questions about adding weight to a project - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-26-2018, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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questions about adding weight to a project

I have a dilemma that has shown itself here during the holidays. I have a fireplace mantel that my wife bought some of those decorative metal stocking hangers to place on top of and hang stockings from for christmas. The problem is these hangers aren't heavy enough to hold the stockings as well as i'd like (2 of them have already broken by falling off the mantel). I thought about making a board to place on top of the mantel and screw some hooks into it to fix that problem. I'm thinking that i might need to add some weight to the board, the only thing i could think of was some tungsten weights like the ones that are used in cub scout pinewood derby cars.

I was thinking an oak board to stain to match the mantel. I plan on using it only for the holidays, going to drill some holes and place c7 light sockets inside the piece. The piece would roughly be 8"x70"x1". A piece of oak that size should have some significant weight to it but i'm wondering if any additional weight on the back side would offset the weight of the stockings on the front.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-26-2018, 01:37 PM
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How about putting some threaded inserts into the top surface of the mantle and attaching your oak board with screws through holes in the oak board and into the threaded inserts. The threaded inserts would allow you to attach/detach the oak board easily.
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-26-2018, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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I was trying to avoid placing anything permanent to the mantel, but I do like the idea. Would be a simple fix
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-26-2018, 02:55 PM
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Well I remember my dad didnt want any screws or such in the mantle of our big fireplace he built so basically he took a 2x8 because our mantle was 8 inchs deep and rabbited one side and epoxy a flat steel bar which I believe was 1/2" thick about 1 1/2" wide and 72 inchs long the width of the mantle and put felt on the bottom and dress it up a little and set it up on the mantle so we could put in some hooks for our stockings. Used that for a longtime and set it off in a corner of his shop until next christmas, he sometimes sanded and re-felt the bottom but wow it could hold what ever the stockings was stuff with and there was us 3 kids and my dad and mom :)
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-26-2018, 03:57 PM
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Those non-permanent hooks with double sided tape will hold a lot of weight...
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-26-2018, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by shoot summ View Post
Those non-permanent hooks with double sided tape will hold a lot of weight...

That's what we use anymore and they work just fine. But years ago, in another house, we did effectively what the OP suggested, took a matching oak board, stained it to match the existing mantle and put hooks into it for the stockings. Then we put a "snow" blanket over the top of that to mostly hide it and make it even more festive. Honestly, it wasn't necessary but my wife liked the look at the time so we went with it. But now, we just use Command strips and they haven't failed yet.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-26-2018, 06:58 PM
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I've been adding weight to things for a long time. Be it a cheap plastic knob on a tool, to the lathe I built back in 2002. I fill a cavity with #7 1/2 (or finer) lead shot to within about 1/8" of the top. After leveling the shot, I pour thinned expoy into one end of the cavity, letting it flow down and across, until the cavity is full. This forces out any trapped air and renders the object solid and heavy. If the thought of lead bothers you, you can substitute steel shot. I've filled hollow cast aluminum and plastic parts. I made lathe rails from aluminum angle and filled the channel with the shot/epoxy matrix. The base under the lathe headstock was filled with the matrix to help quell vibration. The tailstock was a hollow aluminum casting weighing one pound. It now weighs 10 pounds. The mantle hook shelf could be routed out on the underside and filled with the matrix to add weight. Maybe a bit involved, but effective.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-26-2018, 09:38 PM
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How about a torsion box design. Top and bottom made from red oak plywood and edged with solid oak. Fill the inside with beach sand. Inexpensive materials and good weight. Not sure where you want the lights to go but solid ribbing to hold the lights. An 8" wide solid oak board may cup or twist, torsion box design won't.
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-27-2018, 08:10 AM
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start getting ready for next Christmas - now.

cdolese: take a regular pine board the same size as your mantle. . . .
install your decorative metal stocking hangers into the long edge.
place that board on the edge of your kitchen counter to simulate the
mantle and hang weights on the hooks.
you will be surprised that it may be impossible to tilt the board even a
fraction of an inch upwards (simulating the board flipping over as you envision).
the ornamental hooks will tear out before the board flips over.
you are way, way overthinking this.

hope ya'll had a fabulous Christmas without any significant stocking issues.


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post #10 of 11 Old 12-28-2018, 06:54 PM
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I like the threaded insert idea, but I sense your concern about those being visible and taking away from it. I was thinking hard on this considering using this Idea in my house and it struck me that you could also make a top board with a decorative edge to add to match the mantle edge and blend it well. This would hide those well and look natural during the summer month, then in the winter months you could switch it out to the stocking holder.
Not a perfect solution but a suggestion.
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post #11 of 11 Old 01-02-2019, 12:04 PM
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What about cutting a piece a few inches longer than the mantle top, and create U channels by attaching short pieces beneath the ends, with cleats on the inside to capture the mantle top overhang. The cleats should keep the board from tipping. Or, if aesthetics aren't an issue, just use some C clamps to clamp the board to the mantle top
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