Instructables
Picture of Heavy Duty Shelf Brackets
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So I wanted to create some storage in my garage. I saw there was a lot of unused space at the top of my walls.  So I decided I could make a 24" deep shelf all the way around to store my plastic storage totes. I priced out the heavy duty brackets at 24". They ran $10 a piece. I needed 17 so I just made my own using 2 x 4 lumber and screws. Each bracket cost me less than $3.

20 brackets x $10 equals $200
20 brackets x $3 equals only $60
That is a $140 savings on just 20

It took me about two hours to make 17 brackets. While I watched my four year old son ride his bike outside.

Here are some products that inspired me to make my own.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B002TII0JY/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?qid=1378041770&sr=8-4&pi=AC_SX110_SY165

This even cost more!
http://www.walltowallstorage.com/catalog/item/1778386/6106654.htm
 
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Step 1: Tools

Picture of Tools
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1. Drill and bits
2. Tape measure
3. Speed square or small framing square
4. Saw (I used my compound miter with a stand and stop block setup.)
5. Work surface (I had a clamp on my table that helped a lot.)
6. Extension cords if needed.
7. My wife also insist on a shop vac to clean up my mess.
8. I insist on a hot cup of coffee.
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druski247 months ago

I'm making these brackets as we speak. I am a beginner at everything carpentry related and that is what drew me to this design. My garage already has drywall up.

Questions:

1. Would lag screws with wide washers be ok to mount the brackets to the wall?

2. If so, where would the optimal placements be?

3. Or combine a lag screw with #10 4" screws? Placements?

My concerns arise from my lack of confidence in correctly mounting the finished brackets to my wall. More precisely, in driving the screws through the brackets, through my drywall and into the studs. I was thinking I would need 6 screws per bracket to feel safe. I was planning on screwing them into the face of the bracket against the wall and angling inward to catch as much wood as possible. Two top, two middle, two bottom. Am I over thinking this?

1ofakindwork (author)  druski247 months ago

Revised comment.


I like your plan of using lags. I feel two 1/2" x 4" lags are efficient. You should pre drill pilot holes through the bracket (9/16" drill bit, this will give you some play in placement Also pre drill your pilot hole into the wall (5/16" drill bit).

If you have already built you brackets. I would install two lags on center. Measuring down from the top of the bracket one at 3.5" and the second at 14". Personally I would make a quick drill guide or jig. To do this I would first cut a 2x4 to the over all bracket arm length of 24 1/16". (I made this a little larger so when you add blocking it want be to tight to work efficiently.) I would mark this with a center line, write top on one end (Mark with spray paint), measure down the 3.5" and 14" measurements. Mark those on center. If you have a drill press it will make this next part easier and more accurate. Take a 1/4" drill bit and drill at these marks. (The 1/4' drill bit is easier to center then starting with the larger bit!)Try to stay perpendicular (square) to the guide board. (A drill press will keep you perfectly square but it isn't completely necessary just take your time on the guide and get it as close as you can) After you finish both holes move up to the 5/16" bit. Drill both holes. Now you can use this guide to make corresponding holes on your wall. Also mark one side of the guide with spray paint, this is only really necessary if you didn't use a drill press. the will make sure you free handed holes match up with the exact angel on both the bracket and wall.

Next you need to mark the wall placement. Find the studs mark a level center line of each stud you will be mounting to. On one end of the wall mark the bracket height (top). Take a line level or builders level and stretch it from the marked bracket top across the wall and mark all the bracket heights. I like to set both ends then come back and pop a line. Orient the guide with the top up and the MARKED side AGAINST the wall. This way if your guide has a slight angle in the pre-drilled holes they will be angled correctly. Line the guide top up with the bracket top line and center the guide on the center line. ( to help with this it maybe easier if you have extended you stud line on the wall above the bracket top mark and below the 24" length of the guide, then mark the top of the guide and bottom of the guide with center lines ( on the end grain of the guide). Also drill a 1/8" hole 1" from the top and 1" from the bottom on center. You can use these holes to temporarily mount your guide while drilling the lag pilot holes. This will help with speed accuracy and over all hassle. Now correctly temporarily mount the guide top to wall brace height and marked side to wall with 3.5" screws. Pre-drill holes with 5/16" bit onto wall. Now that your done with the wall placements move onto pre-drilling the brackets.

