Couple questions about Flags

Discussion in 'US Flag Display' started by John Thompson, Nov 11, 2016.

  1. John Thompson

    John Thompson New Member

    I have a 20 foot flag pole in my front yard. I decided I'm going to use it. I already have a flag that's nearly new so I'm going to use it, but wanted to verify something first.

    1. A 20 foot pole, my flag is 4x6. that should be the right size, correct?
    2. I'd like to hang my state flag below the US flag. should they be the same size?
    3. I've never hung a flag. the pole has a pully at the top, which I'm going to replace with a new one I bought, it also has two carabiners. I'm not sure how to hang this. Do I tie a knot at the top below the first one? I don't see how else I'm going to get it to stay up. I also assume the second sort of floats on the line.
    4. if I understand this right, I just need to thread the halyard through the pully, then tie it off after wrapping to the cleat.
    Is there anything else I should know? It's funny, i live in a retirement city and there are probably 20 people with flags in my neighborhood (Sun City Arizona). I LOVE this. We just moved here and I love seeing all the flags.
  2. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hello, John!

    Welcome to the USA-FLAG-SITE Forums!

    I'll do my best to answer your questions. If I write something that you don't understand, or I get it flat out wrong, please let me know and I'll do my best to correct it or provide more information.

    #1. Flags & flagpole sizes are pretty much dependent on the "aesthetics" of their pairing. A flag might look too "big" on a "thin" pole, but look too "small" on a "fat" flagpole of the same height. It's kind of like "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", or maybe what might be called the "Goldilocks" effect.

    The general "Rule of Thumb" regarding Flag size and flagpole height goes a little something like this: the length of the Flag (from hoist end - or "header" - to fly end) "should" be 1/4 to 1/3 of the height of the flagpole, OR... the flagpole "should" be between 3 to 4 times the length of the Flag. So, for a 4'x6' Flag (like yours) the height of your flagpole "should" be between 3 to 4 times the length of your 4'x6' Flag, or 18' to 24'. So, a 20' flagpole "should" be OK. Having two Flags on the same flagpole could '"mess-up" this rule of thumb, due to their pairing taking up more of the flagpole's height.

    #2 If you decide to hang you State Flag with your U.S. Flag, it should be flown underneath the National Flag. Your State Flag can be the same size as your U.S. Flag, or it can be one size smaller. For example, 3'x5' U.S. Flag and a 2'x3' State Flag, or 4'x6' U.S. Flag and a 3'x5' State Flag, or a 5'x8' U.S. Flag and a 4'x6' State Flag, etc. Again, aesthetics and "eye of the beholder" can be your guide. MY personal preference (but maybe NOT yours) would be to fly a 3'x5' U.S. Flag and a 3'x5' State Flag (or a 2'x3' State Flag) on a 20' flagpole. But, hey, that's just me. Also, try to imagine flying your two Flags at Half-Staff. how do you think it will look?

    3 The flagpole's halyard (rope) should be tied, hooked, or clipped together so that it is one circular piece so that it, and NOT your Flags, take on the bulk of the stress and strain. Your Flag/Flags should then be attached to the halyard via spring-loaded clips that are tied/knotted to the halyard. The spring-loaded clips go through the Flag's grommets to hold it to the halyard. Right now I'm trying to remember where on the internet that I found a halfway decent video or explanation with pictures.

    #4. As I wrote in #3 (above), the halyard should be one continuous length of rope that is, in effect, a closed loop with the Flag/s attached to it. The part of the halyard that is holding your Flag/s should be between the cleat and the "pulley" (truck) at the top of the pole because that is all your Flag has to travel to be raised all the way up or lowered all the way down.

    If you live in a community that has a Home-Owners Association (or something similar), check their "rules" about Flags & Flagpoles to make sure you don't accidentally bend/break one of them.

    I hope this helps in some way. I'm sorry that I don't remember where I saw the video that showed how to tie-off a halyard and how to easily tie the spring-hooks to the halyard. Heck, I wish I could remember what search terms I used on Google to find them!

    Thank You for bringing your Flag-related question to our Forums! If there's anything else, please let us know!

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  3. John Thompson

    John Thompson New Member

    Wow, I didn't get a notice of this reply. came back to add more and saw this. Wups! I think i got this right based on your list (thank you very much FYI). athough i did make one change;
    I went to a hardware store and almost bought some spring loaded brass clips for holding the flag (i have brass grommets) . Then it dawned on me, if I do that i'd need to wrap them because they'd make terrible noise banging against the pole. So i bought nylon clips

    I actually added and removed three halyards. lol first I used a thin braided nylon rope that just felt too thin. So I put one on that's 1/4" (still braided). The only problem? it was a lot wider than i imagined and when i cut it and raised the flag I didn't have enough left to wrap the cleat and make the flagpole hitch. Couldn't have that, and i couldn't splice it, so I bought another lol.

