The Art of Making Excellent Arms for the Sunshine Clothesline
Choose the very best material that is affordable, we selected wood. Why wood?
- Is flexible to be able to share the uneven loads while hanging clothes on your SSCL.
- Is lightweight.
- Will last between 7 and 15 years.
- Can be replaced economically when it wears out.
- Is a renewable source.
There are currently two standout wood species to use, Southern Yellow Pine and Radiata Pine. These woods have the characteristics needed to fill our requirements. From the supplier we start from large bundles of wood with boards that measure 1” x 6” x 10’, 12’ or 14’ long, the length depends on the models we will be making from it.
The following are the manufacturing operations we do to make boards into Sunshine Clothesline Arms;
- The first machining operation is to; cross cut the boards to proper length.
- The second machining operation is to; cut the Arms to width making them slightly tapered, smaller at the top and larger at the bottom. This is done on a large table saw with a piece of tooling we call a “Sled”. This devise is mounted on top of the table saw bed and holds the wood in place while feeding it through the saw, sending the completed part onto a waiting cart and returning the unused portion of the board to the operator. A large dust collector is used to control the saw dust and wood chips.
- The third machining operation is to; plane the edges of the Arms giving them a radius on each edge. Our machine has two cutting heads so the sequence is push the Arm, small end first, under the hold down roller and into the drive rollers. The machine then pushes the Arm across the cutters and out onto a conveyor which returns the Arm to the operator. We then feed the same Arm unfinished side down into second cutting head, to be processed the same as the first side and finish the radius profiles. The part then exits the machine and falls into a stacking support. While the Arm is going through the second cutting head a new Arm can be fed into the first cutting head and with continuous feeding and coordination each head can be cutting an Arm radius at the same time which gives us good productivity.
- The forth machining operation is to; drill the holes in the Arms. In our Multiple Spindle drill press, we can drill all of the holes needed in 3 Arms in one cycle. We place three Arms into the tooling which locates the Arms in three areas along one side. Toggle clamps push the Arms positively against these side locators. Over center clamps aided with air cylinders hold the Arms securely against the tooling bed and each other, this clamping action greatly reduces “breakout” on the exit side of each hole. At the end of the cycle we undue the clamps, inspect the holes produced and place the Arms in the cart.
- The fifth operation is to test the strength and durability of the Arm. For this we have a “Pneumatic Test Tool”. We stress the Arm both width and flat on both sides, so it takes four strokes for each Arm. If the Arm fails it is obviously scrapped, if it only makes a cracking sound (no matter how slight) it is retested. If it makes any sound or sign of cracking during the second testing, it fails, if not it passes. During this testing a “Witness Mark” is put on the Arms, this is further assurance the Arms are Strong enough to do the intended job.
- The sixth operation is to; clean and paint the Arms. Each Arm is pushed through an enclosed “Cleaning Box” and out onto a catch support. Inside the “Cleaning Box” are two brush sets, one with stiff bristles and one with softer bristles. These remove the wood chips and dust from the Arms. Also this “Cleaning Box” has a dust collector attached to it which removes more fine dust particles making the Arms even cleaner. This preparatory cleaning aids the paint in adhering to the Arms and therefore gives a more protective finish. Each Arm is painted by submersion in a tank of Riley’s Water Reducible Chain Stop Medium Dry Alkyd Enamel this paint gives us; • High Gloss • Good Exterior Durability • Good Flexibility and Film Toughness • Excellent flow and leveling • Film hardness. After submersion the Arms are hung on a moveable overhead drying rack, allowed to dry for 4 to 8 days depending on the current drying conditions (temperature and humidity), and then submerged again to give them a second coating of paint. This process of cleaning and painting has produced an Arm which will hold up to weather conditions for MANY years.
Summary; These processes and attention to detail are consistent with the way we make Sunshine Clotheslines. They are a testimony to how we build clotheslines that do an excellent job of drying clothes and last a long time. I hope it gives you a better understanding of how we make the Arms for the Sunshine Clothesline.
Written in the summer 2017, Author; Keith Wilson, G&G Clothesline, Parkersburg IA