Academy: Build Your Own Hangboard

Part of our "Toes to Knows" Climbing Academy series--covering climbing from footwork to mental preparation.

Tags: Coaching, Hangboarding, Advanced, Intermediate


How You Can Build Your Own Hangboard

If hangboards feel a bit too expensive to you, or if, because of a global pandemic, you can’t find one in stock, you can easily build your own hangboard at home. This post shows you how my daughter and I built one for her college apartment.

Step 0: Get Some Parts

Our first step in the process was to buy a plank at the hardware store that to use for the base board. We chose a finished poplar board that was 30” wide by 15” tall by ¾” thick. This was attractive and gave us a lot of real estate to place holds.

Step 1: Holds Choice and Layout

DIY Hangboard Hold ChoiceNext, selected holds and chose how we wanted to place them on the board. We elected for some bolt-on holds on the top, some of which were manufactured and some of which were purchased. On the bottom we placed several edges of varying depth, from 18mm to 6.5mm. I recommend placing your biggest holds near the top and make them smaller as you go down, that way your wrist won’t get blocked by larger holds when you’re trying to grab the little ones.

Step 2: Hold Manufacturing

Though we purchased some, we built the majority of the holds for our board out of wood. Here’s a summary of what we did:

DIY Hangboard Hold Manufacturing
  • We purchased small strips of wood for edges. These varied from 18mm to 6.5mm. Other good choices are 2x2 or 1” wide boards.
  • Manufactured stair railings make great holds. They are already rounded and smooth, allowing you to make pinches or sloping crimps. See what your hardware store has available.
  • You can use a rip saw to give your edges some slope or incuts.
  • We used rounded and smoothed 2x4s for pinch grips. We stood them proud of the top of the board a bit so that they could be used as jugs for pullups. These pinches rotate so you can find a good ergonomic position for your hands.
  • I recommend purchasing pockets from a hold company if you can. It’s hard to manufacture good pockets that feel smooth and are less injurious.

Step 3: T-Nut Install

DIY Hangboard T-Nut InstallIf you want t-nuts for bolt-on holds, start the t-nut installation by lining up exactly where you want to place them. T-nuts vary in the recommended hole size. The last ones I purchased required a 7/16” hole. To install the nut, I recommend tapping them in lightly from the back side, then using a bolt and impact driver from the front to pull t-nut into the board. This guarantees that the t-nuts will be properly lined up in the hole. If you just pound them in, they aren’t always aligned. It’s also a good idea to put some epoxy behind the t-nut so it won’t come out.

Step 4: Standoff Install

We’re installing our board on an indoor wall. The t-nuts and bolts stick out from the back of the wall. We put some short 1” thick planks on the back side to stand the board off the wall a bit.

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Step 5: Install the Screw-In Holds

The majority of our holds on this board were edges that we just screwed on. It’s not quite as pretty, but we just used 1” sheet rock screws for the install. Each hold was about 6” wide and we used two screws per hold. We lined up the holds with a square to make parallel and evenly spaced. They looked great!

Finished Hangboard

DIY Hangboard Final ProductThe whole process took about 5 hours. It’s a good hangboard with decent options for different types of training. It was also a lot of fun to make with my daughter!

While you're here, check out our EyeSend belay glasses!

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