Now we need to drill the 5/16" holes out larger with the 9/16" bit. so drill out both holes this time the drill should follow the correct path but do your best to stay square with the guide. Next take the guide and add some scrap pieces of wood to the top bottom and both sides. This will ensure you get exact placement on every bracket and boost you speed on completing multiple brackets. (Take note that the top of the guide is at the top of the bracket and the marked side is visible.) Now you can hold or clamp (I prefer clamp) the guide in place while you drill the holes with the 9/16" bit. Drill all your brackets. Or if you want just to be sure your work is correct you can do one at a time.

Now you should be ready for installation. Install your brackets with 1/2" X 4" lags with 1/2" washers.

Special Notes:

1. This guide is for building the brackets exactly like I built them. If you changed the size or angle of the brace arm. You may need to check you placement of the lags. Just lay out your bracket or pre-build it. Then measure out perpendicular from the part of the brace that attaches to the wall. Make sure you clear 5" to 6" in the opening for the bottom lag. This will ensure you can fit your lag and socket.

2. You could add a third lag on-center if you would like but I feel two are plenty. The main thing with fasteners is you don't want to overload the the wood. Three wouldn't over load it but I feel it would be over kill. If you want you could add the third just put it in between the other two. Use the same steps and just add it to the guide.

If I think of anything else I will add it or if you run to another question. I'll do my best to answer.

When I dry wall my garage I'm going to use this method. Thanks for the new idea on mounting hardware.

Thank you for the response. I had already bought 1/4" x 4" self drilling lag screws. They have about a 1/2" head on them. My plan was to mount two of those per bracket (per drilling the bracket but NOT the wall/studs). Holding everything else the same as you described in detail, do you think the screws I have will suffice? I can easily return them for 1/2"x4" lags.
druski24 druski246 months ago
Edit: This is what I have and was referring to above:

https://www.fastenmaster.com/details/product/timberlok-heavy-duty-wood-screw.html
theo671 year ago
Why not eliminate one of the adjacent sides of your triangle bracket and screw it directly to your garage upright wall wooden support, thus savings of an extra third.
1ofakindwork (author)  theo671 year ago
Thank You theo67 for taking the time to ask such a good question. I personally decided not to build my bracket that way due to a couple reasons.
1st. I wanted a bracket I could easily mount and then later remove when I decide to finish out my garage walls with drywall. If I built them the way you mentioned, all my work and lumber would be a waste.
2nd. Building the brackets as I decided to actually are quicker then taking the time to hold up a board level it with other braces, then level it and add a cross brace. Building them in an asmebly line fashion using a consistent building process with jigs to keep them all the same, will flow much smoother. Then when you install them all you need to do is hold the brace up to your level line and mount it. For the pennies I'd save in material, I made that back with build quality and time saved. I built all my braces in two hours, I installed all braces in 45 minutes. I couldn't imagine piece milling them together in that time.
3rd. To build them as you mentioned, the construction would change. First, I'm guessing you would turn the top board on its side side instead of as I have it. This would reduce your screwing edge on the top from 3.5" to 1.5". Second I'm guessing you would leave the brace on its side. Now here is where you would have to make a decision on the joint you would use. Would you use a lap joint or a butt joint with a toe nailed screw. If you use a butt joint with a toenailed screw. I would definitely follow up with laminating a piece of .5" plywood cut to into an equilateral triangle to reinforce that joint. Laminating means to screw and glue for those of you who are not familiar with the term. That would make a great brace and could work fine for exposed wall studs. But for me that is more work than what I did. The other option I mentioned was a lap joint, the only problem with that is when you make the lap joint one of the pieces of wood will be pushed out by the thinckness of the other piece. Lets say you use 2x4's, you mount the top board directly to the stud then you mount the brace board to the side of the top board with a lap joint. Now your brace can't be twisted to meet back up with the stud or you will weaken the integrity of the joints. So now you will need to mount a spacer block to the side of the stud. Then you could mount the brace nice and tight to both the stud and the mounting block to create tight lap joints. This is also a nice option. But it take just as much material and more time.

