Woodworking for Rock Climbers: Building Custom Climbing Holds and Gear

Woodworking for Rock Climbers: Building Custom Climbing Holds and Gear

Rock climbing is a challenging and exhilarating sport that requires both physical strength and mental focus. As climbers, we often rely on specialized gear and equipment to help us navigate vertical surfaces and conquer new heights. However, purchasing climbing holds and gear can be expensive, especially for those on a budget or just starting out.

Fortunately, woodworking skills can come in handy for rock climbers looking to save money and personalize their climbing experience. By building your own climbing holds and gear, you can create custom shapes and sizes that suit your climbing style and preferences. Plus, woodworking projects can be a fun and rewarding way to add a personal touch to your climbing equipment.

In this article, we will explore how to get started with woodworking for rock climbers. We will discuss the tools and materials you will need, as well as provide step-by-step instructions on how to build your own climbing holds and gear. Whether you are a seasoned woodworker or a beginner with no prior experience, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and inspiration to get started on your woodworking journey.

So, if you’re ready to take your climbing experience to new heights and save some money in the process, let’s dive into the world of woodworking for rock climbers. Get ready to unleash your creativity and bring your climbing dreams to life with your own handmade gear!

Why Woodworking for Rock Climbers?

Woodworking is a valuable skill for rock climbers to develop because it allows them to create their own climbing holds and gear. By making their equipment, climbers can customize the design, shape, and texture to meet their specific needs and preferences. This not only enhances their climbing experience but also provides a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Here are some reasons why woodworking is relevant and beneficial for rock climbers:

  • Cost-effective: Building your own climbing holds and gear can be a cost-effective alternative to purchasing them from commercial retailers. Woodworking allows climbers to save money while still achieving high-quality equipment.
  • Customization: Woodworking enables climbers to create holds and gear that are tailored to their individual climbing style and abilities. They can experiment with different shapes, sizes, and textures to optimize their performance and challenge themselves on the wall.
  • Unique designs: By woodworking, climbers can design and craft unique and eye-catching climbing holds and gear. This adds a creative element to their climbing experience and allows them to showcase their personal style and artistic expressions.
  • Personal satisfaction: Building your own equipment adds a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment to the climbing process. Climbers can take pride in using gear that they have created with their own hands, enhancing their overall enjoyment of the sport.
  • Skills development: Woodworking offers climbers the opportunity to develop practical skills such as woodworking techniques, tool proficiency, and problem-solving. These skills can be transferrable to other areas of life and provide a sense of personal growth and achievement.

Overall, woodworking for rock climbers provides numerous benefits, including cost savings, customization options, unique designs, personal satisfaction, and skills development. By honing their woodworking abilities, climbers can enhance their climbing experience and take ownership of their equipment.

The Benefits of Building Your Own Climbing Holds

Building your own climbing holds brings a variety of benefits to rock climbers. Here are a few reasons why you should consider making your own holds:

  • Creative Expression: Designing and crafting your own climbing holds allows you to express your creativity. You can create unique shapes and textures that match your personal preferences and climbing style.
  • Cost Savings: Purchasing climbing holds from commercial vendors can be expensive. By building your own holds, you can save money and allocate your budget towards other climbing gear or gym memberships.
  • Customization: Each climber has different strengths and weaknesses. By building your own holds, you can tailor the difficulty level and specific movements to challenge and improve your climbing abilities.
  • Quality Control: When you make your own holds, you have control over the materials used and the manufacturing process. This allows you to ensure the holds are durable, safe, and of high quality.
  • Mental Stimulation: Building climbing holds is a mentally stimulating activity. It requires problem-solving skills, spatial awareness, and attention to detail. It can be a rewarding and engaging hobby that complements your climbing training.
  • Community Building: Sharing your homemade climbing holds with friends, fellow climbers, or local climbing gyms can help build a sense of community. You can inspire others to try new routes and challenges, fostering a spirit of collaboration and growth.

In conclusion, building your own climbing holds offers a range of benefits, from artistic expression to cost savings and customized training. So, grab some materials, get creative, and start building your own climbing holds today!

Choosing the Right Wood

When it comes to woodworking for rock climbers, choosing the right wood is essential. The type of wood you use will affect the durability, strength, and overall performance of your climbing holds and gear. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the wood:

  • Hardness: Look for woods that are hard and dense, as they will withstand constant use and provide a solid grip. Hardwoods such as oak, ash, and maple are excellent choices.
  • Grain: The grain of the wood affects its strength and durability. Look for woods with tight, straight grains for added strength. Stay away from woods with irregular or interlocking grains, as they may be prone to splitting or breaking under pressure.
  • Moisture Resistance: It’s important to choose a wood that is resistant to moisture, as climbing holds and gear are often exposed to sweat and damp conditions. Consider using woods like teak or cedar, which have natural resistance to moisture and decay.
  • Availability: Consider the availability of the wood you choose. It’s best to use wood that is easily accessible and readily available in your area. This will make it easier to source materials and ensure consistency in your woodworking projects.

