In a previous post, I wrote about installing a French Cleat system. Why?
It’s Cheap! (when plywood is on sale at the Home Depot)
It’s Easy! (or at least it should be)
It’s Cool! (because it’s wood, I’m in a woodshop after all)
The deciding factor was this. The Home Depot had 3/4 inch plywood on sale for $34.00 a 4′x8′ sheet. This is not to be missed. Saving $15.00 a sheet is a big deal to me. Oh, and one more thing, they do the cutting, so I don’t have to. Yep. I had them cut an entire sheet of plywood into 15 eight foot long three inch strips…and I was glad I did. The guys behind me waiting to get something cut? Not so much.
Installing this should be easy, and now that I’ve done it (with the help of a friend) it will be in the future. We worked out a few bugs, and got things going smoothly. As always, there are tips;
1) Make sure to hit the stud the first time!
2) If you are having issues with regular screws, don’t wait until you have messed up six or seven times to get a different screw.
3) Make sure you are level!
4) It’s always good to have a buddy help.
So, here you go. I installed three rows of 13 foot long cleats along the “main wall” of my shop. My goal is to park all my wood working hand tools there. Planes, hand saws, chisels and measuring tools. If I have room, I will put more up there. Here is a shot:
Here is the 13 foot french cleat on my shop’s “Main Wall”
I cut these strips at the standard 45 degree angle, trying to leave a little ledge at the end of the bevel. I sanded them to 150 grit, then installed.
So thoughts. now that I’m finished;
THOUGHT: It will be tough to hang stuff so near my garage door track.
RESPONSE: Fine. Now I know where to put stuff I don’t use often.
THOUGHT: I know, my workbench is pretty far out there, making reaching a little tough
RESPONSE: Hey, I pretty tall. I have the reach, and more importantly, I have a ladder
THOUGHT: They look good from this angle, but don’t look too closely
RESPONSE: I’m human…and you are pretty critical!
Just kidding. I learned quite a bit on this. What did I learn?
IT’S GOOD TO KNOW #1: My garage wall has two sheets of drywall throughout. That means the screws need to be a little longer to hit a stud. That means longer screws. The regular drywall screws and shiny wood screws at Home Depot just weren’t cutting it. We must have broken off four or five standard zinc woodscrews. My buddy Bob suggested deck screws…and I’m buying for our next three lunches. It was a brilliant idea. Yes, they are about three or four dollars more than drywall screws, but they are worth it. I didn’t lose a single deck screw.
IT’S GOOD TO KNOW #2: I’ve been using cordless drills to put screws in for years. Thought they were fine, so fine that I have three or four (maybe five or six) floating around my shop. Well, I recently purchase an impact driver for work, and it has completely changed the way I think about screws. What a difference! The screws go in the wall about five times as fast, and the driver doesn’t want to twist my arm around like my drill does when I get stuck. Where have you been all my life? Here is a shot of my pretty new impact driver. Before you give me crap about Ryobi, I have several Ryobi drills and am pretty much locked into their battery system, so it’s Ryobi for a while…
Impact driver and cordless drill. Old school to the right, New school to the left. I love the new school.
Oh, how I love thee. I don’t know where these have been hiding all my life, but after 43 years, I’m ready to commit. I love my impact driver and deck screws. I’m even blushing as I type this.
I also added three strips on a smaller wall in my garage. I am planning on putting table saw accessories here. I have some off cuts in the cleat so you can see how they fit.
Here is the french cleat installed on my “short wall” I have left some cutoffs to show how the system works. I plan to install hangers for table saw accessories here.
Darnit, my shop is still dirty. Now you know why I’m installing table saw accessories here. Oh, don’t you love my bandsaw storage system?
So, in closing, rememeber, Deck Screws and Impact Driver. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll start builing attachments to hang stuff. I’ll keep you posted. I’m also excited to install french cleats in Bob’s garage next Saturday, now that we have worked out all the kinks in mine it should be quick work. Hey, wait a minute! Now I know why he was so excited to help me out…Maybe I’ll just pay for two lunches.