/ Building your own wall.... Would you recommend it?

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tonto169 - on 26 Mar 2014
Hey guys,

I've recently moved down towards Salisbury and I have not been able to find any decent walls in the local area. This has lead me to consider building a wall of my own in a garage I have access to.

I saw the article put on UKC a couple of days ago and while it is very informative on the wider subject. I was really wondering if it is something that a complete novice would be able to do with some general guidance? Would the project be to complex. The last time I did any kind of carpentry was at school.

Has anyone in a situation similar to mine built one was it easy or nightmare?

Dave
LastBoyScout on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:
It's as easy or as hard as you want to make it.

Buy some 18mm plywood sheets, screw them to the wall with suitable fixings and screw holds onto that. I wouldn't be a fan of drilling a vast number of holes for the holds directly into the garage walls.

Worth getting some sort of matting for the floor.

Friends of mine have built walls in garages, lofts and up the side of houses - it's far from rocket science.
Post edited at 17:57
David Bennett - on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:
I would say having your own training wall makes a huge difference. You get to train when you couldn't / couldn't be bothered to go out. Added loads to my endurance levels and strength but not much for my technique since it's not varied enough. Built them in my last 3 houses (garages) and had them for 20 years or so. Not hard to construct if you have basic DIY skills and some decent tools, although quite big for a first DIY project. You need to take care to ensure that the structure you are hanging it off can take the strain and use chunky materials and fixings and you need to plan the construction well including drawing it out in detail before you start cutting to ensure you don't waste materials. I'm sure others will be along with other views but if you follow the ideas you have seen on here you should not go far wrong if you take your time.

If you don't have the right tools expect to spend quite a bit on this, otherwise materials have always cost me less than 500 and probably less than that for holds.
hands solo - on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:

i built a nice overhanging wall in the spare room i have used mostly real rocks with holes drilled in them for holds its fun times
Andrew Wilson - on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to hands solo:

This sounds quite interesting. How did you drill the holes? Did you need to use a vice or was it ok without?
Apart from the extra weight, why is this not more popular? I'd love to see a picture!

Andy.
Murd on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:

Yes...is the easy answer!
Search my old post's for info on what I did.
Check out "lx" profile pics to see a proper job
French Erick - on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:

You'll never look back.
First there's the design challenge.
Then you significantly alter your routine with something gratifying available on tap.
Last you may even get better at climbing.
What's not to like?
becauseitsthere - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:

Here are few pics of my garage wall. Might be of use.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dave_eadie/sets/72157637119585043/
Alun - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:

I built a garage wall a year or two ago. It is 9'x9', 30 degrees overhanging, painted with a lovely pattern, and littered with expensive holds. I had an absolute blast making it, learned loads about carpentry and powertools, and absolutely do not regret building it for a single second.

On the other hand, I have probably used it only about 10 times in total, for the following reasons:

- although at the moment I am stronger and fitter than I ever have been, I find that I need a much longer time to warm up than I did 10 years ago: not just to prevent injury, but also to actually climb well. Warming up on a steep garage wall is tricky and requires patience.

- spending time 'waiting' in between climbing is all well and good when you have mates to chat to. When you're on your own in the garage it is deathly boring!!

- the lack of variation offered by a 9'x9' wall is difficult to overcome. That's not to say that I haven't climbed some very enjoyable problems on my wall, but it is a constant struggle to keep inventing problems which are interesting.

In summary - I found that having an home-wall made very little difference to my climbing. What *did* make a difference was having a fantastic new (and large) bouldering gym open right next to my work!
jkarran - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:

> I was really wondering if it is something that a complete novice would be able to do with some general guidance? Would the project be to complex. The last time I did any kind of carpentry was at school.
> Has anyone in a situation similar to mine built one was it easy or nightmare?

A simple wall that's a little rough round the edges is very easy to build, you need a measuring tape, pencil, handsaw and drill.

If your space is awkward or your design more complicated then the workload and required precision goes up a little and the understanding required to make it safe and secure increases as well. That said, it's not rocket science and most people just horribly overbuild what they're not sure of.

jk
is2 - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to Alun:
Yes I would recommend it.

I have had a board for many years (28) and use it intermittently. I have found that it works well if I have someone to climb with, or as part of a specific training plan. With a partner there is the capacity to develop more problems and motivate / push each other, but hard to stick to a plan. As a separate training element, the boredom issue needs addressing. For me, a second person destroys planning structure so does not work but that might be how I interact with people. Therefore a good sound system, comfy chair, laptop / book allow me to rest well in structured work outs.

I had the warm up problem on the main board which is very steep and simply added a 10 degree board with lots of holds for warming up / down. Also added some tiny feet and hands to give extra " fingery " problems.

Have accumulated a huge selection of second hand resin holds. However I prefer wooden holds. Hard wood holds clean up and stay in good nick better than softwood or resin. I often reset the board and use rests to make and add new holds.
Post edited at 11:07
CharlieMack - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:

Sorry to hijack your thread a little.

