How To Make Climbing Holds

Knowing how to make climbing holds is a creative way to take your climbing experience and skill to another level. Most climbing gyms allow their members to create routes on the wall by making a sequence of climbing holds with tape. You can take things a step further by designing and create your own climbing holds. The process of making a climbing hold begins when you first imagine how the grip is shaped.

Supplies list:

  • Polyester fiberglass resin Bondo (not putty)
  • Extra hardener
  • Caulk gun
  • Silica sand (grade four)
  • Three-eighths-inch zinc washers
  • Three-eighths-inch Allen head bolt
  • 100 percent silicone caulk
  • Toothpicks
  • Foam sheets (three millimeters)
  • Box of clay
  1. Sculpt your climbing hold When sculpting your climbing hold you need to consider the size, shape, texture usability and stability of the hold. Wet your hands and take a piece of clay. Consider making a crimper using a flat surface to sculpt on to keep the back flat and the size manageable. Once you have the desired shape, make an indention with the head of a mounting bolt (the one being used for on the climbing wall) by pressing it into the clay. Indention should only be as deep as the bolt head and placed in the center of the mold. Now flip the bolt over and use the threaded portion of the bolt to press a small indention through to the base. 
  2. Make a mold using a prototype Lay your prototype hold on a piece of cardboard and stick two toothpicks from the backside to hold it in place. Apply the silicone slowly and evenly over the entire surface of the hold, making sure all small pits are full. The silicone layer needs to be at least one-fourth to one-half of an inch to keep the mold from splitting. Warming the silicone in hot water can loosen it up, which makes the application process easier. Let the mold cure for a day or two. If the mold feels squishy, it is not ready. Once the mold has hardened, remove the prototype and clean inside with water.
  3. Pouring the climbing hold mixture The key here is to have enough resin and sand mixed together to get make a mixture that is not runny or clumpy. Even though each model is different, a good rule of thumb is three ounces of sand for every two ounces of resin. In addition you will need twelve drops of hardener for every one ounce of resin. Level the mold in a container of sand so mixture will fill evenly. Fill mold with sand so you know how much your mixture needs. Mix this sand with appropriate parts resin and hardener. Pour the mixture into the mold. After two hours, remove your mold and file down any rough edges, including the backside of the grip.
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