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Forum topic by Jim posted 05-21-2018 06:12 PM 853 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim

5 posts in 352 days


05-21-2018 06:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinet french cleat

Hi everyone, I am finishing a Pekovich tool cabinet from FWW. Now comes the step to hang it on the wall – the plans call for basically a french cleat in which the top of the 1/2” ply case backing is attached to the carcase and the lower half is screwed into studs on the wall. There is of course, a 45deg angle between the two to hold them together. I understand the theory, but this cabinet is huge and I dont want to walk out one morning to find my cabinet and tools in a pile on the floor of my garage. Has anyone used this version of the french cleat? Thanks,
Jim


31 replies so far

View Rich's profile

Rich

3349 posts in 674 days


#1 posted 05-21-2018 06:46 PM

I hung some shelves in the laundry room that way. There’s at least 50 lbs of detergents, etc, on it and it’s rock solid. I did put a cleat across the bottom for additional vertical support, and the torque component of the load trying to pull the top away from the wall is pretty small.

You can get by with just the French cleat though for a cleaner look. Be sure you put long screws into the studs for the support cleat. Also, making it taller, say 8”, will allow you to put two or three long screws vertically into each stud. That thing won’t be going anywhere with that sort of attachment.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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John Smith

1249 posts in 247 days


#2 posted 05-21-2018 07:04 PM

I have had some issues with the cleats that have the 45 degree cut for the gripper.
the law of physics will say that the 45 degree will provide a constant pulling like a wedge.
with a couple of cuts on the table saw, 3/4” stock would be much stronger as the
weight of the object being supported will be only in the downward direction – and not pulling.
but like Rich mentioned: the more screws = the better.
Jus my Dos Centavos

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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JayT

5759 posts in 2296 days


#3 posted 05-21-2018 07:20 PM

My plane till is hung on a single French cleat, which is on two studs with two screws into each stud. It’s been rock solid ever since it was installed several years ago.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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Rich

3349 posts in 674 days


#4 posted 05-21-2018 07:29 PM


I have had some issues with the cleats that have the 45 degree cut for the gripper.
the law of physics will say that the 45 degree will provide a constant pulling like a wedge.

- John Smith

There’s another law of physics regarding material failure. Sharp angles are weak, and those corners are doomed to fail. There’s a reason French cleats have been the standard for generations — they work.

Here’s the part I’m talking about. The grain will be running along the angle. Theoretically at a perfect angle like that (which doesn’t exist in reality) the strain becomes infinite. It will begin to separate in one or both of those corners and it will open up and then fail.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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therealSteveN

919 posts in 659 days


#5 posted 05-21-2018 07:32 PM

As far as weight load, the cleat, or some alternative similar to it will hold a lot of weight. It’s splayed out across the wall bearing on 2 to many studs. If you add screws into the case, and to the studs behind the piece all will be good, unless you want too great a weight.

Another advantage to them is the absolute ease you can take a large cabinet and SQUARELY hang it on the wall. You would use a level when you mounted the cleat, so all you needed to do is make sure the mate is level on the cabinet, and simply hanging it on, and snugging it down and you are really close to done.

The problem you can have with them is without the additional anchoring screws they are not that hard to lift up. Depending on the width of the pieces I’ve seen some that simply opening a door on the cabinet could lift the cabinet off the cleat. Usually it’s a hard bump from below, or similar that can unseat them. With the weight well supported on the cleat, and just 2 screws into the back panel, and into the wall studs you will be locked down.

Anything else is usually more work, and $$$$$ both.

-- Think safe, be safe

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Jim

5 posts in 352 days


#6 posted 05-21-2018 07:58 PM

this was just what I was looking for – thank you all.

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jbay

2493 posts in 984 days


#7 posted 05-21-2018 08:08 PM

I have had some issues with the cleats that have the 45 degree cut for the gripper.
the law of physics will say that the 45 degree will provide a constant pulling like a wedge.

