A cleat is a strip of wood or metal that is attached to one part of an object, in order to hold it in place while attaching another part. A cleat can be used in putting up such large pieces as kitchen cabinets.
Two types of cleats often used are the French cleat and the straight cleat. Steel cleats are often fastened to the back of cabinets to insure extra strength and support, when the cabinets are made of heavier woods.
Constructing a French Cleat
A French cleat is a simple system, and it is very strong yet it allows the cabinets to be moved if needed, with minimal damage to the wall.
The cleat is simply a strip of wood which has been cut with an angle, lengthwise. In this case, the angle of the strip on the wall would be on the upper end.
Respectively, attached to the cabinet itself, there is another corresponding strip with the angle cut on the lower edge. These two strips fit together, the cabinet strip lowering on top of the wall strip, and it creates the support for the cabinet.