Q. I hung a Regulator clock on a plasterboard wall with a molly bolt, which pulled out of the wall. You know the rest; the clock fell. I can't change the location of the clock. How can I keep it on the wall?
R.F., Medford, Mass.
A. Good question, but never fear, there are ways. What happened, of course, is that the molly bolt was inserted in 3/8- or 1/2-inch plasterboard, neither of which was strong enough to hold the bolt that holds the clock. And, since the clock is held by a loop in back, you can't use two molly bolts to share the weight.
I understand why you can't (or don't want to) move the clock, but think about it: Is there another place you could hang the clock on a stud, which would be the best way to hang a heavy object? Then you could put up a picture where the clock was.
If not, here is what you can do: Buy or have made a steel or brass mending plate long enough to reach two studs, and screw it onto the studs. Make sure there is a hook in the middle of the plate, so you can hang the clock on it. If there is no hook, you could drill a hole in the middle of the plate and insert a bolt, with nuts on both sides, which would act as a hook or hanger. The thin mending plate will allow the clock to hang relatively tightly against the wall. One more idea: Instead of the mending plate, use a brass chain, each end screwed into a stud. Then hang an S-hook in the middle of the chain to hold the clock.
Q. My bungalow-style house was treated with semitransparent stain, and it still looks pretty good, except for where a tree branch made deep scratches in the wood siding. A painter said a new coat of semitransparent stain will not cover the scratches and proposed using solid stain instead. Is solid stain necessary?
Jim McConaughy, Haverhill, Mass.
A. The solid stain might cover the scratches better than semitransparent, but you are opening up a big can of worms if you use it, because solid stains can peel, and probably will. I would go ahead and continue with the semitransparent stain, but first sand the scratches as much as practicable so they will show less. And if that is not satisfactory, replace the scratched shingles or clapboards.