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Thread: French cleat system for tools

  1. #1

    French cleat system for tools


    In a small shop open floor space is valuable so I'm putting as much as possible on the walls. So far I've completed two clamp racks and started the tool rack, just need to make the wooden tool holders. Its all made from scrap wood and a load of barn board I scored for free. Still have the tool cabinet to do. The tool rack is from a similar design found in FW issue #160 published back in 2002.

    The french cleat will be fixed to three of the four walls, and the nice thing about this system is that you can move the racks around the shop as required, flexibility is key in a small shop (21x23'). The cleat is made from 3/4" mahogany and all the other framing pieces are 3/4" mixed hardwoods, each rack has 3 points of contact with the wall and sits tight within a 45 degree angle on the cleat.


  2. #2
    Don Taylor is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    VERY nice wayne!

    I have 24X24 and am about to start my cleat system starting with two cabinets.
    Thanks for the ideas and for sharing.

    I see that Steel City drill press there. It's a great machine isn't it?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Very nice. I've decided to go with a cleat system as well. Glad to see more ideas.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
    Keep it coming guys! These are great threads for both inspiration and incentive to get a cleat system up!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Great solution, Wayne. I've got a wall that I need to organize better, including adding some clamp storage. I may just have to steal the French cleat idea.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Taylor View Post
    VERY nice wayne!
    I have 24X24 and am about to start my cleat system starting with two cabinets.
    Thanks for the ideas and for sharing.
    I see that Steel City drill press there. It's a great machine isn't it?
    Thanks Don and others for your comments. Yes the Steel City is a good workhorse, love it.

    Glenn, I like your use of the peg board, makes it alot easier to mount the tools for sure.

    Whilst I used a 45 degree cleat I'm told that some use a 30, in this case I wanted the extra jambing power of a 45 because the clamp racks are a little higher than the cleat and I wanted to ensure they dont ever topple over unexpectedly. With the 3 points of contact it turned out that a 30 probably would have been fine, they arent moving anywhere.
    To help the bar clamps stay put in their holder I first drill the hole then cut a slot at a smaller width than the hole and then stuck some of that high density foam on the top.

    Since there is more than a few people interested here are some close ups of construction detail and a shot of the second cleat mounted last night.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Central NY State
    Wayne, really nice design and execution. I especially appreciate the close-up images of the clamp rack.


  8. #8
    Very nice mate....I just hate the term "french cleats". Being British I really cant stand anything french so as a architect I refer to them a split battens
    daiku woodworking

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Odessa, Tx

    French Cleat Mounted Tool Boards is a Shop Tour thread by Christian Aufreiter where he shows, (in the bottom half of his post) the Tool Boards he mounted with French Cleats in his Concrete walled basement shop.

    For those that haven't seen Christian's thread, it should go well with this thread to show additional ideas for those contemplating different uses for the French cleat system.

    One tip for making the French cleats is to use a small radius roundover bit, or just use the table saw to knock about 1/8" off of the sharp tip of both pieces of the french cleat. This will keep them from bottoming out unevenly due to dust or other matter that can collect in the wall mounted piece of the cleat, and in general, make them easier to slide, should you decide to slide a cabinet or toolboard along the wall cleat to relocate it. Waxing each half of the mating surfaces of the cleat is not a bad idea either.

  10. #10

    Toolrack complete with walnut toolholders and some tools

    Appreciate the comments, thanks.

    It doesn't take much to knock up some some tool holders on the saw using a regular blade at a 4o degrees to cut the slots for the rasps and a dado set for the holder at the bottom of the rack. They are all screws in from the back of the rack which allows you to remove and add or change positions as your tool inventory changes over the years. The other tools are hung from nails.


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