Little Creek Maple Farm

Our adventures around the homestead.

Garage Work Shop Storage – New Age French Cleats

I have been busy in the garage the last two weekends.  Now that the wife and I have decided that the “Little Creek Woodshop” is officially in my half of the garage its time to get organized and make the most efficient use of my limited space.  Now once everything is organized I will be able to turnaround the wife’s woodworking projects in a much more timely manner.  The current wood shop projects are a French cleat style system to hang various fastener bins, clamps, and other wood working tools and some base cabinets and counter tops that in can slide my mobile miter saw cabinet into.  Now this was something that I discovered on Pinterest and the original Pin can be found here.  If you are not into the whole Pinterest thing, you can find the blog article on the American Woodworker Blog about Hyper-organizing your workshop.  Below are some draft sketches I have been working off of.

New French Cleat SketchBase Cabinet Sketch

First up the cleats.  I had picked up a four sheets of 3/4” poplar veneered plywood that my home center had for a reasonable price.  I have also never seen poplar as a face veneer at the box stores.  Typically they carry B/C pine/fir or birch, maple, and oak for something a little nicer grade.  Nonetheless four sheets of 3/4” plywood and one sheet of 1/4” plywood.  The cleats are straight forward I ripped the sheets crosswise with a circular saw and a fence so I had two sheets 25” wide by 48” long.  These are much easier to handle by yourself on the table saw.  I set the table saw fence to 3” and proceeded to rip eight lengths of 3” plywood strips 48” long.

Plywood Strips

As you can see below I tried to be cool and I made sure numbered each one in the order I cut it off the sheet.  While looking good in principle, once these cleats are spread out on the wall 6” apart you don’t get the same effect, and not to mention the idea here is that they will be covered up with shop storage items.  I will be using this technique when I cut the drawers and doors for my base cabinets though.

Poplar Plywood Grain Layout

One other thing that I did was to chamfer the top edges of the 3” wide plywood strips, you can see this in a later photo.  This was on the American woodworker blog so I did the same.  I am guessing it allows an easier time for hanging things on the cleats.  I followed the same steps above for cutting the 1/4” sheet of plywood only this time I rip the 48” strips 2” wide and there is no need to chamfer anything.  As you can see below, I laid the 2” wide strips on the 3” wide plywood and made a quick pencil line so I knew where to glue.

French Cleat AssemblyFrench Cleat Assembly

I used 5/8”, 18 gauge brads to tack the 1/4” plywood strips onto the 3/4” plywood strips while the glue dries.

Craftsman 18 gauge brad nailer

The finished cleat below prior to mounting on the wall.

American Woodworker French Cleat

I predrilled all of the cleats at 16” on center, located the wood studs in my wall and marked them vertically with a pencil line.  I than measured up the wall for my first cleat which I started approximately 36” up the wall.  With this first mark I used a 4’ level to run a level pencil line across the wall.  I put one screw in and attached the cleat to the wall.  I then put the level on top of the cleat to re-check that it was level prior to driving home the second screw.  With the first cleat installed I made a three spacer templates out of 1/4” hardboard. Each one is 6” high, no real science behind the dimension and the American woodworker blog doesn’t give a spacing dimension so I just chose something that would give be plenty of room to slip on the things I will be hanging on the wall.

French Cleat On Wall

With the three spacers on the lower cleat, it makes it a breeze to attach each additional wall cleat.  You just need to make sure the first cleat is level and you should be good.  Being a perfectionist, I still checked with my level as I went.

French Cleat On Wall

Now it was time to see how well this system works.  I had a couple of these cheap plastic fastener cabinets so I ripped a couple 3/4” strips 3” wide, and this time the 1/4” strips were 4” wide.  I glued them together and tacked them with some brads.  I marked the holes for the cabinet mounting screws and made sure everything was snug.

Fastener CabinetFastener Cabinet

With the wood cleat on the back of the plastic cabinet I took the whole thing over to the wall and hung it up.

French Cleat Installed on WallFrench Cleat Installed on Wall

As you can see below I started to hang some items and the cleats held really well.  The cabinets were loaded with fasteners so they are not light.  Now as time and material allows I will add more items to the cleats.  Next up some base cabinets  and re-working one of my existing shelving walls to accommodate those cabinets.

Fastener Storage Cabinets


February 9, 2014 - Posted by | Woodworking | , , , ,


  1. I am territorial when it comes to our garage. I definitely have an area which I consider mine. What my wife does not know is that I am planning an invasion into her territory. 🙂

    Comment by Jeff Branch | February 9, 2014 | Reply

    • I consider my wife’s side of the garage like Switzerland, neutral! If I need the space for a project the car sleeps outside…that typically only works when it’s not snowing, or when the project requiring the space is hers, HA!

      Comment by billcarpenter4 | February 9, 2014 | Reply

  2. Love it! We have been provided an opportunity to reorganize the garage because of a broken water pipe. 🙂

    Comment by Judy @ GrandparentsPlus2 | February 10, 2014 | Reply

    • Bummer on the broken water pipe, but it sounds like a good opportunity. Once you get started I am sure you will be surprise by what you find!

      Comment by billcarpenter4 | February 10, 2014 | Reply

  3. Very cool. I wouldn’t think that the 1/4″ would be enough to hold heavy loads, but I guess it probably doesn’t take much of the load, just keeps it against the wall while the 3/4″ takes the load? I would love to reblog this if it is ok with you.

    Comment by Homestead Dad | February 10, 2014 | Reply

    • Yeah everything was surprisingly pretty sturdy. The hard part is going to be planning how to hang everything on the cleats in the various holders. First however I have some cabinets to crank out. Please feel free to reblog if you would like.

      Comment by billcarpenter4 | February 10, 2014 | Reply

  4. Reblogged this on homesteaddad and commented:
    Relatively easy and clean way to create a hanging system for your shop or garage. Pretty sure I will be doing this soon in the shop.

    Comment by Homestead Dad | February 11, 2014 | Reply

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