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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We just mounted a large wall hanging woodworking project. It is like a big picture. A friend asked me about how I mounted it and I replied with some info and a photo, and I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned over the years with my friends at WoodworkingTalk. NOTE: By "wall hanging", I mean flat wall hangings like pictures and other art pieces, not cabinets or heavy shelves, okay?

I use a keyhole/slot cutter bit to cut a horizontal slot in the back of the wall hanging. I tape a template to the back of the wall hanging and use a guide bushing on the router. The template fits the bushing perfectly, confining the router to horizontal movement only with stops at each end. Here are examples of the products I use. Note that there are several brands, all identical or very similar. If you buy them at Rockler, you will pay a lot more:
https://www.amazon.com/POWERTEC-71120-Picture-Hanging-Keyhole-Template/dp/B07CV5PSV1
https://www.amazon.com/POWERTEC-71166-Short-Bushing-8-Inch/dp/B07D4CWSL3

3/8 inch Keyhole/Slot bit:
There are many to choose from. See the hint about plunging below. The 1/2 inch version is generally too large for most wall hangings, unless the wall hanging is very large and you use matching screws with large heads.

All of the above is well-known. The products I mentioned are made and sold to be used just as described. Here are a few hints.

Lessons that I Have Learned Along the Way:
  • Use a Plunge Style Keyhole/Slot Router Bit - Keyhole/slot router bits come in two different flavors. One kind has sharp edges on "top" of the keyhole/slot router bit that allows it to plunge (drill the starter hole). Buy that kind.
    • A few keyhole/slot router bits do not come with a plunge capability. Do NOT buy that kind. You must use a separate drill or plunge bit to make the starter hole(s) first, then switch to the keyhole/slot bit to cut the slot. That is way too much inconvenience and extra effort.
  • Consider a Horizontal Slot Instead of a Vertical Keyhole- I found it very hard to locate the exact balance point for a vertical keyhole slot. All too often I got it just slightly wrong. If you cut a horizontal slot, you can move the wall hanging back and forth along the slot until you find the balance point. It is like using those zig-zag picture hangers.
    • Hint: If you are feeling very ambitious, you can file tiny "detents" in the upper part of the slot to help keep the wall hanging in the same position.
  • Plunge Both Ends of the Slot for Convenience- With a hole at each end of the slot, it is easier to "find" a hole and fit it over the screw or nail on the wall. If you use the right size screw or nail, the slot will capture the screw or nail head and prevent the work from popping off the wall.
    • Recommended: Plunge one side, lift up and slide over, plunge the other side, and then cut the slot between them while keeping the router plunged.
    • Not Recommended: I do not recommend plunging down, cutting the slot, and then cutting the second hole by "plunging up". Plunging up may or may not work with your router bit. Whether or not it works, the hole will be rougher, with more tearout.
    • Sometimes the accumulating sawdust in the slot can interfere with the cut and block router movement. A second hole provides an "exit" when you are cutting the slot by allowing some of the sawdust to escape. Attaching some type of dust collection helps, too.
  • Use Dowel Centers to Mark the Wall- The plunge on my keyhole bits is 3/8 inch in diameter, a perfect match for 3/8 inch dowel centers. You can use the pins on the dowel centers to mark the wall by holding the wall hanging where you want it and pressing the dowel centers into the wall.
    • If you make holes at each end of the slot, remember to center the screw or nail between the two marks.
    • If you make one hole, remember to offset the screw or nail from the mark the appropriate amount so that the wall hanging is "centered" as you want.
    • To keep your dowel centers from falling out while you make the marks, you can use "quake hold" or silly putty or something like that inside the hole to grab the dowel center.
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I drive a small finishing nail into the centre of the top of a vertical slot, snip it off so it protrudes about 1/16 of an inch, press shelf to wall to mark screw locations, then pull nail with needle nose pliers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wasn't expecting a lot of comments from my post above. Today I felt like stirring the soup a little to get a few more views.

This project was made from start to finish by my spouse, not me. The 48 state map dimensions are approximately 30 x 18 inches. Hawaii was cut from the raw top of a walnut burl and shaped with a Dremel tool. The finish is Tried and True Varnish Oil. There are no stains or dyes.

