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  #1  
Old 11-23-2005, 12:05 PM
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sculptorsam sculptorsam is offline
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Mounting wall sculptures...

I've been working on a series of large-scale wall pieces lately I call Reliquiae (Latin for sacred relics). So far they're between 6 and 7 feet tall and probably weigh around 70 pounds on average. Attached are a couple images of two works prior to sandblasting and rusting.

They appear to be suspended by an oversized square nail, but they in fact are designed to hang from a single 1/4" - 3/8" lag bolt. The problem, I've discovered, is that many buildings aren't constructed with wood studs that I can easily drill into to mount them. Has anybody had any experience mounting wall works with steel studs or even cinder-block walls? I'm hoping there's an easy solution that's simply escaping me. Any help would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2005, 12:44 PM
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Re: Mounting wall sculptures...

Seventy pounds may seem like a lot but I would test some basic anchors that expand/contract behind the wall when you insert the screw/bolt. In a cinderblock wall you have it easy, any expansion bolt or plastic anchor will work and I think many will also work in sheetrock.

A fifty pound picture hanger --for sheetrock & plaster-- is nothing but a hook with two 45 holes for nails and a seventy five pound hanger has three.

Sometimes for heavy wall pieces I make interlocking cleats to simplify installaton and allow for more screw placements. In a concrete wall with large pre-existing holes I inserted 3/4" dowel rods --that were partially bandsawed-- and screwed lag bolts into them to hang a series of cantilevered steel mounts that held some oversized bronze heads.
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Old 11-23-2005, 07:42 PM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: Mounting wall sculptures...

I think instead of one bolt, putting two bolts side by side will improve the total carrying capacity. But don't put the two bolts too close to each other. It is the wall material that one has to worry about.
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Old 11-23-2005, 08:26 PM
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Re: Mounting wall sculptures...

steel studs are a bear
screws in the thin metal have a tendency to work themselves loose over time
so a butterfly-molly-..but there the weak link is that you've only got a couple threads to hang on to
better to use more'n one

concrete block is a tad sturdier, especially if you know where in the block you're attaching and can choose the most appropriate fastener for that spot

most screws have a shear strength of 200# or better but the wall is the determinant factor----
so many fasteners for different walls

I used to hang cabinets for a living, and carried over a dozen different types and myriad sizes of fasteners in the toolkit
when in doubt, I'd seek out a building maintenence man and ask his advice or help----most of these guys knew their walls strengths and weaknesses, some were idiots

caveat:
never ask for advice untill you've learned how to ignore it

happy hanging

rod
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Old 11-24-2005, 01:21 AM
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Re: Mounting wall sculptures...

So the key with sheetrock/steel studs to use plenty of attachment points. I'm envisioning a custom square plate (maybe 3" square?) with holes to attach at each corner and a bolt head welded to the center (for hanging the work). The trick is to make it inconspicuous. Probably help to paint it white. Concrete is easier, just the thought of drilling a good size hole into someone's wall for a temporary show makes me anxious.
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:57 PM
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Re: Mounting wall sculptures...

Sam,

I've been following your work at your site through your blog.

Very, very nice.

As for mounting..have you considered the use of a display stand (tripod-like structure) that can stand on it's own similar to what might be used in a museums to display a cumbersome object. Painted flat black it would somewhat disappear.

An alternative could be a single 2x4 with its bottom resting on the floor to take the vertical load and it's top anchored to the wall to resist tilting. (Less load holding power at the top required in this way.) The 2x4 could then be painted white. Not the most obscure support but workable.

Keep that fertile imagination of yours going...
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Old 11-26-2005, 12:35 AM
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Re: Mounting wall sculptures...

Thanks, oddist.

That's something to consider if I decide to make some without the "nails." It could be interesting to present them as "archeological" finds of unknown origin, propped up/mounted with a rod structure like artifacts/fossils. It would change the meaning quite a bit I think, but it is in the back of my mind and a potential avenue.
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Old 12-06-2005, 03:51 PM
F.C. White F.C. White is offline
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Re: Mounting wall sculptures...

If it's a temporary showing, and there's a laid in ceiling tile grid, hang your works on a single strand of clear 100 lb fishing line. Spider Line works great for such a thing. It'll blend in nicely with the background and will barely be seen as long as the work, itself, is visual enough to distract from a subtle single strand of line. Suspend the line at the ceiling grid component that is anchored to the wall itself. Route your line between the dry wall and the grid, then up and over the top of the wall and secure it at the top of the wall bracing with whatever you feel is adaquate to secure your piece.. I've hung several works like this of considerable weight that was intended to rest against the wall and appear glued to it rather than fashioned to fit.
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Old 12-06-2005, 05:04 PM
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Re: Mounting wall sculptures...

What if you anchored a horizontal metal band at the height that you wanted that went all the way wround the room or at least long enough to mount a few of them on. Then you could hit every stud with a couple screws and weld your bolt head on ahead of time. This may not be an invisible solution but it actually might ad another element of intrest and link all of the pieces together.

The other would be to run a metal 1/2" thick bar virtically to the floor and orient it on a stud so you could fasten screws periodically along the length, this is similar to the 2x4 idea but the material might work better with your piece.

If you decide to do a plate I would suggest that you make it big enough to hit at least 2 studs.

I don't consider drywall as having any carrying capacity so I personally wont anchor into it.

1 last idea is to design the mounting hardware to become another element in the sculpture, something that adds another layer of meaning to the work. This could be as easy as a plasma cut design out of plate steel that gets mounted to the wall and then the sculpture gets mounted to it. This could deal with shadows or other ideas that circulate around your work.

Good luck and let us knwo what you decide
Matt
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:43 PM
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Landseer Landseer is offline
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Re: Mounting wall sculptures...

70# is not much, if hung on a bolt, lag, bracket etc your weight is mostly downward in sheer, not levering against the mount, likely the thicker 5/8" sheetrock would hold it because most of the force is downward but I wouldn't trust it.
We have some very thin aircraft cable, I mean this stuff is about 1/16" diameter and very very strong, one strand of it vertically to something in or at the ceiling would hold well, could even be painted to match the wall color to hide it more.

A decent sized metal lag shield in concrete block is fine way to go for that kind of wall.
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  #11  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:18 AM
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Re: Mounting wall sculptures...

All good ideas. Thin wire/cable might work the best if need be. For these works, it's very important that their attachment is hidden/minimized due to the impression I'm trying to create that they are secured by the giant "nail." Luckily, where I'll be having a show of these in the fall they actually mounted the sheetrock over plywood throughout the gallery. Even if it's only 1/2" plywood, that should be enough to work with. I have a couple hanging around my studio on 16 penny nails with no problem.
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