Neither one of these options are cheaper or easier. Both options in my opinion are less likely to look as good as this simple brace. Both of the referred optional builds are not easily reusable if you decide to repurpose the brackets, or to later add drywall or some sort of finished wall.

Once again thank you so much for asking such a great question. I completely forgot mention the reasoning for my decisions on building the brackets how I did.

But now that you mentioned it. I you need a stronger bracket then you may consider designing a laminated bracket. It will have way more strength then my design. I don't know exactly how much weight this design will hold. But built the way I built them with the screws I chose I know they carry 200 lbs each. Which is good enough for me. I also wanted the options to utilize the openness. Maybe I'll put up another instructable showing what I end up doing with these spaces.
I personally appreciate the 3 piece design, thus allowing the brackets to be easily removed and repositioned to other areas, without splitting materials.
1ofakindwork (author)  digitalenigma10 months ago
Thanks
A fine craftsman solution you have suggested. My method was just a rough and ready quick fix solution for an old shed.
1ofakindwork (author)  theo671 year ago
I'm sure it work just fine for your needs. Thanks for taking the time to ask a question and leave a comment. Have a great Labor Day.
criggie1 year ago
I have similar shelves, and one bugbear has been losing things over the back of the shelf, through the void. So I have been using a lot of boxes/old drawers to put things inside.

A better solution for me would have been to ether have a toe-stop across the back, or to put the shelves right inside the wall as well as across the front.
Just cut insets to accommodate the studs in the topping piece of plywood and add the difference to the overall depth of the piece.
1ofakindwork (author)  digitalenigma10 months ago
Great addition. Thanks for the comments!
1ofakindwork (author)  criggie1 year ago
I'm using my sleeves for large items. But if I was worried about things falling between the self and the outer wall. I would staple medium duty plastic sheeting (3 mil) to the studs above the shelves. It would be cheap and wouldn't eat up your shelf real estate depth wise. I would run it up 6" to 12" stapled to the shelf and up the wall studs every other stud. You could staple through some old ribbon if you planned to remove it at a later time. This way instead of pulling out all the staples you could just pull the strips of ribbon thus removing the staples limiting the work and minimizing the damage to your plastic sheeting.
Another approach to this problem would be to install horizontal "fire blocking," installed flat between the studs, so that their top face is at the same height as the finished shelf. These are 2x4s cut to the inside dimensions of the stud cavity, end-nailed from the outsides of the studs, with a little angle on the nails where necessary. The cut doesn't have to be precise, just adequately short so you can get them into place. The usual procedure is to mark a piece of 2x4 in place with a pencil, i.e. hold it up against the gap, with one edge of one end against the inside of one stud, and mark it along the inside front edge of the other stud. Shouldn't take more than a minute apiece.
1ofakindwork (author)  bo88y1 year ago
Nice thinking. that is an excellent suggestion. I'm in the middle of another project that involves plastic sheeting so my mind tend to drift to the covering instead of filling. Thanks for your in put. bo88y!
1ofakindwork (author) 1 year ago
Here are a couple poor examples I found of a stud mounted shelf bracket. I wish I could find something of better quality. The first bracket could easily fail due to the way the brace is fastened to the brace upper arm or shelf framing then to the wall. A toe-nail or toe-nailed screw is a weak point. It may hold up to a certain amount of weight but the joints shown in my design are a lot stronger. The second image here is a little better design. Look at the top shelf section, which look much older than the lower shelf unit. In the construction of this shelf the upper joint is a lap joint which is very strong. The lap joint may stablize the weak toe-nailed joint on the wall stud. At least the weight is being pushed down into the toe-nailed joint.
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1ofakindwork (author)  1ofakindwork1 year ago
This site has a nice plywood bracket design that claims to hold up to 100 lbs.

