the whole point of this blog is to help others with all the questions they have about setting up a similar home climbing gym, and ramble about a variety of climbing related subjects.
There is a variety of subjects... most involving rock climbing, written about on this blog. MAKING VOLUMES OR CLIMBING HOLDS, is probably one of the more popular subjects. just check the labels links or search bar to find your fancy.
of course if you want to go back and start from the beggining, please do! to that end, if there are any question let me know ... i encourage you to add comments for others to read or if you want to get me directly you can email me at treadwallproject@hotmail.com
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME, READ THE MUST READ LIST.... oh!, ...and you have to fight!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Shape & things to come

i figured it was time to show you a little more about actually shaping your own holds. its not that hard, it just takes a little practice. thats why i suggest you start simple and small. once you get the basics down then you can step it up and avoid making cost prohibitive mistakes. to start with you are gonna need some carving foam. its an easy medium to work with and has a great natural texture for climbing holds. the are plenty of different types of foam out there you can use, but an easy thing to get started with is floral foam. DRY FLORAL FOAM, the wet floral foam wont work it will be a disaster when you go make the rubber molds! you can find the dry foam at just about any craft store and its real cheap, therefore mistakes are easy on the wallet. but you can also find larger quantities for when you get to a place where your shaping bigger holds! ive been slowly whittling down a couple large blocks myself.

for the purpose of this posting i am gonna do a pre-designed hold. you can either start by drawing out your holdor just sculpt free form and see what you get. well, i looked at my holds and realized i was seriously deficient in the pocket hold department. the obvious reason for that is.. i hate pockets, they suck! which probably means i should be training on them... at least a little. so i wanted a nice big comfy pocket jug to add to my 5.9/.10a sets. so i drew my idea up on graph paper. notice the two different views. this is important as it will help me shape the hold. i dont try to put too much detail in this drawing, i shoot for a general shape and concept. once that is done i can cut out a template using an xacto knife.

i put the template up to my large block of foam and chop off the appropriately sized chunk. then i trace my templates onto my block. make sure you line up your traces or the whole point will be lost.

from here we start our shaping. there are a variety of tools you can use for this. my suggestion is that you get a set of clay working tools they work well on foam and are rather cheap (one of my other post show the nice set i got...about fifteen different tools in a black case. if you have one, an electric dremel tool also works great. so i started out here carving off the excess from my outlines. the knife im using is actually a letter opener, it works great and i dont risk stabbing myself.

following that i slowly work the piece with tools till it gets closer to what i imagined. for carving out the finger hole i opted to use this wire circlet. and to get more uniformed curves i use the wooden sculpting tool.

another great trick is to use your hand an fingers. you can act like a sander and slowly form the hold to the shape of your liking. i use this method often. it helps me make things more symmetrical and ergonomic. i had trouble taking a good video of this but here is the general idea.

so... um, yeah there is that. and after working the shape for a while i come down to something i like with this hold i created a dual purpose hold. on one side there is the pocket we were looking for and on the second side there is a nice sloper. i tried to make it so that the pocket isnt usable when the sloper is well positioned and vice verse. of course thats not perfect, but i do what i can. last but not least i like to add a little "flare" to the hold. for all my other holds of this series i put on a little design texture. it works for me, youll come up with your own likes and dislikes ...i guess.

anyway sometimes pictures dont do things justice so here are a couple of videos to give you a better look. as a bonus, in the video is another hold that i did on the fly when i got some ideas making the first designed holds. after this the only thing left to do is drill the bolt holes. but that will be on a future post. uh, stay tuned?....

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