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Old 02-15-2010, 11:02 PM   #1
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Laundry Clothes Line


I need some help. I have a balcony on the upstairs of my house. It's approx 18ft across. On 1 side of the balcony is a 6ft wall and on the other side is a 4ft wrought iron fence (see a photo I stole off the internet that shows a similar fence). I have purchased a retractable clothes line that I am going to mount at the top of the 6ft wall. My problem is that the wrought iron fence is only 4ft tall and I need something that is 6ft tall that I can hook the retractable line to when I need to use it. I can mount a steel bar to the wrought iron fence but aesthetically it's a bit ugly (especially as it needs to be 2ft higher than the fence). Does anyone know of a retractable metal pole that I can buy? This would be something that my wife can extend to the full length (6ft) when she wants to dry laundry and something that will retract to the same height of the fence when not in use (this way it won't be ugly when not in use). The 1 requirement is that the height needs to be pre-set. Meaning, a simple extend to a set height for use and a simple retract to storage height when not in use. I don't want to have to fiddle with something that requires measurement each time I need to use it.

Can anybody help me with some ideas???

Thanks in advance.

Welshie!!!!
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:34 PM   #2
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Laundry Clothes Line


The biggest issue I think you are going to face is the weight of the laundry trying to pull what ever you place on the fence side toward the center of the balcony, so this is more than just a height issue.

Now one idea that jumps to mind it to set something up like the way you string up a badmitten net in the yard... basically a free standing stick with two wires running down and to the sides to form a 3-D 'V' shape.

As an example, simply take a 6' tall 2x4. On one side of the 2x4, mount what ever the cloths line is going to connect to. On the other side, connect two lengths of rope with spring-loaded clips on the end. The way you set it up is clip the clips on to the iron fence near the house and away from the house, then stand up the 2x4 to streatch the rope. Then connect the laundry line to the other side of the 2x4. The laundry line and weight of the cloths will try to pull the top of the 2x4 towards the 6' wall, while the ropes will counter that pull in the other direction. They will also have some pull both toward the house and away from the house to hold things steady.


Now this is just a general idea off the top of my head. You might be able to find something nicer than a 2x4, and the ropes might need some work to set up some sort of system that allows the tension in them to be adjusted. You would also likely need some way of freely allowing the 2x4 (or what ever you substitute) to stand on it's own until you have the laundry line and ropes attached and tensioned.

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Old 02-15-2010, 11:55 PM   #3
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Laundry Clothes Line


Hi HooKooDooKu,

I don't think weight will be a huge problem. I'm going to use one of these: http://www.brighthub.com/environment...ews/14910.aspx on the 6ft wall end and I don't think they create a huge, HUGE amount of force with the line tension. I plan on getting some kind of sturdy clips (maybe like hose clips) that I can use to secure the pole to the fence (by securing the clips around both the pole and the fence and tightening)and as the extended height bit is only an extra 2ft I don't think there's going to be a huge amount of additional force placed on the pole from the line. I'd like to think it's just a height issue...but I appreciate what you said about the force.
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:29 AM   #4
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Laundry Clothes Line


Quote:
I don't think weight will be a huge problem.
Ayuh,... You need to look at the weight of the wet clothing,... Not the hanger system...

Just get a 2x4 the length you want,...
Slip it into a slot in the fence railing from the outside, at the bottom...
Then attach the clothesline to the top....
The tension from the clothesline,+ the weight of the clothing will hold it in place, til it's taken down....
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:53 AM   #5
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Laundry Clothes Line


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,... You need to look at the weight of the wet clothing,... Not the hanger system...
Bingo! Next time your wife does laundry put a wet load into a basket and pick it up. You may be surprised.

Then imagine this hanging on the line on a breezy day....

I would go with the steel bar. You can pretty it up. Paint it to match and add a finial. Maybe a couple of plant hangers on the side but it still will have to be incredibly strong and well built.

.

Last edited by Blondesense; 02-16-2010 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:32 PM   #6
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Laundry Clothes Line


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,... You need to look at the weight of the wet clothing,... Not the hanger system...

Just get a 2x4 the length you want,...
Slip it into a slot in the fence railing from the outside, at the bottom...
Then attach the clothesline to the top....
The tension from the clothesline,+ the weight of the clothing will hold it in place, til it's taken down....
Since it's on the second floor, I would attach it to railing so it was very secure, empty or full.
Ron
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:25 PM   #7
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Laundry Clothes Line


At this point, I would suggest you try Bondo's suggestion just so you can get a feel for how your retractable line is going to work and what effects a load of wet cloths is going to have. You might still need to add some rope from the top of the 2x4 to the front and back side of the railing to keep the 2x4 from moving in the wind. The test setup should cost you less than $5, and you'll have a much better notion of what the setup requires.
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:25 PM   #8
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Laundry Clothes Line


Hi All,

Thanks for everyone's advice on the weight of the wet clothing that the washing line will need to support. But honestly...I feel like I have this covered. My main question, that I haven't seen an answer to you yet is regarding the availability of a pole (that I will secure to the outside of the railing so that it can easily take the weight of a wet load of clothes) that I can extend from a 4ft height to 6ft when I need to use the washing line and retract back down to 4ft when not in use so that it doesn't look ugly (and it kinda blends in with the fence which is the same height). Anybody know of such an extending/retracting pole thingie????

-Welshie!!!!
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:38 AM   #9
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Laundry Clothes Line


I know that my local lowes sells Misc steel hardware like different sized square tubes (both perforated as shown in the link and solid).
http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?...42-37672-11197

For example, the above type tube is available in 1" and 1-1/2" size. Perhaps you could two tubes, one that slides inside the other for storage. When it's time to use it, you pull the inner tube part of the way out of the outer tube, and use a hex bolt and nut slid through matching holes to hold the tubes at the right height.

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