Woods:
Cherry, Lati (White Wenge), Mahogany, “Railroad" Mahogany, Birdseye Maple, Maple Burl, Ambrosia Maple, Sugar Maple, Red Oak, Padauk, Poplar, Purpleheart, Walnut, Crotch Walnut, Wenge, Yellowheart, Zebrawood, and one "Mystery Wood”.

My sole contribution was marking and cutting the slots in the back and helping to hang it. See Post #1, above. The photo in Post #1 was the slot on the back of Alaska. The 48 state map has two slots, one between Oregon and Idaho, and one around New York/PA. The dowel centers helped me space the screws on the wall.

Here is a photo of the completed project as mounted on the wall:

Brown Wood Sleeve Toy Art


Brown Twig Plant Flowering plant Font
 

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kudos to your wife for a brilliant map and choice of woods. though the good people in angle inlet, minnesota might be a little miffed. i had 3 engineering major roommates in college and a 4x8 whiteboard screwed to the wall. i challenged them to draw a map of usa, they all failed miserably, none got over 30 states. i left out new hampshire and vermont

i've own 2 keyhole bits, both have the plunge function, can't say i've ever seen a non-plunge bit. i'd never do a horizontal keyhole slot, especially in california. i just see it getting bumped or earthquaked and crashing to the floor. kids rearrange pictures all the time with their bodies or heavy footsteps. something that big with a dedicated spot, i'd premeasure studs and locate the keyhole slots there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you so much.

Please extend our apologies to your friends in Angle Inlet. They weren't the only ones lost in the process. Our children and I were teasing her a little about some of the "soft" shapes of the states. The Idaho panhandle started out almost as wide as the Texas panhandle at first. We offered advice about state shapes. Several states are vastly better in the final project compared with what she had at first. My spouse is not a geographer. I was amazed that she took on Long Island, and that it didn't break off somewhere along the way. Hawaii was another challenge - what you see was not the first attempt.

I have been using the horizontal slots for a while now and I am convinced that there is little chance of an earthquake or accident causing them to fall off the wall. The slots capture the screw head. To fall off, the wall hanging must slide sideways the way to the insert hole and then pop forward. I usually "snug" the screws just right so there is a slight friction in the mount. If the wall hanging is too loose, then I take it off, tighten the screw a little, and give it another try until it feels right.

The wall is lathe and plaster, so I used mollies for the 48 states map. In an earthquake, the wall will fall down before that map comes off the wall.

Hawaii might pop off. It has a couple of angled holes in the end islands, hung on the smallest nails I could find, with the nails angled down into the wall.
 

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the map really is amazing, no disrespect intended
your wife realized that michigan has an upper and lower peninsula

many maps have donated the UP to wisconsin, they typically make the evening news here



those idiots at fox news gave the UP to canada

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
the map really is amazing, no disrespect intended. your wife realized that michigan has an upper and lower peninsula. many maps have donated the UP to wisconsin, they typically make the evening news here.
Thanks for the compliment. No disrespect taken. I knew better. My note above was really a mock apology.

There are weird map anomalies all over the US. We used to live near Point Roberts, Washington. It is an isolated peninsula that hangs down from British Columbia with no land connection to Washington State. To get there, you drive across the border into Canada, drive in Canada to the top of the peninsula, and then pass through another border crossing into Point Roberts. When they closed the US/Canada border, the residents of Point Roberts were isolated. They instituted an emergency ferry service between Bellingham and Point Roberts. It made two round trips a day. A one-way trip took 2 hours.

Seeing those map errors that you posted - Ouch! You have to wonder whether the people who work for those "trusted" sources slept through elementary school.
 

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Point Roberts, Washington is certainly an oddity. i've been to west quoddy light house easternmost point in the us, cape flattery westernmost point in the continental us and key west southernmost point in continental us. i drove from seattle to the mackinaw bridge on us hwy 2 and missed my chance at angle inlet northernmost point in continental us, due to my wife wanting to get home 🤦‍♂️

fwiw the ambassador bridge and the tunnel from detroit to windsor both are north/south. south being in canada and north being in usa. i refer to people in windsor canada as my southern neighbors
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
[...] fwiw the ambassador bridge and the tunnel from detroit to windsor both are north/south. south being in canada and north being in usa. i refer to people in windsor canada as my southern neighbors
Funny and true. In a similar vein, many people don't know that the Pacific side of the Panama Canal is further east than the Atlantic side.
 
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