Introduction: French Cleat Wall & Storage Loft

About: I have an unhealthy relationship with pallet wood. I make fast paced and entertaining build videos on my YouTube channel that are made for everyone, but with the ultimate goal to get the younger generations ex…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Epilog Contest 8

First Prize in the
Epilog Contest 8

Shelving Contest 2016

Third Prize in the
Shelving Contest 2016