Additionally, it’s important to check for any defects and imperfections in the wood, such as knots or cracks, as they can weaken the strength of the final product. It’s also a good idea to seal or finish the wood to protect it from moisture and prolong its lifespan.

Common Woods for Climbing Holds and Gear
Wood Type Hardness Grain Moisture Resistance
Oak Very hard Straight grain Moderate
Ash Hard Straight grain Moderate
Maple Hard Straight grain Low
Teak Very hard Straight grain High
Cedar Soft Straight grain High

By considering these factors and selecting the right wood, you can ensure that your climbing holds and gear are strong, durable, and able to withstand the demands of rock climbing. Remember to always prioritize safety and test your creations before using them in actual climbing situations.

Climbing Holds and Gear Materials

Climbing Holds and Gear Materials

When it comes to building your own climbing holds and gear, the materials you choose will greatly impact the quality and durability of your creations. Here are some commonly used materials for climbing holds and gear:

  • Wood: Wood is a popular choice for climbing holds and gear due to its natural feel and aesthetic appeal. It is often used for making climbing holds, hangboards, and campus rungs. Hardwoods such as oak and maple are commonly used for their strength and resistance to wear.
  • Resin: Resin is a versatile material that is commonly used to make climbing holds. It can be molded into various shapes and textures, providing climbers with a wide range of holds to challenge themselves. Resin holds are known for their durability and ability to withstand outdoor weather conditions.
  • Polyurethane: Polyurethane is another popular material for climbing holds due to its durability and ability to hold its shape over time. Polyurethane holds are often textured to provide better grip for climbers.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass is a lightweight material that is often used to reinforce climbing holds and gear. It adds strength and durability to the products, making them suitable for intense climbing sessions.
  • Steel: Steel is commonly used for building climbing gear such as carabiners, quickdraws, and bolts. It is known for its strength and ability to withstand extreme loads. Stainless steel is preferred for its corrosion resistance, making it suitable for outdoor climbing.
  • Nylon: Nylon webbing is commonly used for making climbing slings, anchors, and harnesses. It is known for its high strength-to-weight ratio and ability to absorb energy in the event of a fall.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is a lightweight and corrosion-resistant material commonly used for climbing gear such as carabiners and belay devices. It offers a good balance of strength and weight, making it ideal for climbers.

When choosing materials for your DIY climbing holds and gear, it’s important to consider factors such as strength, durability, and weather resistance. Always prioritize safety and consult with experienced climbers or professionals if you have any doubts or questions about the materials you plan to use.

Factors to Consider when Selecting Wood

Factors to Consider when Selecting Wood

When it comes to woodworking for rock climbers, choosing the right type of wood is crucial. The quality and characteristics of the wood can greatly affect the durability and performance of climbing holds and gear. Here are some factors to consider when selecting wood:

  • Strength: The wood should have sufficient strength to withstand the weight and stress exerted by climbers. Look for woods with high density and hardness, such as oak, maple, or birch.
  • Durability: Climbing holds and gear can be subjected to intense wear and tear. Choose wood species that are known for their durability, such as teak, redwood, or cedar. These woods are resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage.
  • Grip: The wood’s surface texture and grip are important for climbers. Look for wood that has a slightly rough texture or consider adding texture through sanding or carving.
  • Availability and Cost: Consider the availability and cost of different types of wood. Some woods may be more readily available and affordable in your area.
  • Environmental Impact: It’s important to consider the environmental impact of the wood you choose. Look for sustainably sourced wood or consider using reclaimed wood to reduce your ecological footprint.
  • Size and Shape: Consider the size and shape of the wood you need for your project. Some woods may be easier to shape and work with than others.

By considering these factors, you can select the right type of wood for your woodworking projects for rock climbers. Remember to prioritize strength, durability, grip, and environmental sustainability when making your choice.

Building Your Own Climbing Holds

If you’re an avid rock climber, you know that the cost of climbing gear can add up quickly. One way to save money and personalize your climbing experience is by building your own climbing holds. This article will guide you through the process of creating your own climbing holds using basic woodworking tools and materials.


