man using French cleat to hang heavy mirror on wall
Photo: Jim Gorman
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1. Hang Heavy Stuff

Studs never seem to be where you want them when putting up an oversize mirror or installing a wall-mount cabinet. And your usual hangers, like nail-in picture hooks or large-thread drywall anchors, tend to rip out under loads greater than 25 pounds. No worries. If the wall hanging is wide enough to span two studs, you can support it with a French cleat, even if it's off-center. Here's how to make one:

1. Run a length of ¾-inch plywood through a table saw with the blade at 45 degrees, creating a beveled lip on one edge. Cut the strip in two.

2. Screw one strip, its lip facing up and away from the wall, to the studs. Check to assure level.

3. Secure the other strip to the wall hanging, with the lip facing down and away.

4. Lift the wall hanging into place so that its beveled strip interlocks with the opposing one on the wall. Paint the strips' exposed ends to match your wall color.

Shown:The beveled edges of two plywood strips fit together, forming a cleat to support hefty wall hangings.
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