Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How we build our walls

Firstly let us point out that we're not carpenters :) We've built a bunch of walls (3 for Chris and 8 for Jeremy) and we've simply read a lot of websites and have learnt from our mistakes!

Last month, we moved the wall that we built for Climbingholdreview. It was built from our second wall (on the left) it was only 8ft wide but it was 11ft high and it was the brain child that started the entire website. This is where we began to review holds and where we learnt thr rights and wrongs of what we currently do (we're still learning every month)

When Jeremy moved from this apartment the wall was dissembled and was moved to a new apartment. As much wood as possible was recycled and as the new apartment had lower ceilings we only spent about $500 for panels, t-nuts and screws to get it all together. What resulted from this wall moving was the wall you've all seen for the last two years (or so).

I'll briefly talk you about the wall and what we found out:

What we learnt from this wall is that having Jeremy's dad in from the UK meant that most of the work kind of got done before we got home from work :P The image on the left is of two of the frames that supported the back vertical wall and the 30 degree... note the vertical braces in the back middle of the photo, these were used to screw the vertical panels together when they were placed... we learnt that we needed way more (closer) vertical braces. Although there was never any trouble with the vertical wall it could have been a little stronger than it turned out to be.

This photo is the 30 panels going up. The original plan for the wall was that it was just going to be 8ft wide... in this image you can see that we have three not two frames that are supporting the wall; the reason for this is that on the right hand side there is the rooms door and we needed to cross over the frame as it was right in the way. I'd like to note that more frames are better than less, the end result of this three framed design is that the roof was pretty strong... but as we found out it could have been much better

As with most things, bigger is better, so less than a year into the wall being finished we used the other wood that we had left over to build a 45 degree wall. We built an outside and inside supporting frame (i.e: either side) that didn't span the entire width of the wall and then added the 45 supports. As we'd learnt from earlier wall builds it's always great to have lots of cross support on panels so we put more in than we normally would have done. But, to our surprise the wall still bowed a little in the middle under strain, not much but enough to make us wish we'd put in a third frame in the middle of the wall... unfortunately as there was nothing we could do about it (without ripping the entire wall down again) and it wasn't dangerous we left it as it was.

So I moved, and that means the wall moved as well! I had three weeks off and figured it wouldn't take that long to build the new wall.... wrong! The wall took four weeks of pretty constant work to get finished...

Here you can see the first frame going up.

The 45 wall goes from the top of the kick board to the main cross beam, the 60 degree wall is on the same plane as the 45 braces.. this joint has to be bolted with extra braces to keep it secure and straight

Here you can see the braces that hold the 60 to the roof beams. You can also see the beam that supports the 30 degree wall to the frame that is where the camera man is standing

Here's the box half complete and the edge of the 30 degree wall

Lets talk about construction and how we do it and what we've learnt:

  • All of our frames are free standing, I don't own the apartment so I cannot bolt to the structure. So what I do is make frames and then build a wall within that frame
  • Every frame is a 2x6 piece of wood in one piece, cut to size. 95% of the braces are 2x4's
  • All of the joints are bolted and then screwed. We use 1/2 inch bolts that have washers on either side. There are four screws set around the bolt
  • Get a good circular saw, one that cuts your frames but isn't so big that it's a) scary to use and b) small enough (manoeuvrable) so you can make exact cuts on 8ft lengths of wood
  • Buy more screws than you need!! We have 1000; 3 inch number 10 screws in this wall and that doesn't include the screws used to put the climbing panels on
  • Buy good deck screws to hold your panels and floor down
  • Get good t-nuts... you'll be thankful. If possible get the ones that are hammered in and then take little screws to hold them to stop them spinning
  • Buy a chalk line to mark your t nut spacing
What went right was the designing of the wall and the execution of that plan, sure we made some changes on the way but having a plan and sticking to it makes a whole world of difference. We pre-drilled EVERY hole that a screw was going to go into (except for the deck screws) so it means we don't have any screw heads sticking out anywhere on any surface... we've also made it easy to access the back of the angles walls and easy to take down any other panel in case we need to fix something.

We've also used more braces than we have done before!!! There are four frames across the wall and then there are at least three cross braces on each climbing sheet; one at either end and one in the middle.... yes we know that "code" is a frame every 4ft and braces every 2ft... that would have taken forever to built and probably another $2000 in wood and screws etc

The end result is a wall that is solid as a rock, it doesn't move and it's doesn't bend when you jump about on it. Sure it took longer than we (I) wanted to build and some of our panels don't fit as nicely as they should have... but it is a work of art and it's going to serve us and you (the readers) well for the next little while... well that is until I decide that we need to add some more wall to it :)

If you have any questions we're always happy to answer them about the wall and how we built it, I get a few requests per month about how we did it so this is why I wrote this down
Just drop us a mail and we'll answer back as fast as we can

Thanks for reading and supporting Climbing Hold Review!!

Jeremy a.k.a: Noodles

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