    This time, out of paranoia, i cut it too long. So here's my question. A flag pole hitch is only supposed to wrap 3 times correct? i had so much left over I had to wrap it more. is this going to detract, or is this acceptable? I put a zip tie on the loop so someone can't just grab it and untie. is that out of line? I'm not very familiar with the etiquette and want this to be correct. if the halyard is just too long I did buy another backup :)


    bonus, i'm proud to fly it so here's the whole flag. up on Veteran's Day no less

    Robin Hickman likes this.
  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hi, John, and Welcome Back!

    GREAT Pictures of a good-looking Flag & Flagpole!

    I do NOT own a flagpole and I never have, SO..... I might not be able to give you the "best" advice about yours. OK?

    1. If you choose to cut your current halyard and re-tie (knot) it so that it "fits" your flagpole, make sure that the knot does NOT interfere with the truck (pulley) assembly. If you're lucky enough to find somebody who can cut and then "re-braid" your halyard to the proper length, it will definitely look "cleaner", but the resulting lump could still cause problems if the re-braided portion is too big to pass through the flagpole's truck assembly.

    2. Your halyard can be "figure-8" ("flagpole hitch") wrapped around the pole's cleat however many times it takes until it is "full" (there's no magic number as both halyards & cleats come in different sizes), and you can still finish it off with the final "tucked-in" half-hitch. You can even come up with your own way to "lock-in" the halyard with some kind of a padlock assembly "rig" designed to keep it from unwrapping and coming loose.

    3. I'm not trying to make you feel paranoid about the safety of your Flag... HOWEVER... when it comes to EXTERNAL halyards all a determined "Flag Thief" needs to steal your Flag is a sharp pocket knife, if you know what I mean...

    4. For the record, brass clips are much stronger (and will last much longer) than nylon (or plastic) clips. There are pliable plastic (or rubber) covers that can act as "silencers" for the brass clips, but you'd probably have to go on-line to find them UNLESS there is an honest-to-goodness "Flag Store" in your town.

    5. Your 4'x6' American Flag looks to me to be sized "correctly" to your flagpole. I mean it "looks right" to my eyes. However, in my opinion, if you choose to fly TWO Flags on your flagpole, I would recommend that your American Flag be a 3'x5' size and your "secondary" Flag be a 3'x5' sized Flag or a slightly smaller one (2½'x4' or 2'x3').

    BTW : If you read ANY Posts or Replies anywhere here in our Forums that you like or find helpful, you can "Like" it/them by clicking on the "Like" button in the lower right-hand corner of that post.

    Good Luck with your new Flag & Flagpole AND Thank You for sharing your pictures too!

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
  5. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    John, you asked if there is anything else you should know...Will your flag(s) be illuminated at night? Your photo shows what could be a light cover lens in the white gravel between two stones next to the sidewalk. If that is not the case, and there is no other adjacent lighting to illuminate the flag(s), you should remove them at sunset according to the US Flag Code.
  6. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Wow, John! I really let you down by NOT mentioning the need for an overnight "Flag Dedicated" light source! I'm sorry!

    If the apparent "light lens cover" mentioned by FlagAdvocate is, indeed, a light source for illuminating your Flag(s), then you've got your bases covered. If it isn't, then I think you should be able to set one up either by installing a "hard-wired" light source (flood or spot) from your home's electrical system out to your flagpole (with a Dusk-to-Dawn sensor), or a solar-powered (no wiring needed) "down" light at the top of your flagpole.

    The solar-powered flagpole light is attached to the top of your flagpole between the truck assembly (pulley) and the finial (ornament). If you should choose to go with the solar-powered light, here are a couple of links to webpages. Most of the American-based Flag manufactures have solar-powered flagpole lights in their inventories. I'm using the "Annin & Company" solar-powered light (Annin Catalog page 65, stock #2472) for taller upright flagpoles (16-30 feet) as an example because I know how to find it.

    Annin Catalog Page for their Solar light (#2472) :

    Annin Solar light Installation & Care Instructions :

    One Possible Place To Buy An Annin #2472 Solar Light :

    I apologize for not remembering to include this kind of important information in my earlier posts.

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.

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