OT? Humongous traverse drapery rod won't close

I'm at my wit's end. Mom's (I swear to God everything I post about is Mom's problems) 125" traverse drape rod will not close without pulling so hard, I actually pulled the d&*m thing out of the wall this spring.
What happens is that once the drawcord, with the little plastic hooks holding the drape pins/drapes, reaches one of the rod supports, it "clogs up."
I levelled everything when I hung this rod--and levelled again, horizontally and vertically. What else could be the problem? If this isn't a place to get this information, could you guys suggest where I could find out?
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Look for any burrs or places it will snag in the track. Try a bit of silicone spray to help lube it up.

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I install these things for a living. What brand do you have? How many supports on the 125"? What type of drapery pins did you use? Does it traverse smoothly with no draperies on the rod? And did you install the pulley that came with the rod?
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote:

many
the
Wow, I struck gold! Mom's ranting about "Finding someone who knows what they're doing." You don't live in North/Central/Eastern PA, huh?
I used the entire package of materials that came in the Kirsch box. Traverse rods' supports *used to be* angular in shape, sort of like the letter "L." (No, *exactly* like the letter "L.") Now they're like the letter "J."
Although I'm not certain of it, I feel the change of shape has some affect on this problem I described, or at least the width of opening of the rod seems to have an affect. The width on the old-style "L" shaped rod was narrower. Not a great deal, but still narrower. It seemed to hold up the weight of the plastic pin-holders with the attached drapes. Seems the pin-holders "pull" to an angle within the rod--maybe, like, a 80-degree angle--and that that's responsible for the sticking at the right-hand drape support.
I use small (2") pins. I have to use these sharp kind rather than the type that join two pleats together, because these are fabric lined formal drapes. I don't think the pin size or style is involved in the issue because the left 75" drape closes with no problem. It's the right that gets clogged up at the support (which is placed at, I suppose, 42-42", or whatever a third of 125" is. There are only two supports, one right, one left.
No, I didn't install the pulley that came with the rod. The rod *does* open and close smoothly with no drapes on the rod. Man, I would be Ex-TREME-ly grateful to get more feedback from you.
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No KY and the trip charge would break you. :)
As long as you did not buy a 66-120" rod and try to stretch it for 5" your problem can be solved. A note to you and all who follow this thread the more "wasted capacity" you have on a rod the smaller your potential problems. For a 125" window a rod for 86-150" should have been used.
Okay. You bought a good rod. You may have a couple of installation issues and a few basic things you need to be aware of. I will ramble these off in no particular order but all are important.
The pulley must be installed on modern rods because it prevents kinking of the cord which can cause jambs and it maintains the lock on the underlap master carrier (MC). You install the pulley and take the slack out of the cord by pulling on the knotted string at the back of the Overlap MC on the same side as the pulley is installed (usually right).
Did you lock the sting on the underlap carrier (the one on the left)? After centering the overlap and underlap master carriers in the center of the rod using only the string (meaning you fully open and close it twice by pulling the string) you lock the center position on the underlap master carrier ( I can post a pic if you have lost the directions). If you have hand forced it to the center position by moving the MC's you may have kinked the cord.
Your regular traverse rod (decorative rods are different) should have been installed so that the top of the drapery is 1/2" above or even with the top of the rod (1/2" +- on this is acceptable).
You have used the right pins. Your drapes should be hung on the rod starting from the center of the rod. Two pins go in each MC and then one pin per plastic carrier. DO NOT skip any carriers. The extras except for one should be removed to allow maximum opening (there is a little gate on the back to allow removal). Leaving extras in the middle of the drapes is a very common cause of jams.
The fabric should be folded forward and finger pressed half way between each pleat to train it as to the way it should fold. (not your problem but an important step).
The other poster that suggested silicone spray was also giving good advice. If all the above are in order sometimes just a little lubrication is all that is needed.
All brackets and center supports must be set to maintain the same measurement from the front of the rod to the wall. A bow or bend will cause jams.
I think that is all the basics. Try all of those before you consider the following.
In a very small % of cases the cord may have been twisted by the factory and require a rework before it moves smoothly (not your issue if it is real smooth with no load).
In a small % of cases the inner rod has a damaged end that catches the carriers when they encounter it. A visual inspection will reveal that the inner rod is not tightly seated to the outer rod where it ends. This creates a rough edge that catches the carriers. Sometimes this can be repaired and sometimes a new rod is required. I'll post more if this is your problem.
My email works with the obvious removed but for now let's keep this in the group for the benefit of others.
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote:

your
the more

problems.
Bought the only 125" rod left in town, it seems. Thanks for the heads-up on "wasted capacity." I'm going to pass this info on to others, even if their drapes aren't jamming.

kinking of

underlap
of the

on the

I *think* I know what you mean by this. I install the pulley, then tug on the knotted string...at the pulley end? I am a bit confused by the phrase "at the back of" the Overlap MC.

