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.

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