Wooden Tripod inspired by Pops

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Project by SirSeth posted 12-30-2012 12:24 AM 9450 views 15 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a tripod I just finished that was inspired by PopsHuckster’s excellent work linked here:

The maple is old hockey sticks that the PE dept. was dumping. The walnut down the center is from an old window frame (I know, who makes window frames of walnut?). The spider is mahogany and the center column is a Feisol Carbon quick adjust post. Wipe on poly for finish. (Do you guys like that stuff? It seem to be easy and leaves a nice finish). The total height is about neck level for me, which will be fine with a gimbal head. You can see that I marred the finish with a saw and might fix that later.

The tripod was kind of born out of the need for a more stable solution for my big lens.(Tamron SP 300mm f2.8 with 1.4x and 2.0x). A Gitzo tripod that many folks recommend might cost $600-800 and the gimbal head by Wimberly or Really Right Stuff could cost as much. Way out of my price league, but this wooden leg set dampens vibrations very nicely. The only bummer is no leg locks, but I have a smaller tripod for low work.

Made primarily on my shop smith and disc sander. Clamps were welded down the street at a custom welding shop run by the Amish.

Cheers, Seth

-- What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

12 comments so far

View Chris Moellering's profile

Chris Moellering

227 posts in 2221 days

#1 posted 12-30-2012 12:35 AM

Classy looking. Wouldn’t be my first choice for toting into the field, but sure looks great for shots close to home.

-- Grace & peace, Chris+

View a1Jim's profile


115613 posts in 3150 days

#2 posted 12-30-2012 01:44 AM

This turned out great Seth

-- Custom furniture

View tbandikoot's profile


17 posts in 2026 days

#3 posted 12-30-2012 02:32 AM

Being a photography and woodworking enthusiast you certainly have my up vote. Very nice work! As many times as I have admired wood tripods I never once thought about building one..till now. I also love that fact that you recycled the wood.

View SirSeth's profile


71 posts in 1798 days

#4 posted 12-30-2012 02:41 AM

Thanks. I’m in good shape, and this tripod will surely keep me in shape. ;) It’s 7lbs which is the weight of a Berlebach wooden tripod.

-- What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

View olegahg's profile


58 posts in 1557 days

#5 posted 12-30-2012 03:53 AM

This would be perfect for my vintage polaroid camera I turned into a lamp.

View PopsHuckster's profile


154 posts in 2645 days

#6 posted 12-30-2012 04:57 AM

Nice job! I like the leg clamps.. from an old tripod?

-- Pop

View SirSeth's profile


71 posts in 1798 days

#7 posted 12-30-2012 01:03 PM

Hey Pop, glad you saw this. The leg clamps I had made for me at a custom welding joint down the road. I like your leg clamps better, but couldn’t figure out what to use for hardware for cam levers. These are probably heavier than needed, but they work well.

-- What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

View SirSeth's profile


71 posts in 1798 days

#8 posted 12-30-2012 02:09 PM

tbandicoot, I’ve always wanted to get into nature photography, but as you may know a lot of these guys sport $6000 lenses on their $2000 tripod/head set. (Camera not included). That’s so not my budget—so I am challenged to innovate and make do with older manual focus lenses. I did spend $190 on a Lensmaster gimbal for my 300mm f2.8 Tamron SP manual focus lens (~$550 which is pretty cheap for a big fast glass). This tripod cost me $70 and will do the trick nicely.

I encourage you to try making a tripod if it fits your needs or budget to do so. There are lots of ways to skin a cat. I think a center column could be made from a wooden dowel, which would cut down on cost. This Feisol CF center column is not as rigid as I had hoped, but it is very light and smooth. I will not extend the column for optimal stability and could have probably done without a center column since I plan to use a gimbal head. I also think there are lots of ways to make leg locks that would work well.

Cheers, Seth

-- What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

View ChesapeakeBob's profile


365 posts in 3056 days

#9 posted 12-30-2012 02:30 PM

I beautifil job! My can see my Fujinon binoculars mouted on top looking out over the Bay! Thanks

-- Chesapeake Bob, Southern Maryland

View Ken Holt's profile

Ken Holt

21 posts in 1650 days

#10 posted 12-30-2012 04:38 PM

as a nature photographer and a woodworker, i must say that i LOVE this piece. super cool project. well done!

-- Ken from Monterey

View SirSeth's profile


71 posts in 1798 days

#11 posted 12-30-2012 06:38 PM

Chesapeake Bob, I’m planning on taking this out in the field for long lens use, but I suspect that home based spotting would be a near perfect application. I would also think that if you made a set of legs you wouldn’t need quick adjust clamps. Just a nice brass bolt with holes spaced out for optical height. Assuming your setup would stay in one place most of the time.

Ken, thanks. Those are two great hobbies! I also find sewing to be a useful cross over to photography. I recently purchased a Sierra Designs Prophecy 35 backpack ($50 on deep sale) that just needs custom padded inserts to be the perfect wildlife/nature bag. I like that this bag opens from the top as well as a zipper down the middle of the front—something I have not seen in photobags. Custom inserts coming up. The whole setup should cost me no more than $60 and it will very nicely carry my DSLR, 300mm f2.8, 50-200mm, 90mm, 11-22mm, Gimbal head, and lunch/clothing for a day out. DIYers rule. ;)

-- What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

View drbyte's profile


743 posts in 3635 days

#12 posted 01-02-2013 05:06 PM

Great job!! I’ve made several of these using random wood or wooden or even aluminum crutches and they all work great for telescopes, cameras, transits, and binoculars. The wood helps absorb minor vibrations real well.

-- Dennis, WV

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