//www.familyhandyman.com/garage/storage/garage-storage-solutions-one-weekend-wall-of-storage/view-all
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Pretty, but without a brace I have low confidence in putting all that stress on a plywood cantilever. Leaving a little more material in the corner would make it a lot stronger. I like the way these brackets mount against the side rather than the face of the studs.
1ofakindwork (author)  gafisher6 months ago
Agreed!
1ofakindwork (author)  gafisher1 year ago
I completely agree with you on having the angle brace in the plywood bracket. There is a great Instructable that has one designed on the CNC mill, it has a cross brace. Personally I don't mind face mounting my brackets. I plan to finish out my garage walls and at that time it will be easy to reuse my brackets. I can't argue that side mounting them wouldn't add more strength, I completely agree with the change in fastener direction from the pull of the load ts stronger. But also in my case I used 3-3.5" #10 screws, so they can easy support my load. Thanks for the comment

Their design over looks the simplicity of rounding the inner corner to displace the stress from the corners to the whole piece.

1ofakindwork (author)  digitalenigma6 months ago
I agree!
Don't underestimate the strength of a toenail. The key is to drive it in fully, so that the head of the nail is firmly against the face of the wood.
Try an experiment with three 2x4 scraps. End nail one to the other with 2 12-penny or 16-penny nails in an off-center "T" formation. Then toenail another piece on with 3 8-penny nails, driven firmly, two nails on one side, one nail in the center of the other side. (You should now have a letter "pi.") See which joint is easier to pull apart by hand.
-- Personally, I think all of these are overbuilt. For high garage shelves, I'd use plywood triangles for supports, nailed to the sides of the studs, where the studs are exposed. A toenail through the top of the shelf into the stud behind it, and a diagonal screw through the plywood, a couple of inches in from the outer point into the bottom of the shelf will hold it.
-- A couple of things to keep in mind about high garage shelves-- they don't have to be pretty (in the garage), and only someone with a self-destructive nature would store anvils, vises, large electric motors, or barbells on shelves that you have to reach way over one's head to reach or stand on a ladder. High shelves tend to collect relatively light articles, and don't have to be super strong.
-- Another approach is to use 1x3 spruce strapping/furring, one horizontal piece, one diagonal brace, both nailed to the studs. They "interfere" at the outside joint of the triangle. So what. they're flexible, so just screw or nail them together.
-- Where the walls are covered with sheetrock, it's a little more complicated, but 1x3 is still plenty strong. A horizontal ledger, the full length of the shelf installed, say, 18" below the shelf. A "rake" shaped assembly of 1x3s with the "back" of the rake screwed into the endgrain of the "tines," and then to the wall, and some diagonals, notched at the bottom and scabbed at the tops. Vary your math to fit what you want. Fasten the shelf to the upper ledger with diagonal nails or screws. The notches can be sloppy, because the top measurement isn't critical-- the diagonals are scabbed to the horizontals of the "rake" (i.e. flat side to flat side).
-- Decades of carpentry taught me not to overbuild pragmatic or temporary structures. Save the finesse for the key parts of structure or finish work.
-- Then again, there are social factors. As a carpenter with a good reputation, others will look at my minimalist high garage shelves, and assume I know what I'm doing and what I can get away with structurally, and be wowed by my cutting-edge minimalism. But if you're in web design or social work, someone might look at your minimalism and judge it to be incompetent work. We all have relationships to deal with. And we all have uncertainties to deal with in areas that don't lie within our areas of specialization. If I were trying to work with C++, I'd probably tend to "overbuild" a program. So choose the carpentry design you're comfortable with.
1ofakindwork (author)  bo88y1 year ago
I fully agree that a toe nailed fastener is the strongest way to insert any fastener. But their is a level of skill that is required that I don't expect that of all people on this site.
Toe-nailing or skew-nailing is to drive a nail at a slant or skew (between 20 to 45 degrees) with the initial surface in order to permit it to penetrate into a second member. It is a popular technique that carpenters use on a regular basis. The fasteners, used in pairs, nails or screws, are driven in on opposing angles. This locks the timbers together, to create a stable framework. It can be a strong bond due to the sewing affect that is created from the different angles that the fasteners are applied. But it takes time to maste. To set the fastener head flush with the wood, in the center of the wood with enough meat, at the right angle with out damaging the wood by smashing or splitting it. The piece being nailed quite often shifts during initial contact with the fastener. I personally would not chose this method of fastening for this type of work, but I do know it's potential and other may disagree.

