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Questions re french cleat hanging system

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pooka

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I plan to hang the majority of my hand tools on the wall of my workshop, and I reckon that using boards suspended via french cleats makes the most sense. However, I have never used this method of hanging anything before, and I haven't been able to find any information online which answers some of my basic questions about it. Basically, I have been wondering the following:

- What depth and thickness should I use for the cleats?

- Is a 45 degree angle on the mating pieces of wood adequate or is there a better choice of angle?

- Is birch plywood suitable for the cleats or should I use a hardwood (or would pine suffice, even)?

I will probably mount a hanging rail of 2m to 2.5m on the wall (preferably one piece, but may have to opt for several pieces if the wall proves to be too irregular - the wall is plastered blockwork). From this I was thinking of suspending several boards of in or around 600mm x 300mm. I had been thinking of using 1-inch thick birch plywood for the cleats, with the mating edges angled at 45 degrees, but testing its reliability by loading it with my "precious" hand tools is likely to keep me awake the first few nights (a bit like when I first filled my 125 litre aquarium sitting on top of the cabinet that I made for it - given the option, I'd probably have chosen to have several paper hand-towel companies on speed-dial for the first few days!).

For the hanging boards themselves, I was considering 12mm plywood in the hope that it will be strong enough without adding further weight - should I be considering 18mm plywood instead? Also, I have seen some photos of hanging boards which are angled, rather than hanging vertically, and I wondered whether there is any advantage to adding such an angle (assuming that the method of attaching tools to the board is strong and reliable in the first place)?

As regards the types of tools that I plan to hang, it consists of the usual things like chisels , planes, measuring tools, etc. The bulk of the weight is likely to be the chisels (about 14), the planes (6 or so), and the hammers (about 5).

Thanks for any advice.
 

Les Mahon

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Pooka,

Plywood will be fine, I use MDF to do this, in fact my kitchen cabinets are held up this way using MDF (That's the way they came from the supplier) and they hold way more weight than you are talking about.


This guy has done the same:
http://benchmark.20m.com/workshop/ShopTour/shoptour.html

and as the following to say on it:
http://benchmark.20m.com/plans/FrenchCleat.pdf

I like his idea for having the cleat ad a number of heights right round the room as it allows the whole thing to become modular.

HTH
Les
 

Steve Maskery

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Hi Pooka
I have all my stuff hung this way, including some kitchen cabinets holding a good weight. One did fall off a couple of years ago (full of nuts and bolts and other metal stuff) but it was the cabinet failing, not the cleat.

I use ordinary pine, 6x1, bevelled at about 30deg down the middle

The great thing about it all is that you can rearrange them to suit as you buy new machines and move things about etc.

Dont forget you will need a kicker on the bottom to keep the boards firm and upright.

Cheers
Steve
 

Shady

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Pooka - what they said. Mine are great thick lumps of old bed slats etc. Do remember that the whole is only as strong as the weakest link - which in my case is probably the attaching of the cabinet cleat to the cabinet... i use glue and screw and clamp overnight before putting any weight on. As to wall board, I reckon 12 mm might be a little thin if you're gonna hang lots off it: that said, I do tend to 'overinsure'. Why not compromise on the 5/8ths stuff that most kitchen cabinets are made out of?
 

pooka

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Thanks for the help guys, that answers a lot of my questions. Do any of you use angled hanging boards and if so would you recommend that as an approach to others?
 

Midnight

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Pooka... french cleats are among the strongest and most versatile ways of mounting anything to a wall. I've used both 3/4" pine and 12mm birch ply for cleats successfully; rip the donor board in half at a bevel, secure one part to the wall, the other part to the cabinet in question (using glue and screws as Shady suggests, and forget em, job done...
 

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