Author Topic: French Cleat Thickness  (Read 2122 times)

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Offline MTbassbone

  • Posts: 54
French Cleat Thickness
« on: July 11, 2021, 12:37 AM »
I am thinking about building a smaller French cleat wall using plywood to store hand tools.  Do you think I could do so with 3/8" plywood or is that too thin?   Also I need to attach to brick.  Does anyone have recommendations to do so?

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Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 1288
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2021, 12:58 AM »
Personally I use 3/4" poplar. I would not go under 3/4" unless you use it to hang a few screwdrivers.
Mario

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 3020
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2021, 01:03 AM »
What is the expected load? I've made cleat of similar thickness out of poplar. My tool cabinets are approx. 6" (D)×10"×20". One keeps spokeshaves...will find some photos later.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2021, 01:05 AM by ChuckM »

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 4209
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2021, 08:50 AM »
I have a strong preference for 3/4" maple or Douglas fir.  In certain circumstances, I might go for 4/4 or 5/4, depending on potential loading. 
- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Online Alex

  • Posts: 7740
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2021, 09:05 AM »
3/8'' is way too thin. 3/4'' is the bare minimum but should suffice as long as you're not putting your anvil in.

A full hardwood cleat is also better than plywood.

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1141
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2021, 09:06 AM »
If you're going to do it might as well do it future proof. Who knows maybe you'll want to hang a jobsite table saw or MFT table on the cleat wall some day. 3/4".
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 3020
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2021, 10:12 AM »
MY MISTAKE: OP is talking about a storage wall, not cabinets. [poke]

In that case, 3/4" would be my choice, nothing less.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 5305
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2021, 10:15 AM »
For cleats screwed to the wall you can get away with plywood. If the cleat is through bolted to the load you could use plywood again but if the cleat is just glued to the load I wouldn’t trust plywood.

A brick wall is the worst circumstance for a French cleat hanging system.

Keep in mind that the cleat on the wall has to project from the wall at least as much as the thickness of the cleat attached to the load, and it must be straight, so a 3/8” cleat on brick will be very difficult to make work. A nice straight hardwood cleat shimmed and bolted to the brick is the way to go. And don’t scribe the cleat to the brick. Also, make sure there are no bricks sticking out past the brick side of the wall cleat that prevent the load cleat from fully seating on the wall cleat, not just in the vicinity of the cleat but the full area of the load, especially if the load cleat is set in to the back of the load.

Offline jarbroen

  • Posts: 394
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2021, 10:44 AM »
My favorite material for cleats is 3/4” Baltic birch ply. I always have scraps laying around from other projects and it’s just about as strong as hardwood. Also, less prone to splitting when you have narrow cleats.

Don’t know about brick, but I’ve used Tapcon screws to secure my cleats to my concrete garage wall.
You might want to consider a plywood overlay for the brick and attach the cleats to the plywood.

Offline MTbassbone

  • Posts: 54
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2021, 11:50 PM »
Here is what I envisioned.  A base with a plywood bench top, and then have a sheet of plywood parallel with the wall for the French cleat system.  The bottom edge would rest on the bench top so the majority of weight would be on the bench.  Then add a filler piece on the back of sheet so I don't have to combat the irregular nature of the brick work. I am also considering peg board as I already have some of the hooks, etc. Thoughts?  Please discuss.

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 4209
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2021, 07:58 AM »
Here is what I envisioned.  A base with a plywood bench top, and then have a sheet of plywood parallel with the wall for the French cleat system.  The bottom edge would rest on the bench top so the majority of weight would be on the bench.  Then add a filler piece on the back of sheet so I don't have to combat the irregular nature of the brick work. I am also considering peg board as I already have some of the hooks, etc. Thoughts?  Please discuss.

You're never going to get a sheet of plywood to align properly to any surface as irregular as a brick wall.  Period.  Full stop.  If you absolutely insist on putting french cleats on a brick wall, be prepared to spend hours getting the hardwood stationary cleats straight, spaced, aligned and plumb using copious shims.  Drill through the brick to hit solid studs and use GRK RSS screws for structural strength.  Alternatively, build a normal framed wall of truly straight lumber, not the big box store crooked junk, and hang the cleats from the new structure. 
- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Offline MTbassbone

  • Posts: 54
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2021, 10:32 PM »
If I put 4-5 spacers using 3/4" material between the brick and a sheet of 3/4" plywood essentially to remove the variability of the brick?  Would the 3/4" sheet of ply sufficiently hold weight of tools on the French cleats?  Is this too much stress to put on a brick wall?  I am thinking about building a bench first and try make it so the bench would take most of the weight.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 741
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2021, 05:40 AM »
If its just light to medium weight items I would use slat wall.  Not sure where in the world you are but HD, Menards sells it.  It comes in 4x8 sheets so you can just Tapcon it to the wall.  Its similar to French cleat system and there are tons of hooks and hangers made to work with it.  Its very popular in retail stores to hang merchandise on. 

Slat wall

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 854
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2021, 12:35 PM »
If you need thinner than 3/4", then try using the commercially available aluminum versions. 

There are hundreds of variations available and a huge range of pricing (Amazon.com is no bargain for this item).

https://www.google.com/search?q=aluminum+french+cleat&client=firefox-b-1-d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjF6tnDj6fzAhUyEVkFHS5PDTgQ_AUoAnoECAEQBA&biw=1600&bih=775&dpr=1




Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 3020
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2021, 12:57 PM »

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 854
Re: French Cleat Thickness
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2021, 01:13 PM »
I've seen Ikea's Sektion hangers.  Can those be used as a french cleat?  Their 84" rail is just $15.00.  They sell clips too.  But there are no detailed images that I can see, so I don't know if they will work for anything other than an Ikea cabinet.