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borgward1500's picture

How do I string and tighten a metal wire clothesline?  I don't need advice on building the T-posts and etcetera. Just need to know how to string and tighten the metal wire line.

borg (post #207351, reply #1 of 7)

There are clamps and small turnbuckles meant for 1/8"/1/4" aircraft cable that should work. 

Here you'll see what I mean-

cable fittings and hardware sections  in this LINK


Look for thimbles, clamps, turnbuckles.

You used to be able to find this stuff at decent hardware stores............bigbox-I doubt it.

Farm and supply also.

Maybe where they have the plastic coated cable.

The thimble cushions the loop that ties to the turnbuckle at the post.  The clamp holds the wire behind the loop.

Any distance apart, you'll still need a stick to hold up the loaded clothes.

The cable and turn buckle are enough to pull the posts together if left tensioned-that's the reason for a clothespole.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Distance Between T-Posts (post #207351, reply #2 of 7)

I have plenty of room. Whats a reasonable distance between the T-Posts?

My dad built the clothesline at our house. He was a pipefitter, and there was no sag in that line. I imagine he probably sank the posts half way to China.

Borg (post #207351, reply #3 of 7)

What, you think I know the answer to that?

Reasonable would better be answered by the load of wash you plan to hang out. 

Take that basket or two/three of clothes and lay them out  Divide by two or three (lines) and that's the distance.

From observation, 20' is no problem, getting any longer and you'd better use cable because in short order, the plastic coated clothes line will probably sag out enough (even with a clothespole) that you'll have to shorten the line.   Wet clothes weigh quite a bit and with a pole, you need it pretty taught or the wind will knock that out. 

From growing up, there was no real spin cycle-the ringer took care of most of the rinse water...........the clothes were pretty wet hung out.  Now?  probably alot less weight.


And remember to get it high enough that your kids or you, don't get "clotheslined" going out for a pass.

And not too high that the launderer can't throw the sheets over the line.  That's why they used clothes poles, down for hangin.........up for yardgames.

Now the real hunt will be for that bracket affixed to the top of the pole-originally, the "v" cut in the end was enough.  But, some genious came up with a bit of curled stiff wire so it stayed on the line, in spite of the wind.  You saw those on the aluminum (?) poles.


I'd tell you to go ask Dear Abby, but she just passed away.  May she rest in peace.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Those Amish have got clothes lines all figgured out! (post #207351, reply #4 of 7)


Looks pretty serious, and handy.

I think you'd be better off (post #207351, reply #5 of 7)

I think you'd be better off with "plastic" clothesline (that contains some sort of non-stretching cord inside).  Metal will be hard to deal with and will tend to stain the clothes.

But if you're determined to use metal then you probably want turnbuckles on one end (or at least one turnbuckle, if you run the wire in a single continuous loop).  Though there are various types of small winches that would also work. 

You need to pay attention to how you fasten the wire at the ends.  Simply wrapping the end of the wire around itself wil not be sufficient beyond about 10 feet -- you need to use some sort of clamp or fastener.

I'd guess that the limit between poles would be about 30 feet, with 20 probably being better.  Much more and sag becomes too much of a problem, no matter how tight you get the line.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

I think plastic clothesline (post #207351, reply #6 of 7)

I think plastic clothesline that contains some sort of non-stretching cord inside is going to stretch and sag. Galvanized cable, or the steel cable with plastic sheathing will negate any rust stain problems.

Stainless steel would be great, but out of my budget.

My dad put aluminum wire up (post #207351, reply #7 of 7)

My dad put aluminum wire up for clothesline, I don't remember any problems, but that was 40 years ago.  He was an electrician, used wire to fix all sorts of stuff.  Aluminum may leave marks on the clothes, but mom was so particular it would have been replaced if that was a problem.

True story, my granny lived in the eastern Kentucky coal fields, and found some pretty red cord that washed down from the mines into the creek.  She was using it for clothesline until a miner told her it was high explosive blasting cord.  UHT OH!