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I've been here before in the past with this same mirror and got such great help I had to come back again.

Knowing how the minds of people far more experienced than I in DIY and home construction work, let's just get this out of the way so we're all on the same page... Yes, I mean plaster. Not drywall. 1930 construction, plaster about an 1 - 1.5 inches thick, lath behind it. No drywall in sight. Gorgeous apartment we live in that still has all its original features and walls intact.

This is a 35 pound rectangular mirror, with a thick solid wood frame. It's got very sturdy cabling in the back that has held up fine for over 10 years. The mirror itself is probably closer to 80 years old. I'd like to know if there's any chance I can use two of those "ook" hook hangers with nails that can each hold 50lbs to hang this on my plaster walls.

If not, and you think my idea is nuts, what do you recommend I do to hang it? Thank you all, this is such a useful community!

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  • No, the questions aren't identical, but the concepts are the same. I would not be hanging that much weight on teeny nails.
    – isherwood
    Nov 22 '21 at 21:56
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Yes, there is a chance you could use those hooks but:

  1. Use the ones with two or three nails per hook, not the single nail like in your link
  2. Don't use the cute brass nails that come with them. They are not strong enough to get through plaster. You have to find and buy nails that are much stronger, and thin enough to fit through the little holes in the hook, and long enough to go all the way through the plaster and into the lath.
  3. Try to hit the lath with said nails. If you're unlucky, ALL your nails will end up in the little spaces between laths.

All the above is just in answer to "Is there any chance". Yes, there is plenty of chance. But if this is a beautiful, old mirror that you value, and it obviously includes a lot of glass .. I'd go for much better than chance, as follows:

  1. Plan to use two #10 screw hooks, not two nail-in picture hooks.
  2. Drill very small holes in the two hook locations to determine if you hit a stud, a lath, or just plaster.
  3. Use an appropriate anchor to each of those three situations.
  • Stud: No anchor but use a longer hook.
  • Lath: Drill a pilot hole through the lath with the small drill, Carefully drill the plaster with a masonry bit to accommodate a plastic anchor, but do not damage the lath. Insert an anchor til the lath stops it, and cut it off.
  • Just plaster: Drill for a suitable plastic anchor.

Do not use screw-in drywall anchors. Use plastic masonry anchors.

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I have found that hanging heavy wall pieces whether on drywall or plaster is easier and more secure using french cleat hangers. These hangers come in various lengths that spread the load over a wider wall expanse than using two hangers.
One cleat attaches to the back of the mirror and the other to the wall. After installation they securely interlock. With a large mirror I would use at least an 18" french cleat covering two studs with several hollow wall anchors in between. Properly installed it will carry 90lbs.
enter image description here

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  • I like these too, with one caveat, they hold the piece flat against the wall, which dictates the height they must be hung. If you want a slight downwards angle you can't do it with these.
    – jay613
    Nov 23 '21 at 13:27

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