Building a Woody
So, what do you need to know before you embark on a woody building mission? hopefully this page helps you out a bit. This is quite a simplistic guide. there are links to more detailed guides in the article.
Before you do anything figure out how much space you have. Id suggest that the as a minimum for a decent training woody would be 3.6m x 2.4m (ie 3 sheets of ply) on an angle of around 30 degrees. of course if you have more space fit as much in as is humanly possible. The more variety of angles the better but note that you will not get a very good workout from a vertical wall. between 10 and 45 degrees are the best training angles. Roofs are fun to play on but are not great for training on.
You can also add Custom woody Features such as these to your design:
- The Moon Board - Train on the same problems that the hard grit climbers use.
- The HIT System - Eric Horst’s well known and used training holds/program.
Draw up a design and even use string lines if space is tight before you start building to maximise the space you’ve got.
Here is a list of the materials you will likely need:
- 2.4m x 1.2m Plywood panels, at least 17mm thick. anything less with flex or pull the t nuts out. Check the trading post for god deals and form work supply places usually have it for about $40 a sheet.
- 100mm x 50mm (4 × 2) framing timber at least 4 per 2.4m plywood panel width (pine is ok if its a decent grade).
- 75mm x 37mm (3 × 1.5) bracing timber.
- 3/8th T Nuts (about 100 per panel depending on your spacing is good for estimating).
- Wood screws to screw plywood to framing.
- 3/8th bolts (they are cheaper) for framing or nail gussets for corners.
- 12mm wood drill bit for installing T Nuts.
Building The Frame
Without going into massive detail as everyone build framing differently you want to follow the following guidelines:
- Place framing timber at 800mm centres with one at each end of the plywood (see diagram).
- Place bracing timbers at top and bottom of where they plywood panels will sit (1200mm centres?) so that each plywood panel can be screwed into it.
Depending on your situation it may now be easier to secure the frames to the wall with struts etc or you may want to leave them on the ground and put the panels on them after you have done the next step. it really depends on the situation but it can be very hard to hold a plywood panel in place on a steep angle whilst trying to secure it to the frame. If your securing it to a brick wall be careful that the load you create isn’t going to tear a brick out of the wall. Use 10mm Dynabolts in masonry or 3/8th bolts if fastening to timber.
Preparing the Panels
Whatever you do resist the temptation to texture the panels. There really isn’t any need to paint them either unless they are outside in the elements. If you texture the panels you will just waste your money resoling your shies and non textured panels make it harder to smear so you’ll get stronger. Prepare the panels as follows BEFORE YOU SCREW THE PANELS ON THE FRAME:
- In order to give yourself the ability to vary your hold locations you want to put the T Nuts in a grid spacing of about 150mm to 200mm grid. you can also vary the T Nut placements by drilling the holes slightly off the corners of the grid so the nuts will be in more random positions. but make sure they are not to close together or the holds wont fit on them.
- An offset spacing is preferred as it will give you better hold spacing. (ie drill one row in between the rows above and below it to offset the holes)
- Clamp your plywood panels together and draw up your desired grid on the top piece.
- Once the grid is drawn get your nice 12mm drill bit and drill through all the panels of plywood at once. This will save you loads of time. Don’t push to hard as you get to the last piece of plywood or the drill bit may explode out.
- Now the fun bit. Take the plywood down and pick up a hammer and start nailing the T nuts into all those hundreds of holes you just drilled!
Now that your panels are all nicely T nutted you can screw them onto your frames which are either on the ground or secured in place. Make sure you put a lot of screws into each panel, at least 20 should keep it nice and secure. Screw around the outside of the panels then move into the middle.
Hopefully by now you have a woody in place. If not go back over one of the points just described. Getting your holds and putting them on is the fun bit.
The holds you get will obviously depend on a number of things. The angle of the wall, type of holds you like, your budget etc. Its best to get a variety of styles of holds. If you want to save some dosh make your own out of wood. You will need quite a lot of holds (depending on the size of your board) so a good way to start with plastic holds is to buy a value set. These generally give you a good variety of shapes at a good price per hold. you can then fill out the woody with other more specific holds once you know what you want. Also get some screw on holds as these will fit where you can’t get t nuts (on lips of roofs or corners and arêtes) and give your woody an extra dimension.
When you first put the holds on the board it can be easiest to put them on semi randomly. Start climbing on it and you’ll soon see where you want the holds to go.