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Ep3 - Display Shelf with French Cleat Hanger

In this episode, Dale makes a small and modern display shelf for a bedroom. He chooses pre-dimensioned timber, which is readily available.  This avoids the need for dressing rough boards down to size.  Instead of regular angle brackets, he tries out an age old technique of hanging, called a French Cleat.

He utilises quite a few of the new tools that he picked up after his recent visit to Carbatec:

  • SawStop Jobsite Saw for cutting the board to length, and rip cutting the French Cleat
  • Kreg Pocket Hole Jig 320 & a few Kreg Pocket Hole Screws for the joints
  • The Kreg 90 Degree Corner Clamp, to help hold the boards while joining
  • Wolfcraft quick action clamps, to help hold work while drilling
  • and of course, the Carbatec 1HP dust collector to keep the workshop clean.

CLICK HERE to see the products & tools used in this episode

Other consumables that were used were:  

Using pre-milled timber means that this project only involves some simple cross cuts, and some easy Kreg Pocket Hole.  The size of this projects was based on the space where it was needed.  The construction is very straight forward, with a two equal length sides, and one bottom piece, and a slightly longer (overhanging) top. 

Your finished shelf size will depend on your requirements.  You can easily make this same shelf longer and taller, by changing the crosscut dimensions.  As long as the two sides are the same, you will end up with a rectangular shelf.

Shelf Components:

  1. With the 135x19mm Tas Oak, measure & mark your bottom pieces.  It should be marked out to your desired width, less two thicknesses of your side boards.
    • NOTE: If you wanted 450mm exactly across the bottom, and your timber was 19mm thick, you would mark and cut your board at 412mm (450mm less 2x19mm)
  2. Set your saw to 90degrees to the table, and check your mitre gauge is also set at 90degrees to the blade
    • Trimming the store cut end first can avoid problems later.  These are not always 90degrees!  This is also a good way to check your saw setup.
  3. Cut your bottom board on the saw.
  4. Measure & mark your top board to desired length.
    • NOTE: As this is overhanging, finished length is not as important
  5. Cut your top board
  6. Measure and mark your side pieces, again check they are 90degrees.
    NOTE: Remember to cut first then remeasure the second board to avoid inaccurate cuts.
    HINT: If you can cut these both at the same time, this will ensure they are identical.

French Cleat:

  1. Set your saw blade to 40-45degrees to the table and set the rip fence to approx. 15mm from the blade.
  2. Using the 42x19mm pine, carefully rip the length of the pine, to form the two halves of the French Cleat.
    NOTE: Make sure you use a push stick to keep your fingers away from the blade!
    HINT: After completing this cut, it is a great idea to tape the two matching halves together in several places along their length.


  1. Layout the two sides, top and bottom on their back, on a flat surface.  This will help decide where you want the top to be positioned.
  2. Mark position for side to top intersections.
  3. We use the Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig 320, to make two pocket holes on the INSIDE faces, only on the top of each side panel.  No holes will be drilled in the top panel.
  4. We also drill two holes on the BOTTOM face, on both ends of the bottom panel.
  5. Using the Kreg 90 Degree Corner Clamp, we clamp one side panel to the underside of the top panel, in the first marked location.  Make sure your screws are on the inside of the shelf frame.
  6. Fix panel together with the appropriate length Kreg Pocket-Hole Screws.
  7. Repeat for the other side panel, but drop in your bottom panel only as a spacer to ensure alignment
  8. Now clamp the bottom panel to the bottom of the side panel with the Kreg Clamp, ensuring the pocket holes are facing down.
  9. Screw the bottom panel in place on both ends.

Screwing these joints together using only Kreg Pocket Hole Screw (selected for your thickness and type of timber) will ensure a tight joint without the need for glue.

All that is left is to cut the French Cleat to the appropriate length (by hand or on the saw), and for one half of the match pair to be glued into place and left to dry overnight.  Care should be taken to ensure you have the cleat in the right orientation, with one half on the item being hung, and the other matching half to be mounted to the wall later.  Dale glued his inside the shelf, so it was flush to the wall when completed.  CLICK HERE to see a French Cleat cross section

After the glue is dry, you can finish the shelf with your chosen product. Dale used Whittles Hard Wax Oil for enhanced wood grain and a satin/matt finish.

When your finish is dry, you can mount the other half of the cleat (with appropriate fixing for your wall and weight load required), and simply drop your new shelf into place.

CLICK HERE to watch this episode on 7plus Streaming Service