Tuesday, May 5, 2015

French cleats starting to show results

I'm currently teaming up with three friends to put French cleats in our garages, basements, and workshops.

Here's a simple hanger I made for my
spirit level. It's made with a dowel,
a scrap of plywood, and crucially,
a small block ripped at 40 degrees.
Here is the level hanger after setting
it on the cleat, which is has the same
40 degree angle on it..
For those of you don't know about French cleats, I've included a couple of pictures showing how they work (and I recommend a look around YouTube). It is essentially a strong, flexible storage system for your walls that you can easily make yourself to suit your task.

Aaron, Kevin, & Matt, If you are reading this, your cleats are
ready. Here they are shown sunbathing after I cut them to length.
I have also got 75' of extra ready for hangers.
 Over the weekend, I cross cut french cleat stock to length for all the places it going. I did the crosscutting outside with 2 sawbenches and a panel saw. This is very pleasant work for a sunny day, and great low-stakes practice for sawing to a line.
Here I have some cleats grouped by which wall they are going on.
Since then I moved a light switch plate and did some painting in my basement, then got a few cleats up and a few things on the cleats. So far I've only got 36 lineal feet of cleat up on the wall, out of a total of 190' that's ready for my basement.

But I'm already extremely excited at the possibilities. I've got four things hanging already and I really like how it works. Mounting things with a flat rear surface to the wall couldn't be easier. I just cut off a couple blocks of clean and screw them into the back. If I leave the screws a little loose at first and then put it on the wall, two separate corner blocks will easily fall into alignment  before tightening them. Anything that hooks into the wall locks in with a satisfying solidity.
A few things already on my wall. These are things I already had, but now can be positioned more effectively. On top of the box you can see my spacer jig for mounting the cleats.

Although I've been excited about the concept of French cleats for quite some time now, the geniune article is better than I expected. I think the coolest part is when you actually stand in front of them, lift something substantial, and easily set it down on your wall with the confidence that it is not going to move on its own. I am looking forward to years of improvised hooks, shelves, boxes, cabinets, and any other storage I think to put on my walls.

In another post to come soon, I will discuss the details of  materials and methods chosen for this miniature manufacturing run of french cleats.

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