Introduction: Build an Amazing Climbing Wall Volume!
Runner Up in the
DIY Summer Camp Challenge
The Video shows the entire proecess!
Got a bare climbing wall? Add some texture!
Step 1: Cut Out the Panels! Plan Included in Pdf.
You should use 20mm or 3/4" plywood. I used my CNC to cut out the triangles since that is easier, but you can also draw the shapes on the wood and cut them out with a bandsaw, jigsaw, handsaw or best a circular saw. Drill the holes to match the size of your T-nuts. In my case its 13mm. Measure twice. Cut once!
Step 2: Bevel the Edges! Its Easier Than You Think!
All angles are specified. They are a bit difficult to get your head around. The angles between two faces are given on the plan and half of these angles make the angles on each panel.
Most table saws can only cut to 45°, so to cut more acute angles you have to place the panel vertical as in the third picture. I used the white particle board as a sacrificial backing board to widen the base of the panel. Otherwise your blade would need to touch your fence. Its clearer in the video. When the blade removes the wedge along the edge, the whole board would only rest on a pointy edge which is not ideal. Hence, the sacrificial board.
My Amazing Table Saw
Measure twice, cut once! Watch your fingers and use push sticks!
Step 3: Drill Pocket Holes.
I found the best way to join the panels is by using pocket holes. A pocket hole jig helps, but you can also free hand them with a 10mm or 3/8" drill. The holes get filled later anyway and won´t be visible.
Step 4: Time for Glue Up!
This is where it all comes together. Add wood glue to all surfaces and join the panels with screws. Make sure everything is aligned correctly. Then join both halves together. Use plenty of glue and screws! If your cuts where not accurate you can smoth out the gaps later.
Step 5: Fill the Holes With Epoxy Putty and Hide Any Mistakes.
Step 6: Sand the Edges to Your Liking.
Sand the edges, this is supprisingly easy and takes only a few minutes with a palm sander. Also sand the pointy ends. Otherwise they will break of during use and transport.
Step 7: Paint! the Most Satisfying Step!
So how do you get a perfect sand texture? Here is how I do it.
Which paint do you use?
I use 2 component acrylic automotive paint designed for heavy machinery. It is advertiesed as super durable. You can also use epoxy or polyurethane based paints. There are soooo many paints out there. Find a good store and ask for advice. The advantage of 2 component paint is that it cures with itself and not with the air. So even thick layers will get hard.
I also tried 1k alkyd resin type paint. The problem with that is that first it needs to gas out over a day or so and then it reacts with oxygen in the air to harden the paint. This can take weeks! And multiple layers can block the oxygen from layers underneath. Its cheaper but can cause grief when it stays soft for weeks or months.
How do you prepare the paint?
Clean of all surface dust. You can use a primer, but there is no need to. Weigh both parts of the paint according to the data sheet. The rule for 2k resins is to mix until you think it´s enough. Then mix some more. Otherwise you could ruin it.
How do you paint it?
Use a brush or a roller to apply a coat of paint. Straight after that sprinkle fine silica sand over it. You can get it in any home improvement store. The grain should be 0.1-0.7mm in diameter. This will make a texture just like in your climbing gym. Resist the urge to touch the sprinkled sand. Just sprinkle and let it sit. It will look patchy at first but only the sand in contact with the paint will stick. You can brush of the rest once the paint is cured. If you start patching it up you will just ruin a good paint job. After the first layer has cured dust of the excess sand. Add some more layers of paint depending on the viscosity of the paint.
Enjoy! Your volume should look amazing by now!
Step 8: Almost Done! Add Screw Inserts and Drill Holes for Mounting.
Use M10 t-nuts or 3/8" if you live in America. There are screw in type nuts which I used, but you can also get hammer nuts that are supposed to be hammered in. That doesn´t work very well in plywood, so if you want to use them you should pre drill holes for the spikes. Screw in t-nuts are much more convenient.
Drill some holes for screws and counter sink them to mount the volume to the wall. Make sure the mounting screws don´t stick out.
T-Nuts with Screws
Step 9: Done!
Mount that thing and enjoy that feeling of having created something that wasn´t there before. You are a maker!
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