Just about to move into a new house only to find out it has a cellar that wasn't advertised, score!

It is however, very short (8 foot perhaps) and not that wide. It's basically a big cellar, with a wall right down the middle of it to make two long thin rooms.

My question is for those who have made walls is, is it worth making quite a small wall, or do you really need a fair bit of room. I'd imagine making it and always wanting a bit more room to make it worthwhile.

I could get a long traverse style wall in there with a 10 degree overhang or so. Is it worth it?
Nick Harvey - on 27 Mar 2014

I have a wall in my outhouse of two 8x4 panels at about 40 degrees and a smaller roof panel on the ceiling at the top of it. As Alun said, it was a great experience from a novice DIYer perspective. I can't say I have used it much. As it happens I think I may be on the cusp of starting to get some value out of it and that is only because a mate has started coming over once a week to train - on my own I just haven't had the will! I rigged up a strange contraption for ice climbing though which i did use a lot, so maybe it's just a lack of imminent goals that stops me using the wall much. Time does go quite slowly in there too.
Post edited at 13:08
Karl Wooffindin - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:

I've built 2 in my time. The first one I had no idea what I was doing and managed to get a decent end product out. Probably been mentioned before, but just keep it simple and measure twice, cut once.

sduke85 - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169: I just not long built one in my loft its about 3.5metres wide and about 6.5ft tall on a 55 degree overhang.
bought loads of holds from my local wall and made a load of wooden ones myself.
I enjoyed every minute of building it and it has given me gains in my climbing quickly.
Used quality 3/4 inch ply boards and had them cut to size ready.


maxsmith - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:

Hi guys, just bought my first house - no garage but a huge garden. I am going to build a little bouldering wall (dimensions something like 12ft wide by 9ft high).

It will be freestanding, not overhanging (might add overhangs later) and obviously outdoors. Any tips on materials?

I'm particularly interested in any suggestions for the 'stanchions' which I will attach my ply to. I was thinking of using concrete fence posts, or alternatively sinking thick wooden posts to a good depth.

Thanks for any suggestions
jkarran - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to CharlieMack:

> My question is for those who have made walls is, is it worth making quite a small wall, or do you really need a fair bit of room. I'd imagine making it and always wanting a bit more room to make it worthwhile.

My mate Doug has a very versatile (multiple hinge lines) wall in his garden shed. The addition of wire mesh to prevent accidental defenestration when trying too hard made it more usable and opening/exiting the door adds another move or two. It's 8ft wide, the ceiling is maybe 6ft6 and the shed is maybe 4ft6 deep.

If you're keen and design cleverly you can pack a lot of climbing into a tiny space.

Don't build too much over the summer to find it floods in winter!

jk
French Erick - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to tonto169:

Minimize cutting by planning with the size of material available. Sheet of ply come in 2m44 by 1m22. or half of that. You need at the very least 50cm clearance from the top of a 45d board in case you come off at the top. 1m is ideal.
Calculate the maximum width avalaible and heigth. see how you can fit 2m44 and see how steep you can get away with. Then plan around that, it means less work in the end.
Then think of your structure. I like to have 4.5x7cm structural C16 every 60cm vertically. Probably over engineered (although I made lots of cracks and it needs to be stiff for them to feel like the real deal.

here is what I have done to suit my personal goals:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=236459
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=236458

For ref I had a not square space of 2.6 (min +20cm max)x3.9x2.05. Were I not into cracks I would have done full 3.9 at 40degree, roof (around 50cm wide) and full 3.9 at 15 degree. back wall vertical.
French Erick - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to CharlieMack)
>
> [...]
>
> Don't build too much over the summer to find it floods in winter!
>
> jk

Good advice. I spend at least a 5th of my budget sorting the roof proofing and guttering out.
CharlieMack - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to jkarran:

Cheers, i'll get planning :) Its carpeted, so definitely hoping it doesn't flood!
helix - on 03 Apr 2014
In reply to tonto169:

I built a wall round the back half of my garage. Three sides, each roughly 8' long, vertical at back, one side 22.5 degs, other about half that. Not steep enough for some people but suits me (and my offspring) fine. I also built some jamming cracks. I love it, and normally go in there at least a couple of times a week for 30-40 mins. Music, my own space, what's not to like?!

I had no carpentry or DIY skills beforehand but enjoyed learning how to design and build it. Wife tells everyone about this, and that I mysteriously built this thing after years of avoiding more useful jobs in the house!! Drill-driver, drill and circular saw essential.

There are lots of plans on web, inc Metolius one.

Make sure you mat it out, supplement bouldering mats with old mattresses.
Mike00010 - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to maxsmith:

I'll take some pictures of the wooden wall we've just had built here. For supports we sunk 4x4's about half a meter deep into poured concrete for a 3.5m high wall. Then for an overhanging section we used that plus an extra set of supports again sunk into concrete further behind.

