Picture hangers – the exciting anticlimax!

Or perhaps the actual climax, as everything after this is just repeating what’s been done already, only better.

It works! The prototype works!!!


Hanger on a shelf, under some magazines:

Hanger being used; cute picture of birds covering boring magazines:

The prototype all by its lonesome:

I used the small sheet metal brake to do the bending; it worked wonderfully. Very fast, very easy; I was done before the other folks around me had any idea I’d done anything at all (okay, they were in another room, they couldn’t see me, but I was wandering around flipping through books for several minutes before they realized I was done with the hanger).

So. The concept works. It needs a little bit of refinement: more length along the longest unbent section; it only just barely fit over the shelf. It could also use a little more room in the vertical section of the over-the-shelf hook on the back; I don’t want to end up messing up the shelf by scraping the shelf up. And I need to get the bend at the very end closer to parallel, so that pictures will hang level.


Picture hangers – some actual progress!

Remember the picture hangers? Which, as it turns out, could not be easily cut out of dead fluorescent fixtures without some considerable difficulty?

Well, I finally hauled a small pile of dead fluorescent bodies to the metal shop and asked the monitor in charge if there -was- a way to turn that scrap into useful strips, or whether I should just go find some nice flat metal, maybe even already in narrow strips.

First he thought the metal chop saw might be the right approach. Then reconsidered and tried the metal bandsaw, which was quite impressive, but the fixture was way to light (and squashable) to easily be clamped down -and- sawed. It got partially cut, and then was pulled free of the clamp by the saw in a not very spectactular but still kind of alarming fashion.

So he just cut off the end of the fixture with tin snips, and suggested using a jigsaw to cut the strips out. After flattening the fixture out a bit, we (well, mostly he) set up some scrap wood to clamp the metal to, and I took the jigsaw to it. (Dangit, I should have photographed that setup. Next time . . . )

It worked great! For future, though, I want to cut the strip in one pass, rather than two, because I couldn’t get the two cuts to line up, which left a jagged edge that took too much grinding to get even.

Still, for a first try, it worked very well. Jigsaw. Who knew! (It’s all in the blade you choose. This should have been obvious to me.)

I got the strip cut to size, and one end cut and rounded off (this will be the hook that the picture hangs from), and used a belt sander to remove all the rough bits from the raw edges. It is nearly done!

I think tonight I will see about bending the strip into the right shape, using the very small metal brake (or perhaps a vise and pliers).


Picture hangers – not so easy, actually

There’s a pile of unusable fluorescent light fixtures in the basement; their ballasts are dead, so they are good for nothing except scrap metal.

I thought they would be an excellent source of metal for making picture hangers, of the kind which could fit over a bookshelf, so that you can hang pictures in front of little-used books in rooms where there is NO EMPTY WALL SPACE WHATSOEVER on account of being lined entirely with bookshelves. What I want is a strip of metal about 16″ long or so, which I can bend into a square hook at one end (which will fit around the back of the shelf and keep the hanger in place) and fold into a hook shape at the other end.

I’ve been plotting this for several months, but despite it being a pretty easy-sounding project, I hadn’t actually done much more than sketch up some diagrams. Until this weekend.

I made a stab at cutting strips of metal off of the discard fluorescent fixtures with which to make over-the-shelf picture hangers.

And rediscovered that cutting lengthy strips of metal off of a larger piece is not as easy as cutting strips of cloth or paper or even chipboard, because the larger piece is – shockingly – just not so flexible! And so it gets in the way as you make progress with the shears/snips. Especially when you did not start with a flat piece, but with a piece already folded in several places to make a sort of boxy shape.

I did not succeed in getting anywhere near the 16 or so inches I need.

Conclusion: need access to appropriate power tool OR should break down and buy appropriate strips of metal already cut.

Am hoping that the impending community workspace will have such tools, because buying the material pre-cut seems like cheating, and then what I would do with this pile of ex-fixtures?? There’s plenty of good metal in them, after all, it would be a shame to throw them out.

Meta: guilt at having not worked on any projects and thus not updated blog forced me down to basement to hack at metal unsuccessfully. Also to buy more rubbing alcohol to finish cleaning tool chest. Blog may not be such a bad idea after all.