Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to Hang a Clothesline - the Technical Part

Clothes and linens dried in the sunshine smell fresh and feel crisp. A clothesline is a wonderful addition to any back yard. Here are two ways to install one:

The first method is for a simple, single line that is easy to take down and put back up. The second is for a line that is a loop strung between two pulleys. Both are easy to tighten if they sag.For either version, you can use a cotton or plastic clothesline rope. I prefer the look and feel of cotton.

The height of the line depends on how tall you are -- make sure the line is comfortable for you to reach, and high enough that your laundry won't touch the ground. If you use the pulley system one end can be sent high in the air to catch every drop of breeze.

The length of the line depends on the size of your back yard, but 20 to 25 feet is average. You'll need two strong supports, such as trees or a post of your porch. Choose an area of the yard where the clothesline won't get in anyone's way.

For the single line, you'll need a heavy-duty hook, a metal eye hook, a cleat, a small metal fitting that you'll wrap the rope around to anchor it (imagine the device you use to secure a rope on a flagpole), and a metal ring.

Start by marking the height you want the line to be on each support. On one support, screw in the hook at the point you marked; start the hole with a drill. On the other, screw in the eye hook. Twelve inches below the eye hook, install a cleat. Using a tight knot, tie one end of the rope to the ring. Loop the ring over the hook, and walk the rope over to the other support. Thread the other end through the eye hook, pull it tight, and wind it around the cleat to secure.

For the double-strung line, you'll need two heavy-duty hooks, two pulleys, a line tightener, to allow you to take up the slack in the line, and a line separator to keep the top and bottom lines separate but parallel.

Screw the hooks into the supports at the height you want the line to be. Tie one end of the rope securely to the ring on the end of the line tightener. Thread the other end of the rope through the pulley, the line separator, the other pulley and the line tightener. Hang the pulleys from the hooks on your supports, pull the end of the rope through the tightener until taut and cut away the excess rope. Hook the line separator around the bottom rope.

If this is a little to technical for you, come out to the farm and I can walk you through my system so you can get a good idea of what works.

Happy Hanging!

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