How to Find the Perfect Balance Point for a Wall Plaque? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 11-11-2019, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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How to Find the Perfect Balance Point for a Wall Plaque?

We would like to make personalized signs as handcrafted holiday gifts for the young members of our family. We got a router-based sign making kit. I tried it out on a piece of scrap plywood.

I stupidly put Spouse's name on it, and she turned it into a project instead of a prototype. It happens often in my woodworking. I should have chosen a vulgar word instead. :-o

The final step is to use a keyhole bit to rout a picture hanger. You plunge the bit in to make a round hole, then slide it up to make the slot that wraps around the screw or nail head. Stop the router, slide it back, and remove the bit through the hole you made. Easy peasy. I used a clamped board as a guide, and the slot is perfectly vertical.

I can measure to find the center between two points easily enough, but it isn't always the "balance point". Despite my best efforts at measuring, balancing with pinched fingers, and everything else I could think of, the slot was not quite right. The prototype hangs with a slight tilt. My guess is that the slot is off center (left/right) by 1/16 inch at most.

I could make two slots, but that makes wall hanging difficult to get right. Those wavy nail-on picture hangers are less elegant than the carved slot that I want.

-> I would like to make the signs/plaques with single, perfectly balanced hanging slots.

Once the slot is cut, it is hard to fix balance problems. You have only one chance to get it right the first time. It happens often in my woodworking. :-(

-> How do you find and mark that perfect balance point? Do you have any tricks to share?
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post #2 of 3 Old 11-11-2019, 12:30 PM
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I cut a single slot about 1 1/2" to 2" long and let the person hanging it decide what looks level to them. About 90% or more of the plaques and projects I do are in Walnut and it's not uncommon for these to be wide enough to require gluing boards together. One may be denser than the other so even if you place the slot dead center and the nail lands dead center in the slot the plaque can lean one way or the other. But a slot that's long enough seems to work just fine.

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post #3 of 3 Old 11-11-2019, 12:58 PM
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I put the object on a wood dowel or PVC pipe and roll it around to find
the "center of balance" on a lot of stuff. mark the spot and apply the
hanging mechanism accordingly.
like David said, there are some variables that could affect the "center" method.
and as he suggested, the long Keyhole Slot is the easiest for the customer.
(horizontal instead of vertical).
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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 11-11-2019 at 03:26 PM.
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