French Cleat System for my shop.

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Project by BigRedKnothead posted 09-24-2013 08:31 PM 17392 views 182 times favorited 79 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s the french cleat board I made for my shop. It’s one of those projects that will never feel quite “done” I’m just gonna post it. I made the cleat board a couple months ago, and I’ve been slowly adding various tills and racks. The latest being a till for my smoothing planes. A saw till and others are coming soon.

About the build:
It’s possible to mount the french cleats right on the wall. But I’m working with cinder block walls, and I had no desire to drill that many holes with a hammer drill. So I decided to mount a big piece of plywood.

Realizing this, I wanted to stick with white oak and walnut like I used on my bench. I just like those woods and they’re pretty reasonable where I live. So, I took a leftover piece of white oak plywood, framed it to get a little more size, then cut some 1”x3” cleats out of some knotty walnut..

Then, I had the idea to glue the cleats and screw them from the back of the plywood. That way I wouldn’t have to look at all the ugly screwheads. Here’s how that looked. Basically layout, predrill, glue, temp cleats with brads, flip over and screw.

Then I mounted the board to the wall with some big concrete anchors, and wiped it with a couple coats of danish oil.

Then I just had fun making all sorts of tool holders.

Each till gets a “hanger” mounted on the back. Really just and inverted scrap from the original cleats. I’m pretty happy with it so far. The flexibility is really nice. I keep tinkering with the layout. The tills slide left and right, or just lift off easily.
The last phase my my improved tool storage will be some cabinets/drawers for the bench below the french cleats.

Questions and comments always welcome. Take care all you crazy lumberjocks, Red

-- Red-- "I'm a lumber hoardin', finger nickin', sliver cursin', breaker trippin', summbuckin woodworker ya'll"

79 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


3551 posts in 1558 days

#1 posted 09-24-2013 08:35 PM

Wow, white oak and walnut tool racks! That will be inspiring for you to continue to make beautiful projects.
Those are my two favorite species of lumber.

Nice project!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Don W's profile

Don W

15519 posts in 1312 days

#2 posted 09-24-2013 08:43 PM

man that looks great.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View JayT's profile (online now)


2607 posts in 955 days

#3 posted 09-24-2013 08:47 PM

Love French cleats. Your system is a lot prettier than mine, though. Nice job!

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View WayneC's profile


12302 posts in 2842 days

#4 posted 09-24-2013 08:48 PM

Beautiful as well as functional. Any thoughts of a tool chest in your future to augment this?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View richardwootton's profile


1458 posts in 700 days

#5 posted 09-24-2013 08:50 PM

That’s great! I have been trying to think through storage solutions for my ever growing hand tool collection. Thanks for posting!

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4860 posts in 1037 days

#6 posted 09-24-2013 09:01 PM

Great job on your organizational skills and woodwork!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Marty Smoley's profile

Marty Smoley

214 posts in 464 days

#7 posted 09-24-2013 09:09 PM

Wow, that is really really nice. There’s a lot of work in that and it looks beautiful and organized.

-- Marty,

View RGtools's profile


3314 posts in 1399 days

#8 posted 09-24-2013 09:16 PM

That is a whole lot of awesom on one wall Red. Thanks for sharing. I especially like the chisel rack. It’s so open and easy to reconfigure.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View kenn's profile


788 posts in 2464 days

#9 posted 09-24-2013 09:17 PM

That is beautiful, well done you crazy fool!

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View DaddyZ's profile


2430 posts in 1785 days

#10 posted 09-24-2013 09:20 PM

Very Nice !!!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View theoldfart's profile


4728 posts in 1196 days

#11 posted 09-24-2013 09:26 PM

You ever gonna slow down? A shop to drool over, a shop to create in. Nice work Red.

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View BigRedKnothead's profile


5784 posts in 727 days

#12 posted 09-24-2013 09:39 PM

Thanks everyone. My shop is coming along nicely. And I spend a lot of time out there;)

Willie- They’re my favorite woods too. That’s why I’m surrounding myself with them…lol

Wayne- hard to predict the future, but I don’t plan on any tool chests as of now. Once I get the cabinets built in the joinery bench, I should have plenty of storage.

-- Red-- "I'm a lumber hoardin', finger nickin', sliver cursin', breaker trippin', summbuckin woodworker ya'll"

View BTimmons's profile


2177 posts in 1229 days

#13 posted 09-24-2013 09:43 PM

Wow. That’s some magazine-worthy scenery.

-- Brian Timmons -

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 1110 days

#14 posted 09-24-2013 10:09 PM

Nice looking project. I want to do this on some of my shop walls when I get it built.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View SamuelP's profile


755 posts in 1391 days

#15 posted 09-24-2013 10:29 PM

That is incredible. Nice job and what a difference.

-- -Sam - Tampa, FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

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