Consider using a French Cleat system if you are trying to find the best ways to store your tools or have a bookshelf that you struggle to attach to the wall. Instead of buying an expensive storage system, consider the flexible French Cleat system, which only needs some pieces of wood and screws.
How much a French cleat can hold depends on the nails or screws used to attach the cleat to the wall. The strength of a French Cleat is because the loads are imposed vertically in the securing screws and are determined by the snapping force of the screws.
Two standard 2×4 studs with 1-2 screws in each stud will support a weight up to 250 pounds from someone hanging on it. The cleats must be cut at the correct angles and are secured to a sufficiently strong structure.
How Do You Make A French Cleat Strong?
Before discussing the maximum weight of this unique system, we should first look at what a French cleat is and how to manufacture one.
What Is A French Cleat System?
French cleats are an ingenious system to attach things to walls. If manufactured correctly, they can hold weights that most DIY people would shy away from subjecting their walls.
French cleats consist of two strips of wood, being separated longitudinally with a 45-degree angled bevel.
One piece is fastened, beveled edge facing up to the wall with the short side facing the wall. The other part of the cleat is attached to whatever item is to be held against the wall with its beveled edge facing down and the short side facing the article to be hung.
To attach the item to the wall is simply a matter of hooking the cleat attached to the item to the cleat attached to the wall.
French Cleats use pressure against the wall, which is opposed to the object’s weight being hung, to create full strength.
Steps To Take To Ensure The French Cleat Is Strong
If constructed accurately, a French Cleat system is strong enough to hold weighty objects
with tight-fitting angles.
They must be manufactured very accurately, with equal angles and width for each cleat side.
Below Lists, The Steps Required For A Strong French Cleat
Below are the recommendations which will guarantee that your French cleat system is as strong as possible.
Attach The Cleat To The Strongest Part Of A Wall
If you attach the French cleat to a brick wall, ensure the screws are secured in bricks, not the mortar between the bricks.
If you attach the French cleats to a wooden stud wall, ensure the screws are connected to the studs and not just the drywalling.
Use The Correct Screws
Use screws long enough to go through the cleat and into the wall, and do not use screws shorter than 2 ½ inches long.
If you have a thin wall and the screws are not attached to a strong point, you must understand that the French cleat will not hold as much weight.
Use Wood With No Knots
When constructing a French cleat, avoid using wood with large knots.
French Cleats function by spreading the load across the whole cleat, and if there are large knots, it will compromise the integrity of the cleat. Over time, the knots will separate and reduce the cleat’s strength.
Make Space For Dirt And Other Contaminates
The problem with French cleats is that the cleat attached to the wall can become filled with sawdust or other contaminants.
When cutting the 45-degree angle of the French cleat, bevel the sharp edge off both sides; this will make a little gap to allow for sawdust or other contaminants which may have fallen in.
If there is too much dirt trapped in the wall cleat, you should clean this out because it will prevent the hanging cleat from attaching securely.
Use Wood With Straight Grain
Try and use wood with a straight grain pattern, with the grain pointing vertically when the cleat is laid in the installed position. If the wood has a curved grain (as most do), orient the wood to be used for the hanging cleat, so the grain turns towards the wall and not away from it.
It makes the cleat stronger and prevents the grain from splitting.
Don’t Use Wet Wood
It applies to most woodworking projects.
Only use fully dry wood. If the wood you use is wet, it will dry out and then shrink over time, which will make the cleats less secure.
Installing The Wall Cleats
When installing the French cleats, do the installation from bottom to top.
It makes it easy to support the spacers, which you will use to get an even separation of the cleats.
While talking about spacers, it’s a good idea to ensure that the vertical separation of the French cleats is a sufficient sized gap for the size hanger you are going to use and that there is enough room to remove and replace them.
The Cleats Should Be The Same Width
If you haven’t made the two cleats out of the same piece of wood, when making the French cleat, make sure the part of the French cleat you detach from the wall is the same thickness as the cleat, which is attached to the wall.
It makes the connection between the two cleats much more secure.
Be Careful If You Glue The Holder Onto The Cleat
When you glue the holder to the removable cleat, make sure that no glue squeezes out, or if it does ], wipe it off.
Not only will it stick to the wall if you try to test fit it, but any surplus may prevent a clean fit of the two cleats.
Make Sure The Holder Rests Vertically
When making the tool holder attached to the cleat, make sure that it either extends far enough to rest on the cleat below or install a small wood spacer to keep the item perfectly vertical.
It ensures the cleat stays vertical and does not impose any lateral strain on the cleat.
Attaching A Big Heavy Item To The Wall
If the tool holder is substantial, consider adding a second cleat to fit into the cleat below the one you are installing; this will mean the heavy items are doubly secured.
A French Cleat system that has been carefully constructed, with equal widths of wood and accurate 45-degree angles, provides a secure and low-cost method to tidy up a workshop or any other places where it is appropriate to attach something to the wall.
The system is straightforward to construct and well within the capabilities of a competent DIYer.