I’ve strung utility lines with great success using Ezline. I used 2 helping hands to hold the line while fastening to the utility poles. The spool that Ezline comes on is 2 ¾” in diameter, which makes it difficult to work with in N scale. The “helping hands” and clamping type tweezers make it even harder. It can be done, and it worked for me, but it was tedious.
Enter another modeler with a suggestion to use a small bobbin, and make a “line stringing tool”. That got the ball rolling, and the pictures show the results. It is made from a triangular piece of plastic with adjustable tripod type legs (for uneven terrain). The bobbin is also plastic from a sewing store (29 cents). The legs, eyelets, and bobbin support were bent from #14 house wire. The alligator clip was from Radio Shack (32 cents) and was soldered on the 2nd eyelet leg. I put a metal nut on the base for added weight, but found that it wasn’t necessary. You can make your own for less than a buck!
Here are pics, sketches, and a template for making your own utility line stringing tool. PDF template included.
1 foot of #14 solid copper house wire (building supply)
.011 thick clear acrylic plastic scrap to make a 1 1/2" triangle (hardware store)
1 #66 plastic bobbin (sewing store)
3/8" long piece of Plastruct #90202 3/16" square tube (lhs)
1 alligator clip (Radio shack)
The first sketch is not a template, it just shows the dimensions for cutting and bending of the #14 wire. Eyelets and bends can be done with needle nosed pliers.
Once you have the triangle cut, holes drilled, and wires cut to length, follow the directions below, referring to pics listed.
Pic a shows all materials ready for assembly.
Before inserting wire legs into holes, one end of the legs should be filed or sanded round, and the other end crimped. This allows the legs to fit into the leg holes, but are stopped by the crimped end. Pic b shows one leg inserted and pulled down to the crimped end. Repeat for other 2 legs.
Pic c shows 3 legs inserted into holes and bent 90 degrees.
Wire attaching lugs on alligator clip should be straightened and bent in opposite direction so you can attach it to the long eyelet wire. Pic d shows alligator clip attached to long wire by bending lugs around wire, and set in vice for soldering.
Pic e shows alligator clip soldered in place.
Pic f shows long wire bent to shape. Bends are not critical, but bottom short leg should be cut to 3/8" in length.
Pic g shows bobbin support arm inserted into base (tight fit, but easily twisted in). Glue bobbin insert into bobbin with plastic solvent cement. Slide bobbin onto arm and then slide piece of #14 insulation onto arm end. Make sure bobbin rotates freely.
Pic h shows bobbin eyelet twisted into base.
Pic i shows alligator clip arm twisted into base.
Pic j shows leg ends bent down slightly.
Using the tool for stringing the Ezline proved to be so much easier. You just need to remember that you are moving backwards. To use. just thread the line thru the eyelets, move the tool up to the 2nd to the last pole in your pole line, release line from alligator clip and pull line up over that pole, then to the last pole in line (see pic).
Glue the free end of the line to the last pole, place the line on top of the 2nd to the last pole, attach the aligator clip to the line and then move the tool back a touch to get the right amount of tension between the poles (it looks better with a little sag). Glue line to the 2nd to the last pole, release alligator clip, and you are ready for the 3rd to the last pole in line. Piece of cake!
I've tried many types of line, from thread to fishing line. The thread gets fuzzy, the fishing line wont hang right and NONE OF IT LOOKS AS GOOD or is easier to work with than EZline.
This tool works great for scales on up to HO. For larger scales just make the base larger, and increase wire lengths to suit your needs.