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I would like to mount my 32" LCD TV to a wall using a swivelling bracket that I bought. The wall it needs to go to is plasterboard so I need to mount it on the studs. However, I've got a problem - the studs are too far apart for the brackets mounting layout. How can I overcome that?

I am thinking that maybe I can piece together a wooden frame to go between the studs and the TV bracket so that the frame is attached to the studs and the bracket is mounted onto the frame. Could that work? Obviously, I'll have to consider the combined weight on the contraption including the TV itself.

Or better just put it on a stand?

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A swiveling or articulating TV mount will tend to want to pull itself out of the wall when swiveled or extended, more than a flush-mount bracket would. Therefore, this situation calls for a bit of over-building to ensure safety, and to put up with the additional stresses of moving the bracket around.

You will need the following:

  • A sheet of 3/4 inch plywood, cut as wide as the gap between the studs, plus at least 3.5 inches. It should be at least 50% taller than the mounting bracket. Hardware stores sell cut pieces of plywood that are 2 foot by 4 foot, so this is an easy choice as it requires only one cut if you don't mine the plywood being a bit over-sized.
  • 6 qty of 3.5 or 4 inch lag bolts, or a box of 4 inch deck screws.
  • 6 or more 1 inch bolts as fat as possible that fit through the mounting slots on the bracket, plus matching t-nuts and washers.

I suggest you pre-paint the plywood to match the wall or the bracket. Either will minimize the appearance of the plywood.

Center the bracket on the plywood and mark the holes. Drill holes big enough for the t-nuts and install them on the back side. Hang the plywood on the wall and mount it with the lag bolts or the deck screws. If you are using lag bolts, make sure to pre-drill the studs before installing the lag bolts. Since I can install a screw with one hand, I often use 2 deck screws to initially hang the plywood on the wall, then drill and install the lag bolts.

If you use only deck screws, try to find ones marked with a shear force rating and over build by a factor of 2-4. Or just install at least 6 or more per stud to be safe.

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  • Sounds interesting. Is it really necessary to go with a solid sheet of plywood here? I can see how this improves integrity of the whole thing but that's a big piece of plywood. – Dmitry Selitskiy Jun 20 '11 at 21:00
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    @dmitry: As opposed to a couple of 1x4's or something? I think the plywood is the right way to go. It nicely simulates mounting to a flat surface (like the wall) and you can fasten it to the wall with an arbitrarily large number of connections to the studs to fit your level of paranoia. – Satanicpuppy Jun 21 '11 at 15:54
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    if you don't want to open the wall, plywood is definitely the way to go. paint it the same as the wall, and possibly bevel/route the edges, and it will visually disappear. the same could not be said of a couple of strips of 1x4's. – longneck Jun 21 '11 at 23:34
  • Yes, I thought of that. Good point! – Dmitry Selitskiy Jun 23 '11 at 8:11
  • Alternatively, highlight the plywood. Maybe find some maple veneer ply or mahogany. Make it a design element. – DA01 Feb 18 '13 at 19:36
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How far apart are these studs? You can find brackets with an adjustment.

The frame idea you are thinking of will work if the wood is thick enough and you use the appropriate screws (actually, I'd recommend wood bolts) into the studs. A few 2x4's running horizontally with some wood trim to box the sides should be fine without looking too bad. I would build this on the wall rather than trying to construct it on the ground and mount it. You'll get better joints on the trim if things aren't moving around.

They also make furniture that allows the TV to be mounted on the false wall of the furniture and all the cables then run behind, solving 2 problems at once.

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  • I don't have the stud finder at the moment and have not looked at this task for a while, so no measurement at hand. Good suggestions, thanks. Follow on questions: 1) how would I drive and nut the said bolts without needing to make a whole in the board? Or am I missing something. 2) Thanks for the false wall suggestion, but I am not looking at buying any new furniture in the near future. – Dmitry Selitskiy Jun 20 '11 at 14:18
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    1) You should pre-drill your holes for screws or bolts anyway. Makes them go in easier, acts as a final check that you really are hitting a stud before the screw goes in, keeps the wood from splitting, and only takes seconds. – Freiheit Jun 20 '11 at 14:28

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