French Cleat System for my shop.

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Project by BigRedKnothead posted 09-24-2013 08:31 PM 20228 views 193 times favorited 87 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-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

87 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


3659 posts in 1602 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 (online now)

Don W

15802 posts in 1356 days

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

man that looks great.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View JayT's profile (online now)


2790 posts in 1000 days

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

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

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

View WayneC's profile


12305 posts in 2886 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


1534 posts in 744 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


5025 posts in 1081 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 529's profile

Marty 529

304 posts in 508 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, Ohio

View RGtools's profile


3314 posts in 1443 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


791 posts in 2509 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


2442 posts in 1829 days

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

Very Nice !!!!

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

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4995 posts in 1240 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


6138 posts in 771 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-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View BTimmons's profile


2223 posts in 1274 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 1154 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 1435 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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