Hanging pictures on old plaster walls...

Our 100+ yr old plaster lathe walls are pretty delicate. What is the best way to hang pictures withot fracturing the walls? i.e. are there any fasteners that are less likely to crack the wall than just hammering a nail?
thanks
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blueman wrote:

We've had good luck using a couple of inches of masking tape in the form of an "X" on the wall before driving the nail. It's hidden by the picture. Alternatively, picture frame stores sell hangers that glue to the walls; in our experience, the glue eventually weakens and the pictures fall. Paul in San Francisco
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Buy a bunch of 1/16" drill bits.
I predrill my 1930 lathe & plaster walls.
I use 16 gage brass eschueon pins (no rust)
cheers Bob
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I use the pre-drill way too.
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Little plastic wall anchors work beautifully with plaster. But, be sure to drill a clearance hole in the lath behind the plaster, for two reasons. First, the anchor is supposed to be held in the plaster, not the lath. And, you don't want the anchor or the screw to press the lath away from the back of the plaster. At the same time, you don't want the screw to begin threading into the lath. In other words, don't horse the lath around, other than to continue drilling through it so the back of the anchor or the screw just pass through, but don't really interact with it.
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I use those hooks with the nail that angles down into the wall. I pre drill the hole at the same angle.
As a side note, I take needle nosed pliers and bend the front of the hook so it is vertical so it doesn't poke into the back of the picture (the expensive ones). John

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If you decide to predrill holes for plastic anchors, if you have a Dremel tool you might want to get the tile/masonry bit (I forgot the number). It makes a nice clean hole in old plaster (at least compared to the drill bits I have).
Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
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As the owner of an 85-year-old plaster/lathe-walled house, the best way I've found is to drill a small pilot hole with an electric drill first, then tap in the fastener. Drill all the way through the plaster and into the lathe at a slight downward angle. Use your smallest drill bit.
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