Woven Fabric Shade structure: What works and what doesn't

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Woven Fabric Shade structure: What works and what doesn't

Postby BaalTeshuva » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:35 am

I am considering making myself a cloth shade structure out of some form of canvas or duck cloth (unless I can find something more suitable). I want to model it after the Bedouin tents. They are ideal for desert conditions, both cooler during the day and warmer at night.

Traditionally they are made out of a woven blend of wool and goat hair, but as this is a traditional, and labor intensive process, and I have yet to find a source, outside of personally going to the middle east and buying some there; I am trying to decide what would be a good alternative...

I am thinking about taking either/ or both canvas and duck cloth strips and weaving them into larger sheets, then using two layers of this to make the tent walls. I think that this would both allow the wind to pass though and hopefully help to block the dust.

One option that I am considering is to make the frame out of several partial and connected Geodesic domes. While this would veer away from my Bedouin theme I think that this would lend a better structural integrity and give me a frame to place some cool string art.

Any ideas, suggestions, and theme camps that would be willing to include me would be welcome
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Postby Bob » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:20 am

You don't describe the footprint, or whether you have any experience at all with camping, rigging, domes, sewing, etc. You don't say where you live so I have no idea what sources to suggest.

Authentic Bedouin style tents are somewhat unsuitable because they require many long guy lines that themselves take up a lot of space and would create tripping hazards. Space at Burning Man is more confined than you might realize, camps are stacked together very closely, and people expect to be able to stroll in between other people's tents and RVs to get somewhere else.

I'd suggest buying a large sturdy canvas camping tent similar to the shape you like, practice pitching it in an open windy space, and concentrate on decorating it to look more or less like what you want. If you need more space, buy another tent, and consider tent-like shade structures, but if this is your first time in the Black Rock Desert you might want to start small.
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Postby FIGJAM » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:22 am

If the wind will pass through, the dust will too.
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Postby TomServo » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:59 am

The shade cloth they use at home depot, and sell there..works well. Doesn't come with grommets though (I don't think), so a little pre fab will be needed. Make sure whatever structure its supported by, is well anchored.
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Postby Bob » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:12 am

Knit shade cloth comes only six feet wide at most places like Home Depot, but you can get it 12 feet wide or wider, cut to any length, from greenhouse suppliers, rigging suppliers, scaffold companies, or tarp makers. Tarp shops and some greenhouse suppliers can seam and hem it with reinforcing at the edges and corners, and install grommets. Draped over a canvas tent and secured to the ground, black shade cloth might give enough of a look of a Bedouin tent. Can also be draped over a pole or pipe frame to serve as a shade structure. The six foot wide cloth sans grommeting can be zip-tied over a small dome, but it kinda looks like ass IMHO.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:27 am

You can get painter's tarps pretty cheap.
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Postby TomServo » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:19 pm

Not exactly cheap, but they will last you several burns....if your willing to make that kind of investment. You won't escape the dust no matter what shade you use, but these are strong and allow airflow..

http://www.catalogclearance.com/depts/shadecloth.html
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Postby BaalTeshuva » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:39 am

Thank you for all the comments so far. I was thinking that doing a two layer shade/dust blocking fabric shell would work. One layer with a woven fabric with periodic reinforcement... IE. Hemmed, and evenly spaced, squares with reinforcement and grommets. This would be the outer layer, meant to cut the wind and partially block the dust and light. Inside of this layer would be a solid layer of fabric, to block the rest of the dust. And finally inside of this would be my actual tent.

As for my footprint, I would like to make this anywhere from 6x10 ft, to 10x10 ft roughly...

I am planing on sewing the material myself (with possible help from friends). I am just trying to figure out both a good material to use and where to get this material at the lowest cost with out sacrificing quality. I enjoy making patchwork (and am working of at least one patchwork outfit) and was thinking of having the seams of the inner layer match up with the frame of the dome with grommets on the inside to attach it.

One thing I am not sure of is how to do the outer layer...

Should I try to extend a few post off of the inner dome or have a separate frame or support for the outer layer... If I do extend a few post from the inner dome how frequent should I make the extensions, as I feel that any gap left for these post would be a place for dust to get in...

Would it work better to made a double dome, IE.. A dome within a dome, or a double dome with the inner dome helping to support the outer dome...

AS per my personal info...
I live in GA and while I have yet to make it to the Playa, I have been to a few regional burns and I have a lot of camping experience.