- John Smith

There s another law of physics regarding material failure. Sharp angles are weak, and those corners are doomed to fail. There s a reason French cleats have been the standard for generations — they work.

Here s the part I m talking about. The grain will be running along the angle. Theoretically at a perfect angle like that (which doesn t exist in reality) the strain becomes infinite. It will begin to separate in one or both of those corners and it will open up and then fail.

- Rich

I’ve always cut mine at a 30 degree angle.

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Rich

3349 posts in 674 days


#8 posted 05-21-2018 08:16 PM


I ve always cut mine at a 30 degree angle.

- jbay

You’re a rebel! :)

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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jbay

2493 posts in 984 days


#9 posted 05-21-2018 08:26 PM

One problem with french cleats is not having a flat wall. The angle cut allows the top cleat to catch on the bottom cleat even if the wall is not flat. It may not seat completely down but will still catch.

With Johns method the cleats would never mesh, unless the walls are flat.

Yes Rich, I’ve always been a rebel.

View nkawtg's profile

nkawtg

280 posts in 1336 days


#10 posted 05-21-2018 08:33 PM

I like your solution, and it makes perfect sense.


I have had some issues with the cleats that have the 45 degree cut for the gripper.
the law of physics will say that the 45 degree will provide a constant pulling like a wedge.
with a couple of cuts on the table saw, 3/4” stock would be much stronger as the
weight of the object being supported will be only in the downward direction – and not pulling.
but like Rich mentioned: the more screws = the better.
Jus my Dos Centavos

.

- John Smith


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johnstoneb

2994 posts in 2257 days


#11 posted 05-21-2018 11:32 PM

I built that tool cabinet several years ago. Hung it the way Pekovich recommended. It took two of us tho hang it. No problems it is tight to the wall.
I did run several screw thru the back into the studs after it was hung.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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BlasterStumps

805 posts in 524 days


#12 posted 05-22-2018 02:04 AM

I also built a version of that cabinet, although modified to be a little larger. I made wings instead of the doors on the side. I did not hang it on the wall. It is sitting on a sturdy ready bench with nine drawers. I did fasten it to the wall at the top so I didn’t have to worry about it tipping forward.
Mike

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View clin's profile

clin

912 posts in 1081 days


#13 posted 05-22-2018 03:23 AM

A French cleat is as strong as screwing directly to the wall. It comes down to having enough screws into the studs. For a heavy cabinet, it may not be possible to put enough screws in a single cleat. And, multiple cleats are really tough to do properly so that the weight is evenly shared.

So I agree with Bruce’s method of also securing to the wall once it is initially hung on the cleat. If it is unusual heavy.

As far as lifting off a cleat, this is only going to happen with something very light weight. I’ve never seen a cabinet so light that you could accidentally lift it off a cleat. My shop cabinets are on cleats, and those things won’t move unless I’m intentionally trying to move them.

I get how people see French cleats as less secure. And of course they are, in that they can be lifted up and off the wall. But gravity has proven very reliable, and as long as the item is reasonably heavy, your not going to accidentally bump it and knock it off. And if your not convinced, run a screw or two to prevent it from being lifted.

-- Clin

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woodbutcherbynight

5491 posts in 2494 days


#14 posted 05-22-2018 03:51 AM


I ve always cut mine at a 30 degree angle.

- jbay

Okay I will bite what’s the advantage?

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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jbay

2493 posts in 984 days


#15 posted 05-22-2018 04:14 AM

I ve always cut mine at a 30 degree angle.

- jbay

Okay I will bite what s the advantage?

- woodbutcherbynight


I guess it’s just a mental advantage. I have no proof that it is any better.
I don’t know why it has to be a 45?

I like that it gives me a heavier shoulder (at the point there is more meat) and if I have to slide the cabinet left or right I think it moves a little easier without having the sharp point of the 45 wedged in tight.

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