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Peter in the French cleat idea a panel hanging against the wall would only exert shear force on the screws that hold the cleats to the wall and it would take enough force to shear those screws in half that you wouldn't be able to lift the panel. If you were using them to hold a shelf then a heavy weight on the shelf would form a lever arm and you would get some pull out force as well but it would still have to be a substantial amount of weight to pull those screws out.

Back when I was a youth I remember seeing pictures of a sound proof room that I think it was Bell Laboratories that built. The scientists in it were standing on a thin wire grid so that there was no actual floor. The bottom, walls, and ceiling of the room were all panels (possibly foam) covered in fabric that formed pockets maybe a foot square by 6-8" deep and angled. The point of the design was to prevent reflections that might form a resonant wave (like an echo for example) and the materials were soft so as to absorb the sounds that hit them. The attached image is a similar principle. The object is to prevent reflections because your ear picks up that reflection a split second after the original sound and interferes with the wave pattern. You sometimes hear a similar sound in a large auditorium or a stadium where you hear the same sound at different intervals because of the different distances the sound travels to get to you from each speaker. If you're looking to build sound deadening panels one of the most effective panels I can imagine is a sheet of styrofoam insulation covered with carpet. There would near zero reflection with that.
 

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What a great thread. Lots of helpful information. It would be tempting to build something like this with ply, but kiln dried pine 1x6 would probably be lighter, especially with the cutouts. Since it's going to be covered (wraped) in fabric, you could use some pretty inexpensive wood. Cut the ends square using a circular saw and speed square. Cutting holes using a hand held drill and a jig saw would work, if the whole thing is wrapped. A back of 1/4 ply, or even 1/8th. If budget right now is a factor, this approach would keep cost down. I have had terrible luck with cheapo plywood from big box stores.

Another possible approach is to construct it using long narrow pieces and short pieces as shown in the drawing below to form the sides and ends. Ideally, you'd cut the pieces to size with a table saw, but you could do it by buying pre cut material. Glue the pieces together and use cheap clamps to hold it together while the glue dries. Use glue with an extended open time so you have time to glue everything together.

Wrapping the piece with staples on the back will cover all variations in color, and even cover knots. If you only use one French cleat, it will be at the top, but you will need to add a piece the same thickness on the bottom to make it stand away from the wall.

If you want to get fancy, inset the back panel so it's equal to the thickness of the French cleat. Insert the cleat and the outside edge of the frame work will fit snug to the wall, without any gap.

Here's a quickie drawing of one side.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Peter in the French cleat idea a panel hanging against the wall would only exert shear force on the screws that hold the cleats to the wall and it would take enough force to shear those screws in half that you wouldn't be able to lift the panel. If you were using them to hold a shelf then a heavy weight on the shelf would form a lever arm and you would get some pull out force as well but it would still have to be a substantial amount of weight to pull those screws out.

Back when I was a youth I remember seeing pictures of a sound proof room that I think it was Bell Laboratories that built. The scientists in it were standing on a thin wire grid so that there was no actual floor. The bottom, walls, and ceiling of the room were all panels (possibly foam) covered in fabric that formed pockets maybe a foot square by 6-8" deep and angled. The point of the design was to prevent reflections that might form a resonant wave (like an echo for example) and the materials were soft so as to absorb the sounds that hit them. The attached image is a similar principle. The object is to prevent reflections because your ear picks up that reflection a split second after the original sound and interferes with the wave pattern. You sometimes hear a similar sound in a large auditorium or a stadium where you hear the same sound at different intervals because of the different distances the sound travels to get to you from each speaker. If you're looking to build sound deadening panels one of the most effective panels I can imagine is a sheet of styrofoam insulation covered with carpet. There would near zero reflection with that.
Thank you for that great information @Cherryville Chuck. I think that it is very important to tame reflections of any kind. However, absorption is key especially in a small room where bass nulls and comb filtering can be your worst enemy.

I really like the design in the photo that you provided. Brilliant.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
What a great thread. Lots of helpful information. It would be tempting to build something like this with ply, but kiln dried pine 1x6 would probably be lighter, especially with the cutouts. Since it's going to be covered (wraped) in fabric, you could use some pretty inexpensive wood. Cut the ends square using a circular saw and speed square. Cutting holes using a hand held drill and a jig saw would work, if the whole thing is wrapped. A back of 1/4 ply, or even 1/8th. If budget right now is a factor, this approach would keep cost down. I have had terrible luck with cheapo plywood from big box stores.

Another possible approach is to construct it using long narrow pieces and short pieces as shown in the drawing below to form the sides and ends. Ideally, you'd cut the pieces to size with a table saw, but you could do it by buying pre cut material. Glue the pieces together and use cheap clamps to hold it together while the glue dries. Use glue with an extended open time so you have time to glue everything together.

Wrapping the piece with staples on the back will cover all variations in color, and even cover knots. If you only use one French cleat, it will be at the top, but you will need to add a piece the same thickness on the bottom to make it stand away from the wall.

If you want to get fancy, inset the back panel so it's equal to the thickness of the French cleat. Insert the cleat and the outside edge of the frame work will fit snug to the wall, without any gap.

Here's a quickie drawing of one side.
I like those diagrams. That sure is a new twist on the panels construction. I have not seen that mentioned in any of the material that I have read or the video tutorials that I have watched. Very interesting indeed. You made no mention of MDF in your materials list however. Any particular reason why? Thank you for contributing to this thread @DesertRatTom
 

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Kiln dried pine was mentioned as an alternative to plywood. The pitch in pine will gum up woodworking tools so most of us don't mill pine. An alternative would be Poplar.
 

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That's a great looking invention. It even has V blocks for drilling round shafts etc.. I wish I had that one. I've got a home made one of wood and plywood, set up with a 1/2 inch variable speed, reversible corded drill. I use it mostly for tapping threads in metal parts.

The plywood sleeve slides up and down on a solid block of pine. I extended the top so I could attach the screen door spring. It gets the job done.

Art S
 

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