Problem + Woodworker = French Cleat Clamp Rack

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Project by Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB posted 03-11-2014 04:10 PM 4243 views 8 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My shop is an outbuilding constructed from cinder blocks. I suppose it has advantages, but a big disadvantage is that whenever you want to attach something to the wall it is difficult and time consuming. Over the last several weeks I have bought and built a significant amount of new clamps, and leaving them in piles, standing in corners, or hanging on heating pipes wasn’t going to cut it anymore.

So the problem – lots of clamps and lots of cinder blocks.

The inspiration came from watching a lot of woodworking videos on French Cleats … but problem number 2 – clamp racks are top heavy and will cause the cleats to sag.

The solution I came up with was attaching a large piece of plywood with a minimum number of screws – and lots of Liquid Nail – to the wall and modifying a French Cleat to include a bracket.

Click Here for My Video Explanation of the Process.

-- Fr. Thomas,

12 comments so far

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

587 posts in 1190 days

#1 posted 03-11-2014 04:33 PM

Looks good! I plan on doing something similar once I can get more clamps. I like the bracket idea. Plus it looks cool with the curved style you added. Nice.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 648 days

#2 posted 03-11-2014 04:44 PM

very good idea, simple and effective, great work

-- steve, simple and effective

View robdem's profile


364 posts in 1643 days

#3 posted 03-11-2014 07:19 PM

Great solution to common problem . Never seem to have enough room to store clamps .

View Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB's profile

Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB

76 posts in 691 days

#4 posted 03-11-2014 08:53 PM

Thanks guys.

Chris: The nice thing about doing the curves was it enabled me to use the cut-off curve to create another, smaller rack for my spring clamps.

-- Fr. Thomas,

View changeoffocus's profile


457 posts in 655 days

#5 posted 03-11-2014 10:37 PM

Fr. Thomas,
For the future fastening to cinder block you might want to try ITW masonry screws.
They are blue colored and come in all manner of configurations. The require the use of a compatible drill and usually a driver. I buy them from Fastenal in Indiana and I think that is a national store.

View gsimon's profile


863 posts in 1151 days

#6 posted 03-11-2014 10:47 PM

yeah- masonary fasteners or toggle bolts would work if you drill into a cavity
great idea wth clamp holder

-- Greg Simon

View Soundx's profile


81 posts in 926 days

#7 posted 03-11-2014 11:35 PM

Love the design. i have numerous cleats on the walls waiting for a clamp shelf concept. You just solved my problem. Hope you don’t mind if I copy?

-- Terry,Tennessee

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 2108 days

#8 posted 03-12-2014 02:42 AM

I don’t mean to be too critical since I haven’t watched very many videos on French cleats, but the part of your video that demonstrates the sagging also seems to demonstrate a misunderstanding of the physics involved in a French cleat. You want most of the force on the cleat to be in the downward direction to push the top cleat against the bottom cleat. When you do that, the bottom cleat will push the top cleat tight against the wall. You can screw the top and bottom cleats together to keep them aligned, but the screws shouldn’t need to bear any weight. In your sagging demo, most of the force on the top cleat is directed upward and outward from the wall because the bottom cleat is acting as a pivot rather than acting as a cleat.

You came up with a good solution which solves the problem well enough for lighter loads, but it’s only part of the complete solution.

If you ever hang anything really heavy with French cleats, consider offsetting the bulk of the load to be as low as possible compared to the cleat itself, so you’ll have mostly downward force. Otherwise, a heavy load could pull the bottom (wall-attached) cleat out of the wall.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View hoss12992's profile


3266 posts in 930 days

#9 posted 03-12-2014 04:12 AM

Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB's profile

Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB

76 posts in 691 days

#10 posted 03-12-2014 04:47 AM

@Rob: You are absolutely correct. A French cleat works because the downward pressure rests securely underneath the cleat. On a cabinet the cleat is typically recessed into the back to help offset any of the other forces at play, partially moving the center of gravity but also counteracting the outward force caused by the weight of the top of the cabinet. In my situation the tediousness of drilling multiple holes in concrete blocks in order to attach a clamp rack to the wall made me think about a different method. In essence I decided to use the cleat as a hook – creating the pivoting action you mentioned. I therefore needed a way to counter act the pivot, which the “bracket” was then able to do. Screwing both cleats together would stop the sagging, but that just wasn’t the method I chose to redistribute the outward force.

-- Fr. Thomas,

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12253 posts in 2194 days

#11 posted 03-15-2014 02:54 AM

great idea for clamps – they always seem to take up more space than most other support tools… thanks for posting!

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View Tom's profile


185 posts in 758 days

#12 posted 03-21-2014 11:29 PM

very nice

-- --Tom - Saint Francis, WI

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