Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The over-engineered clothesline

So Feliz Navidad or whatever. Bonne Année too, as long as we're here.

Okay... I know it's winter. But there's no snow, and it's not even all that cold, so I haven't really made the transition yet. So I'm talking about clotheslines. That's just how I am.

Our original clothesline, installed earlier this year, just kept sagging and sagging and sagging. We kept tightening and tightening and tightening. But there's only so far you can take that progression.

I'm sure the constant wind (which was great for drying clothes) was the cause of the stretching. Plus it's a pretty long run - about 50 feet. Even so, you'd think that something sold as clothesline would hold up for at least a summer. But everything's become disposable at this point I guess.

So this fall, I upgraded. We now have coated heavy gauge wire strung between two pulleys. (I stole the pulley idea from my grandfather. For a long time I thought all clotheslines were on pulleys. Clip-clip-slide, clip-clip-slide...)
This one's even got a ratcheting fence tightener built into it. It shouldn't sag much, but if it does, a few clicks should take care of it.

(That's my still-unfinished grape arbor in the background. I just need a helper who is not pregnant and who is over three feet tall. So it may be a while yet...)

I actually made several attempts at getting this line up, only to have it come apart almost instantly. The in-line tightener in combination with several wire crimping sleeves seems to have finally done the trick.

The only downside to the new line is that it doesn't provide the cool 1960's spaceship sound effects that we used to get from the old line when the wind got it vibrating just right.

So that's how you overdo it with a clothesline. We'll see how this one holds up. Remind me someday to tell you about my extremely under-engineered yet perfectly functional indoor clothesline...


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At 12/27/2007 11:49 PM, Blogger Wendy said...

I'm hoping for a new clothesline. The "everything's disposable" comment is true. I purchased a retractable clothesline, hoping it would last for a while, but I've replaced it twice in as many seasons, because the plastic do-hickey that attaches it to the side of my house keeps breaking. Cheap, disposable, plastic do-hickey! Arghh! We have a wooden rack for indoor use, but only use it when it's cloudy, snowing or raining ... which is nearly every day, this time of year ;).

At 12/28/2007 5:52 AM, Blogger valereee said...

Can you believe many newer neighborhoods PROHIBIT people from having clotheslines? It's a 'sign of blight,' apparently. People are drying their clothes indoors in ARIZONA -- does this make any sense? -- when the world's perfect clothes drier is right outside their door.

At 12/30/2007 6:24 PM, Blogger Chile said...

Hm, I have a way cheap retractable clothesline thing that I bought for a buck fifty at the thrift store. It has 4 twine lines on it that can't handle more than one load of laundry at a time. It has, however, held up to constant use since early summer.

I like your design, too, but we don't have a good place in this rental yard for it.

At 6/02/2009 12:12 PM, Blogger TracyFerry said...

I'd love to put a clothes line up that is JUST LIKE YOURS! I'm not a very good do it your self-er, can you tell me everything I need so i can go to the home depot? This is wonderful and I can't wait to hear back from you.

At 8/14/2010 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm terrified of snakes, so I had my hubbie put ours IN the deck. Wanna see?

For an indoor line, I use the side of a crib we freecycled, and hang everything on the slats. Hangers on the shower rod in my bathroom. Works like a charm.



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