My wife purchased a wooden sign with our infant's name in a cursive font. The wood is 1/2" deep (front-to-back), and the letters are about 1" wide in most places. I've been tasked with hanging the name on a wall. I bought a kit containing sawtooth hangers for mounting pictures on the wall, only to discover that the tiny nails are also 1/2" long.
Is it reasonable to think I can chop the nails in half to prevent them from splitting the wood? Would this put the sawtooth hangers at risk of falling out due to insufficient friction once the sign is on the wall?
More generally, are there rules of thumb or data tables that tell mechanical engineers or carpenters, "for this type of wood, with these dimensions, it is safe/not safe to use this size of nail with/without predrilling"? Are there any such guidelines for how much weight, say, a collection of sawtooth hangers can hold when held in place by small nails of a given length and radius?
As long as I'm throwing out wishes, is there an introductory book on mechanical engineering that spells out the terminology and principles needed to do back-of-the-envelope calculations?
EDIT: This is not a rectangular sign with the name on it, it is a laser cut piece of plywood (baltic birch), so that the letters are the sign,and it is not possible to drill into any part of the sign without drilling into a letter. The entire sign weighs about 1 lb 2 oz.