Whoever owned my home before me put some nails in the mortar between what look like cinderblocks of some kind in my basement. Hence they're stuck pretty securely. I expect they could hold a lot of weight. (I haven't tested that theory.)

Nail heads are about a 1/4 inch (maybe slightly larger) in diameter. Several exist in various places on the basement wall. They stick out from the wall around 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch.

My cats (about average size for adult males; I think the largest might be 13 or 14 pounds) love to explore and to be up high, so I am trying to figure out how to create cat shelves (or a walkway or stairs or a climbing path or something) in the basement that will attach securely to those nail heads. These would stick out about 8 inches from the wall.

As I said, this is a cement/cinderblock wall, so screwing into studs is not going to happen here.

I have a bunch of scrap wood that I can use for this project, so what's the best way to attach anything to the walls here? Do metal brackets exist that I can screw onto the back of the wood in order to use the nail heads to support floating shelves? Should I get a specific router bit and cut appropriate slot-holes in the pieces of wood? Do I need to buy regular metal shelving brackets and a masonry drill bit and masonry screws in order to secure conventional metal shelf brackets to the wall?

  • 1
    Lots of ways to approach this. The easiest I can think of is hanging good sized L brackets from the nail and attaching a walkway plank to the bottom of the L. You might need to add an extra screw to one of the brackets to stabilize, depending on how the walkway gets used. Sep 3, 2023 at 18:35
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    use a metal strip with a keyhole for the nail head
    – jsotola
    Sep 3, 2023 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


"keyhole hangers" will attach wood to nail heads

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