French cleat strength - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-20-2019, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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French cleat strength

How much weight will a French cleat support? Planning on attaching a 48" shelf. The cleat will be made from MDF, but accepting suggestions there. Will be attached to studs 16" on center. Any experience with metal Z clips as an option? There will be some corbels at each end to help keep shelf from tipping forward.
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-20-2019, 04:32 PM
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The strength is directly proportional to the size of the boards used to make the clear. And how well you have the part on the wall fastened to the studs.


If the shelf is strongly fastened to its half of the cleat, the cleat will hold far more weight than you could reasonable place on one shelf.


You will be fastening to 4 studs. You could probably make a setup that would hold 1,000 pounds.


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post #3 of 9 Old 08-20-2019, 07:53 PM
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I put a French cleat around the 3 available walls of our shop and I used 1x6's with 3" long screws into each stud. My guess is it will hold a LOT of weight.

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post #4 of 9 Old 08-20-2019, 09:27 PM
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I have been looking at French cleats as well.

I would not use or recommend MDF for French cleats. I can think of several ways for them to fail, including giving them time under load.

I plan to use hardwood boards for my French cleats, because they are stronger than plywood (even Baltic Birch). I just bought a few maple boards, but have not put them up.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-20-2019, 10:05 PM
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You can see part of our French cleat in this photo. It's actually dead straight and level but the panorama photo makes it look a bit odd -

Ferrari Red and Black French cleat -
French cleat strength-shop-12-5-17.jpg

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post #6 of 9 Old 08-21-2019, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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follow-up

Thanks for all the help. Any comments or experience with the various metal clips (Z clips) used for this purpose? They seem quite simple to use.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-21-2019, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ortho1121 View Post
How much weight will a French cleat support?

How much weight do you need it to support?
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-23-2019, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Between 75-100 lbs.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-24-2019, 02:31 PM
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A French cleat does not add any additional strength, it will hold as much weight as the fasteners in each half will support. It is basically a convenient way to hang something such as a cabinet or framed mirror on a wall.
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