Clothesline

Introduction: Clothesline

About: I like to dabble in a bit of everything: woodworking, metalworking, sewing, electronics.

I helped a friend but together a couple poles for a clothesline.

They wanted it to be about six feet tall, and the top part to be about three feet wide, so we grabbed four 4x4" square posts that were eight feet long.

Two of them would be the vertical posts.

One of them would make the two top horizontal pieces.

And the last one would make the four 45° support pieces.

Step 1: Joinery

We decided to join the top piece to the vertical piece with a half-lap joint. I set my circular saw to cut half the depth of the post and used a speed square as a guide to make repeated cuts in the area we wanted to remove.

We then used a hammer and chisel to remove the slivers, and cleaned up the joint with a couple hand planes and a rasp.

We did this for the center of the horizontal pieces, and the top of the vertical pieces.

Step 2: Eyebolts and Diagonal Braces

We went ahead and drilled the holes for the eyelet screws that would hold the line.

We decided it would look good if the diagonal braces were 17" long on the outside, so I went ahead and rough cut the last post into 19" sections so that everything would be easier to work with. I then used my miter saw to cut 45° angles on the ends and bring the pieces to their final lengths.

Step 3: Assembly

A few days later I showed up at my friends' house to assemble everything and put the poles in the ground.

We started with the top piece. We put a glob of construction adhesive on the inside of the joint. I'm not sure if this will actually help at all, but I figured it couldn't hurt and might have a better chance of sticking to the pressure treated wood than traditional yellow wood glue. We used a speed square to make sure the vertical and horizontal pieces were perpendicular, and zipped three decking screws in from either side

We used the same basic construction for the diagonal pieces: construction adhesive and long decking screws.

Step 4: Setting the Poles in the Ground

We went ahead and put in the eyelets while the poles were lying down and started digging the holes. Luckily we didn't hit any large rocks or major obstructions, and didn't have to trim the poles short. We ended up going down 20 inches, using a post hole digger and a shovel.

We used some scrap pieces of wood to make supports and stakes that would hold the posts level and in place while the concrete cured. Each hole ended up getting about 3/4 of a bag of concrete.

Step 5: Done!

Once the concrete was cured, my friend removed the supports and the poles were ready to string up!

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    8 Comments

    0
    FabrizioB4
    FabrizioB4

    2 days ago on Step 5

    I've made many of these and I've learned almost two things: first, passing the time, the pole wood will break near the concrete standing because of the rain, water, moisture, .. so before plugging it into the ground you should protect the poles with liquid asphalt or some protective paint. Last, the weight of clothes could be a big concern expecially when they are very wet and the wire tends to lie down in the middle (center of gravity). This can be solved hanging the poles externally with another wire anchored to the ground like a tent pole or planting the poles slightly out of center, slanting, so they can bear the whole weight of your clothes. Thank you anyway for this project.

    0
    Floss1949
    Floss1949

    3 days ago on Step 5

    My Grandmother, Mother and M-I-Law had this type of clothes line. There used to be 3, mostly 4 lines though. My Grandma and Mum had ones where the lines could swivel up higher or lower, with the end line supports not being fixed but swiveling on a large bolt. Chain, wire or strong cord on each end and side used to hold the line in postion while and after the washing was strung. Props were also used in the middle of the line to support heavy loads. The prop was put under the middle of the line, pushed high then chocked into the ground. With the swivel supports, longer items (trousers, sheets, towels) could be positioned last so they could be lifted higher if necessary so they wouldn't drag on the ground. The swivel also made it easier for my Grandma and Mum, who were not tall people, to reach the line, so not sure if this was just my Grandfather's design or a regular thing, as these were always home-made! (Rough sketch attached)

    Clothesline, old style.jpg
    0
    knightwalkr
    knightwalkr

    3 days ago

    This is in no way how they used to be made just to kind of put this out there. A 4x4 was often used for the main poles but the cross bit.

    We either used one bolt or 2 and it was generally made with a 2x4. If we had the money we would use an eye bolt to hold the lines. Generally we did 3 or more lines 2 on the outside and one in the center.

    If we had the space it became a triangle 3 poles many lines. Depending on how big your family was depended on how much of a spider web was created.

    This looks cool. But it’s way over engineered. You could do it for around 1/2 the money and get just as good of results.

    0
    charlessenf-gm
    charlessenf-gm

    Reply 3 days ago

    Not sure about 'half the money' now days with OSB running thirty bucks a sheet at Lowes! - But the rotary models are worth looking at. One small hole, no concrete, no pressure-treated posts, cutting, screwing, nailing and the things are portable - can be stored in the dead of winter as well as letting one stand in one spot and rotate the line to get at an 'empty' space for the sweatpants.
    Quick search 20210225
    Rotary Dryer Clothes Line - 196 feet, 311048 $120
    Found various sixed models from $45 to $233
    We bought the "Brabantia Lift-O-Matic Rotary Dryer Clothes Line - 196 feet, 311048" for $119 PRIME/Delivered. You pound a base tube into the dirt (flush w/ground) and stick the thing in the tube and hang it up to dry. Don? Take the thing out of the hole and put the (supplied) cap over the opening 'till you do the wash next month ;)
    Thing comes with a 5YR Warranty at Home Depot ($129.86 today)

    0
    charlessenf-gm
    charlessenf-gm

    3 days ago

    No detail on the clothes lines themselves, though a mention of "the eyelets." We always used a length of chain on one end of the line and a hook, then, as the line stretched, we could simply move to the next link (or so) in the chain to tighten things up a bit.
    Some options found on Amazon today:
    Heavy Duty Screw Hook in Zinc plated,3/8" x 4-1/2"
    Screw Hook in Stainless Steel,1/4" x 4-1/4"
    EVEN BETTER THAN THE CHAIN:
    WELLINGTON CORDAGE 7097-CL Clothesline Tightener
    Motanar Clothesline line Tightener line Tight 2pcs
    CamJam XT Aluminum Tie Down Cam Mechanism With Carabiner Clip

    0
    dsmith267
    dsmith267

    3 days ago

    I, for one, happen to like your post. Here in the southwest, this is the style I grew up with. There are so many variation on clothesline poles (metal pipe, 2x4, 4x4, and even 4x6 lumber) that the people reading your post should understand that perhaps this is the style your friend asked you to build. Thanks for posting.

    1
    RobotMitchell
    RobotMitchell

    Reply 3 days ago

    Hahaha, thank you!
    Yeah, we were just basing this on a couple pictures my friend had found and the type of clothes lines around here growing up.
    There are plenty of ways to stretch a line between two points and it's hard to go wrong with any of them.

    0
    tytower
    tytower

    5 days ago

    All good BUT.
    To improve the old timers made the cross piece with a bolt through the center . That means you can make the whole thing 2 foot higher for the wind and sheets. Drop one side to load it up then lift back up . Usually there were some selected long tree branches with a y shaped crook in them that were used to lift the lines even higher.