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post #1 of 22 Old 05-01-2018, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Question French Cleats

Thanks to all of you who gave me solid advice on selecting the wall surface(s) in my new shop. While I'm still waiting for the HVAC, electrician and insulation guys/girls to show up and finish, I'm contemplating covering one 14' end wall (4' concrete stem wall) and about 12' of a side wall that includes an 8' window, with Pine, knowing I will get some spreading from the inevitable shrinkage. I'm thinking about covering the gaps with 1X4 Pine, the upward edge cut at a 45 to create French Cleats. I've never used French Cleats before but I like the idea of the flexibility for installing future shelves, tool holders, clamp racks, etc.

How far off base am I?

Last edited by eaglecap; 05-01-2018 at 06:04 PM. Reason: grammar
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post #2 of 22 Old 05-01-2018, 06:47 PM
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that will certainly work - but give a gander at "Proslat" type systems. basically plywood sheets with horizontal slots. the downside is the accessories, which can get pricey.

for the smaller area I would go with thick tempered pegboard. old fashion perhaps - but very useful & flexible.
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post #3 of 22 Old 05-01-2018, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eaglecap View Post
Thanks to all of you who gave me solid advice on selecting the wall surface(s) in my new shop. While I'm still waiting for the HVAC, electrician and insulation guys/girls to show up and finish, I'm contemplating covering one 14' end wall (4' concrete stem wall) and about 12' of a side wall that includes an 8' window, with Pine, knowing I will get some spreading from the inevitable shrinkage. I'm thinking about covering the gaps with 1X4 Pine, the upward edge cut at a 45 to create French Cleats. I've never used French Cleats before but I like the idea of the flexibility for installing future shelves, tool holders, clamp racks, etc.

How far off base am I?
What do you mean about covering the gaps?
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post #4 of 22 Old 05-02-2018, 08:24 AM
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I went with this system. Being a DIY guy, it was (and is) perfect for me.

Hyperorganize Your Shop
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... turning perfectly good wood into firewood every day ... :smile3:
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post #5 of 22 Old 05-02-2018, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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I'm assuming that the pine boards will shrink, creating gaps between them. The board cut for French Cleats would serve like a horizontal board and bat. Does that make sense to you?
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post #6 of 22 Old 05-02-2018, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Perfect! Thank you. I know I could do it with plywood as well, I'm just looking for some of the character that pine boards would add (plus, I have a good source of inexpensive pine). I'll have to plane one side and cut the 45's, but I'm hoping there will be some satisfaction in doing it myself instead of buying slat board.
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post #7 of 22 Old 05-02-2018, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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and I just noticed the cup holder............even better ;-)
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post #8 of 22 Old 05-02-2018, 04:44 PM
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I did mine with pine, not plywood. Back in the day when I was doing mine, the web page was better, in that it wasn't behind a pay wall, so it was more clear how the whole system worked and was set up. I'm happy to share what I know about it with you if you are interested.

... turning perfectly good wood into firewood every day ... :smile3:

Last edited by Chris Curl; 05-02-2018 at 04:52 PM.
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post #9 of 22 Old 05-03-2018, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Chris,
I'd be interested if you'd care to share more insight. I'm bound to muck up something, so the less I have to learn the hard way, the better. And Thank You!
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post #10 of 22 Old 05-03-2018, 02:56 PM
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Sure! It is called a "hook and slat" system.

The system is based on the "slats". In the pic, they are the lower, lighter wood colored pieces. The slats are attached to the wall, the hooks are the components that are held in place by the slats. They are made by either (1) attaching 2 pieces together using glue or screws, or (2) you can use a router to create them.

The "hooks" are the upper, darker wood pieces shown below. In the quick example below, I created a hook with a fey holes in it ... say for screwdrivers, or whatever. You can create any kid of hook you can imagine.

The opening of slat is just a tad wider than the hook. That allows the hook to slide into the slat easily. The hook is also a tad shorter than the slat opening. That helps to allow for debris (think sawdust) to settle in the slat and still hold the hook.

The details are not firm ... by that, I mean that you can make the slat opening 9/32" wide, and the hook 1/4" wide. Or you can make the slat opening 1/4" wide and the hook 7/32" wide ... whatever is easier.

I made my slat openings 9/32" wide. That allows me to use a 1/4" piece of <whatever> for my hooks. For some hooks, I used a 1/4" piece of lauan, for others, I used the larger 1/4" thick paint stirrers. You could even use a 1/4" thick piece of steel or nylon, or anything else, so long as it is 1/4" thick. The wider/larger part of my slat is 3/4" thick (minus about 1/32") and 2 1/2" tall. I made my slats by gluing a 1 1/2"x1/4" piece along the bottom of a 1x3, and then routing about 1/32" from the top part to make the opening a tad wider.

