Introduction: French Cleat Wall & Storage Loft

Picture of French Cleat Wall & Storage Loft

In my shop there is a small area I share with other tenants with some food storage and a fridge and microwave, so I decided to close it off to keep the dust out and add a bunch of wall and loft storage space.

The frame is all 2x4 construction, fastened together with 3" deck screws (because I had an excess on hand). It was fastened to the walls with 3" deck screws and to the floor with concrete anchors in a powder actuated gun. The french cleat panels were used in my last apartment for storage and I moved them with me to my new place, but the fit perfectly in my shop. The door was salvaged from my grandparents house when I built them a newer, beefier door. Enjoy!

Step 1: Padding Walls & Layout

Picture of Padding Walls & Layout

I start out by padding the existing exterior wall so I have a flat surface where my new wall will attach. I also attach a stud directly to the wall which is where my newly constructed wall will join with the existing wall.

I measured out from the wall and marked on the floor where my new walls would go. A line is drawn at both of the new walls to align the sill plate on the floor.

Step 2: Building & Installing 1st Wall

Picture of Building & Installing 1st Wall

What a stud... I batch cut the wall studs to length. I determined the height of the wall by measuring the overall height I want, then subtract 3 1/2" for the ceiling thickness and 3" for the top and bottom plate to get he stud length.

I measure out on the top and bottom plate every 16" for the studs, then mark both with my speed square.

I assemble the wall on the floor. I decided to screw the frame together because it makes it easier in the future if I want to take it apart and change the configuration in the future. Note that the bottom plate is pressure treated because you want anything that's touching the slab to be protected from rot.

When the wall is assembled, I lift it into place against the stud that I attached to the wall.

I start attaching the wall by screwing it into the stud padding that is attached to the wall.

I plumb the wall by moving the bottom in or out from the existing wall using my 4' level.

Once it's plumb, I fasten the wall in place with a powder actuated gun. This shoots a nail through the sill plate and into the concrete slab, holding it in place.

Step 3: Building & Installing Loft

Picture of Building & Installing Loft

The ceiling frame is a bit larger so I have to build it upright, but it's the same idea as the wall frame.

Once it's assembled, I lift it up into place. Note the blocking I attached to the existing wall to hold the ceiling up temporarily. This holds it in place while I'm screwing the frame to the wall and only have 2 hands. I use ledger lock screws to give me a really secure connection to the existing wall.

I clear up some floor space by loading up the loft a bit. These are some old beech logs that are likely going to be turned into bowls.

Step 4: Installing Fench Cleat Panels

Picture of Installing Fench Cleat Panels

Time to unbury my french cleat panels! The French cleat panels were originally built for storage in my last apartment. They were built with relocation in mind, so when we moved, this was the perfect new home for the panels. They are just made from 3/4" plywood with 3/4" plywood cleats every 7" or so.

I screw the panels to the wall. The first panel goes in full size and then I cut the other panel to fit in the remaining space.

Oh french cleat panels, it's good to have you back!

Step 5: Building & Installing 2nd Wall

Picture of Building & Installing 2nd Wall

I measure for the studs on the filler wall. I do this by putting both plates on the floor and measuring the distance between them. All of the studs are cut to a different length because concrete slabs are never flat and I want to ensure that the loft remains level.

I build the wall and then attach it in place. This is going to be the wall to the right of the door and there will be a small section to the left too.

I sized this wall in order to fit the remainder of the french cleat panel, so I attach this in place.

The wall to the left is built to leave a section open the width of the door plus 1/2" to allow for the hinge and door movement.

Step 6: Installing the Door

Picture of Installing the Door

I then install the door in place. The door was salvaged from my grandparents house when I built them a newer, beefier door. They thought I had just thrown the old one away :)

For a header over the door, I just install a 2x4 on the flat. This doesn't really offer any structural support, but it acts as a surface for the paneling I'm going to attach to the outside face of the wall.

I then use some 3/4" pine and install it around the perimeter of the door to act as a door stop.

The old mortise lock hardware adds to the cool aesthetic.

