What Is A Cleat In Woodworking? A Detailed Explanation
Any action by a carpenter has special guides and tools. For example, hanging heavy objects, such as mirrors or cabinets, the presence of a cleat is essential. It makes some people wonder about the definition of this device.
What is a wood cleat? A cleat is a wooden or metal strip that is fastened to one part of an object to hold it in place when another part is attached. You often see two types of cleats: French type and straight type.
Steel is the most popular material because it adds support and strength when mounting heavier wood cabinets.
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What Is A Cleat In Woodworking?
What is a cleat used for
The cleat is a wooden or metal bar attached to a surface, usually a wall, to help support a heavy object. You will not be able to hang a large cabinet or mirror without their help.
There are two common struts: straight struts and french struts. However, the latter is more common.
The French support bar has a 45-degree beveled top edge to slope down to the rear. You can feel the height difference by touching the top of an installed French cleat with your hand.
To support a tool holder, the carpenter attaches a second, reverse beveled stop to the back of the tool. Then place that stopper on the lip of the wall slot, and the two locking pins have bonded together successfully.
The installation of these French support bars dramatically increases the usable area of the house. The process is also relatively easy, even for newbies. All you need is basic carpentry knowledge, the ability to saw and measure accurately.
How To Construct A French Cleat At Home
Let’s explore the detailed steps to build a French support bar at home here. If you want a more visual look at the process, check out the video below.
Choosing The Material
Plywood is the most common material for making French cleats. However, you should not use poor-quality wood, such as grades C and D. They break easily and can ruin your project.
Choose Grade A or B plywood. It is thick, smooth, and less likely to warp.
The thickness of the material is also essential. If you want to store heavy items or power tools, opt for thicknesses from ¾ inch.
In contrast, the ½-inch thickness provides a clean and refined look that’s perfect for your workspace or kitchen.
Bevel cutting the plywood
Bevel-Cutting The Angles
Support bars like this have a 45-degree beveled side angle. You can do this cut in seconds if you have a table saw or miter saw available.
If you do not have the necessary sawing equipment on hand, the easiest way is to ask the craftsmen at the wood store from which you buy the materials. It will save a lot more time.
Don’t forget to mark the line to cut and set the angle carefully for those who do it at home. If the rotation is in the wrong direction, flip the board around and reset the guide.
Depending on your needs, you can decide the width of the support bar. For example, for 3-inch-wide spacers, cut plywood into 6-inch-long straight strips.
Then align the angle to 45 degrees and adjust the saw blade to tear each plank down to the center to create two supports. You will get the two necessary French spacers.
Keeping The Level
It will be difficult for you to determine the position of the bracket on the wall with your own eyes. To make sure the process goes smoothly, draw a guideline. Use a carpenter’s ruler and a pencil for this step.
Place the ruler in the position where you want to fix the support bar on the wall. Then draw a vertical line on the top edge of the device. Place another clear on top of it and continue drawing another line.
You will continue this step if you need to attach more than one French cleat to the wall. To work more smoothly, ask a friend to help you with measuring and drawing.
You will need to secure the openings to the wall so that the support rod is strong enough to hold heavy items.
Use the stud finder, locate the center, and draw a vertical chalk line from top to bottom. Its purpose is to assist you in finding the screws.
To attach a support bar, you will need a #10, three inches long screw through the slot into each nail it crosses.
To keep the toolbar along the surface of the clamp bars, recess the screw heads.
The best way is to drill a pilot hole in the lock with a 7/16 inch linkage drill.
Each drill bit hole has a wider indentation in the upper part, suitable for deep drilling of #10 screw heads.
Refinishing the French cleat
Finishing Your Support Bars
The final step in the process is sanding the slots to smooth out the splint edges.
You can paint over the surface if you want, but that’s not required. However, we recommend applying a coat of polyurethane to preserve the wood’s shine and make cleaning easier.
Don’t forget to install a short reverse clamp on the back of each support bar. If your French gear is more extensive, consider adding two or more side rails for added support and more even weight distribution.
Cleats are one of the best tools for hanging carpenter’s electrical appliances and gadgets. If you know how to use them, it will save a lot of space for your room.
The fabrication and construction of the support rod are also straightforward. Check it out and try it out at home. Don’t forget to share your results with us!
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