I made the depth of my slat opening 1 1/16", so that my hooks could be 1". The slat is a total of 2 1/2" tall, with the opening being, as above, 1 1/16". You can space the slats however makes sense for you ... I spaced my slats 7" apart.

I hope that helps.
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... turning perfectly good wood into firewood every day ... :smile3:
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post #11 of 22 Old 05-04-2018, 08:36 AM
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Slats vs. French Cleats? Which is better? Why?
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post #12 of 22 Old 05-04-2018, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Carl,
Many thanks, especially for adding the pictures. Clearly, I am left with a choice to make-slats or cleats.
I have eliminated pegboard simply because I don't like all those damned holes and the flimsy looking attachments, utilitarian as they may be. Slat board is attractive enough, but it's too expensive and so are the attachments. This is supposed to be a shop,where I build stuff, right? So, why not build my own cleats? or slats..............whichever.

I am limited by the amount of 'play' I could have in a cleat system by the 45 degree cut-can't make it a little extra deep to allow for sawdust. that has me leaning toward slats (for now).
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post #13 of 22 Old 05-04-2018, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Slats vs. French Cleats? Which is better? Why?
I started with french cleats. I found it didn't do a very good job of holding the "hooks" up ... things fell off easier than I liked.

The slat/hook system holds the hooks very well, and I have never had one slip off like they sometimes did with french cleats.

At least, that was my experience.

... turning perfectly good wood into firewood every day ... :smile3:
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post #14 of 22 Old 05-04-2018, 10:12 PM
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I used to do work building cabinets for medical offices. Code here wouldn't allow any screw or fastener on the inside of the cabinet so we used French cleats to install the cabinets. To prevent the cabinets from accidentally being knocked off the wall we put a little liquid nails on the cleat when we hung it.
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post #15 of 22 Old 05-04-2018, 11:29 PM
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Here are two hooks I made ...

The first one is one to hold a pencil and measuring tape. The other one is to hold drill bits and screwdriver bits.
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post #16 of 22 Old 03-27-2019, 11:56 AM
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I know this is an older post but I have used French cleats in last and current shop. They worked so well so I hung cabinets with them in current shop. I have also seen running them in rows and can hang all kinds of stuff plus it makes it flexible to be able to adjust as your needs/shop tools change.
post #17 of 22 Old 03-27-2019, 07:27 PM
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I use a cleat system in my shop that created just over a year ago - works great for me.


After looking at the slat system it appears to me, and I may be wrong, that there is an extra failure point the cleat system doesn't have.


While the cleat system has the cleat to wall attachment, cleat to hanger attachment (the failure point), the slat system also has a failure point at the slat to wall attachment.


At least that's how it appears to me anyway.


Not saying the slat system is bad, just an observation
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post #18 of 22 Old 03-28-2019, 01:42 AM
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French cleat usage is interesting. It is more than just mounting cabinets. When I built my shop I put the cabinets on toe kicks and screws through the back into studs. The walls and ceiling are drywall. I decided that I didn't need cabinets above the bench.

Steve, The code that prohibits screws through the cabinets is a rather interesting requirement. Although I do understand the ramifications completely.

Rich
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post #19 of 22 Old 03-28-2019, 07:41 AM
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I put slatwall in my shop in a couple of areas and I really like it. There is a ton of hardware available, but I've found pegboard hardware is easily substituted and adaptable too. They sell mounting brackets like these at my local Menards that make hanging about anything fairly easy too.



https://www.amazon.com/Slatwall-Back...%2C182&sr=8-12

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post #20 of 22 Old 03-28-2019, 12:09 PM
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Thanks to everyone for sharing their knowledge and experience.

I am still trying to decide on a system. It would be nice if one system could support heavy stacks of stickered boards while at the same time be useful for gadgets, clamps, measuring tools, etc. etc. etc.

When people talk about using French cleats to hang heavy shop cabinets that are probably full of heavy tools, I think that maybe they can also hold stacks of boards. Keep in mind that cabinets can be hung on multiple rows of cleats. I do not know if the slat system would be sufficiently strong.

Here are my questions:

1. Can one system do both jobs (gadgets and stacked boards) well over the long term? I don't want to hear a stack of heavy boards come crashing down on my spouse's car in the middle of the night, okay?

2. Which is stronger, French cleats or slats?

3. I have a blank slate, and want to make the right choice only once. Which would you choose?

a. French cleats
b. Slats
c. French cleats for gadgets but purpose-built shelf supports for the stickered boards.
d. Slats for gadgets but purpose-built shelf supports for the stickered boards.

Sorry to keep raising questions, but the decision is yet to be made and I have not learned enough to feel comfortable making a choice.
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