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Power Tool French Cleat System

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If you haven’t heard of a French cleat, it is a system made up of two cleats that are cut at a 45 degree angle. One is attached to the wall, then the other is attached to the back of a holder. This way you can set the holder on the cleat that’s on the wall and gravity takes over from there.

I’ve been using the system for a year now to hold my power tools but since I just got new power tools I had to make new holders. I went ahead and took photos of each holder and also listed out the dimensions that I used incase you are trying to do the same thing. Here is a photo illustrating the French cleat.

French Cleat

Ok before I get going, a few things to Note:

  • I used 3/4″ scrap plywood for this entire build so I didn’t buy any material. The first time I built holders I used some scrap 1x pine boards so just use whatever 3/4″ scrap you have laying around. If you don’t have any scraps then I would recommend either buying one sheet of 3/4″ construction grade plywood, or buying a few 1x pine boards depending on how big your system will be. (For something as big as mine, I would buy a sheet of plywood).
  • Be sure to predrill all of the holes so you don’t split your wood. I used 1 1/4″ screws to attach the cleats on the back, then 1 5/8″ screws for everything else on the holders
  • You can check out my original post from my first system here.

The first thing I did was use my stud finder to go along my wall and mark the location of all the studs. If you are looking for a good stud finder, the Franklin Sensor is the one I highly recommend.

To make the cleats I tilted my table saw blade at a 45 degree angle. The scraps I’m using are 7″ wide but I wanted my wall cleats to be 3″ so I set my fence to 3″ then ran my board through. I set that cleat aside then grabbed the remainder of the board and since it now already had a 45 degree angle on one side, I set the blade back to 0 degrees and cut it to 3″. I will later cut more cleats but I just started with two. 1I wanted the cleats on the back of the holders to be 1 1/2″, so while I was making cleats I went ahead and cut these as well. Doing the same thing as the wall cleats.

Next I took the wall cleats to my wall and put two screws into every stud to secure it. Note: I made sure to cut the cleat so that the beginning and end landed on a stud and I used 2 1/2″ screws. 2Alright, now that the cleats were hung it was time to start making the holders.

Circular Saw IMG_8671IMG_8670IMG_8672I separated the measurements over the next two photos because it was too messy on one. I first cut the front to size and figured out where the slot for the blade and guard fell. I marked it with a pencil then cut it out using a jigsaw. IMG_8674 MarkupIMG_8674 Markup2I then cut two more boards to the same size as the front, one will be the back and the other will be cut to make up the sides. I cut two triangles at the bandsaw (just ripping the board from one corner to the other) that are at a 20 degree angle.4 I set the triangles down then attached the top and back.5 I added a 1″ lip to the bottom then also added a simple pivoting latch to keep the saw from tipping forward. IMG_8673

Reciprocating Saw
IMG_8675I cut the back to size then cut two pieces that are 1 1/2″ and drilled a few pocket holes. I set the tool in place then positioned the two small pieces so that it was supporting the tool, then I attached them with screws. IMG_8676 M

Right Angle DrillIMG_8680I cut the back to size then used pocket holes to attach the two blocks. I attached the top one first then hung the drill and then figured out where to attach the second. IMG_8681 M

Oscillating Multi-ToolIMG_8678I did the same as the last tool except I added a front block, since the nose of the tool is a lot shorter.IMG_8679

IronIMG_8682I use an iron any time I do edge banding so I went ahead and made it a spot as well.IMG_8683 M

Palm Planer, Palm SanderIMG_8684Since these tools were close to the same size I went ahead and made a single holder for them. I also stored them perpendicular to the wall just to save on space.

This design here is going to be repeated a lot because it was very simple to put together but strong enough to support the tools.

I would first cut the bottom to a size that fit the tools. Then I cut the back to 4″. I would attach the back to the bottom then hold a scrap board on the side and draw a line where it met the two other boards. I could then draw a straight line connecting the two and get these ‘wing’ looking sides. 3I used my bandsaw to cut the wing out, then used it to trace another and cut it out as well. If you don’t have a bandsaw then just use a jigsaw.

I screwed on the sides first then a cleat on the back and called it finished. IMG_8686 M

Orbital SanderIMG_8687I stored this tool vertical just to save on space, but you could very easily turn your sander horizontal and make a shelf for it. For this one, I cut the back to size, then cut two blocks to hang the tool from. I attached the left block first, then hung the tool before attaching the second.  IMG_8688 M

Drill HolderIMG_8690I cut a bottom to size then drew a straight line 3″ in. I used a speed square to go across the board and mark off each of the drill spots then just free handed a curve on the top of each space. I then used a jigsaw to cut the five spots out.IMG_8695 M

Track SawIMG_8698IMG_8699 M

Belt SanderIMG_8700IMG_8702 M

PlanerIMG_8703IMG_8704 M

Biscuit JoinerIMG_8705IMG_8706 M

RoutersIMG_8708All three of the routers are basically built the same except for the size. The size for the small and medium routers are exactly the same but the base for the larger router is 7 1/8″ x 7 1/8″. IMG_8709 MSince all three of these routers come with the same attachments, I made a box that attached to one of the holders. I made my box 2″ which is just a little bit taller than the biggest attachment. IMG_8713

ChargersIMG_8715Since I made the holder for these chargers like I did, I can’t actually remove the chargers without unscrewing that front lip. This isn’t a problem for me, since I hardy ever work outside of my shop, but if you are constantly working onsite somewhere and take your chargers with you then I recommend leaving this front lip off.

The base for my holder here is 13 3/8″ X 8″. Then I made all the sides 1 1/4″ tall. IMG_8716Same thing for these chargers, I can’t take them out of the holder without unscrewing the bar that keeps them in place. But! This does allow me to walk up to the chargers and just quickly pop a battery in or out of the station. This holder is 17 1/14″ x 5 1/2″. IMG_8717The angle on the side vertical pieces is 10 degrees. I would mark with a pencil how tall I needed these pieces to be then used my miter saw to make the cut. IMG_8719For any tools that came with accessories I grabbed a bin from my Hardware Caddy and placed it next to the tool. Check out the tutorial if you want to make some bins of your own. IMG_8721And that’s it. It does take up a lot of wall space but it’s perfect for my shop because I needed something in this area that didn’t take up a lot of floor space. So this allows me to still utilize the wall space. IMG_8726IMG_8731IMG_8735Here is just a quick before and after of this area in my shop. More changes to come!!

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If you liked this project and want to stay up to date with what I’m building, then be sure to sign up for my email newsletter and you’ll get an email when I post something new. See you soon!

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