How to realign clothesline from up high?
October 18, 2011 1:55 AM   Subscribe

How can I realign a clothesline on a pulley 30 feet off the ground without a ladder or the handyperson?

I guess the wind blew the clothesline off the groove of the pulley. The rope is now caught between the plastic pulley and the U-shaped hardware clinching it. The line can still move, but as I weigh it down with more wet laundry, the friction prevents it from going any further.

I tried untying the knot and flicking the line in a parabolic arc, similar to a jumprope, but to no avail. Last resort would be to call the landlord. Or to use a dryer tomorrow when the laundromat opens. I'm on the second floor if that helps.
posted by ayc200 to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Try this:

- Take all the clothes off.
- Estimate the width of the gap between the two pulley-brackets.
Firmly attach "something round", of the same width, to the line (so the line runs through its centre). This could be a small ball, or even some tape wrapped around the line multiple times until the right size is reached.
- Put some lube on whatever you've attached (WD40 or oil)
- Pull the line through.

Hopefully when your attached object reaches the other side, when it passes through the pulley it will centre the rope.

*Ideally you'd want to use something conical, if you have such a thing (or can make one)

Good luck!
posted by pablocake at 2:10 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't forget if you need to ruin the rope when attaching the thingy pablocake mentioned, either by attaching it or forcefully yanking on it and fraying it, as long as you get it back on track you can pull a new rope through by simply attaching the end of the new one to the old one. The problem is going to be the 'firmly attach' portion of pablo's advice, perhaps mold a shape onto the line in stiff epoxy and leave it there for future repairs of the same type. I'd think wrapping tape around would just cause a jam.

If the wind is the culprit you might want to consider a pretensioner of some sort for when you don't have clothes hanging and it's windy, downside is that it might stretch your line as you use it, depending on line material.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:49 AM on October 18, 2011

I suppose an extra long pole is out of the question?

If somehow you had a place to stand from, and with a (very awkward, improbably) long pole with a notch or hook on the end, you might be able to readjust it?
posted by Petrot at 11:01 AM on October 18, 2011

No need to ruin the rope - just find a wood or plastic ball that just fits through the sheave, drill a hole through the middle of it, and thread the rope through it. The knot that makes the rope a loop will suffice to pull the ball through the sheave, centering the rope on the pulley.
posted by nicwolff at 2:50 PM on October 18, 2011

The methods mentioned above should work well but if not- but like Petrot mentions maybe try buying some 1/2 "EMT conduit (light steel electricians conduit) and cut a v notch in the end to lift and manipulate the wire rope.It comes in 10 ft lengths and the couplings have screws to bind each length together
posted by plumberonkarst at 2:52 AM on October 19, 2011

...any luck?
posted by pablocake at 6:08 AM on October 20, 2011

I haven't gotten the materials for the conical doohickey pablocake mentioned, yet. I guess I could measure the gap of the sheave holding the pulley on my side and make the shape out of Sculpey.

I have trouble visualizing how this would work. Is the cone supposed to be flexible? Do I pull both lines through the single cone?

The maladjusted clothesline is placed in the following order from left to right: tuning fork-shaped hardware, stuck clothesline in gap, sheave, other side of tuning fork-shaped hardware. All this is attached to a pole 30 feet off the ground.
posted by ayc200 at 4:41 PM on October 20, 2011

Sooo.... what happened?! Did you fix it?
posted by Petrot at 6:34 AM on November 12, 2011

« Older Custom suit - for a woman   |   What comes to mind when you hear "Shelley Duvall"? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.