As a person well versed in the construction field from framing to finish work and also a BFA in Furniture Design, I completely understand their are multiple joints to make this happen. Most are more visually pleasing. You could make a mortise and tenon, a biscuit joint, or a half lap. All of these require more skill, more time, more tools and more material. You could simplify the shelf with a very minimalist design like you say but it will not preform as well, it will take more time and there are a lot more variables to fail. I personally don't need the bracket to be furniture grade, but I do like things to look nicely put together. I like to see solid construction and all my customers felt the same. I personally don't want people wondering how I did a magic trick to keep up the shelf but really be able to analyze the structure and understand it's function and how it works. I've already mentioned I plan to remove these brackets at a later date and re-install them on finished walls. So all the options you proposed for me wouldn't work unless I wasted all my time and money on materials. I personally don't build out of scraps. I feel my time is worth more than materials. From my experience I know building with jigs and consistent procedures as stated in this Instructable I save a lot of valuable time. For example I wouldn't go and frame a house by taking down a toe plate throw up some floating studs then attach a top plate. I personally would build a wall system the nail it into place. This way I have all my joints exposed from the top and bottom. I don't have to let my studs waive in the wind while I toe nail them to the toe and top plate. Having the joint exposed I can easily slant nail them through the bottom of the toe plate and the top of the top plate. Then just stand it up. I've had to build walls in historic homes where nothing was level, plumb, or square by piece milling them together with toe-nails. But it isn't the ideal method of construction. Building consistent units in exact proportions is quick and easy.

I also plan to use these for heavy over head storage, that I may end up pulling down once a year. I actually do take pride in how nice my garage looks. I'm not too proud at this moment, due to the clutter and mess. I hope this will come to an end soon though. I have a lot of plans for the future of my garage. Thanks for your time and have a blessed day.
1ofakindwork (author)  bo88y1 year ago
Hey bo88y,
First I want to thank you for taking your time to help all the people who are viewing this thread. I love to have multiple perspectives. You have mentioned a lot of things above and I wish I had time to go over them, but it is Labor Day and my family is waiting on me to finish responding to all these wonderful people who are on here. So I'm going to make this short and sweet and just say I'll be back to you on my ideas of what you have said. I completely respect you and I am glad you found my thread. But I would like to clarify to everyone, I also have many years of construction background. Lets just say I've been the field for 20 years or so, I've had my own company and now I'm a stay at home dad. So I have some similar and different ideas then you. But Either way I am glad you are here to keep me on my toes and in check. Thanks for the comment and spending you time to help everyone. I'm sure I may learn something also! Have a wonderful Labor Day!
1ofakindwork (author)  1ofakindwork1 year ago
there are a lot of instructables with some nice designs. i would post them but i dont want to steal their glory. Just do a search or they may post a link. Maybe Instructables has put together a collection.
1ofakindwork (author) 6 months ago
I feel the timber lock screws you asked about are a good option. I would lean toward the 4 1/2" length and place three per bracket.
1ofakindwork (author) 9 months ago
For installing the brackets I used three of the larger screws. The one in the middle was predrilled and installed using a 90 degree drill adapter. You could also use a flex driver. The top screw and bottom screws where installed at opposite angles offset from the center. Kind of toe screwed in a way to catch from opposite edges to the center.
Other option is to bore a hole into the angles bracket at the bottom so you can use an extension bit to drive a screw straight in at the bottom. Use a 90 degree attachment for a straight shot at the middle. And at the top you can also use the 90 degree attachment. I hope this helps. It has been a great bracket for me. They are super easy to make and sting.

For the ply top I used three screw per bracket per sheet. Front, middle, back!

Great question. Maybe other people who have made tegus May comment on their experience with them. Have a great day!
vegas_n00b9 months ago
One more question (again, thank you). How many screws on the plywood, and what is there location (middle, edges, etc.)?
vegas_n00b9 months ago
This might be a dumb question, but how did you screw the brackets to the wall with the brace in the way?

