French Cleats

In April I rearranged the basement/garage/workshop to have a second office and to put our 100w CO2 laser on a real chimney. These moves consumed my clean workshop space for drawing, crafts, and electronics.

All of the storage bins for small parts got put onto carts on wheels, it was impossible to find anything quickly and without any desk space (and with one-now-two kiddos) it meant that it was pretty difficult to work on that type of thing. This lack of space and time to work on things I used to love was really weighing me down emotionally.

This week I got it back! I merged my desk with some wall space and a couple more small tables, and I put french cleats on the walls and adjacent rolling shelves and tables. This was super easy with pre-finished 3/4 plywood and a table saw. All the french cleats took a couple of hours.

I have been super happy to have everything on casters that's on the floor, and now I have casters for the walls!

The whole workspace is cubicle-shaped and it's near enough to my desk that I don't think I'll ever need to put a laptop on the workbench to do embedded work.

Next up was mounting the small parts storage on the cleats, and that was also super smooth. I wanted enough cleats to cover all the small parts and to leave plenty of workspace cleats too.

I have just started building the custom doo-dads and tool holders for the near-bench storage. So far I have:

A screwdriver rack: Custom build to hold 21 drivers. A full set of philips and slot, and a few others that I use pretty regularly.

A solder station: Just a glued box

Several akro-bins adapters

Canister Clamps:

One canister for pens and pencils, one for pliers-like things, and one for the multimeter

Spool Holder: I'm happy about this but it could be much better.

Lessons about french cleats:

  • Stability comes from tall parts. short parts (like the screwdriver rack) really want some kind of locking mechanism. The easiest for me is a rough wedge that is pretty close to the right size
  • Stability of the rail is greatly increased by putting the anchor closer to the top cleat than the bottom 90'. This should have been obvious but it wasn't.
  • Every 16" is plenty of space for the rails, 12 would be better, 32 is far too much.

Bonus: A small parts bin for the kiddo, full of bubbles, a slinky, cotton balls, etc. All the stuff that is fit for a toddler.

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Issac Kelly