How Much Weight Can 2 1 4 Cup Hooks Hold Displaying A Knife Collection

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Displaying A Knife Collection

Several things come to mind when we ponder displaying a collection of knives. First, knives are absolutely beautiful. They want to be seen. Second, they want to be handled. A good system for displaying knives would allow them displayed as well as taken down and handled. The final issue is one of safety, if a knife is mishandled, it is either going to hurt someone, or ruin its edge, or both.

The good news it that knives are roughly the same size and shape, -except for pocket knives –called ‘folders’ in some circles. If you collect both kinds, how do you display them both? I don’t know. Do you display your regular knives and store your folders away in a nice drawer chest? I don’t know that either. Here is what I do know. If you store your collection in drawers, both French Lining Drawers and Adaptable Drawer Linings are great techniques. One warning, if you follow my advice re. French lining your drawers, you must –MUST make absolutely sure that the glue you use has COMPLETELY DRIED or you will have made a wonderful thing to automatically and easily rust your knives.

But what about the collection that you want to display rather then tuck away safely? Well, you could simply leave then scattered artistically on the mantel, windowsills, stereo, piano etc., but this is apt to get them dusty and the issue of safety comes to mind. (And truth to tell, I’ve met more then a few spouses that take the opinion that the marriage might last longer if there were fewer knives on the windowsill, -but I have no advice for you in this direction.) Putting them on the wall solves some of the safety problem –provided you hang them correctly. This might be the way to go for the largest knives and swords, but still leave something to be desired. The best way to go is probably to put them in a display case on the wall. (A display case on a flat surface is also a good way to go –just takes up more room.) So here is how to start with a display case –one of mine or any display case for that matter and make your own…..

CUSTOMIZED DISPLAY CASE:


These ideas are really just SHADOW BOXES taken just a step farther and adapted specifically to knives. May be worth a review. The following is based on the assumption you have a box shaped display case at hand that is the right size and shape etc. If you are making a shadow box out of a broad collection of interesting but relatively unimportant items, more is more. Pack them in –make it a feast for the eyes. On the other hand, if your collection is valuable and important (and perhaps not as interesting), LESS is more. A single knife –or a single anything for that matter, all by itself in a large case just has more weight. Particularly if you include a simple white card-label listing the important details.

Here are the steps:

Nail down your design.

Gather up your tools and materials.

Select and cut a backer board.

Drill holes in board per your design.

Upholster the board.

Add shelves for folders and hangers for straight knives.

Attach case to wall.

Put it all together. #1 Nail down your design.

This means arranging your knives appropriately as they will show up in the case. Start by measuring the INSIDE of your case and draw out a similar rectangle somewhere. The only tricky bit here is figuring out how you will support or hang your knives. Probably need to use a little ingenuity here. (Have a look at the illustrations in my longer article

Displaying a Knife Collection [http://www.home-museum.com/How-To-Arts/Knives/knives.htm] for pictures etc.)The simplest possible solution –particularly if you collect folders- is to use little brass cup-hooks. the only problem is that when you hang the knife on the hook, it lays on it’s back, rather then it’s more interesting side. Use a pair of pliers to bend the tip of the hook up and you can use it sideways. Or use a wooden peg. Or simply make a little shelf out of a short piece of wood. Sand it down a little to round the corners, but don’t get carried away. A piece of pine molding will do the job and is easy to cut and sand. Wrap it in fabric for an easy PADDED finish.

So what to do with regular knives -the kind that don’t fold up? Especially given that you want be able to take them down and hold them? There are about a hundred ways to do this. First, consider a locking cotter pin. They look like giant safety pins. A good hardware store will have 3 or 4 different sizes. Attach them to your backer board by sewing them down with some soft copper wire. Once you have the cotter pin attached, you can safely hang your knives and yet remove them easily when you want to handle them. If your knives do not have hilts, it is still likely that you can find a pin that will support them. You may have to bring several home from the store, but they are cheap.

What to do for bigger knives or even swords? Have a look at the knobs you can buy for drawer pulls. You can hang your knife from the hilt on nothing more then two knobs set on either side. Depending on the age and ‘rusticness’ of your sword -a hardwood knob may be just the ticket. And wood will not damage the edge. For smaller or more delicate knives, little brass knobs may be the ticket. There are about a million styles of knobs in my home-center-store to choose from.

Here is a final possibility -one that has the advantage of a huge variety, but the disadvantage of making it hard to remove the knife or sword, -and this might be a good thing if the blade is valuable enough or dangerous enough and you have kids. Use a bail type drawer pull. Your hardware store has about a million different sizes, styles, and finishes. They are easy to install -if you are using a reasonably stout backer-board. You may have to shorten up the bolts that come with the pulls, or just buy a little bag of the appropriate size machine screws while you are there. Consider the different styles you hardware store has. For a medieval broadsword, maybe a rustic Gustav Stickley handle that looks like hand-wrought-iron. Perhaps for an elegant dagger, a classic -if ornate- Victorian style would serve. For a modern commando knife, -a simple contemporary polished nickel handle would be best.. Your collection -it’s history and glamor- will dictate the perfect look.

#2 Gather up your tools and materials.

Do you have unfinished projects sitting around for want of a single doodad you neglected to bring home from some store of another? The difference between an enjoyable & efficient project and the incomplete one cluttering up the garage is often a matter of preparation. A few extra minutes spent in preparation for any project is apt to pay off many times in the doing of the project.

