showing how a French Cleat works.If there is one small trick you pick up along the way, let it be how to use a French Cleat. It is an amazingly strong, versatile, and easy mounting system for almost anything. We use them for hanging awkward pictures, window boxes, birdhouses, and odd and ends around the shop.

The concept is simple. Start with a strip of wood, 1″x3″ works pretty good.  Put a 45° angle on your table saw blade and rip the strip of wood down the center.  This will give you two roughly equal-sized pieces with a 45° bevel on one edge.  One piece will be attached to the wall, the other gets attached to whatever your hanging up.  Then just hook the pieces together as shown in the diagram at left.   That’s about all there is to it.  If you’re hanging a very long picture, you may want to mount another block near the bottom of the picture so that it hangs clean and straight.Showing French Cleat in action

To the right is a photo of  a couple of our drying racks.  We’ve mounted a long strip to the wall, and short strips to the racks.  This way we are able to adjust the spacing of the racks to accomodate different sizes if necessary.  We also have hangers for other purposes that will mount on this cleat, making it very functional and versatile.

These cleats are perfect for hanging cabinets or cupboards.  First, you can level the cleat on the wall, without having to fight with the cabinet. Second, the cabinet is held in place while you secure it to the wall.

Here’s a nice video blog that uses the french cleat as the basis for an entire storage  rack.  Well worth watching in my opinion, he has some good ideas and quickly demonstrates how easy french cleats really are.