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Build your own homemade wooden hangboard

Submitted by edge on 2004-02-06

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Hangboards are great training tools for those times when you can’t get to the rock or gym, allowing us to target key climbing tendons, muscles, and gripping positions. However, for the climber on a budget (and really, that’s almost all of us), they can be a bit pricey. None-the-less, if you have a free couple of hours, a little bit of ingenuity, and some basic woodworking tools, you can flip the plastic manufacturers the virtual bird and make your own out of scrap wood.

The design in the photo below evolved more from what materials were on hand in my cabinetmaking shop scrap pile than from any advanced design. Feel free to take the spirit of the design and to tweak it to suit your available materials. I used birch plywood for my board because it is tough, easy to work, and contains no voids in the inner layers. You could also use a construction grade of spruce or fir lumber, and fill in any small voids that you may encounter with inexpensive wood filler. All of the cuts can be made with a table saw and a band saw or sabre saw, and a large drill bit.

[page] The foundation of my board is a single layer of ¾” ply measuring 22 ¼” at the widest and 11 ¼” high (#1 in Photo below). While I left the top and bottom parallel, I rounded the four corners and tapered the sides so that it is wider at the top and narrower at the bottom (see pic). Next, rip two pieces of plywood to 3” wide and as long as the bottom of the foundation board. Trace the exact shape of the board’s base onto both pieces, then glue and clamp them to the foundation board, making three layers at the bottom of the board (see #2 in the pic). You can also place screws from the backside of the board to reinforce the layers, just make sure you place the screws away from where you will drill the finger pockets later.

Hangboard #2

Next, rip two more lengths of ply, the first measuring 3 ½” wide and the second measuring 2 ¾”. Stacking these so that they are flush along one long edge, cut them to match the boards width and then cut through both layers to leave a cut-out that is 2 ¼” high and about 14” long, centered on the boards. This cutout will look like (__________), but upside down. See #3 in the pics for clarity.

For the next step, rip two more lengths of ply at 4” and then at 4 ¾”, then make them flush at the top and trace the top of the foundation board onto their sides. Make a cut out similar to the last step that measures 1 ½” high and 14” long. Glue and screw this to the top of the board. (#4 in pic)

To make some pull up jugs, cut ovals of ply that measure 4” long and 2 ½” high and glue them to the upper corners of the board (#6 in pic). At this time, take a belt sander or sanding disc to smooth the perimeter of the stack so that all of the layers are smooth and even. I undercut the top of the jugs with a belt sander so that you can get a good, solid grip. [page] To add finger pockets, I used a 1 3/8” Forstner bit to make one finger pockets at the bottom of the board, then a triangle of connecting holes at the top to make a 2 or 3 finger pocket. Drill through only the top 2 layers of ply, or just slightly deeper.

The final step involves rounding over of all of the edges to make them finger and tendon friendly. Use rasps, a router, or course sandpaper to take the curse off of the holds. I left the bottom line of edges with a relatively sharp edge (a 1/8” round over), and gave the second level a more rounded 3/8” radius. You can add texture to the holds by using course sandpaper to sand lengthwise along the useable surface. Do not add a finish, as it may adversely effect the frictional properties.

Again, choose your own shape for a truly personalized one of a kind masterpiece. Then don’t forget to take pics and post up, so we can all enjoy your handiwork.

Disclaimer: I am a woodworking professional; you however may not be. If you undertake this project, use caution and common sense around power tools. It is your decision to put tools to wood, not mine. Don’t blame me if you suddenly find yourself doing finger cracks with half as many fingers as you should have…

Hangboard #1


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hmm, cheapest way is to just dead hang or do pull ups from your door frame..
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Here's my wooden hangboard:
It's just from one piece of wood...
Pali (Slovakia)

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