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I have an art piece composed of many strips of plywood put together. I'd like to hang it from a ceiling with wires.

Here's the tricky thing... The edges of the strips of plywood face the ceiling.

I don't feel like putting a bolt with an eye loop on it into the edge of a piece of plywood would be very sturdy... What other hardware options do I have? Mount to the side of the wood? If so with what? Use a piece of hardware to straddle a piece of wood and clamp onto it, giving me a D loop on top? ...does that hardware even exist...?

The constraint that is fairly rigid, given this project, is that the piece is suspended from above by cables or something similar. The piece weighs about 200 pounds, it's about 12 feet across, and will be held by about 20 or so cables.

diagram of plywood and wires

  • Do you have a picture that you could take and post? I think that would help us with giving you a answer – Ljk2000 May 12 '16 at 16:15
  • @Ljk2000 I just added an image. (It turned sideways for some reason, but hopefully you get the idea) – chrispitzer May 12 '16 at 20:02
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    12 cables seems like a lot for something that only weighs 200lb. If the the assembly is rigid enough to support itself you could get by with 4 connection points. Look for a solution that compliments the art work's aesthetics either by disappearing in the background or by standing out as a part of the artwork. Be sure it is well anchored into the ceiling above and consider whether it is OK to sway or not due to air currents. – Ashlar May 13 '16 at 3:02
  • How thick is the plywood? – Austin Hastings May 14 '16 at 20:11
  • It's 1/2" thick plywood. – chrispitzer May 14 '16 at 20:12
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Consider adding triangular corner gussets. According to the diagram you show, these could go on the inside of the corners, near the top. You could brad nail these to the piece, and then secure decent sized eye bolts or hooks through the gussets to take the suspension wires.

Edit: Here's a site with some pointers on the technique.

Just using 4 corners would put you at about 50 lbs per gusset, which should work fine with, say, #4 wire (about 1.5 mm thick, 85 lbs breaking strain).

If you want more attachments, you could either double up on the attachments to the corners - running two wires to each bolt, say - or add one or more blocks along the edges of the piece and mount more bolts.

I'd recommend just going after the corners. Also, if this is important to you, please do test your rig on a dummy work. If nothing else, make a hollow frame and hang it with milk or soda bottles filled with water to get the weight.

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If you're going to use 20 cables to support 200 pounds is only 10 lbs/cable. You could get away with light fishing line for that. That may give you an option if you don't want the support structure to be visible.

I would drill a hole through the top of the plywood at each suspension point and pass the cable through - that should be sufficient. Remembering how little weight each cable is going to support, the cable itself shouldn't do any damage to the plywood, even over a pretty significant amount of time hanging.

I would suggest leaving at least a 1/2" (preferably 1") of wood to give it enough strength to not break out over time. Not knowing the depth of the pieces, it's hard to know what will look good.

You can drill a pretty small hole - something just big enough for the cable to pass through. You may want to ease the edges of the holes just a bit to allow the cable to curve through the hole instead of angling through it.

I presume you have a solution in mind for some sort of eye-bolt in the ceiling to support each cable, and that your ceiling is sturdy enough to take 200 pounds hanging from it (and possibly swinging in a breeze or if teenage boys young children decide to play pinata with it).

  • It looks like the process of hanging the piece would require meticulous planning and VERY diligent execution. One would need to level 20 points, with load in each point not exceeding breaking limit at any moment. – Gleb May 14 '16 at 21:46
  • Quite true, @Gleb, I said 20 points because that's what the OP mentioned. – FreeMan May 16 '16 at 12:18
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This is what I am thinking, you could drill holes in the wood and put the cable through the wood and and not the cable. Or make multiple holes and feed it through a few of them, still tying it in the end. So unless you are bad at knots nothing bad will happen. I would say that is the best plan for you to do.

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    Wire rope can't really be tied. It's made of twisted steel. You apply fittings to the ends of it to hold it to things. – chrispitzer May 12 '16 at 22:16
  • my bad, then do eye's, open them up and put a fitting into it then close it back up. otherwise I am out of ideas, sorry – Ljk2000 May 12 '16 at 23:46
  • Depending on the size of the wire, I think you could tie half of a double fisherman's knot and create an effective stopper. (Just leave a fair bit of tail sticking out of the end of the knot.) Or use a wire rope cable clamp. – Aloysius Defenestrate May 13 '16 at 17:12

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