Introduction: Clothes Airer
We became fed up with the commercial, plastic-coated wire, foldable airers we were using to dry our clothes on. They became flimsy, were hard to move with clothes on them and eventually the plastic coating split and degraded, occasionally leaving marks on clothing.
(I have now put them aside to weld into something cool later!)
Which inspired me to make these.. they are standard hardwood as purchased from the hardware store (Tasmanian oak) and strung with nylon rope. The wood is sealed with some left over marine grade exterior varnish that we used on our front door.
If the rope stretches, breaks or starts to degrade, we can restring it. If the varnish breaks down (and it should last a long time) we can sand it back and repaint it with a newer product.
We use these weekly now and wouldn't go back to the flimsy plastic coated wire models.
Decide the size - these are just big enough to hang queen-sized sheets in half without touching the ground.
The large one holds the same amount of clothing as 3 of the commercial models.
It is high enough to achieve good ground clearance, but not so high as to be awkward and uncomfortable to use.
Buy the wood - large enough to accommodate the length you chose. I bought wider widths than I needed and trimmed out slimmer sections to make the design a little lighter overall.
Measure/count/calculate how much rope you need - don't multiply by <insert random number here> like I did and buy too much, it will save you money :) I have used nylon rope so it shouldn't absorb and or release water and stain clothing.
I made each run 7cm apart (roughly the same as the commercial ones I had).
Cut the pieces of wood to length. I made the "feet" a little narrower than the arms that hold the rope and clothing (figured it would be nice not to stub our toes!). But not so narrow as to be unstable and fall over.
Jigsaw sections of the wood away, making it slimmer and lighter. Alternatively, use a router to trim out sections. I wouldn't suggest removing more than 1/3 overall, unless your wood was way too thick.
Route the edges smooth to prevent catching on clothing, or dinting your drying clothes if you hang them on wooden sections
I cut a "U" channel in the tops of the legs to hold the framework of the rope section. If we ever need to take them down to save space, the rope section comes off.
Sand the wood smooth.
Paint the wood with a quality varnish, I chose exterior, marine grade so that it withstands the moisture of wet clothes over time.
String the rope. Tie any knots on the inner edge - it's neater.
I was going to use castors (swivel wheels), but slippery furniture pads were cheaper, so I have started with those and can upgrade to castors later if need be.