DIY French Cleat Router Shelf (& Bit Storage)

Ditch the router clutter. This easy French cleat shelf keeps your handheld router and bits organized and accessible. Step-by-step plan included.

Handheld router and bits stored on a DIY French cleat router shelf

Are you tired of playing router roulette? You know the game I’m talking about—the dreaded “Where did I put my router?” and the constant struggle of rummaging through drawers for bits.

Take control of your workspace with this simple, DIY French cleat shelf. This easy-to-build solution keeps your router and bits neatly organized and ready for action, saving you time and frustration.

I’ll show you how to create this clever storage system in this step-by-step guide.

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Inspiration for this French Cleat Router Organizer

I recently installed a French cleat wall in my garage. It’s the perfect space for organizing tools that didn’t have a home in my small workshop.

Related: How to Make a French Cleat

To elevate my organization game, I built this French cleat router shelf. This space-saving solution stores my handheld router within easy reach, and built-in holders keep my ¼ and ½ inch bits neatly organized and ready for any woodworking task.

You may also enjoy learning how to make this tool shelf and jigsaw holder.

Front view of a DIY router holder hanging on a French cleat wall

What Wood Should You Use?

While I usually reach for pine to build many of my projects, this router shelf came together using leftover plywood from making my French cleat wall, tool shelf, and jigsaw holder.

Hand removing a router bit from a DIY French cleat router holder

What Tools Do You Need?

I used four tools to make my router organizer.

  • Table saw: I used my table saw to rip the plywood to width, but you could use a circular saw and Kreg Rip-Cut instead.
  • Miter saw: I used my miter saw to cut the router holder’s parts to length.
  • Pocket hole jig: I used pocket hole joinery to assemble the shelf.
  • Drill: I used my drill to make the pocket holes and drive the pocket hole screws.

I also used my drill press to make the bit holder holes, but you could use a handheld drill instead.

Closeup of a DIY French cleat shelf's bits and bit holders

How to Make a DIY French Cleat Router Shelf

Printed Plan

Get the FREE plan here (includes detailed instructions, measurements, and bonus tips)

Materials

Tools

  • Tape Measure
  • Kreg Multi-Mark
  • Table Saw or Circular Saw and Kreg Rip-Cut
  • Pocket Hole Jig
  • Drill
  • Drill Press
  • Countersink Drill Bit
  • ¼” Forstner Bit
  • ½” Forstner Bit
  • 1” Forstner Bit

Step 1. Make the Base

This project is made entirely from leftover plywood. I recycled scraps from my previous French cleat tool shelf and jigsaw holder builds to save on materials.

Using my table saw, I ripped a piece of plywood to width.

Related: 21 Table Saw Safety Rules (& Mistakes to Avoid)

Ripping a piece of plywood on a table saw

I cut one piece to length for the base using my miter saw.

To give the project a more refined look, I marked the corners for 45-degree angles following the diagram in the printed plan.

Marking the edge of a workpiece for an angle cut

After adjusting my miter saw to 45 degrees, I cut both corners.

Using a miter saw to cut an angle on the corner of a workpiece

The base has a hole to accept the router’s bit. Following the diagram in the printed plan, I marked its location.

TIP: Measuring from both directions ensures the hole is centered from side to side.

Using a pencil to mark the location for a hole

Using an awl, I made a starting point for the drill bit.

Related: What is an Awl? (& How to Use It)

Using an awl to make a starting point for a drill bit

My drill press didn’t offer enough clearance between the column and spindle to make this hole, so I used my handheld drill instead.

After installing a Forstner bit in my drill, I clamped the workpiece to my workbench.

Related: What is a Forstner Bit? (& How to Use It)

I positioned the bit’s spur in the indentation I made with the awl.

To minimize chipping on the backside of the hole, I drilled partially through the material until the spur barely emerged on the other side.

Drilling partway through a workpiece with a Forstner bit

Then, I flipped the workpiece.

Flipping a workpiece to drill from the other side

I aligned the spur in the newly created hole, and finished drilling from the other side.

Using a Forstner bit to drill the remaining way through a workpiece

The base has holders for five ¼ inch bits and five ½ inch bits. Following the diagram in the printed plan, I marked their locations.

Marking a French cleat router shelf's base for bit holders

Using an awl, I made a starting point for the drill bit.

I started by installing a ¼” Forstner bit in my drill press.

Since I wanted the holders to be half an inch deep and the plywood was three-quarter inches thick, I used a clever trick to set the drill press depth: I placed a quarter-inch thick piece of scrap wood on the drill press table.

I lowered the drill bit until its cutting edge touched the scrap, ensuring it would drill precisely the desired depth into the plywood.

Adjusting a drill press's depth

With the bit in position, I adjusted the depth stop.

With the drill powered off, I double-checked its function, ensuring it stopped when it touched the scrap wood.

With the drill still off, I lowered the bit into the indentation I made with the awl, clamped the base to the table, and drilled the first hole. I repeated this step for the remaining ¼” holes.

TIP: Forstner bits work best at moderate pressure and speed. Going too fast or applying too much force can lead to overheating, resulting in a damaged bit.

Drilling holes into a workpiece for a French cleat router shelf's bit holders

I switched to a ½” Forstner, followed the steps I used to set up the ¼” bit, and drilled the remaining holes.

Following the diagram in the printed plan, on the opposite side of the bit holders, I marked the locations for pocket holes that connect the base to the sides.

Marking the location for pocket holes

I set my pocket hole jig for ¾” material and drilled one at each mark.

Related: How to Use a Pocket Hole Jig (& Beginner Pitfalls to Avoid)

Drilling pocket holes with a pocket hole jig

Step 2. Attach the Back

The back and sides are the same width. Using my table saw, I ripped enough plywood to width.

Using a table saw to rip a piece of plywood to width

I switched to the miter saw to cut the back to length.

Following the diagram in the printed plan, I marked the locations for pocket holes that connect the back to the base and sides.

Using a pencil to mark the locations for pocket holes

Using my pocket hole jig, I drilled one at each mark.

I clamped the back to the base and attached it using pocket hole screws.

Using a drill to drive pocket screws

Step 3. Attach the Sides

Using the remaining material from making the back, I cut two pieces of plywood to length for the sides.

Following the diagram in the printed plan, I made marks at the bottom and the top, and connected them with a straightedge.

Using a straightedge to mark an angle

I used my sliding miter saw to cut the angles. If your miter saw has a smaller cutting capacity, you might need to use a circular saw instead.

TIP: I set a stop so I could repeat the cut on the second side.

Making an angle cut with a miter saw

I clamped the sides in position and attached them using pocket hole screws. 

Attaching a French cleat router holder's sides using pocket hole screws

Step 4. Attach the French Cleat

I cut a French cleat to length and clamped it in position.

Related: How to Make a French Cleat

I marked the locations for countersink holes and used an awl to make a starting point for the drill bit.

Then, I used a countersink bit to drill a hole at each mark.

Drilling a countersink hole in French cleat

Related: How to Use a Countersink Bit

I attached the cleat using wood screws.

Attaching a French cleat to a router shelf using screws


Final Thoughts

With this French cleat holder, those days of “Where did I put my router?” and frantic bit-searching are over. Your router will be readily accessible, and your bits will be neatly organized and within easy reach. So grab some plywood, follow the steps in this guide, and reclaim your workspace today.

Don’t wait. Get your free plan (including the detailed instructions and measurements) now!

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