Thank you all for you suggestions and help..

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Postby antinomy » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:58 pm

have you considered three layers of dome and three separate coverings
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Postby robotland » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:30 pm

They're heavier than shade cloth, but you can get truck mesh tarps at Harbor Freight for relatively cheap.... Sturdy as hell, and already grommeted. I finally fell victim to the Cult Of Aluminet, buying a swatch from the little bazaar that had opened up in Nixon.... With that sweet, lightweight stuff and some plastic spring clips you can make an easy-to-adjust shade layer in no time!
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Postby Bob » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:59 pm

Ah, the Bedouins of Al Uminium and their four-ply domes.
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Postby MyDearFriend » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:00 pm

robotland wrote:They're heavier than shade cloth, but you can get truck mesh tarps at Harbor Freight for relatively cheap.... Sturdy as hell, and already grommeted. I finally fell victim to the Cult Of Aluminet, buying a swatch from the little bazaar that had opened up in Nixon.... With that sweet, lightweight stuff and some plastic spring clips you can make an easy-to-adjust shade layer in no time!


What kind of plastic spring clips do you use? I bought plastic snap-together grommets ("Shark Bite Fasteners") but I haven't put them together yet, so if you know a better way... 8) 8) 8)
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Postby FIGJAM » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:53 pm

When I did a shade for my neighbor (20x20), I wrapped a golfball in each corner, then 1/2" rope tied a slip knot and put this over the ball.

Picture a man being hanged with a bag over his head.

This structure is streached as tight as a trampoline.

Its been up for 6 months and withstood 80mph winds.
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Postby MyDearFriend » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:02 pm

FIGJAM wrote:When I did a shade for my neighbor (20x20), I wrapped a golfball in each corner, then 1/2" rope tied a slip knot and put this over the ball.

Picture a man being hanged with a bag over his head.

This structure is streached as tight as a trampoline.

Its been up for 6 months and withstood 80mph winds.


Wow!!! What is it made of? Besides golf balls and rope... 8)
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Postby FIGJAM » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:37 pm

Woven Fabric Shade Clothe. (silly) :lol:

Stretched between 4 telephone poles.
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Postby MyDearFriend » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:49 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Woven Fabric Shade Clothe. (silly) :lol:

Stretched between 4 telephone poles.


I guess it's true: size matters. :lol:
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Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:00 pm

MyDearFriend wrote:
robotland wrote:They're heavier than shade cloth, but you can get truck mesh tarps at Harbor Freight for relatively cheap.... Sturdy as hell, and already grommeted. I finally fell victim to the Cult Of Aluminet, buying a swatch from the little bazaar that had opened up in Nixon.... With that sweet, lightweight stuff and some plastic spring clips you can make an easy-to-adjust shade layer in no time!


What kind of plastic spring clips do you use? I bought plastic snap-together grommets ("Shark Bite Fasteners") but I haven't put them together yet, so if you know a better way... 8) 8) 8)


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Postby MyDearFriend » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:43 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3_2zbZwDlM[/youtube]

I suppose I shouldn't say anything, after all he's on youtube and I'm not, but Ham much?


Yeah I think he's nervous cause he knows he will never be The Man.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgYgl4OodeY[/youtube]

ETA: Wait, what were we talking about? I love this Board!
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Postby BaalTeshuva » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:13 am

[quote="antinomy"]have you considered three layers of dome and three separate coverings[/quote]

By three layers of dome and covering do you mean three domes with a layer each or a multilayer dome
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Postby Bob » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:38 am

Please start by going to your eplaya Profile and enabling "bbcode" so your quoting and such appears as intended.

Next, your project descriptions are... curious. When you typed

Would it work better to made a double dome, IE.. A dome within a dome, or a double dome with the inner dome helping to support the outer dome...


were you referring to a space frame, or trusses, or what? Better than what? If you don't need anything bigger than a 10x10 footprint, what's better than a simple tent?
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Postby BaalTeshuva » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:26 am

I was thinking of something big enough to incorporate both my 4 person tent, as well as some extra space for Relaxing, hanging out, and storage... I am thinking about making two connecting domes with a separation between my sleeping area and a common area...

The 10x10 space was a poor guess on my part... I might try to go for 15x15 per dome..

'm sorry if i am not being clear enough however I am just trying to get my ideas as well thought out and planed as possible... thank you
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