Homemade tree saddle

Discussion in 'DIY' started by As in a sling, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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    Ok folks, here's the finished product. I'll post a series of pictures. This saddle project began with the idea to do a sit drag but larger. I don't have the dimensions with me at the moment but I know that what I originally made was about the same length from end to end, and the height or width if you will, was about twice or more than a sit drag. I used a basic harness from a tree stand package and diced it up into pieces to make the original saddle. Those same pieces were slightly modified for the final product as you'll see. It's basically seatbelt material, and it's very strong, I don't know what it's working load is, but much more than the heaviest human that you'd ever see hanging in the woods. I used Coats Outdoor 100% polyester thread. It's also quite strong, I wrapped it on my index fingers and tried to break a length of it. Probably would have drawn blood had I tried hard enough. The seat material is duck canvass, which is a different color from the first to the second version. I was impatient about finding camo print canvass and that's really the only excuse I have for not thinking about the fact that brown, of all things, might not have been the best choice for a deer hunting related piece of equipment. But the outer side that is seen most of the time is realtree xtra from the largest and cheapest t-shirt I could find in Wal Mart's hunting section. All the rope is rock climbing rope, I don't recall the kN rating. The carabiners are Black Diamond screw gate type from REI. The three pack was about $30 I believe. I am using one black HSS carabiner with my HSS rope style tree strap as my main tether at the moment, and the weight difference is amazing compared to the Black Diamond ones.
    Since both of these designs are homemade, they both rely on a rock harness as the fail safe. I will say I am very impressed with the strength of the stitching that I was able to do and I don't really have any concerns about it failing however it's homemade and it still is no match in my mind for the stitching on both commercially produced and safety tested harnesses I have used. I love the saddle method and I will probably continue to use the final product I made but I'm just not going to put myself in danger of falling out of a tree. It's just not a risk I'm willing to take, or even that I really need to take.
    The main problem I had with the original design, which I unfortunately didn't fully realized when I tested it in a park, where no one was around to look at me funny, was that I was somewhat comfortable in a leaning position and also in a sitting position. But the harness I was using, the black one in the pictures to follow, while it had a lot of padding in the backs of the legs and also in the back support across the belt line, created pressure in spots on the belt line and the sides of my thighs. It also had gear loops and D-rings that created more pressure. You can see this in the pictures of me in it when I'm not in camo. I took this setup on an evening hunt, and it became unbearable. So I had to get down, pack up and I found a spot off a travel corridor with good cover and didn't see anything. Part of the problem with this first design and the amount of support I desired from it was that the saddle and harness weren't connected in any way. The original saddle had a belt to keep it on my waist but it was still like trying to wear 3 pairs of pants at one time. Also the width of the saddle combined with the shape made it awkward and the saddle itself also put too much pressure under my thighs and probably not enough across the belt line. I definitely was expecting too much from the sit drag idea, and my thought of widening it may have decreased the effectiveness of it even being used as a sit drag is originally intended.
    Being stubborn and descended from German and Irish immigrants as I am, I was not to be deterred. So I had a scotch on the rocks and started cutting stitches. The final product is probably best described as being inspired somewhat by the Trophyline saddle, which I was very lucky to have a co-worker who had one and brought it to work one day so I could inspect it in person, and the Aerohunter Kestrel, and the Evolution, although it more closely resembles a Kestrel. To anyone involved directly with the production of any of the above mentioned quality products, since you may be suffering through this novel of a post since this is a relatively small community of enthusiasts, please believe, I am not after your customers or your ideas for any financial gain whatsoever. It's very likely at some point I will be giving gladly Aerohunter my money for one of their saddles. There's no one stupid enough to pay me money for what I have put together and I wouldn't be confident in producing what I made for anyone enough to charge them money for it. I refer to it as a product only as a product of my labor. The being said, those commercially made saddles have the harness essentially integrated into the saddle, and that's kind of what I did. I used a much simpler harness that has no padding, or gear hooks or d-loops and remade the saddle so that the harness can be fed though loops on the saddle and essentially become part of the saddle. The saddle itself is now more in the shape of the kestrel and this concave shape cradles better with less pressure on the thighs. I hunted with it and I can sit comfortably in it for hours. Sorry this became such a long post, but I've enjoyed this project very much and I'm actually somewhat proud of what I was able to cobble together with the help of some of you out there. I hope someone maybe can benefit from my project and the pics I will post following. I welcome any comments or suggestions anyone has, including " will you please shut up now!". Thanks all, and happy hunting !
     
  2. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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  3. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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    All my pics were too big to post in replies so the above is the link to the pictures.
     
  4. Carcher87

    Carcher87 Active Member

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    Very Nice.
     
  5. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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  6. Swampfox

    Swampfox Active Member

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    I can tell a lot of thought and time has gone into that. Nice work!


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  7. Hailey_Phillips

    Hailey_Phillips Active Member

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    This... is... awesome... I’ve considered making one myself. Where did you get the duck material from? I’ve been trying to think of a material from around the house or in a certain type of garment to cut up and reuse (old carhartt jacket)


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  8. Wirrex

    Wirrex Active Member

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    Looks good. I would like to make one also. I love my sitdrag but I guess I’m a little scrawny for it. It eats into my bridge and the loops hit my caribeaner on extreme twists.
     
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  9. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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    I got the duck canvass at JoAnn fabrics. Way cheaper than sacrificing a Carhartt jacket.
     
  10. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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    My end knots on my bridge come close to going through the carabiner on the tether. Im working on a solution for that, maybe have some pics in the next couple days.
     
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  11. noxninja

    noxninja Well-Known Member

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    I want one!
     
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  12. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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    I would say one thing you could try is lengthening the bridge. How high do you attach your tree rope tether ?
     
  13. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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    It wasn't terribly hard to make. Little trial and error. I spent as much time researching it as I did putting it together.
     
  14. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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    The thing to keep in mind with this design( I may have said this in the original post but I'm not gonna reread all that) is that the strength is in the webbing. To some degree the cover material can be what you want it to be. I could see someone using rip stop nylon instead of duck canvas. As long as the loops are well stitched and the webbing frame is solid, you should be good. Also I must reiterate, this is not something you should use without a failsafe(harness). My stitching is not tested or rated for any load limits.
     
  15. Wirrex

    Wirrex Active Member

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    A longer bridge and a ropeman instead of prusik would also solve the problem. I do like my tether around eye height when standing so that limits my length.
     
  16. denots

    denots Member

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    I was hanging a stand the other day, using the harness that came with it, when I realized that I could do basically what you did. Did you stitch the pieces by hand or on a machine? If by hand is there a certain stitch that should be used?

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  17. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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    I used a machine, a White Jeans Machine from the 80s. I used triple straight stitch, which I researched and found to be described as the strongest stitch, with a heavy denim needle. I used Coats outdoor 100% polyester thread. I also tried to use a lock stitch at each end of every row( forward and then back then forward again on a machine, so the stitch can't unravel).
     
  18. denots

    denots Member

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    Thanks for all the info. I'm trying to find everything I can do to occupy my time while I wait on my Kestrel! Guess it's time to go find a sewing machine. I think my wife believes I have been abducted by an alien and replaced with a clone!

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  19. As in a sling

    As in a sling New Member

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    No problem. Check eBay and Craigslist for the sewing machine. Yeah my mom looked at me funny when I said I needed to borrow hers lol. She was impressed with the result. I pretty much learned how to use it with YouTube.
     

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