Introduction: Clothes Drying Rack Out of Pallets and Paracord
Dries a full load of laundry, even in the shade. Made from 3 of the planks from the bottom of a pallet, locked together in an isosceles triangle.
Step 1: Get 3 Side Bottom Planks From 2 EUR Pallets and Draw Cut Lines
The 2 bottom "skid" planks on either side of the pallet are a little skinnier, which is all that's needed for this drying frame. But if you don't have two pallets, you could of course use the planks on the top - they're just a bit wider and heavier than necessary. Pry your planks off with your hammer / pry bar - or pry them apart such that there's a crack big enough to fit your hacksaw in, and then simply cut the nails. Remember to punch the nails out if you will be using a circular saw to cut your notches - but a handsaw is all that's necessary to do the trick.
We'll be making an isosceles triangle in the center which means that each plank will be at 60 degrees to the next. This means your notches must also be cut at 60 degrees. If you have an isosceles triangle handy, you can use it to draw your angles.
The exact position of the notches isn't important, as long as there is enough overlap to lock the planks together on both sides. But the longer they stick out from the center triangle, the longer the outermost drying line will be, and the more clothes you can put on it.
Step 2: Cut Your Notches, Assemble and Then Break Your Rack
With a handsaw, cut out notches halfway through each plank. Once you've cut both sides of the notch, hit it with a hammer and the piece should come out. You may want to clean up the bottom with a wood chisel as necessary.
For each plank I did a notch on top and another on bottom. Trouble is, this makes it physically impossible to assemble the drying rack. I ended up pushing mine in a little at a time until one plank broke. Then I fit it all the way in, and glued and clamped the broken plank back together. Perhaps this could be avoided by cutting wider notches? Or notches in different places? Or make one of the planks a special "key" plank with wide, triangular notch? I hope someone will comment with the solution. ;)
Use wood glue where the planks make contact to give strength to your triangle.
Step 3: Drill Holes for Paracord and Thread It Through
This triangle should be large enough to fit 3 rows of paracord on which you can hang clothes (which works out to about 1 washing machine load). Drill holes wide enough for the paracord to slip through them fairly easily. The outermost holes should be about 2 cm from the end. The subsequent two holes should be drilled in the planks such that the string will be about 10 cm inward of the last.
The closer the strings are to the outside, the longer they are and the more clothes they can hold. But if they are too close together, it will be hard to load / unload the rack, and drying may take longer.
String the inner string through its holes in each plank, and make a loop on one end. Thread the other end through the loop and pull it tight while distributing the cord's tension evenly between the planks. Tie it off with a few half-hitches. Repeat for the other two strings.
Make sure you burn the ends of your paracord when you cut it so it doesn't unravel.
Step 4: Suspend It From Above, and Load It Up!
Make loops of cord that support each plank about 20 cm from the center. I haven't found the perfect distance - this was the approach I took to minimize the chances that the rack will tip when being loaded on one side.
Then load it up with clothes!
Notes for anyone who builds one:
* Consider angling the planks at 60 degrees, to see if that makes assembly any easier (see Sketchup pic in this step). I think it might look a little cooler too - like a primitive propellor.
* It should be possible to hang another rack below the first, so you can dry two loads of laundry at a time.
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