Do you want to build a French cleat tool storage wall?
A french cleat tool storage wall is a simple and fun project that you can do yourself and can be made entirely from plywood or wooden boards. Building it takes skill, proper planning, and essential tools, but the result is a clean and versatile storage system.
To cover everything in detail, we divided the article into as many sections as possible. By the end, you will have a complete understanding of how to build a french cleat tool storage wall, and keep this article as a future reference as well.
Tools And Materials That You Will Need
Before you build the french cleat wall, you must ensure you have all the required tools and materials for the job. Using the right tools and materials will save you time and make the finished project look professional.
- A table saw(if you don’t have one, then a circular saw will do just fine)
- A miter saw, or a handsaw
- A corded or cordless drill(an impact driver would be a great addition, but it’s not necessary)
- A vibrating hand sander(optional)
- Tape measure and pencil
- A spirit level
- Glasses and hearing protection
- 1-2 sheets of ¾-inch plywood, depending on the wall size and space
- 3-4 sheets of ½-inch plywood for the cleats and racks
- Wood Glue, preferably Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue
- 1 ¼-inch Philips flathead screws
- 2-inch Philips flathead screws for mounting the sheet/s to the wall
- Wall screw plugs for drywall or concrete, depending on the wall type
- Clear wood lacquer(optional)
Plan and mount the main board/s
Before you begin, plan where the tool storage area will be on the wall. Consider where power lines or water pipes are running within the wall. Also, make sure not to cover any electrical outlets in the process.
Once you’ve planned the space, mount the ¾ inch sheet/s of plywood to the wall, cutting them to measure if necessary. If the wall is concrete, drill holes with the drill and insert plastic screw plugs, to which you will attach the boards using the 2-inch Philips flathead screws.
Ensure that you secure the board/s adequately with enough screws, so add as many of them as you think is necessary.
Cut the cleats for the wall board/s
From the ½-inch plywood sheets, cut strips that are 4-inch wide, using either the table or circular saw. Measure the main board to determine how many strips you will need, depending on its height.
Once you’ve cut the strips, modify the saw to a 45-degree angle and cut the bevels. If you’re using a table saw, move the fence closer to the blade for about ⅛-inch to get the best possible angle without wasting material.
Cut the cleats for the tool mounts
Cut as many cleats as you need from the remaining ½-inch plywood sheets for the tool mounts. Take note that they shouldn’t be wider than 2 ½-inches.
Mount the cleats to the wall board/s
The next step is to mount the wall board/s cleats with 1 ¼-inch Philips screws and use a 2×4 block piece as a spacer.
Start from the bottom of the board and work your way up. Using the spacer, screw the first cleat with the screws spaced at around 16-inches. Make sure to place the screws 1-inch from the top and bottom of the cleat as well.
Make tool holders for your tools
Depending on your tools, you can make different tool holder types for your french cleat storage system. Here are some examples:
Cut strips of ½-inch plywood with 2 ½ inch width, and drill holes with an electric drill. Use different drill bit sizes for smaller or larger holes. Space the holes at appropriate lengths to accommodate as many screwdrivers as you need.
Connect the strips with additional supporting strips at a 90-degree angle, screwing them together with 1 ¼ inch Philips flathead screws, and attach them to the tool cleat you cut earlier.
Clamp rack with cleats
If you have a lot of clamps of various sizes, you can now organize them and incorporate them within your french cleat storage system.
The simplest solution is to cut a strip of ½-inch plywood with a 3-inch width and secure it to another 3-inch wide strip with screws at a 90-degree angle. Then attach the two pieces to the tool holder cleats with screws, and there you have it.
Cordless tool holders
Believe it or not, you can add cordless tool holders to your french cleat system. Depending on the size and shape of the tool, you can build an encasing for it, which the tool can slide into and stay in place.
You can attach each tool’s encasing to the tool holder cleats and add them to the french cleat wall.
Attach the tool holding cleats to the wall
After you’ve made all the necessary holders, you can process and arrange all holders on the wall, depending on your preference.
Make sure there is enough space between them, and they are not all cluttered together.
Avoid placing more massive tools near where you need to work, as you may bump into them and cause them to fall and break.
Before and during the project, make sure that you always wear eye protection and hearing protection. Never use power tools without protection, as there is always a risk of accidents happening when you least expect it.
Wearing a dust mask is also preferable, as cutting wood or plywood creates dust that you inhale and can harm your health.
Always be careful when handling power saw tools, and never place your hands close to the blade. If you’re using a table saw, use push sticks, and if you cut with a circular saw, have a clear view of where the blade travels and how it cuts. Also, ensure that the pieces being cut are securely clamped.
We hope you will find this article helpful and that we were able to give you all the necessary insights on how to build a french cleat tool storage wall in no time.
The french cleat system is very practical and easy to build and provides versatility if you’re working on the field and constantly need to remove and rearrange tools.