(I would want everything in the middle and straight)

Thank you for the excellent information.
notingkool11 months ago
Thanks for posting this, i was about to make metal brackets, but now i realize that i could just use the wood that i ready have and save time and money (the worst about metal is welding, i suck at welding). Thanks
1ofakindwork (author)  notingkool11 months ago
That's great. Wood is definitely like butter compared to metal. Have a great holiday season.
Another design you might want to consider is rotating your diagonal supports so that they go across the vertical and horizontal supports instead of lengthwise. If you combine that with a grooves cut in the horizontal and vertical supports a couple of inches from the end, it will lock the diagonal piece in there and the wood will be providing the support on the diagonal and not the fasteners. If you have a table saw, this would be fairly easy to do.
1ofakindwork (author)  JakeBlanton1 year ago
Thanks for the comment.
Another option that I've seen is to use a triangular piece of plywood for the angle support. Assuming that you are making 24" brackets, 16" triangular pieces of plywood should work. Start by cutting a sheet of plywood into 16" squares. You should get 18 squares out of it. Then cut each of these squares in half along the diagonal -- this will give you 36 triangular supports. Take your 2x4 pieces and cut a groove in them no more than 3/4" deep lengthwise with a dado blade on your table saw. Glue a triangular piece in the groove and put a couple of small nails in from the other side to hold it while it dries. Assuming 3/4" plywood bought in 4x8 sheets, you're looking at $1.20 per triangular support (according to my calculations given the current price of 3/4" plywood at Home Depot).
1ofakindwork (author)  JakeBlanton1 year ago
Hello Jake,
Thank you for adding your ideas to my thread. I hope all the ideas listed and my Instructable give the community many options and ideas on building their own brackets. I appreciate you putting a new spin the thread. By adding different styles of bracket builds and not just focusing on what I used my brackets for. This instructable is about build a heavy duty bracket, not a over head garage shelf bracket. I just ended up using mine for my garage.

Your design would make an excellent bracket, it would take more time, and skill to build then the one I made my instructable about. My main focus on this instructable was to build a bracket that was easy, fast, and strong. Easy being that anyone could build it with minimal skill and tools. Fast being you can use jigs. (stop blocks, clamp table.) to create a fast work flow, to mass produce. Strong with the construction of the brackets they are considerably very strong. The fastener and lumber are rated for the sheer strength.

Joint work, dados, manual cut triangles, and glue ups are something I would consider a step higher then the skill level I was looking to present this instructable to. Cutting exact 90/45 triangles requires some skill level, Joint work requires a level of tool knowledge and of course the tools. Dados require time, safety, tools, and precision. Glue ups are not hard but just more time involved.

The bracket I decided to build are plenty strong to get the job done. They are quick, precise, and most importantly easy. Anyone could build them with minimal tools. The only thing that I used that most people don't have is a stop block. And that is something you can just set up with some wood. Thank you for taking your time to share your build concepts. They would definitely make fine brackets.
danzo3211 year ago
Connecting the 2 90º members, you are screwing into end grain. This is better than nailing but still not recommended. Use some Titebond or other good wood glue as well and you'll be golden. BTW, you never say what you will store on these shelves that is so heavy. You get enormous strength out of 1-by lumber too, probably more than you need.
1ofakindwork (author)  danzo3211 year ago
Thanks for the comment. I agree end grain is not the best option if you have another and if you end up using the end grain as a place to install your fastener. Adding glue will make a stronger union. I personally decided not to, because of the way the joint is stacked. No doubt it would have been stronger and would only add to the build. But the way end grain is ultimately weak is when something is being pulled out of it. There is no way with the way the brackets are sitting they can be pulled out. But you do make a very good point. And now I realize I need to make a couple edits to my Instructables.

First. when installing the brackets, make sure that you orient the two bracket arms so that the endgrain of the stacked joint is facing up with The other brace arm piece sitting on top Of the end grain.

Second. Gluing all joints in all woodwork will only strengthen the joints. Note: End grain is the weakest place to install a fastener, if fastener is being pulled upon not pushed upon. I will try to cross reference this information with a link at a later date. Working off my iPhone has limited ability.

Thanks once again have a great day.
1ofakindwork (author)  1ofakindwork1 year ago
I need to clarify my comment above a but joint can be a very weak joint if not executed properly or used in a manner that pull or extrudes the fasteners. The way the joint is laid out in my Instructable it is impossible for the force being put on this joint to cause it to fail. The 45 degree cross brace prevents the joint from going up or down locking the but at its exact angle. Next the force being put on the joint is downward and not extruding, pulling or leveraging in any way. This is a sound bracket, which is extremely simple to build for anyone of any skill level.
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