Blog Post

This time I’m building some storage for my clamps on a new french cleat wall. Function over form!

When we moved into this house, I screwed a piece of scrap wood on the wall with some 2×4’s just to temporarily hold my clamps. To get started, I removed that rack and a bunch of other stuff that got piled in front.

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I grabbed one of my pipe clamps and measured the thickness.

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Using a scrap board, I sketched out roughly how I wanted the slot to be. The clamps will sit on the rack without having to clamp down on it.

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I grabbed a bit that was just barely larger than the pipe and drilled out the hole.

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On the band saw, I cut out the rest of the slot.

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This is how the clamp will sit, but it was way too far in. I made another mark where I thought it should be and tried again.

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I drilled out the whole and notched out the rest of the slot.

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That fit much better. Then I marked out how close to the wall the camps could rest.

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I cut to the line on the miter saw since it wasn’t very long. Then I flipped the piece and cut the two sides off. Don’t put your hand next to the blade. Notice how I used a long scrap to hold the tiny block down before cutting.

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This was the final template, and it fit great.

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Now I needed a nice long piece of plywood to make the final rack, as well as the French cleats. I headed to the storage shed and found a few contenders.

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After bringing in the plywood, I decided to make the French cleats first. I ripped the wood down into 5 inch strips. These would then be cut in half with a 45 degree angle.

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French cleats consist of two strips cut to the same angle. One is attached to the wall and the other locks into place from above.

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Using the digital angle gauge, I brought the blade down to 45 degrees, but it really doesn’t matter what angle you choose.

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I cut the strips right down the middle, leaving two identical pieces. One side is flat, the other has the 45-degree angle.

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I took one of the strips to the wall and marked where the studs were.

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I lined up all the strips to the edge of the table, and then transferred the lines to the rest of the boards.

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I also roughly marked the middle of each board as a reference for where to pre-drill the holes.

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I took everything to the drill press and used a bit with a counter-sink. Screws need to be countersunk so that anything you hang on the cleats sit flat.

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I attached the first strip, making sure it was level before drilling into all three studs.

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The rest were put up the same way, using a scrap board to keep an equal space between strips.

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The French cleats were done. Now to finish up the clamp rack.

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So these were the initial tests, which led me to this one.

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I used it as a template to mark out a longer piece of ¾ inch plywood.

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I took it over to the table saw and ripped it down to width.

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I used some calipers to figure out the distance from one edge to the center of the notch.

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Doubling that number gave me the distance from center to center. Starting from the first point, I measured out all the points, and marked them out with a pencil.

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I also marked the distance from the front.

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Back on the drill press, I drilled all the holes using a forstner bit.

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And just like before, I made the two cuts to open the slots from the front.

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I added some glue and drilled in a piece of cleat. I didn’t have a long enough one so I combined two shorter ones.

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I also glewed and screwed a board to rest on the front of the wall cleat, which prevents the rack from tipping forward.

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I attached three blocks to strengthen the top and prevent any sagging over time.

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Once the glue was dry, I hung the rack on the wall and tested it with my full body weight.

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I hung up all the bar clamps, finally getting them up and out of the way.

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My Project Tools

DRILL PRESS

BAND SAW

MITER SAW

TABLE SAW

IMPACT DRIVER & DRILL

LEVEL

DIGITAL ANGLE GAUGE

CALIPERS

 

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