Step 7: Installing Pallet Wood Paneling

Picture of Installing Pallet Wood Paneling

I cover the wall in rosin paper before attaching the paneling. I'm using pallet wood with some voids in it, so this works to cover the entire surface to keep the dust out of the room.

Just to make it harder on myself, I decided to install the pallet wood at a 45 degree angle. This was all material I had processed before and was planed flat on the back side.

I just attached it with finish nail in a nail gun.

Step 8: Loading Up the Wall & Shelving

Picture of Loading Up the Wall & Shelving

Time to start loading it up! Starting with my essentials - my clock and Kyle Toth Calendar.

I add an extended top to one of my french cleat boxes for a home for my drill press. This is somewhat temporary since I'd like a larger unit some day, but this will work for now.

Another necessary part of the display is my "Jimmy Diresta Ice Pick"!

The main storage wall is going to hold clamps on the top and hardware on the bottom. The metal hardware I used here was actually old retail fixturing acquired when a local Eastern Mountain Sports store closed shop.

The shelving boxes are the same ones I used with the french cleat wall previously. They are just simple boxes made from 3/4" plywood and screwed together. A cleat is screwed to the back to hold it in place on the wall.

All of my main hardware is in these huge peanut butter jars. It's great to have it all visible and at easy access. I've been saving these jars since college... four big college dudes can eat an impressive amount of peanut butter!!

Step 9: Glamour Shots

Picture of Glamour Shots

In case you missed the link to the build video, I'll drop it down here too!


cliffyd (author)2017-03-06

totally awesome! I voted for 1st place with this one.

TiendaA (author)2017-02-23

Now, all you have to do is come to our house and build mine! (hehehe)

pappy.smurf.22 (author)2017-02-22

I think you did a great job. my shop is small. I love to see how other people have made space saving spaces.

4nsikart (author)2017-01-27

correction. The cleat edge angle

4nsikart (author)2017-01-27

what angle was used to make the clear a

jivaldi (author)2017-01-16

Desde Argentina CAPO !!!! What is the name of this tool with explosive attachments? Where can I buy it in the USA? I have a friend who lives in Miami and travels to Argentina continuously and can bring it to me. Thanks Jackman. My email

JackmanWorks (author)jivaldi2017-01-16

That's a powder actuated gun you can get here:

jivaldi (author)JackmanWorks2017-01-16

Thanks Jackman !!

MarkO142 (author)2017-01-16

Hey I recognize that door! The re-purposing is sweet; I wonder how long the glass will last before it succumbs to an errant 2x4?

Johnboy5550 (author)2017-01-12

Good Looking work.

How did you attach the french cleats to the plywood, just screw or did you also glue them?

I have a gift (??) of seeing problems ( unfortunately not always not in time for myself). Nice glass panel in door.. right next to a drill press that might catch on material and spin it right off the table... Just a thought...

Keep up the nice work!

JackmanWorks (author)Johnboy55502017-01-13

I have an older build video building the panels (

As far as the glass next to the drill press, if I'm able to smash it I'm doing something wrong :)

tytower (author)2017-01-07

It all has application in my 3 sheds I really like the french cleats idea . Hav'nt seen it as such until now!

jeanneambro (author)tytower2017-01-12

You could try this sandwich bag solution, or even use snack-size bags for the really small stuff.

JackmanWorks (author)tytower2017-01-11

Yeah! It would be perfect for a shed

jeanneambro (author)2017-01-10

Fabulous idea! I love French cleats! They are practical in so many applications. But this is a whole new level, and now I know what to do with my jar collection. Thanx.

JackmanWorks (author)jeanneambro2017-01-11

Thanks! I always hated throwing away jars, so glad I saved them

I used screws to attach my Jiff jar lids to the bottom of shelves then screwed the jars full of screws, nails nuts etc. into the lids leaving the actual shelf for other things.

I don't think I could fit more jars on my wall :D

Modern Rustic Workshop (author)2017-01-07

Very cool! This looks awesome!

Thanks so much!

