Friday, May 4, 2012

Hanging by a Thread No More

I went a little over board, I admit it.  But, I couldn’t help myself.  I was at my wits’ end.  Let me explain.

It started a few months ago.  I came home from work one evening in the dark, parked out back, walked up the sidewalk past the garden toward the back door and nearly killed myself when I tripped over the clothesline that apparently snapped and was lying across the sidewalk.

Other than the shot my ego took (thankfully it was dark out), it was no big deal.  But, I decided that I was going to upgrade our clothesline.  The old line was some type of nylon rope wrapped in a plastic coating.  Weak.  So, I decided to go with metal wire wrapped in plastic.  I found it in the clothesline section of our local hardware store and it was the most heavy duty clothesline they had.  So, I figured it would hold up just fine for some cloth diapers.

Wrong!  A few weeks ago, I came home from work, parked out back, walked up the sidewalk past the garden toward the back door and just about hung myself on that clothesline.  I nearly lost it.  I thought, this can’t possibly be happening again can it?!  Maybe I should just start parking out front – or Tara should start using the dryer. 

Once again the line snapped.  Except this time, Tara figured she could rig it up to an old, unused clothesline post on the other side of the sidewalk as a temporary fix.  So, the line was actually strung across the sidewalk.  Great tool for hanging clothes, or, apparently, husbands.

Well, that one sent me over the edge.  I decided I was going to rig a line that would never snap again.  I talked it over with Tara and all she requested was the line had to be clean (nothing that will rust).  Game on.

I started by making a trip to Lowes (the local hardware store wasn’t going to cut it this time – and it pains me to say that).  I found the aisle with clothesline; they had about 20 varieties.  This time, I paid careful attention to the maximum tensile strength of each one.  The strongest?  Thirty pounds.  That’s it?  A wet comforter weighs about that much, on a calm day.  I wasn’t risking it.  I wanted to be able to hang fifty comforters on this line during a hurricane.  On to the next aisle.

I came across galvanized rope wire with a plastic coating.  It said it could be used for clothesline but I wasn’t too sure, until I read the tensile strength.  It was a whopping 840 lbs.!  Now that’s more like it.  I took sixty feet (told you I went overboard).  I also bought stainless steel eyebolts and wing nuts as well as stainless steel wire rope thimbles and clamps.  I wasn’t messing around.

I started by cutting off the old, rusted eyebolts and replaced them with the new stainless steel versions.  I strung up the new cable, I mean clothesline, and clamped each side.  It’s thicker than I thought.  I was worried that the clothespins wouldn’t fit over the line but they fit just fine.  We had wash on the line in 20 mph wind gusts the other day and the line barely moved.  Honestly, at 840 lbs. tensile strength, Tara and I and a couple of friends should be able to swing from the line without it snapping.  The poles should literally rip out of the ground before the line breaks.  Tara is pretty sure this is the stuff suspension bridges are made with.  She should know better than to give me ideas!  If this line ever breaks, that’s the direction I’m going.


  1. Too funny! Actually my husband did the same thing when he made out clothesline years ago--got a heavy gauge coated wire and all these fancy doodads (technical term there) to rig it up. He probably spent more time fussing with that line than with me that weekend.

  2. laughed out loud! xo


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