I was in a local hardware store yesterday and came across a plastic mount intended to hold a handheld torch (propane, mapp, etc). I thought it was pretty neat and for only $6, not too bad of a price, but I didn't necessarily need one, so I went on my way. Well, something about it stuck in my brain, because I was sitting on the couch at 10 pm and an idea popped into my head. I could make my own mount...using pvc pipe.
I went out to the garage and measured the diameter of the propane tank - 3" diameter. Hey, I had a scrap piece of 3" pvc pipe over in the corner. Turned out to be a perfect fit. Of course, I could have bought one ready to mount for $6, but where's the fun in that. I had the materials and tools needed, so why not hone my skills, sharpen my ingenuity, and test my luck at keeping all my fingers attached? By all means, if you need to purchase materials to make this, you're better off buying one already made. If you're like me and keep the scraps from other projects, keep reading to see how to make one of these.
Step 1: Gathering...
- tape measure
- torch (propane/mapp)
- heat gun (could substitute the torch)
- utility knife
- leather gloves
- 3" pvc pipe @ 12" long
- scrap wood (1/2" plywood)
- 2" drywall screws
You could also use this process to make a mount for a fire extinguisher or flashlights or any other cylindrical item that you want to mount on the wall. You'll just need to adjust the size of the pipe used.
**The heat gun is used to heat up and soften the PVC. You could use a torch for this purpose, but an open flame will burn the PVC if held in one place for more than a split second. You must keep the flame moving if using the torch to heat the plastic. If you don't have a heat gun or a torch, you can use a pot of boiling water to soften the PVC as well.
Step 2: Making a Template
I was flying by the seat of my pants when I did this last night, so I'd mark, cut, mark again, cut again until I got something that worked. I've provided a diagram of the cuts required. The best way to do this is grab a sheet of paper (letter size) and a ruler. Mark it as shown in the image. Each black line is a cut line. The gray section is what will get removed. The red lines should not get cut.
Note the fold line in the diagram. This section should not be cut. This is where you will fold the PVC to form the bottom of the mount.
Step 3: Cut the Pipe
You'll want to start with a 12" length of PVC. Wrap the paper template around the pipe so that the white sections meet. Align the top edge of the template with one end of the pipe. Use some scotch tape to hold the paper in place. There will be ~3" of pipe that is not covered by the template. This will eventually be the bottom of the mount. You can transfer the lines by "scribing" over them with a razor knife. Remember to mark where to stop the cut at the bottom of the template at the fold line.
Use a jigsaw to cut out the gray section. The remaining section of pipe below the template can cut up the center until it meets the bottom ring. Then cut around the pipe until you get to the marks made on the template.
I clamped the pipe to a table and used a heat gun to soften and unroll the middle cut sections. Again, I was designing on the fly. This flattening process is not necessarily needed for the gray section when using the template. You WILL however, need to flatten the bottom section so that it can be folded under the bottom ring to support the torch.
I tried to cut the shape of the bottom before I folded it over. You can see that I don't have a full bottom because I didn't allow for enough material. The following process is how I would do this if I were to make another one of these (no photos). Use a heat gun, torch, or boiling water to soften everything below the bottom ring. Wear gloves so you don't burn yourself. Once the pipe is nice and soft, flatten it out and then fold it under the bottom ring. You may need to place the torch in the holder at this point and apply pressure until the pipe cools and hardens. Do this process close to a sink so you can use cool water to speed up the cooling process. You should now have a bottom formed. Cut any excess PVC off so it matches the curve of the bottom ring.
Cut the section out of the top ring as needed. Again, this may already be done if using the template.
Step 4: Mounting Blocks
Since the pipe is round, there would be very little that actually touched the wall or whatever you mount this to. I made some mounting blocks by cutting a curved section (a v-notch would probably work too) out of a piece of 1/2" plywood. The curve will fit the pipe tightly, but give a flat surface against the wall.
I used my bandsaw to do this. Not everyone has a bandsaw, but the same effect could be achieved by using a sander, a hammer & chiesel, a circular saw, a coping saw, table saw, etc. Just use the edge of the pipe to mark the curvature needed and use whatever method to remove that material. You're striving for a fairly uniform fit, but as mentioned earlier, I think a v-notch cut in some scrap wood would do the trick in a pinch.
Step 5: Finishing Up
Debur and smooth the edges of the PVC by using a utility knife to scrape (DON'T cut or slice) along the edge of the PVC. The PVC is soft enough that a sharp blade held perpendicular to the edge will scrape off any sharp edges or burrs.
Drill two holes through the center of the back section. Use a counter sink bit (or a razor knife) to chamfer the holes. Drill a matching hole through the middle of the support blocks.
Locate a stud (or use drywall anchors) where you want to mount it and screw it to the wall. Snap the torch into place and go grab a sammich!!