Dui ni shuo de dui (author)2017-01-07

Beautiful clever and seems quite easy to do. I really like the little stand you made for the drill press, I'll probably keep this idea in mind for mine.

Definitely! It looks way more complicated than it actually is

bwatt1 (author)2017-01-07

great idea.

JackmanWorks (author)bwatt12017-01-11


AlexB117 (author)2017-01-10

INCREDIBLE, Good looking, sturdy and multipling the room available to storage things..
Wish I had the time, the room, the tools and the knowledge to do it... oh man! I got nothing. :)

JackmanWorks (author)AlexB1172017-01-11

ha! thanks for checking it out

Rani_Z (author)2017-01-10

Nice build, and excellent video production quality! I really enjoyed the little extras, Luke the caterpillar! Lol I'm following, so I look forward to your upcoming projects. Oh... this storage wall is a crafter's dream!

Rani_Z (author)Rani_Z2017-01-10

Sorry... typo. LIKE the caterpillar... although I suppose his name could be Luke. Geez...

JackmanWorks (author)Rani_Z2017-01-11

haha the Luke the caterpillar stole the show :)

charlessenf-gm (author)2017-01-10

Would have like more detail on the French Cleating System design and measurements. Nice job, however - neatly done. Looks as if you've a place for everything!

Check out the build video at the top where it might make more sense to see them in action vs the photos.

I also have an older video when I built the panels (

microfarm (author)2017-01-10

Really enjoyed your step-by-step visuals and commentary on the partition. Door was beautiful and meaningful. Video was super! I'm going to insist that my husband watch as well since he also has mastered doing "the two-person job" by himself with clever supports and clamping techniques. We've always collected plastic jars (dry roasted cashews) for screws, nails, bolts, etc and have many many too many (since we ate the contents)! But we use them all. Please send link to your woodwork, bowls or whatever it is that you make.

JackmanWorks (author)microfarm2017-01-11

Thanks! You definitely have to get clever to work by yourself, but you get used to it after a while and take if for granted. Now I'll get funny looks whenever I work with someone and forget I have another set of hands :)

You can check out my full portfolio here:

mrdhg (author)2017-01-10

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing. Great project.

JackmanWorks (author)mrdhg2017-01-11

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for checking it out

JohnD316 (author)2017-01-10

Nice looking but I'm sure that I am not the only one who wants to ask so, please show details about what the heck French cleats are and how they are made.

JackmanWorks (author)JohnD3162017-01-11

Like what Mark said, check out a couple of photos in step 8. Also check out the build video at the top where it might make more sense to see them in action.

I also have an older video when I built the panels (

markk136 (author)JohnD3162017-01-10

Step 8 second last picture i think hould explain it.

Jagerin (author)2017-01-10

I love French cleats. Nice job and soundtrack :)

JackmanWorks (author)Jagerin2017-01-11


deluges (author)2017-01-10

AMazing job and video, love the way you finished the wall around the door! Instantly voted, favorited and subscribed. You gave me a lot of ideas, thanks.

JackmanWorks (author)deluges2017-01-11

Thanks so much for checking it out and thanks for the votes!

tacman7 (author)2017-01-10

I've been looking for clamp storage, I'll have to have a closer look.

I live in California, I don't think I would have all those glass jars sitting on a shelf without a rail to hold them in for earthquakes.

JackmanWorks (author)tacman72017-01-11

That's funny, it's not even something that crosses my mind here in Rhode Island.

They're plastic peanut butter jars though so even you should be fine :)

EspenB2 (author)tacman72017-01-11

Screw the lid onto the shelf above and the glass jars can hang from the lid. + you will always have to return the jar to its right location!

cmc6 (author)tacman72017-01-10

Pastic jars. My grandfather's shop had the lids screwed to the ceiling then would srew in thr container. handy, effective, and same visual management to see what was available and quickly accessible storage.

About This Instructable




Bio: I've been "making" for 10 years now - Jackman Works was founded in 2009 to showcase my creations and I have been growing it a ... More »
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