this image in my mind of a guy in a hammock, which somehow I’d associated with the show. When I started my blog, I was just about retired and thought I’d spend a lot of time in a hammock. As in, “ah… this is the life.” (The life of Riley.)

I played with the name a bit because, apparently, I was also feeling wry. However that might have spoken to me at that time.  I even chose a graphic of a person in a hammock as my blog’s logo.. which I never used.

I know..  huh? 

And now I have this blog name that just sort of ..  is what it is. But… what it has always meant to me is a guy in a hammock (I am that guy).

Which… brings me to hammocks. 

Jim finished our hammock stand today! He’s been working on it for months. It has been a serious effort involving numerous steps and processes, and bucket loads of patience and precision. Layers and layers of plywood, carefully cut and shaped, glued together, sanded, finished.. and many steps in between that I am unable to describe. The result is a sturdy, massive, beefy structure that weighs hundreds of pounds and is held together with massive, heavy bolts. It’s a work of art. Truly. I am so very impressed.

The story begins in December, when Jim gave me a hammock for Christmas. Here is my favorite before picture. This is Peter and me, Christmas morning, giving the hammock a try on a hard wood floor.


Months of construction ensued.


The entire project started with a set of plans, of course:


First real step was to draw carefully measured arcs onto 5/8″ plywood and then cut out the shapes… lots of them. Each member will comprise 5 or 6 such arc layers.




Which then had to be glued together. Many clamps were used in the glueing and setting process!



Then came sanding. So. Much. Sanding.


And look how beautiful they look!!



I love this detail. This is where the wheels will be mounted. So cleverly designed.



Each piece got three coats of polyurethane.

As I mentioned, there are steps I’ve left out, like the hole drilling, parts ordering, member numbering and other such logistical details necessary to make it all come together.

And, I just have to say, each of these processes was an era in itself. Taking, as I mentioned above, such patience.

Jim says if he’d known how much work was involved, he might not have undertaken the project. But I disagree. He lives for this stuff.

And…. here is today…

First we have an assembly of finished parts. You can see all the layers of plywood that got glued together (not a trivial process). All these are numbered so Jim knows how to put the pieces together. Each weighs a ton.


Here they start to come together, and you can see the size of the bolt that will be threaded through the sections..


Here is how they look when together and cinched up (there might be a better woodworking term for this)..



Here is the… O-ring (?) that the hammock will hang from:



And here’s the finished product with hammock attached! Note: it may be rolled to wherever you want it to be. It rolls beautifully and smoothly!


Happy me:


Satisfied (and relieved) Jim:


A more relaxed version of Jim…


And me.. where I plan to spend a lot of my summer…



The life of wry to be sure. Thank you, Jim. You amaze me.




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