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French Cleat wall - Why did you chose your spacing?

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Forum topic by Murdock posted 02-04-2018 07:57 PM 1942 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Murdock

129 posts in 2689 days


02-04-2018 07:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: french cleat storage question

I recently moved to a new house and am starting to work on the specific details of how to layout my new shop space in the 3rd stall of my garage. One thing that I am planning to add is a section of french cleats to hang up frequently used tools.

I have searched around and see everything from 1.5” cleats spaced 1” apart to 8” cleats spaced 30”. I understand that if you are hanging something like cabinets the spacing would be larger than if everything you hang is small. However I have found very little in the way of discussion about why use a particular spacing.

My question is, what spacing did you use, why did you chose it, and is it working out as expected?

Thank you

-- "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein


5 replies so far

View John_H's profile

John_H

188 posts in 1911 days


#1 posted 02-05-2018 03:04 AM

3 1/2” cleats with a 1 1/2” gap. I covered the whole side wall (area in the pic up to the very bottom of the ceiling cabinets) and half of the back wall with it and could not be more pleased. (I spent a little extra and used 3/4” MDO)

Mainly because I like the look. A 3 1/2” wide cleat is the minimum I would use – it is just wide enough to fit an electrical box mounted horizontally. So, for example, if you wanted to add a new outlet – pull off a row, cut a slot in the drywall, drill the studs, run a new wire and mount the new work type box to the slat and reinstall. Also, I took the time to cut half laps at all the joints which were cut to fall on a stud

Installing it on the side wall

Here is what the back wall looked like just after I finished it (it is covered with stuff now). If you look close you can see the wall switch just to the left of the door knob and further over there is an outlet – both mounted on the slat

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2644 posts in 1593 days


#2 posted 02-05-2018 05:47 PM

It basically depends upon how much flexibility you want and how densely you want to be able to arrange things. For relatively small hand tools you probably want fairly narrow slats (2”?) spaced fairly close together to maximize both. What you will find though is that once you settle on a configuration you won’t change it often, except maybe to add new tools. What I found is that you really end up wasting a lot of slats that never get used, especially where you have larger items taking up a relatively large area. You may find that you will have entire slats that have nothing hanging on them, especially with smaller, more closely space slats. I used french cleats to hang mostly larger items with the slats spaced 8” apart and in hindsight it feels like I am only using about 10% of the linear space of the slats. While not having to worry later about finding a stud in the right place to hang something large is pretty nice, I have hardly moved or added anything since I got everything setup.

For a hand tool wall you might want to look at Matthias Wandel's or ShopBuilt tool wall videos on YouTube. Instead of slats, they simply attach a sheet of plywood and screw the tool hangers directly to it where they want them. You can achieve maximum density and flexibility with much less effort in my opinion. If you need to change things you simply unscrew and put in a new place. To me, that will be much more flexible (when I finally get around to doing this myself).

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 910 days


#3 posted 02-05-2018 06:20 PM



For a hand tool wall you might want to look at Matthias Wandel s or ShopBuilt tool wall videos on YouTube. Instead of slats, they simply attach a sheet of plywood and screw the tool hangers directly to it where they want them. You can achieve maximum density and flexibility with much less effort in my opinion. If you need to change things you simply unscrew and put in a new place. To me, that will be much more flexible (when I finally get around to doing this myself).

- Lazyman

I’m in the process of “building” out my shop space in a new-to-me house. I originally thought about a french-cleat wall, or even good old fashioned pegboard. I’ve decided to go with plain old plywood. Cheaper, less work, easier to install, way more flexible. Shop time is a precious commodity, I’d rather spend it building furniture vs. building innumerable cleats.

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View clin's profile

clin

958 posts in 1201 days


#4 posted 02-05-2018 10:51 PM

Covered 3 of 4 walls with cleats. A little less than 3 1/2” wide and they are 8” on center. Size of the cleat probably related to the plywood I ripped them from. I’m pretty sure I ripped the 4” wide sheet into 6” wide strips. Then split each of those at an angle, and the finished cleat then being about 3 1/4” on the long side.

Not sure where the 8” came from. Probably just figured I didn’t need to locate something so exactly. Or possibly spaced so the first cleat under the wall cabinets that hang from the cleats would be usable.

I like the cleats for the flexibility. Comes in handy. But hard to argue with just using plywood on the walls and screwing things here or there as needed. The nice thing about the cleats though is if you want some pegboard, just attached some pegboard to a cleat and you have a movable pegboard.

-- Clin

View Murdock's profile

Murdock

129 posts in 2689 days


#5 posted 02-06-2018 02:58 AM

Thanks for the feedback.

I keep going back and forth between the plywood tool wall, french cleats and something like Wall Control pegboard (https://www.wallcontrol.com/).

In my previous space I had a traditional pegboard and several magnetic stainless end panels on my cabinets. I moved the pegs on the pegboard a lot at first but as others have said it didn’t take long and I stopped moving stuff. Of course I often also had the issue of the pegs falling out. The steel boards on the other hand, I moved stuff around all the time on them because it was easy.

After hearing the feedback so far, I think I am currently leaning toward the plywood tool wall and trying to find some magnetic boards similar to what I had previously. Sadly I couldn’t bring them along because they were “part of the house” and the company I got them from no longer makes them. Still looking for an inexpensive replacement, maybe just some of those wall control boards as they are suppose to attract magnets.

-- "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

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