  • Wooden blocks
  • Screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Optional: T-nuts and bolts


  1. Start by selecting a wooden block that is sturdy and can withstand the weight and pressure of climbers. Cedar or pine are commonly used for their durability.
  2. Sand down any rough edges or splinters on the wooden block to ensure a smooth surface.
  3. Decide on the shape and design of your climbing hold. You can create different holds by carving out various shapes, such as crimps, slopers, or jugs.
  4. Using a drill, create holes in the wooden block where you want to attach the climbing holds to the climbing wall.
  5. If desired, insert T-nuts into the drilled holes and secure them with screws.
  6. Paint your climbing holds with non-toxic paint to give them a professional and visually appealing finish. You can use different colors for each hold to create a unique climbing experience.
  7. Allow the paint to dry completely before installing the climbing holds onto your climbing wall.


  • Consider creating a variety of climbing holds with different difficulties to challenge yourself and other climbers.
  • You can experiment with different sizes and shapes to mimic the holds found in outdoor climbing routes.
  • Take safety precautions while using power tools and handling wooden blocks to prevent accidents or injuries.
  • Regularly inspect your homemade climbing holds for wear and tear, and replace them if necessary.

By building your own climbing holds, you not only have the opportunity to save money, but also to customize your climbing experience. Get creative with your designs and enjoy the satisfaction of conquering routes on holds that you built yourself!

Tools and Equipment You Will Need

When it comes to woodworking for rock climbers, having the right tools and equipment is essential for creating high-quality climbing holds and gear. Here are some of the tools you will need:

  • Power Drill: A power drill will be your main tool for creating holes in the climbing holds and gear.
  • Wood Router: A wood router will help you shape the climbing holds and gear more precisely.
  • Chisels: Chisels are necessary for carving out specific features in the climbing holds and gear.
  • Sandpaper: Sandpaper will be used to smooth and finish the wood surfaces.
  • Clamps: Clamps are essential for holding the wood pieces securely in place while you work on them.
  • Safety Glasses and Dust Mask: It’s important to protect your eyes and lungs from wood dust and debris.

Additionally, you may need some of the following equipment:

  • Dremel Rotary Tool: A Dremel rotary tool can be helpful for more detailed carving and shaping.
  • Belt Sander: A belt sander can speed up the sanding process and help achieve a smoother finish.
  • Jigsaw: A jigsaw can be handy for cutting larger or more complex shapes in the climbing holds and gear.
  • Wood Sealant or Finish: Applying a sealant or finish to the wood will help protect it from moisture and prolong its lifespan.
  • Measuring Tape and Marking Tools: Accurate measurements and marking tools are crucial for creating precise and safe climbing holds and gear.

Having the right tools and equipment will make your woodworking projects for rock climbing more efficient and enjoyable. Before starting any project, make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment to ensure successful results.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Climbing Holds

If you’re a rock climber looking to improve your skills and add a personal touch to your climbing gear, learning to make your own climbing holds can be a rewarding project. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of creating your own climbing holds using wood.

  1. Gather Materials
  2. Before getting started, gather all the necessary materials. You will need:

    • Woodblock or board
    • Saw
    • Sandpaper
    • Drill
    • Various drill bits
    • Bolts
    • Nuts and washers
    • Router (optional)
    • Paint and primer (optional)
  3. Design your Holds
  4. Use your creativity and knowledge of climbing holds to design shapes and sizes that will provide a challenge and variety for your climbing routes. Sketch out your designs on paper or use a design software if preferred.

  5. Cut the Wood
  6. Using a saw, cut the woodblock or board into the desired shapes and sizes for your climbing holds. Take your time and follow the design you created earlier.

  7. Smooth the Surfaces
  8. Use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges and surfaces on the climbing holds. This will make them more comfortable to grip and prevent splinters.

  9. Drill Holes
  10. Using a drill and appropriate drill bits, create holes in the climbing holds for the bolts to go through. Make sure the holes are the correct size and spacing for your bolts.

  11. Add Bolts and Fasteners
  12. Insert bolts through the holes in the climbing holds and secure them with nuts and washers on the backside. Make sure the bolts are tight and will not detach during climbing.

  13. Optional: Router the Holds
  14. If you want to add extra texture and grip to your climbing holds, you can use a router to carve grooves and patterns into the surface. This step is optional but can enhance the climbing experience.

  15. Optional: Paint or Prime
  16. If desired, you can paint or prime the climbing holds to add a pop of color and protect the wood. Use a paint or primer suitable for outdoor use and allow sufficient drying time before use.

  17. Test and Install
  18. Once your climbing holds are complete, it’s time to test them out! Attach them to a climbing wall or suitable surface and challenge yourself with new climbing routes.

Note: Always prioritize safety when using homemade climbing holds. Check the integrity of the holds regularly and make sure they are securely attached to the climbing surface before use.

Creating Custom Gear

Custom gear is a great way to personalize your climbing experience and improve your skills. Whether you’re crafting your own climbing holds, training boards, or other gear, here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Determine Your Needs

Before you begin creating custom gear, take some time to evaluate your specific needs as a climber. Consider the type of climbing you do, your skill level, and any areas where you feel you could use improvement. This will help you tailor your gear to meet your individual needs and goals.

