Introduction: French Cleat Wall With Clamp Racks | How to Build - Woodworking
Shop organization is paramount in a small one-car garage workshop. With woodworking, comes lots of tools, clamps, and miscellaneous things that need to be neatly organized so you aren't looking around trying to find whatever it is you're looking for. Spend more time making and less time searching for everything you need. To make this possible I created a french cleat wall in my shop to allow for easy organization of all my woodworking clamps. Please keep reading to learn how I built my french cleat wall as well as a few different versions of clamp racks.
Step 1: Measure & Initial Cuts
I start out the project by measuring out every 5 inches on a sheet of 3/4-in Purebond plywood.
Then I use the track saw to crosscut all of the pieces that I just marked out. If you don’t have a track saw, you can make the cuts with a circular saw and straight edge.
Step 2: Cut the Cleat Pieces
Then I head over to the table saw to crosscut the pieces in half using a 45-degree angle so that I get two pieces out of each board.
I use a sanding block to take all the hard edges off the boards and get ready to mount them up.
Step 3: Install a Temporary Stop Block
Since I used a thin plywood on the walls, I decided to glue and screw the cleats directly onto the studs.
I level and temporarily attach a straight edge stop block so that all of the cleats are aligned.
Step 4: Mount the Cleats
Then I run a bead of glue on the cleats and use a level to make sure the spacing is on point before I shoot a few 1 1/2 brads to hold them in place while I pre-drill and screw the cleats into the studs.
Step 5: Attach the Cleats
I pre-drill and screw the cleats to the studs using 1 5/8 deck screws.
Step 6: Cut the Pieces for the First Clamp Rack
Now that the wall is finished, I can get started on making a few different types of clamp racks for the cleat wall.
I took some inspiration from a few different sources for the clamp racks I start by breaking down some ¾ Purebond plywood to use for the pieces that will hold the clamps.
Step 7: Measure and Cut
Next, I measure and mark the locations for the cuts I will need to make for the angled brackets. I can get two angled pieces out of each larger section of plywood.
Then I use the track saw to cut them into two pieces.
Step 8: Sand and Cut the Points
I quickly sand the pieces to break any sharp edges, then it’s over to the miter saw to make the final cuts.
Step 9: Mock-up the Placement
I used the bar clamps to mock-up the placement of the brackets on the backer board so I could get the proper spacing in between the clamps to keep them from hitting each other in the racks.
Once I space out the rough locations to mount each of the brackets, I use my tape measure to refine all the measurements so I can accurately cut out the backer board.
Step 10: Attach the Brackets
I will glue the brackets to the backer board and secure them with 1 ½ in brads using my cordless brad nailer.
Before I attach the inner brackets, I will test fit the clamp one last time to ensure the placement is correct.
Step 11: Pre-drill and Screw
Then I’ll finish attaching the two inner brackets with brads and finish them off by pre-drilling and screwing them into place with 1 ⅝ in deck screws.
Step 12: Securing the Back Cleat
I’ll take the entire piece over to the wall to mark the rough location for the back cleat and then use a tape measure to ensure the placement of the cleat is level.
Then I glue, nail, pre-drill and screw the cleat to the clamp rack.
Step 13: Hanging Up the First Rack
It's finally time to hang the first rack on the wall, and it fits like a glove.
Onto the next clamp rack.
Step 14: Rack for My Pipe Clamps
I am using a different approach for this rack because it will be used for storing pipe clamps and will need to be a bit sturdier than the previous one.
I used some of the angled brackets that I made at the beginning of the video and attached some smaller pieces of plywood to the tops that will support the clamps.
Step 15: Efficiency Is Key
I found this way to be more efficient because I used the same amount of angled brackets, but I was able to store 30% more brackets than the last clamp rack.
Step 16: Secure the Brackets
I follow the same procedure as last time: glue, nail, pre-drill and screw everything in place.
Step 17: Attach the Cleat
I attach the cleat to the back of the clamp rack and then get ready to hang all my pipe clamps up on the wall. Check out the video I posted on my process for assembling pipe clamps.
Step 18: Hang the Second Rack
The rack goes up on the wall with no issues and no I am 2 for 2 so far.
Step 19: Process Set
Now that I have a system going, the process is much quicker and I was able to take what I learned from the first two racks and apply any fixes to the two F-style clamp racks.
I use the same process for making the angled brackets as I did for the first two racks: breaking down the plywood into more manageable pieces and then I cutting them down again on the miter saw.
Step 20: Trying a New Method of Clamping and Cutting
After measuring out the cuts on the plywood I wanted to try something different for the rest of the cuts.
So I taped the pieces together and took them to the miter saw to make the angled cuts, then I stacked them all together and cut off the points from the front of the brackets so no one gets hurt.
Step 21: Streamline Productivity
I set up a quick stop block on the miter saw so that I could cut out all of the top pieces quickly.
Step 22: Sanding for Days
I used my orbital sander and some 150 grit sanding disks to round over all of the edges on the top and angled bracket pieces.
Once everything was sanded it was time for assembly.
Step 23: Assembly
I started by gluing the top pieces to the brackets and used the backer board as a spacer so the top pieces have more stability in the long run.
I nail the top and angled pieces together and continue on assembling the other angled brackets and tops.
Step 24: Assembly Continued
Once all of the pieces were put together I started laying out the brackets using the clamps to ensure that I have the proper spacing in between each bracket.
Step 25: Final Assembly
And then attached the assembled pieces onto the backer board using glue and screws, and also predrilled and ran two screws into the tops of the brackets to keep the top pieces secure.
Step 26: Measure and Install Back Cleat
Then I measure and install the cleat to the back of the rack.
Step 27: Hang Them Up!
Then it’s over to the french cleat wall to hang up the rack for the 12-inch f-style clamps.
As well as the rack for the 6-inch f-style clamps.
Step 28: Wrapping Things Up.
I hope you enjoyed this shop project. This wall is great for organization. I always know where everything is at and there is room to expand and create new pieces to hang things on the wall. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below, I would love to hear from you!
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