Apprentice Contributor
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎11-05-2009

French Cleat for a shelf

I'd like to build a shelf about 16" wide X 8 Ft using a french  cleat.  I built a 12" X 24" shelf and I don't trust it to hold any weight. It pulls away from the wall.


I cut the cleat on a 45 degree using 3/4" solid wood.


I can see hanging a cabinets this way but not so sure about a shelf.


Can Any one help?




Veteran Advisor
Posts: 651
Registered: ‎10-20-2009

Re: French Cleat for a shelf

I tend to agree with you.  I would not consider a French cleat as a good method to hang a shelf, especially a wide one like yours.

George Noeth (Gadget Guy)
Veteran Contributor
Posts: 135
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: French Cleat for a shelf

You would be better off to use a straight cleat along the wall and screw the back of the shelf down into the cleat and add some support brackets along the length.


If you haven't already done so, for a shelf this long, you might want to consider building up the front edge with some added material to keep it from sagging between the brackets.


Lastly I would make sure the wall cleat is attached directly to a couple of wall studs so it can't pull out.


A french cleat works well for hanging cabinets because the bottom of the cabinet holds the cabinet back parallel to the wall.  The top cleat is pulled down into the lower cleat attached to the wall.    A shelf has no way to keep from tipping downward because it has nothing to hold it up like a cabinet body.





You only go around in life once, and if you do it right, once is all you can stand!
Honored Advisor
Posts: 1,521
Registered: ‎10-31-2009

Re: French Cleat for a shelf

The rotational forces on the shelf will not allow this to work, 16" is a pretty good lever. You need to put in braces, either above or below the shelf.


You could build a torsion box, but 16" is still quite a bit of force.