2. Research and Plan

Once you have a clear idea of what you need, start researching different designs and materials that can be used to create custom climbing gear. Look for tutorials, plans, and guides online that can provide you with step-by-step instructions. Create a detailed plan for each piece of gear you want to make, including measurements, materials, and any necessary tools.

3. Gather Materials and Tools

Next, gather all the necessary materials and tools for your project. Depending on the gear you’re creating, this could include wood, screws, glue, sandpaper, foam, and other components. Make sure you have everything you need before you start building to avoid any delays.

4. Build with Care

When it’s time to start building, take your time and work with care. Follow your plans closely and double-check your measurements to ensure accuracy. Use proper safety precautions and tools while working with power tools or sharp objects. If you’re unsure about any step, seek guidance from experienced woodworkers or climbers.

5. Test and Adjust

Once you’ve completed your custom gear, it’s important to test it before using it for climbing. Check for any defects or areas that may need adjustment. Test its strength and durability to ensure it can withstand the demands of climbing. If necessary, make any necessary adjustments or modifications to improve performance.

6. Enjoy Your Custom Gear

Once your gear has passed all your tests and adjustments, it’s time to enjoy the benefits of your hard work. Use your custom gear during your climbing sessions and reap the rewards of personalized equipment. Remember to take proper care of your gear to ensure its longevity and safety.

Creating custom climbing gear can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. By following these steps and putting in the necessary time and effort, you can create gear that is tailored to your needs and enhances your climbing abilities.

Designing and Crafting Custom Climbing Gear

Designing and crafting your own custom climbing gear is a fun and rewarding process that allows you to create equipment tailored to your specific needs and preferences. Whether you’re looking to build your own climbing holds, hangboards, or other gear, here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Research: Before starting your project, it’s important to research different climbing gear designs and materials. Look for resources online, such as forums, tutorials, and instructional videos, to learn from experienced climbers and woodworkers.
  2. Gather materials and tools: Once you have an understanding of the gear you want to create, gather the necessary materials and tools. This may include wood, screws, sandpaper, a drill, and other equipment specific to your project.
  3. Measurements and design: Take accurate measurements of the gear you want to create and sketch out a design plan. Consider the size, shape, and features you want your gear to have, keeping in mind safety and functionality.
  4. Cutting and shaping: Use your measurements and design plan to cut the wood into the desired shapes for your climbing gear. Depending on the complexity of your project, you may need to use a saw, chisel, or router to achieve the desired shape and texture.
  5. Sanding and finishing: Once the shapes are cut, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges and to create a polished finish. Consider adding varnish or paint to protect the wood and enhance the aesthetics of your gear.
  6. Assembly: If your project involves multiple components, use screws or other appropriate fasteners to assemble the pieces. Make sure everything is securely fastened to ensure the safety and durability of your climbing gear.
  7. Testing and adjustments: Before using your custom climbing gear, test it out to ensure it functions as intended and meets your expectations. Make any necessary adjustments or modifications to improve performance and safety.

Remember to always prioritize safety when designing and crafting your custom climbing gear. Consult with experts, follow proper construction techniques, and test your gear before use. With patience and practice, you can create high-quality, personalized climbing gear that enhances your rock climbing experience.


What tools do I need to build my own climbing holds and gear?

To build your own climbing holds and gear, you will need basic woodworking tools such as a saw, drill, chisel, and sander. You may also need additional equipment depending on the specific project you are working on.

Is it difficult to build your own climbing holds?

Building your own climbing holds can be challenging, especially if you don’t have much experience with woodworking. However, with the right tools and some practice, it can be a rewarding and satisfying project.

Can I save money by building my own climbing holds and gear?

Yes, building your own climbing holds and gear can be a cost-effective option compared to buying them from a store. The materials for building your own holds are relatively inexpensive, and you can customize them to your preferences.

Are there any safety precautions I should take when building my own climbing gear?

Yes, safety should always be a top priority when building your own climbing gear. Make sure to wear protective gear such as safety glasses and gloves, and follow proper techniques when using power tools. It’s also important to test and inspect your gear thoroughly before using it on a climb.

What types of wood are best for building climbing holds?

When building climbing holds, it’s important to choose a wood that is strong and durable. Hardwoods such as birch or maple are commonly used for climbing holds because they can withstand the constant stress and pressure that comes with climbing. Avoid using softwoods like pine, as they can be more prone to splintering or breaking.

Can I customize the shape and size of my own climbing holds?

Yes, one of the advantages of building your own climbing holds is that you can customize them to your preferences. By using different tools and techniques, you can create holds in various shapes and sizes that suit your climbing style and skill level.

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