“O crap!” was what I thought when I felt the rear wheel of my truck run over something as I backed out from under my parking shelter. I knew that nothing good had happened. I had just run over one part of my “Ground Lounge” Tree Lounge deer stand. I moved it off to the side and then went to my dentist appointment. What was particularly bad about this was that now that Tree Lounge is no longer in business, there was no chance for me to get a new stand or replacement parts.
As any pioneer, farmer, tinkerer or shade-tree mechanic knows, such an event is not necessarily an “epic failure.” Somehow, someway, I was going to take what I had around the house and repair this stand. The “Ground Lounge” is a prop-up-against-the-tree type of stand that is lightweight and particularly handy for turkey and deer hunting. It gets the hunter off the ground in a more comfortable position (although I use a cushion in it too) out of the wet or snow.
Factory-made version of the Tree Lounge “Ground Lounge.” This stand used the same aluminum tubing and seat material of the more common Tree Lounge climbing stand. My version was slightly different in that it did not have the rounded curves at the top of the stand.
On examination, what I found was that one arm of the stand was badly bent, another slightly bent and the welds were broken on the hinges that connected the upper and lower parts of the stand. The seat and other limbs of the stand were intact, except for the broken welds. I did not have a welding outfit, but I did have an assortment of small power tools, files and a bucket full of miscellaneous bolts, screws, washers, etc. that I had collected over the decades. I am more a “wood guy” that a “metal guy,” so I had a small wood-workers vise and some 1-inch tomato stakes.
The concept was to cut out the badly bent portion of the limb, replace it with a section of wooden stake; and then use nuts and bolts to re-establish the functionality of the hinges. As it turned out, not only did my “Ground Lounge” need help, but rodents had also chewed a foot strap from my “Elusive Whitetail” climbing stand, that was also made by Tree Lounge. This was a simple matter of fitting and attaching a new nylon strap and a bit of cord so that I could pull both foot straps up to slip my boots under them. The rodents had also taken hunks out of the seat and gnawed through the fabric in several places.
I had already repaired the climbing stand and shot a video of the experience. My repairs on the “Ground Lounge” would provide sufficient new materials to include a second type of Tree Lounge stand in the video.
The approaches that I used to fix these stands is not necessarily the best possible repair. I would hope that those with access to welding equipment, tube fabrication technology, a wider assortment of metal “junk” and a machine shop could, and would, do a better job of repairing the “Ground Lounge” that I did.
One thing that I found almost enjoyable is that the American-made versions of the Tree Lounge stands used English-standard dimensions. So if you are going to work on either a traditional “Tree Lounge” climbing stand, the “Ground Lounge” or “Ladder Lounge” dust off your old set of socket and hand wrenches and use these. I suspect that the Chinese versions with the D-shaped tubes use metric components. As a measure of economy, Tree Lounge stuck with one size of 1-inch square aluminum tubing for their stands, so far as I have seen. This is handy because replacing broken or bent segments can be made with 1-inch outside dimension steel tubing or pipe or the wooden tomato stake that I employed.
I dressed the tubing smooth with files or a Dremel Tool to remove the sharp edges and lumps of aluminum weld that interfered with the smooth fit of the parts. As I used a nut and bolt to reconnect the hinges to the limbs, I had to remove metal from inside the tubing to allow for the bolts to clear. There was sufficient clearance that the slightly bent limb was left “as is” because it did not interfere with the stand, which is always going to be used on less that perfectly level surfaces anyway. So, the minor difference in limb lengths cause by the bend is not significant.
The repairs that I did using expedient materials worked, and importantly in this economy, was accomplished without any cost, or a round trip to town for parts. A good-looking repair? No it is not, but the deer and turkey I take using this stand will never know the difference. It will get the job done.
As no new Tree Lounge stands are likely to be available in the forseeable future, repairing those that you already own is the best way to keep these excellent stands in use. The seats and straps are the usual parts that fail. The nylon fabric used in these seats is similar to “filter cloth” used in the paper and clay-minerals processing industries. Canvas may be used for seats, but this will have to be replaced more often and is not nearly as weather resistant as nylon or other polymer-based fabrics. To extend the life of these stands, keep them out of sunlight and do not leave them in the woods all year. If given only a tiny amount of care, these stands will last for decades.
I have a video up on YouTube on the repairs. It may be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wsao_vKe9I4 if you have trouble viewing it below: