French Cleat System for my shop.

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Project by BigRedKnothead posted 336 days ago 12409 views 163 times favorited 76 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 -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

76 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


3334 posts in 1444 days

#1 posted 336 days ago

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

14870 posts in 1199 days

#2 posted 336 days ago

man that looks great.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View JayT's profile


2182 posts in 842 days

#3 posted 336 days ago

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


12262 posts in 2728 days

#4 posted 336 days ago

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 (online now)


1167 posts in 586 days

#5 posted 336 days ago

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


4505 posts in 923 days

#6 posted 336 days ago

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

172 posts in 351 days

#7 posted 336 days ago

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


3302 posts in 1286 days

#8 posted 336 days ago

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


785 posts in 2351 days

#9 posted 336 days ago

That is beautiful, well done you crazy fool!

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View DaddyZ's profile


2381 posts in 1672 days

#10 posted 336 days ago

Very Nice !!!!

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

View theoldfart's profile


4043 posts in 1082 days

#11 posted 336 days ago

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


4734 posts in 613 days

#12 posted 336 days ago

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 -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View BTimmons's profile


2113 posts in 1116 days

#13 posted 336 days ago

Wow. That’s some magazine-worthy scenery.

-- Brian Timmons -

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 996 days

#14 posted 336 days ago

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


752 posts in 1277 days

#15 posted 336 days ago

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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