Cabinet and Millwork Installation

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Hanging Uppers

Dan Member

Hi All,
I am thinking about running a 4" wide. 3/4" ply strip, horizontally, on the wall at the top and bottom of my uppers. Shimming these cleats, where necessary, such they are nice and flat, and tagging two screws per stud, into the cleat. The hope is that I can then screw the cabs to these cleats in a consistent manner and not have to find studs. The thought is that the cleats will hold the cabs and the studs will hold the cleats.

Do you all think this will be strong enough?

I have mocked it up in the shop and it certainly feels strong.

#10 screws for the cleat to wall and the cab to cleat connections.

I use 1/2" backs that are glued and screwed to the uppers and I also use a top cap, bottom cap, and end panels that will all cover the shims and space between the backs and the walls.

I would make sure to find studs on particularly large upper units but am thinking of this method for the average 15-20" box.

Thanks in advance.

8/10/20       #2: Hanging Uppers ...
Tom Gardiner

I think this would be a very strong install. You could stick to #8 screws into the studs and still have more than adequate load strength. I would think 1/2" baltic birch plywood would provide plenty of screw holding for the job.

8/10/20       #3: Hanging Uppers ...
rich c.

Why not go to the European hardware system to hang them? Run the steel strip and then adjustable hangers in the cabinets. No need to reinvent the system, it's been done for decades.

8/11/20       #4: Hanging Uppers ...
james e mcgrew  Member


We do this and the top back stretcher on the cabinet sits on it then attached from inside,

done correctly is faster as the wall cleat needs to be leveled.

8/12/20       #5: Hanging Uppers ...
mark g

2 words french cleats.
We use this system on ALL of our jobs.
Uppers and lowers.
Made from 3/4" plywood.
Cheap, easy and very strong.
Only need a couple screws on the bottom of the uppers to fasten them to the wall.

8/13/20       #6: Hanging Uppers ...
D Brown

It seems that system takes about 1 1/4" of space from the interior of the wall cabinet, do you make the uppers deeper then 12" ?

8/13/20       #7: Hanging Uppers ...
mark g

Yes, they are 13 3/4 deep.
This allows large platters to sit flat instead of being put on their edge.
Also, gives a cleaner install , not seeing the nailers.I loose 1" behind the back

8/13/20       #8: Hanging Uppers ...

Have you considered a concealed hanging system? we use the hettich r215 rail & hangers. the adjustablity is nice, and in our stress testing(trying to rip the cabinets off the wall with all our might) its definitely a strong enough system. It has 1" of up down adjustment as well as 1/2" in/out adjustment.

9/5/20       #9: Hanging Uppers ...
Dan Member

Hey all,
Just wanted to check back in and say thanks for all the responses. I did end up doing this and it worked really well. Between this system and the levelers I've added to my ladder bases, the install was almost painless.

Having done this, I think I will order some manufactured aluminum cleat material and give that a go. Seems promising.

Really liking the sound of the hettich system, R215 and SAH 215, that Tyler recommended but I don't think my clients will go for the visible hardware. Its very cool to know about though and I will certainly look into it a bit more.


11/21/20       #10: Hanging Uppers ...
SteveL Member

Daniel, I'm curious what kind of levelers do you use for your ladder bases? I would like to figure out a quicker way to level these than knelling there fussing with shims.

12/2/20       #11: Hanging Uppers ...
Dan Member

Hey Steve,
sorry for the slow response,
I really like these, they have some slop but the price and install is easy.


12/2/20       #12: Hanging Uppers ...
SteveL Member

I can't seem to get the link to work.
Are they side mounted metal levelers?

12/2/20       #13: Hanging Uppers ...
pat gilbert



12/2/20       #14: Hanging Uppers ...
Dan Member

I use the Camar #301 00 Z2 00 Z2

12/18/20       #15: Hanging Uppers ...
Peter Matos

So do you just put a plug in the hole for the leveler adjustment? I have used the plastic adjustable feet/based on a lot of cabinet installs and they work great but are not accessible from the cabinet. You just tweak the height against your level line and slide it to the wall and go on to the next one. Also like long toe kick bases that get leveled and cabinets sit on top. Makes the install go pretty quickly.

Have done the wall cleat for uppers before but had mixed results with it. Sometimes the walls are bad and we wound up fighting with it to get the cabinets touching the wall everywhere they need to.

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