Homewall of the Week 7 – All-Wood Scottish System Woodie

CBJ Homewall of the Week - Duncan McCallum

This week’s CBJ Homewall of the Week is an all-wood coronavirus build from across the pond. Owner Duncan McCallum put his wood-working skills to good use for this system wall in his garage in Inverness, Scotland. See past homewalls here.

CBJ Homewall of the Week - Duncan McCallum

How long did it take you to build?

Two long days including research (hardly any) driving to Inverness Scotland from home to the local Home Depot (B&Q here) before the entire country went into lock down. I took a total flyer on the design and the materials and winged it – the chains, fixings and design. I have built two other home walls before and I knew that 40 degrees was only good for me once I had warmed up properly so it needed to tilt. Fire door hinges make it tiltable and they are rated to 150kg a pair (it uses two pairs). First day I started to build at 4pm after the rushed shop. Finished that night at 11pm. Second day I had to go early to a big industrial supplier (1st day of lockdown) as they were continuing to service builders for a few more hours before they completely closed, there got the hinges and some sika glue for the bolt/wall fixing. That day I worked until 6pm. So, 20 hours of woodwork and fixing not including holds. 2 hours driving and thinking.


Not including holds and padding, how much did it cost you to build?

The cost was £230 including all the fixing screws for the holds. I overspent on some masonry bolts bit there was little or no waste.

Did anything in particular inspire your wall design?

The inspiration was partly Malcolm Smith’s legendary bedroom wall from the 80’s. You don’t get strong, he said, if you hang on resin holds on a small wall. Wood makes you concentrate on gripping and it means you can repeat moves often and save your skin. I wanted to build a proper system board as I felt that with such a small space a system board would give me the best training effects. I know I can move on rock, so a pure bouldering wall would almost be a waste of space. So a system board it is.

CBJ Homewall of the Week - Duncan McCallum

What was the most difficult aspect of the design and build?

Lifting the complete board off the garage floor with the kick board attached. It is too heavy for one person to lift safely. This build was a total one person build. So I used my crevasse self-rescue knowledge and built a 3-1 pulley system on a Petzl Traction hauling pulley to lift it up to the point where I could push the kick board into position. I had no idea it would work but very satisfying when it did. “Jammy” (which in Scots means I was lucky it worked out with no plan).

What would you do differently?

I would have bought some more uncut softwood 2x4s before the shut down, so I could shape some more holds, the ultimate distraction. This would have given me multiple excuses to avoid the other lockdown household jobs such as the weeding, and window cleaning, which are now beginning to press in as things to do. After all you can only do so much coffee drinking, yoga and training before the horror of the turbo trainer becomes something I can not put off any more. So more wood to spend hours hand sanding so I have a legit excuse to avoid doing all the other jobs and the bits of the training program such as the turbo trainer, which is butt hell boredom.

CBJ Homewall of the Week - Duncan McCallum

What is your favorite aspect?

So satisfying to do this so fast with little planning and not all the correct tools, I had to improvise a bit to make it work, I really enjoyed it!

Any words of wisdom to aspiring homewallers?

I feel bolt-ons for a small indoor wall are not going to give to the best training effects, wood is harder to climb on, and kinder on the skin. Also you can shave off bits if you find it all gets too easy in time. It is a lovely medium to work with. I have built both styles at home in the past and wood is my preference. Also if you can, make it tilt, so you can warm into really at-limit moves and then train endurance systems at the easier angles. Have fun building it and do not rush to place all the holds straight away. Play on it and most importantly build it so it tests and works your weaknesses, not flatters your ego. Good music and pull hard. Fun seeing my partner getting into this as well as it requires a training attitude.

Want us to consider your woodie for a future Homewall of the Week? Submit your homewall here to be considered. If yours is chosen you’ll win a prize pack like this (varied prizes each week):

CBJ Homewall of the Week

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