Your particular list of tools and materials will depend on exactly how you design the whole thing, but this ought to cover it:

TOOLS:

a saw appropriate for cutting a wood backer board

or

a utility knife for cutting a cardboard backer -life is too short to use a dull blade, get a NEW one if you have any doubt. (And who am I talking to –knife collectors?)

scissors –for cutting fabric

drill –you got to love those rechargeable ones that come in a case with bits, driver, and sockets included

drill bit –if you don’t have a whole set –get one in the neighborhood of 3/16 and maybe a 1/16 inch twist bit

tape measure or equivalent

framing square –a useful thing but you can use a big piece of paper and a straight stick as a straight-edge if you don’t have one

wire cutter and pliers or needle-nose pliers with cutter

MATERIALS:

backer board -I go over your options below.

padding

cover fabric

masking tape –the wide stuff makes life a little easier

wood glue

pine molding for shelves for folders

things to hang the knives

copper wire for safety cotter pins

ribbon for handles as necessary

#3 Select and cut a backer board.

First off you need to decide between wood or cardboard. Wood is best but harder to cut. Cardboard is easier to find and cut, but too flimsy for any but the smallest display. My preference is toward 1/8 – ¼” inch hardboard, There is a product called Hobby Board that is smooth on both sides. If you don’t have a table saw at hand, you can have them cut it for you at the home center store. Failing this, you can score it with a sharp utility knife (score it several times) and snap it in two. Here are some possibilities for a backer-board”.

Mat board/ corrugated cardboard / foam-core / what-ever from the art-supply store

pretty & may colors available

cheap, easy to fabricate into shelves for folders etc.

easy to cut -the framing store can cut it to exact dimension

small pieces are available everywhere –large pieces may require a trip to a packaging store

BUT

it’s flimsy –appropriate for only small collections of small knives in small cases

Door Skin / Hardboard / Peg-Board

relatively cheep

easy to cut (score-and-snap may work if you don’t have a saw)

stronger –appropriate for a medium sized collection

BUT

tends to be splintery if not cut correctly

needs a drill to be pierced, (not pegboard)

peg-board has a nice neat grid for hanging things in a well ordered manner

Hardwood Plywood

strong

can be finished as fine hardwood

BUT

difficult to cut

expensive

needs a drill to be pierced

Cut your backer board to match the inside of your display case. Make it about 1/8 inch smaller then the inside of the case. If you are skillful in such matters, you might carry the padding and upholstery around the edge.

#4 Drill holes in board per your design.

Now it comes time to drill holds into the backer-board to hang your knives. Arrange your collection on the backer board and mark little dots where you will drill holes you will attach whatever you have decided to use to attach your knives. You will need to drill 3/16″ holes -or thereabouts- for the screws you are going use to hold the little block / shelves for your folders. You will need to countersink them as well -so the screws lay flat to the back of the backer board. Same thing for the bolts that you will use to attach knobs if you are going in this direction. If you are using safety cotter pins, you will need to drill two rows of little tiny holes for the copper wire.

#5 Upholster the board.

If there is a woman in your life who does quilting and such like, your work is half done. If not -take your self off to a fabric store and be humble. If you have ever marveled at all the varieties of wood a craftsman has to choose from, prepare to be astounded. There are 10 times as many fabrics to choose from. Find a kind soul at the fabric store and ask for batting –cotton is best, but Dacron works. Unless your backer board is huge and you collect broadswords, the thinnest batting will do you fine. Then ask her (and it’s going to be a her) for advice in the area of faux leather, suede, ultra suede, or whatever. Do not be tempted to use leather, it’s MUCH harder to work with. Also check out velvet, crushed velvet, or even burlap if you collection is particularly rustic. Spend a little time seeing what is available. Ask her if she thinks you ought to iron it before you put it down. Stretchy stuff probably doesn’t need ironing. (Remarkable, really, that we have all seen all these fabrics at one time or another -but -I at least- have never noticed them as possible materials that you could actually make stuff out of. I think it’s an X – Y chromosome thing.)

Back at your work table, cut a piece of the batting to the same size as your backer board You MUST cut the covering fabric about an inch or two bigger -in both directions. Now lay the fabric down -pretty side DOWN, and lay the batting down in the center. Lay your board down on top of it, and snip off the corners. Then fold the fabric over the back of the board and attach it. If you are using a thin or soft backer board, tape the fabric down. If you are using something stouter, plywood for example, you can use a stapler. Don’t worry about stretching it tight. A little softness is nice at this point. Being a wood worker, I tend to use carpenter’s glue for a lot of things. Glue does a fine job of holding most fabrics to most kinds of board. You have to clamp it down while it dries, of course. This is what the masking tape is for.

#6 Install hangers & shelves.

Your holes are all drilled through your backer board, so you are all done, right? Alas, not so. You still have to go through the fabric. While drilling or poking a thin wire through fabric is easy, it’s also easy to snag, ravel, and otherwise -mess up the surrounding fabric if you need a bigger hole –like for a bolt. Here is what I do. I grab a finish nail with a vice grip and heat up the nail on the stove. You don’t need red hot to melt most fabrics. Practice, and if you do it just right, you will not only get a perfect hole, you will melt yourself a nice little grommet around that hole. And all with no snags etc. Once the fabric has holes, you are all set to bolt, screw, lace, or whatever all your knife-holding hardware into place.

#7 Attach case to wall.

You have to do this part right. If you don’t know how -find someone who does. (Read my comments on Hiring Carpenters and Other Useful Things in the above if you are just completely un-handy.) A case that holds a valuable collection of sharp things must not come down by accident. Wood screws into studs are ideal. If the studs prove uncooperative, a hollow wall anchor will carry a lot of weight IF it’s put in correctly. And check out Hanging Things on the Wall CORRECTLY for advice in this direction.

#8 Put it all together.

The purpose of going to all the bother of a backer-board is to hide the screws you used to hang the case on the wall. So once the case is attached to the wall, you have only to put in the backer board and hang your knives. Or put the knives on the board and then put the board in the case. Don’t forget the labels. Labels are the perfect finishing touch.

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