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The hammock was installed a few months ago and I've been using it regularly. Today was the day it decided to fall, of course while I was looking up so the bar bonked me on the head. I was just sitting in it normally and heard it creak. The screw eye just came right out of the joist, nothing damaged or cracked.

I THINK I know the answer, and I'm hoping it's just simply a combo of "I made the pilot hole too big" and the dry weather/use over time expanded the wood (I live in AZ). But I want to verify before I go ahead and drill a new hole and put it back up. It is a hammock chair that hangs from the ceiling joist under my porch with one large screw eye. Any tips appreciated for securing it to make sure it doesn't happen again. That hurt!!!

Please see photos for size reference.

image of the screw eye and hole

enter image description here

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    Angela, please take the tour so you know how to respond to answers. "Thanks" comments are discouraged.
    – isherwood
    May 9 at 12:33
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    A through-bolt, in shear; not under tension, and use washers.
    – Mazura
    May 10 at 3:02

3 Answers 3

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That eye screw is adequate (barely), but only if it's piloted properly, and only until movement wiggles the hole big enough for what happened to happen.

Proper piloting into softwood is just slightly smaller than the screw shank--the diameter between the threads. Any smaller and you're likely to split a two-by with that large of a screw.

However, as I hinted, this is a temporary solution. Even small movement in the hammock results in fairly large sideways forces working on the wood. You should be using a swiveling mount of some sort to eliminate that side force (and provide for at least two lag screws).

Something like this would do (or one with the eye being loose and held captive by the strap). By its nature it transmits very little side force to the screws. It should have a load rating about double what you expect, partly because load can vary, and partly because cheap imported metal isn't always trustworthy. Just ask the canoe that almost landed on my wife's Audi the other day when the cleat to which I was securing the hoist rope snapped.

enter image description here image courtesy walmart.com

Even better would be a wraparound hanger which does away with screws in tension and places them all in shear. That's really the ideal.

enter image description here

image source

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    Wow, these are great suggestions, thank you! I particularly like the idea of the wraparound hanger. (edited because I realized you absolutely did share the link, whoops). I also found this one that is graded to hold more weight. I measured my joist beams and they are actually 1.5" thick. Would getting the one you mentioned be an issue if it is designed to mount to a 2" joist? Which would you pick? @isherwood
    – Angela
    May 7 at 23:05
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    @Angela the thickness is as expected. A nominal 2x4 board is actually 1.5x3.5" in size (with similar 1/2" reductions for larger boards and beams). The TL'DR for why this is the case is that as what was sold as lumber gradually changed from rough cut and naturally moist boards to smoothed and dried ones (these originally were steps the buyer would be expected to do themselves) the official standards for what lumber yards sell were revised down to what the finished boards would end up as. May 8 at 4:54
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    I second the idea of a wraparound, or- basically- anything other than relying on the pull strength of a woodscrew straight into softwood. It would be more common to see the big eye shown in OP screwed horizontally into a tree etc., so that only part of the force was axial. May 8 at 6:39
  • @DanIsFiddlingByFirelight Hahaha - Imagine my surprise, when constructing a dorm loft in my college days and pounding in an ungodly number of nails, upon discovering that 2x4s were not really 2" x 4". Live and learn.
    – jrw32982
    May 10 at 19:59
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    @gns100, that would put a lot of torque on the screw, potentially splitting the joist. I've done something like that with an eye screw at a 45 degree angle, but not for human weight and not for an object with movement.
    – isherwood
    May 14 at 12:41
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If you can get to the far side of the wall, I would suggest using an EYE BOLT like this, along with a big chunky washer to spread the load as much as possible.

enter image description here

If the far side of the wall is unreachable, then reinforce the near side with a wooden batten that is screwed securely down with multiple fasteners. Ideally, the batten would be floor-to-ceiling and secured there as well as into the wall.

Use a longer lag bolt, and make a smaller pilot hole next time. This hole is useless and you might want to fill it with a dowell or similar. A new hole must be drilled at least 50mm away, preferable more.

Just remember There Is No Overkill when it comes to restoring confidence.


As a backup, you might choose to add two eyelets and secure your hammock to the first as normal, then run a second cord to the second eyelet but leave it slightly slack, or at least not under tension. This is your safety line, which will give you more confidence.

Also, consider that the other hanging point may need the same treatment before it fails.

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Looking at the presumed material the mounting bolt was going through, and the length of the threads on the eye screw, the eye screw was barely getting to the framing that really mattered.

I would expect the narrow piece over the finished ceiling is about ¾" thick, the plywood?? ceiling is maybe ½", perhaps ⅜" thick. Those two layers of non-structural material add up to 1⅛"- 1¼" thick. Your screw was only going into the structural framing only ¼" at maximum, which is in essence not doing anything.

The eye screw needs to go into the framing at a minimum 1½", so with the finish materials to go through, the screw eye threads need to be at least 2½" to 3". This can include some clear screw shank since the part of the screw that has no threads will be in the non-structural finish material and the all important threads will go in deep enough to be in the structural framing.

You can go with Isherwood's idea of the eyelet that uses 2 screws; just make sure the screws are long enough to work. Or a different eye screw can be gotten that has 2½" to 3" of shank and thread instead of only 1½" like the original, and set it in a properly sized pilot hole. Typically ⅜" uses a ¼" pilot, and ½" uses a ⅜" pilot. If you use screws, of course the pilot size will be different still.

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    I first thought that was a trim batten also, but now I believe it to be a rafter viewed almost directly edge-on. It doesn't have the rough-sawn appearance or square edges I'd expect of a batten. Maybe I should've asked for clarification.
    – isherwood
    May 8 at 12:45
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    @isherwood I see, the picture must be dead-edge on, not showing any depth of the rafter, and so the sheathing appeared to be a finished ceiling.
    – Jack
    May 8 at 15:15
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    @isherwood correct, this is a view of a rafter viewed directly from below edge-on and the photo isn't showing depth well. The joists are around 2x8 I think
    – Angela
    May 8 at 18:19
  • Isherwood's fix with the strap around the rafter is foolproof. You can still use an eye screw, but it should be longer and piloted with the proper sized hole.
    – Jack
    May 8 at 18:24

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