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Clothesline

Using the sun to dry your clothes saves a lot of energy. This rotating clothesline has a lot of drying space in a small area.

Hanging your clothes out to dry in the sun is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to save energy. However, stringing a clothesline between two posts or trees can use up a lot of space and can often get in the way.  This clothesline is designed to have a very small footprint for an enormous amount of usable line. It also rotates, so that you can hang up all your clothes without having to move yourself or your laundry basket.

Materials & Tools
clothesline-materials1
Materials

4 6 ft lengths of 1”x4” lumber

10 ft of 2” ID (inside diameter) metal pipe

2 ft of 2” OD (outside diameter) metal pipe

150 ft clothesline

2 x 5” lengths of 3/8” bolts or all-thread, and nuts

4 x 3/8” washers

Tools

Tape measure

Marker

Drill

3/8” Drill bit

Sledge Hammer

Ladder

 

Step 1: Arms

We started off with 8 ft pieces of lumber arms, but it was a little too much, so we cut them down to 6 ft, which has a footprint of about 12 ft wide and about 150 ft of line.  If you want to make it smaller, you can reduce the length of the arms to as little as 4 ft, or keep the original 8 ft. You then adjust this design accordingly. You can always drill the holes for the ropes once the arms are up in place, if you are unsure where to place them.

  1. Place a piece of 8 ft lumber on a flat surface.
  2. Make a mark, 1 1/2” in from the top edge, at 6”, 18”, 30”, 42”, 44” (this one is called X and will be referred to in Assembling Arms), 54” and 66″ from the right end of the board.
  3. Make a mark, 1” in from the top edge, at 1” from the left end of the board.
  4. Drill out these holes using a 3/8” drill bit.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 5 for each board.

 

Step 2: Drilling pole
  1. Place the 10 ft pole on a flat surface.
  2. Make one mark at 1 1/2” from the left end of the pole, and another at 76” from the right end of the pole.
  3. Rotate the pole 180 degrees, so that the previous marks are directly underneath, and mark it again at 1 1/2” from the left end and at 76” from the right end.
  4. Rotate the pole 90 degrees, so that these marks are on the sides. Mark the pole at 2 1/2” from the left end and at 75” from the right end.
  5. Rotate the pole 180 degrees, so that the previous two marks are directly underneath, and mark it again at 2 1/2” from the left end and at 75” from the right end.
  6. Drill these 8 holes, using the 3/8” drill bit. You may want to clamp the pole in a vice to make this drilling easier.

 

Step 3: Anchor

It is best to put your anchor pole (the smaller, but wider diameter chunk) into concrete. It will last longer and shift less. However, if you might move the clothesline (which we intend to do), here is a way to put in a temporary anchor.

  1. Decide where you want to put the center of the clothesline and, using the sledge hammer, pound the 2” anchor pipe 1 ft into the ground. Make sure it goes in straight.
  2. Remove the pipe and empty out the dirt that is inside it.
  3. Place the 2 ft pipe back into the hole you just made and pound it in another 6” or so.
  4. Put the 10 ft pipe into the anchor pipe. Lift it and drop it a couple of times to make sure it is well seated. The tower pipe should be able to turn freely in the anchor pipe.

 

Step 4: Assembling arms
  1. Cut four lengths of rope, each 6 ft long.
  2. Take one piece of rope and thread it through one of the four holes at 1 1/2” from the top of the metal pole, so that a bit of rope comes out the top of the pipe. Tie a knot in the bit of rope and pull it firmly against the hole. Repeat, so that each 6 ft length of rope is hanging down from one of the holes at the top of the pole.
  3. Take one piece of lumber and center the hole that’s 1” from the left end over the 76” hole of the pole. Put a bolt, with washer on it, through both holes.
  4. Put another piece of lumber diagonally opposite the first and place it’s 1 1/2” hole over the bolt. Put a washer and nut onto the bolt, but do not tighten it all the way.
  5. Take the loose end of the corresponding 6 ft piece of rope from step 2 and thread it through the 44” hole (called X) of the lumber. Tie the rope off to itself, so that it holds the lumber up in the air, a little steeper than level.
  6. Do the same for the board that is diagonally opposite, on the same bolt, and then tighten the bolt.
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 for the other two boards, using the 2 1/2” and 75” holes on the pole.

Alternatively, you can assemble the arms on the ground and then lift the whole thing onto the pole.

  1. Place a chunk of pipe in the middle of a flat area. You want this chunk to be a tiny bit larger than your clothesline’s pole.
  2. Place the end of one arm up against the pole. Its end wants to be flush with the outside of the pole (we’ll call it the north side of the pole), and the 4″ of the 1″x4″ wants to be standing upright, along the pole.
  3. Now place an arm on the east side of the pole, so that its end is flush with the outside of the first arm.
  4. Do the same for the south, then west sides of the pole.
  5. With all the arms in place, you can screw chunks of wood into the corners where two arms meet. This will keep them all in their place.
  6. Put a bolt through the 76″ hole of your clothesline’s pole.
  7. Put the arm assembly over the top of the pole and lower it down to sit on the bolt.

 

Step 5: Rope
  1. Thread a piece of rope through the 6” hole on a piece of lumber.
  2. Stretch the rope to a 6” hole of the neighboring board and cut it about 6” longer than the distance in between the two. Loop the rope back over the board so that you can tie it to itself.
  3. Thread a piece of rope through the loop of rope you just strung and tie it to itself. Stretch it across to the neighboring board and cut it about 6” longer than the distance in between the two. Loop the rope back over the board so that you can tie it to itself. Repeat this process until you have a line in between all the boards at 6” from the end.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the 18” holes, then the 30” ones, etc.

 

Step 6: Pegs and hangers

For a quick and easy clothes pegs bag, take an old pair of jeans, cut the legs off and sew the leg holes shut. You now have a bag that you can hang up somewhere on your clothesline by the belt loops.

You can also drill holes along the bottom of each board so that you can put up clothes hangers.

And that’s it. You can make it in a morning, and hang your first load of laundry that same afternoon.

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