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Two studs in my wall are 24" apart, but the mirror I'd like to hang has hooks that are 32" apart.

I'm reluctant to use a hanging wire and shift the mirror a little to the left or to the right, simply because I do not have the confidence to knot the hanging wire around the hooks and be certain that it will not unravel after n months under the weight of a 50-lb mirror.

So the next idea I'm pursuing is to use 3/4" plywood, 32" wide and 3 to 4" high.

I would use 2.5" screws to attach the plywood to the wall where the studs are located (24") and I would use two bolts that are 32" apart on the plywood to hang the mirror on the plywood.

My question is: What kind of bolt should I use? Although 3/4" (maple) plywood should be plenty strong to carry 50lbs, I'm doubtful about using screws that would be in just the 3/4", and I'd much rather not rely on the wall (or else I'll go with butterflies and be done with it). And so I suspect that a bolt (inserted from the back, rather than a screw, inserted from the front) of the plywood and that gets a second head on the front side will do the trick. Would this work? What is the name for this sort of bolt?

Update

The nice thing about writing something down (to ask, for example) is that it makes one see obvious flaws in one's argument. After writing this question, I think that 3/4" plywood would just snap under the bending from the bolt. What I would need is a bolt that has an L-shape on one side, and two bolts going into the plywood. Experts, please help!

  • You're seriously over-engineering this. Get some heavy gauge hanging wire (homedepot.com/p/… is rated for 165lbs) and beefy hanging hooks, and hang it like a (slightly heavier) picture frame. Or just screw through the mirror frame into studs. – Shimon Rura Mar 9 '16 at 19:14
  • @ShimonRura Thanks for the pointer. You're suggesting a wire with a full cross-section (I'm sure there is an exact term), but isn't a braided wire (such as homedepot.com/p/OOK-Framers-Hanging-Wire-50174/202341137) superior for applications that need tension? – Calaf Mar 9 '16 at 19:21
  • I would focus on the rated weight -- the example you linked says "Supports up to 50 lb" which is too close if your mirror really weighs 50 lb. I'd rely on the manufacturers to tell you what their hooks and wires can tolerate, as there are numerous factors that affect tensile strength. And I'm not the right kind of engineer to evaluate all of them, but I can read a number on a box. – Shimon Rura Mar 9 '16 at 19:35
  • Also, the terms are solid vs. stranded wire (at least that is what electricians use). – Shimon Rura Mar 9 '16 at 19:36
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I would just use these with some ⅛" steel cable.

If you tighten them down good they will hold much more than 50 lbs. Cable Clamps

Good luck with your project!

  • It look like this would do it. I've seen these contraptions at my local Home Depot and had no clue what they are for. For those who have also not seen them before, here is a picture that clarifies how to use them: ronstanindustrial.com/wire-rope-clips-product-description – Calaf Mar 9 '16 at 20:27
  • Yeah actually if you could find the ones in your picture that are flatter they may work better behind a mirror. A picture framing shop might put something together for you fairly cheap and make this all a moot point. – ArchonOSX Mar 9 '16 at 20:32
  • Hmm.. weird, so the so-called thimble is sold with wire rope clips, but not with wire rope clamps. Would I be going overboard if I used a thimble with wire rope clamps? – Calaf Mar 9 '16 at 20:40
  • Well since ⅛" steel cable could probably hold 500 lbs then what's a little more overboard? 😉 – ArchonOSX Mar 9 '16 at 20:43
  • 500lb? Really? Well, a factor of 20x safety margin ought to let me close my eyes without worrying that something (and worst of all, a mirror!) would come crashing down in the middle of the night. :^) – Calaf Mar 9 '16 at 20:52

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