Mike
maxsmith - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to Mike00010:

that would be great thanks Mike, I was planning 4x4s as deep as I could get them with concrete...
LeeWood - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to maxsmith:

A bit dodgy to be sinking wood below ground level but I suppose you could treat the wood 1st. The builders merchants can source strong metal brackets which keep timber dry and aired above ground.
French Erick - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to LeeWood:

+1 particularly in the uk
Ffion Blethyn - on 04 Apr 2014
maxsmith - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to LeeWood:

isn't the concrete going to protect the wood?
French Erick - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to maxsmith:

No, it'll channel all the water into the wood in a cramped space with no escape. Result= fast rotting.
maxsmith - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to French Erick:

fair enough, I will treat it first and buy some of those brackets
ti_pin_man - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to tonto169:

A little while ago we became pregnant with twins.
I knew this would mean going to the local wall would stop until the little girls are in routine and settled.
I decided a home wall was the best solution, I can go there quickly when I find time. Time will be in short supply come may/june especially the getting to/from my local wall.
So I looked at my garage, it has a nice sloping roof eve inside.
I did exactly the same as you'll be doing now, looking for advise, looking on the web - theres a lot of woodies designs and ideas.

My own conclusion is to copy the moonclimbing board. I can just about fit one in. I can buy holds. I can copy their route setting. Theres enough free positions on the board to set up a small warm up circuit. They have downloadable diy designs.

This weekend I will be building the frame work and attaching it to the floor/walls. Wish me luck! I dont have lots of joiner skills or toolsm but I've worked it out. Its not rocket science. it just takes a bit of working things out in your head, post up a pic when you've done!

ads.ukclimbing.com
mattrm - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to maxsmith:

You can buy pressure treated fence posts. Which will last for a reasonable time in concrete, 10 years or so. You get fence post augers to dig out the holes and then just drop the pole and the concrete in. Easy and strong. The metal brackets aren't that sturdy generally and I think you'll break them. They're also prone to rusting. Basically anything outdoors is going to get wet and then rot/rust.

However if you do cut the fence post, make sure you treat/paint that end. Make sure you stay on top of the maintenance, keep it painted/treated. If you do use the metal brackets, be prepared to replace them from time to time.
LeeWood - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to mattrm:

We're not talking about building a residential property so wood treatment alone could be sufficient. However, prefessional brackets are galvanised and v sturdy (not taliking metposts here). Checkout Simpson StrongTie.
maxsmith - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to LeeWood:

thanks for all the advice guys, I wasn't expecting the wall to last more than 10 years anyway - so the pressure treated posts sound fine
LeeWood - on 04 Apr 2014
In reply to helix:

You sound far to relaxed bout it all; how about some suffering ;)

I'm beginning to think the 40 deg blueprint is a bit like modern rockboots - correct perhaps for the hyper-talent class but more likely to burn out middle-talent coasters. I'm planning a 20 deg board; but how did you come up with 22.5 ?!
French Erick - on 05 Apr 2014
In reply to LeeWood:

22.5x2=45

My first wall had a 30 system board 1mx1.8 with a 30cm kickboard and roughly 60cm flagging space to sidewalls on both sides (aye cracks already there I know I am a perv!)...I liked it well enough. I'd do repeaters of my weak grip (pinches and crimps).

I don't think I made huge gains to be honest but it made me enjoy training and looking forward to it. 1st barrier down!
paul__in_sheffield - on 05 Apr 2014
In reply to tonto169:

Depends what you want to do. If it's fun, general fitness etc. then a cave is the way forward, plenty steep with a good roof.
However if it's improvement you're after, then build in a Beastmaker (pref 2 next to each other), then a Moon Board (world standard comparable problem setting) with the School Room hold set. Finally a Campus Board for when it's all going well.
Most of the sites like Metolius and Moon have all the build details you'll need.
Most important is what you want to do, and if you're interested in structured training or not.
helix - on 06 Apr 2014
In reply to LeeWood:
Yes i am relaxed about it! I don't climb severely overhanging routes so a 40 degree wall would not be very useful to me. I like the combination of angles that I have and use all three for some interesting traverses. As per other post, 22.5 is half of 45 and therefore 1/4 overhanging. The other thing about very steep overhangs is that you lose a lot of space behind it, you can use this for storage, but in my space if the wall was that steep, I would have one section, not three, and a lot of wasted dark space. All depends on what you want and what space you have.
Post edited at 22:21
ti_pin_man - on 07 Apr 2014
In reply to tonto169:

apologies for the minor thread hijack. How important is a kick board really? I progressed well on building my moon board this weekend and only stopped when I ran out of t nuts. Grrrrr, I cant count. But to fit the moon board on I had to slim right down the kick board, think I'll get a small row of footholds squeezed in if I have to. Kick boards important?

My own aim is to work on my overhang/cave strength, my weakness, so 40 degrees should help.

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