Tuesday 30 December 2014

Extending My Home Climbing Wall

In my bedroom I had a climbing wall which was overhanging by 30deg. This was really good for training at home and I used it a lot. But recently I noticed a lot of wasted wall space that was crying out for some climbing holds. My Dad and I decided to have a go at building a extension to my wall.

Before we did any planning we spoke to my coach Simon as he had built our overhanging wall. He suggested that we build a flat wall on the chimney breast and join it to the existing overhanging wall covering the rest of the alcove. 

Here is how we did it:

Buying materials 

On the Saturday before Christmas I was ill so my Dad went out to B&Q to buy the materials we needed to build the wall they were:
  • 2 x plywood (8ft x 4ft) - to bolt holds onto
  • 6 x wood planks 2x4 (2.4m) - for frame
  • Expansion bolts - to hold the frame on the wall
  • T-Nuts 10mm - to fix the holds to the plywood
  • Screws (from the garage) - to screw the plywood onto the frame
  • Paint (from the garage)
  • Sand - to mix with the paint to make surface rough

Putting Frame Up

We didn't start putting up the frame until Monday but we cut the 2 x 4's on Sunday evening to save time on Monday. We woke up late on Monday and started to drill the holes in the wall for the expansion bolts. The holes had to be really big so we had to use a massive and really loud drill. This didn't take too long and we managed to get the expansion bolts in and some of the frame bolted to the wall.

We didn't do anything on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day but on Boxing my Dad went to the rugby at 12 so I put the vertical part of the frame up by myself. When I was doing this three of the holes in the wood didn't line up with the holes in the wall, so I had to make the holes a bit bigger so that the bolts could go in straight. I did this by taking the piece of 2x4 off the wall and used the drill to make the hole bigger. Finally, I managed to get all the bolts in the frame except two which needed to be made shorter so I waited for my dad to come back so he could hacksaw them. By the end of Boxing Day the frame was up except for the cross pieces.

Cutting the plywood

On Saturday we carried two panels of heavy plywood down the stairs so that we could cut them outside. We spent a long time making sure we measured the wood correctly so that we didn't cut it wrong.

We used a computer program called SketchUp to check out measurements which turned out to be wrong. I had mixed up two of the measurements for the lower piece of plywood. Once we were certain we got it right we drew the lines on the plywood for the jigsaw to follow.

The sawing unlike the measuring went really well and both boards fit on the frame well. I did part of the second board because it was a left handed job and my dad is right handed.

Painting the plywood

After the plywood had been cut I painted it two coats of primer/undercoat white paint. Once the undercoat was dry I mixed play sand with emulsion paint and painted it on the wall. The turned out well - it gave the wood a really rough surface which stops the holds from spinning when you put them on.


The next day we took the boards back outside again to drill the holes for the T-nuts. Before we drilled them we had to draw a grid on the back of the board. The grid had twenty centimetres squares. But when we finished the top board we found out that there weren't enough holes at the edge of the board so we put some more in-between the edge of the grid and the side of the plywood.  This looked much better but we made sure that for the bottom board we drilled closer in from the side. The bottom board did look better because we drilled  ten centimetres in from the side and then drilled twenties for the rest of the grid.

My Dad had already bought 50 T-nuts which was enough for the top board as it was smaller so I took the board into the middle of the garden to hammer the T-nuts in because it was too noisy to do inside. This didn't take long but I couldn't finish both boards because we needed another 75 T-nuts.

Up and Under had run out of T-nuts so we couldn't finish the wall. I wanted to go to Boulders because I hadn't been for a while. At Boulders my Dad asked if they sold any T-nuts and Tym told us that they had some old ones from when they replaced them all in boulders. Tym gave us 100 - this was awesome because it meant we could finish the wall.

Earlier today I screwed in all the remaining T-nuts finishing of the plywood which was ready to be put on the wall.

Putting boards up

This was easy except for some of the holes on the bottom board were blocked by the frame but we drilled holes in the frame underneath the plywood to allow the bolts to go though. To support and keep the plywood in place while we screwed it on, I put some wood and a Mr Men book under it. This worked well and we managed to screw all 50 screw in pretty quickly.

At last the wall was complete. It looks awesome and I built a lot of it myself with a bit of help from my Dad and my brother Oscar.

1 comment: