• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

A French Cleat question

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

bp122

Expert at Jibber-Jabber
Joined
20 Aug 2019
Messages
736
Reaction score
322
Location
Haddenham
Hey guys

After having my Bs400 bandsaw delivered at the end of last week, I have realized that the old ikea book cabinets that I have hung horizontally on the wall are taking up a lot of room vs the amount they store, sucking and blocking the light (just two LED panels on the roof) below them and restricting the room I can have available if I am able to push the likes of the drill press and the bandsaw to the wall.

So decided to look into the french cleat option (although I never saw the point in them until quite recently, now suddenly I see that as the best option for flexibility, simplicity and the advantages it gives me in terms of the above problems I mentioned.

I have two long brick walls (one two brick and one one brick thick) which are the ones to be cleated, the third wall is short and is just hardboard over some studs and is covered up with three old kitchen cabinets and the washing machine and tumble dryer - so not worried about that wall for the moment.

My questions are:
1. Do I attach cleats directly on to the wall using wall plugs or do I fix two vertical pieces to the brick wall using the wall plugs and then screw on the horizontal cleats to them?
2. Or should I use OSB layer to achieve the same result as above?
3. What material do I use for the cleats - (ply / softwood / hardwood / melamine faced chipboard (got tons of the stuff)) and what thicknesses?
4. If I am screwing the cleats on to a wooden part (vertical strip / OSB), what sort of screws (dia, length) is a minimum requirement (or what to be avoided)


I plan to use the cleats for: (just an idea, it WILL be changed / watered down)
1. Hand tool storage (chisels, screwdrivers, squares, marking tools, levels, pliers, hammers, mallets, at a stretch some metal hand planes, full socket and spanner set)
2. Some power tools such as jigsaw, angle grinder, RO sander, bench grinder (only for storage, usage will be when fixed to the workbench) + accessories for all
3. Clamps (8x bessey K body, small QR clamps)
4. Possibly some jigs (spline jig for frames, shooting board, sharpening stuff, and more to come)

I have assumed I will be putting away some of the above which are not so frequently used in cubby holes / boxes and out of the way.

I look forward to your suggestions and recommendations.

Best regards
BP
 

Gordon Tarling

Established Member
Joined
25 Apr 2021
Messages
176
Reaction score
64
Location
S. Lincs
My own very limited experience - I screwed my cleats to a sheet of ply which I attached to the wall - OSB would also work well. Use screws long enough to go through the cleat and JUST through the ply. I made my cleats from ply, but I did also take off the very sharp point which this left, but probably a good idea with cleats made from any type of wood.

G.
 

bp122

Expert at Jibber-Jabber
Joined
20 Aug 2019
Messages
736
Reaction score
322
Location
Haddenham
My own very limited experience - I screwed my cleats to a sheet of ply which I attached to the wall - OSB would also work well. Use screws long enough to go through the cleat and JUST through the ply. I made my cleats from ply, but I did also take off the very sharp point which this left, but probably a good idea with cleats made from any type of wood.

G.
Cheers, Gordon.

Would you say, in case of the cleats you are installing first on to a ply / OSB sheet, would it be a good idea to screw them from the back so that they go through the backing material and into the cleat? Does that serve any advantage?
 

Droogs

Is that chisel shar ... Ow
Joined
14 Mar 2013
Messages
5,074
Reaction score
2,009
Location
Edinburgh
Drill into the brick wall using the metal tube type plugs. M6 or M8 size is usually enough. Just remember the hole in the board to be fixed to the wall has to be the size of the threaded bolt and not the size of the barrel (that goes completely into the wall) only the threaded bolt should stick out.
MDF is surprisingly strong but I generally use either 18mm Ply or Oak boards. My heaviest cabinet with all the tools in it weighs around 200kg and is held by 4 M6 anchors.

I used this type

 

Gordon Tarling

Established Member
Joined
25 Apr 2021
Messages
176
Reaction score
64
Location
S. Lincs
bp122 - I don't really see much point in doing that - why make things more complicated than they need to be?

G.
 

bp122

Expert at Jibber-Jabber
Joined
20 Aug 2019
Messages
736
Reaction score
322
Location
Haddenham
MDF is surprisingly strong but I generally use either 18mm Ply or Oak boards. My heaviest cabinet with all the tools in it weighs around 200kg and is held by 4 M6 anchors.
Do you mean MDF for the backing sheet or the cleats themselves?

Also, the fixing you mentioned, I think I have some of that type (maybe M8) somewhere. I'll dig them out.

Finally, do you just have the one cleat and have hung the cabinets / toolholders from it or do you have an array of cleats like most YouTube cleaters do?
 

Droogs

Is that chisel shar ... Ow
Joined
14 Mar 2013
Messages
5,074
Reaction score
2,009
Location
Edinburgh
MDF for the cleats on my saw-till & sandpaper cabinet, both the for the wall and fixed to the back of the cabinet, all the rest are ply (handtool cabinet, router cabinet and sunderies {bolts, nuts etc} apothecary cabinet) and Oak for the cleat holding up the plane till.
I have a seperate cleat for each cabinet that fits inside the outer panels rather than a single long one along the wall as each cabinet was made and fitted and refilled over a period of several months. Also meant I didn't have to cut out big divits in the back of each cabinet and once in place they would not be getting moved sideways at all as they are all part of a fitted cabinet design and each is made to fit in a specific place on the wall in a specific order. My cabinets are ~950mm high and cover the wall from about 5' up.

Pics below

 

clogs

just can't decide
Joined
24 Jul 2020
Messages
1,195
Reaction score
609
Location
Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
this is my nuts n bolt racking....normaly has more stuff on it.....hahaha....
good use of French cleats.....
mine are made of 3/4 ply for the weight carrying and 1/2 for the intermed/end panels panels.....
these were made of off cuts from shuttering board....
all done in a bit of a rush......
ps, need a bigger rack now....
prob more than 10 years old now and still as strong...all the boxes are glued and brad nailed together....
as for fixing to the wall dont use OSB as it's rubbish for that kinda job, better to use MDF..but better yet ply....
If were talking "Thunderbolts" they are only good in solid concrete and not in shear loading unless there are a lot of them in a designed pattern.....
I use Thunderbolts in fixing rolling gate tracks and certain fitting on solid concrete pillers but NOT in shear loadings...
IMG_2309.JPG

DSCN2114.JPG
 

Sachakins

The most wasted of days is one without woodwork
Joined
4 Apr 2020
Messages
895
Reaction score
566
Location
Liverpool
Have a look at this YouTube channel, called specific love creations, he's nuts about French cleats. Look under his playlists, he has about 15 vids just on French cleats, here's one as an example.

 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
22,289
Reaction score
2,435
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
If were talking "Thunderbolts" they are only good in solid concrete and not in shear loading unless there are a lot of them in a designed pattern.....
I use Thunderbolts in fixing rolling gate tracks and certain fitting on solid concrete pillers but NOT in shear loadings...
I've used them for twenty years in stone, concrete blocks and brick, I've not had a problem. I have a quarter tonne aquarium on 6 x 6mm ones.
 

Sideways

Established Member
Joined
26 Dec 2017
Messages
1,617
Reaction score
448
Location
United Kingdom
This old post shows how I tackled french cleats for workshop storage.
It made sense for me to fasten the cleats to a sheet of ply, which was first fixed to a brick wall with vertical battens in between to allow ventilation.
I later blocked the bottom of the air gap without thinking about it and got some mould + rusting as a result.
French Cleats

cleats.jpg
 
Top