After
the rod

pulling
carrier ( I

forced it

cord.
No, I haven't forced it to the center position by hand, but if it's possible to post binaries here, or even a cave-dweller (!) black-and-white diagram using the keyboard, I'd appreciate it. For some reason, the mechanics of drapes are more complicated than I ever thought.

have been

the top

Is that all? I'm not sure if it was from Kirsch, but some instruction I got, somewhere, said a full 4" of the drape should go above the pins. Maybe THIS is the problem.

one
for
gate on

drapes is a

Ah, Mom will love you for this. She's all bent out of shape--like her rod!--because the drapes droop at the MC overlap and underlap. 2 PINS!!

between each

an
[SNIP]
the
the
creates
repaired and

problem.
This is what I meant when I said I noticed a difference between the old "L" rods and the new "J" rods. The "L" rods seemed to provide for a tighter and smoother transition from outer to inner. I'll check this out.

in the

You bet! I can't thank you enough, ColbyT. I mean this kind of professional information is what makes the Internet worth putting up with all the crap. (Hey, if you're in Northern KY, maybe I'll get you to give a paid lecture to Mom, who'll be in the Dayton area in a week! I think she'd prefer this to a trip to Las Vegas, seriously.)
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<edited for clarity>

We can't post pics in this group. But you have motivated me to go ahead and resurrect some content that I previously published on the web. Browse to this page and you should find one picture worth 10K words. I am planning to rewrite the content before I post it but I went ahead and uploaded some of the pics and an index page.
http://www.lexkyweb.com/windows /

I can assure you that if you have 2" or more of drape over the top of the rod that IS your problem. When you do that it tends to pull the carriers out of vertical alignment and they always snag where the rods overlap. Since you have to hang the darn thing again take the time to do it right. Use toggles, center the draw, use the pully and remove all the extras except the last one.
If you know the exact finished length of the draperies the rod should be set that distance from the floor, the top of the pin should be 2" from the top of the drape and this will yield 1/2" off the floor and 1/2" over the top of the rod.
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote:

ahead and

Browse to

planning to

some of

Excellent site. I'm surprised, since this post has been crossposted to alt.home.interior.decorating, there haven't been more responses. I think your site is the only one on the World Wide Web addressing this subject.

the
carriers
overlap. Since

Use
except the

Okay, ColbyT, don't get angry. I have every intention of doing it right or else I wouldn't have posted! Your explanation here is the one that makes the most sense, since I've observed--'cause I've studied the problem so often--this is EXACTLY what happens.
When I encountered this problem back in the spring, I posted to alt.home.repair and elsewhere, and I got emailed a .pdf file that said the reason the clearance above the rod should be at least 4" is so that people standing outside the window don't see the colored gathered upper hem of the drape and just see the white lining. Not only that, but the stiff drapery "tape" lining the gathers is 4" wide. I just assumed you'd insert the pins at the bottom of the gathers.
But when I rehang the rod and drapes, I'm going to follow your directions.

be set

the top

top of

One final question. This particular window is 1) a bay window, with 2) a baseboard heater running the length of the window directly underneath it. (The window is approximately 2 1/2" from the floor.) Would you use the baseboard heater as the "distance from the floor" variable here? Might sound like a stupid question, but I want to have all bases covered this time (it's the third time I'll be doing the job). Thanks again for EXCELLENT, professional help!
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That wasn't an anger tone. It was an empathy tone.

I'm not sure what you received. Maybe you mis-read it or just made the wrong assumption abou the pin placement In a perfect install the rod is mounted high enough on the wall that the back side of the pleats and the pins do not show from the outside (this is about 4"). You are at the mercy of whomever measured the draperies. If using ready mades you have no choice as 84" is the industry standard though some 90" one were sold in the past.You still hook your 2" pins so that the top of them is 2" from the top of the drapery.

BB electric heat is a different situation. For safety you have to stay at least 1" above the top of the heater. I think the actual safety warning on the heater boxes specs a greater clearance. Based on personal observation I believe 1" above is a safe distance. I was never able to get a contact thermometer placed directly on the heater above 120 degrees on a high demand day. I have never installed one closer than 1". I have been in homes where it has been done with no consequences but I am not willing to take a chance with someone's life or home. In your case it sounds like the top of the heater may be above the bottom of the window. You may have to punt. Any fabric can be treated to be flameproof. If you do that you will need to find some stainless steel drapery hooks because the regular ones will corrode over a short period of time.
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote:

the wrong

mounted
do not

whomever
84" is

still
drapery.
The final piece of the puzzle! *Your* description of the 4" clearance/installation makes sense; the file I got does not. (In fact--not that this is necessarily bad, for those Chicago Tools folk out there--which includes me--but the instructions were in pidgeon English.)

stay at

warning on

observation I

contact
demand
where
chance
the
No, the baseboard's at the floor, but once again, you answered another question. I'm going to have to get toggle bolts, spackle, patch paint, and redo the entire job the way it should have been done the first time.
You literally taught me everything I have to know, too bad Smilies aren't allowed, 'cause I'd toast you a couple dozen cold ones. The customers in your area are lucky (Mom says she'd call you in a heartbeat if you were up here.) Happy New Year.
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