Making slatwall panels or buy?? (t-slot router bits)

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Forum topic by mhein68 posted 05-13-2010 02:35 AM 37420 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 3259 days

05-13-2010 02:35 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question

Hey all, Has anyone made there own slatwall panels?? What t-slot router bit is the “standard size” for most brackets sold out there?? Is it less of a pain/cheaper to make or buy??? Any help would be great! thanks!!

-- Mike, Southern IL

12 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3816 days

#1 posted 05-13-2010 02:37 AM

Not sure what slatwall panels are.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3698 days

#2 posted 05-13-2010 02:38 AM

I was reading in shopnotes recently that the big box stores had MDF slatwall sheets fairly cheap… I wouldn’t imagine them being much more than solid MDF.

-- San Diego, CA

View MyFathersSon's profile


180 posts in 3552 days

#3 posted 05-13-2010 03:10 AM

Slatwalls are what you see a lot in retail stores—
horizontal slats a couple inches wide or so—with a rabbet on each edge that essentially creates a T-Slot -
OR—sometimes cut from sheetgoods—with an actual T-slot.
Hang tool hooks or shelf brackets etc on them—
THOUGHT about making or buying some but havent yet.

-- Those who insist it can't be done - should politely refrain from interrupting those who are doing it.

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3244 days

#4 posted 05-13-2010 03:42 AM

I have some slatwall panels in the shop. Picked them up on a job I was doing for a store. I did not make them. They are fine for hanging tools and such but it won’t take alot of weight. A lot of it is mdf, some is plywood. The ply seems to be a bit stronger. Sometimes I have to put a screw through the panel if I want to hang a bit more weight in one spot because it tends to split.

If you want to make some, get a big router and a couple of long straight edges and a dust mask or two. You can buy the cutters for slatwall, it is just a very large cut to make all at once. I suppose you could route the straight groove out first with a straight cutter, then use the slatwall t slot cutter to undercut the rabbets.

The commercial slatwall is made on a flatbed cnc router making the grooves and undercuts in one pass, but those routers are 7 1/2 hp or more and have no problem with it. With a hand held router it would take an hour to make one sheet of slatwall and a large amount of dust.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3270 days

#5 posted 05-13-2010 01:07 PM

You could use the table saw with a dado blade for the straight cuts. Or you may want to use two routers; one with a straight cutter and the other with the slatwall cutter. You would save time and be more accurate by only setting the straight edges on time for each slot. Another thought would be to construct the slatwall out of parts. The back could be plywood or mdf and then attach strips of wood with the right sizes rabbet cut on the edges. The entire slatwall could be made on the tablesaw that way. Let us know what you decide.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3976 days

#6 posted 05-13-2010 04:15 PM

I suggest you just buy the slatwall. It is very dusty to make and not worth the trouble. You can also purchase it with the aluminum re-enforcement slats. Look around on Craigslist for a business that is closing. Many list their slatwall panels for sale.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3347 days

#7 posted 05-13-2010 05:17 PM

The menards near me carries them for about the same price as sheet of MDF (was within a few dollars), also I’ve seen the metal reinforcement channels sold by one of the woodworking supply sites (i think eagle america)

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View mhein68's profile


62 posts in 3259 days

#8 posted 05-14-2010 02:08 AM

Thanks all for the reply’s.. I am going to look into finding some on Craigslist or a store closing. I think that going the router way would almost be overwhelming after thinking about it! .. I seen in one of those “best shop” mags that a guy did tool storage with slatwall.. Thanks again and I will look around for the right answer!

-- Mike, Southern IL

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 3666 days

#9 posted 05-15-2010 01:01 AM

i suggest buying it
the bits are expensive and you need a big router, probably at least 3hp
also it is messy and time consuming
when i worked in a commericial cabinet shop we used to make it on a cnc machine with 7hp routers
it wasn’t exactly fast on that
we usually bought it if we had a big job

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View 559dustdesigns's profile


633 posts in 3407 days

#10 posted 05-16-2010 09:42 AM

I have a router bit for making slat wall panels.
I built a jig to make my own, with slots going short ways across the sheet.
I managed to cut one sheet with a 4 inch dust hose taped to the side of the router.
Its too hard on my router.
I wouldn’t do it again with out a panel router.
Another idea I have is to first make a pass with a straight bit than cut the tee slots.
This should relieve my router from cutting so much in one pass.
The bit is made by Porter Cable and I got mine on Amazon.
I plan to use this bit to make slots for jigs and on shop furniture that I want to hang stuff on.

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

View MyFathersSon's profile


180 posts in 3552 days

#11 posted 05-16-2010 10:14 PM

I agree with the buying vs making—unless you are just looking for a way to pass the time.
If you are—another way to go—that uses a table saw instead of (or in addition to) the router.
Could take even longer than the methods described above.

Cut the slats the width you prefer.
Then either using the table saw or the router rabbet each side
Then glue and screw the slats to your wall surface.

NOT a suggestion—just an alternative.
I still vote with the—just buy them group.

-- Those who insist it can't be done - should politely refrain from interrupting those who are doing it.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3952 days

#12 posted 06-09-2010 01:54 PM

I like Marc Spagnolo’s French cleat system…its inexpensive looks good and is far more flexible than slatwall stuff and probably stronger. You could probably use off cuts from projects instead of buying special purpose sheet goods for it; or you could buy sheet goods and cut a whole whack of French cleats in a fraction of the time it would take to cut slatwalls.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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