Sunday, June 8, 2014

Compact Campus Board: New addition to the Dojo

I constructed a campus board downstairs at the Dojo.  Originally I had planned to squeeze it in upstairs, but the low ceiling turned out to be more of limitation than I expected.  5 hours of garage cleaning revealed enough space for the campus board downstairs!

With the 9ft ceilings there is now plenty of room for putting together decent sized upward movements. Currently I am just getting back into campusing, so this initial version is plenty challenging. Once I get some basic fitness together I will work on doing the 1-3-5 on the medium rungs, and get solid on the basic ladders on the smalls.  Later in the fall I plan to add more rungs to fill up the remaining height.  Here is what the board is like now:
  • Two interspaced sets of 5 rungs, made by Wood Grips smalls and mediums from Metolius. 
  • Incut side up
  • Moon spacing (22 cm on center) for each set, alternating every 11 cm between sets.  
  • 15 degrees overhanging
  • Nice smooth birch veneer plywood (no splinters!)
  • Room for narrow set of more juggy holds on the left for kids, warming up and down climbing
  • Lowest rung is about 44 inches above floor
The 9ft ceiling means that we will not be able to set up a full max ladders (1-5-9) unless I extend the last bit of plywood between the rafters.  Doing so would also require shifting the upper rungs to the center of the panel.  I doubt that I will actually need to train for such extreme power, but perhaps someone at the dojo will want to work the biggest max ladders.

In the RCTM the Anderson brothers are unequivocal:  do not intersperse types of rungs.  Well, I did it anyways.  I only had room for one ladder, and I wanted two different rung sizes.  So, I adopted part of their advice and omitted the large rungs, selecting only mediums and smalls.  Each ladder rung is 22 cm on center, and alternate one size and then the other every 11 cm.  What do I gain?  Two different levels of difficulty.  What do I lose?  Option to make 1/2 distance moves without switching to the other size.  Not a big loss. [Actually, it is a big loss when it comes to making incremental progress at max ladders.  However, we can partly solve that by adding alternating half rungs on the left, see next post]

Ted's mini review of wood grips rungs from Metolius:    

I ordered wood grips rungs for the campus board because I wanted the rungs to be, as much as possible, perfectly standardized.  Making a campus board with standard sized rungs, standard angle, and standard spacing allows comparison of performance on this wall to others.  For instance, when I am able to do 6 sets of 1-3-5 ladders on the smalls I will have a sense of where my fitness has progressed.   So, I was always going to order the standard sized rungs.  

 I ordered sets of both small and medium sizes through Amazon.  However, the mediums came from a larger supplier than the smalls.  The mediums shipped immediately and when I opened them up I was pleased to see they were just as I expected:  uniform, well textured, and consistent.  I really like the slight incut shape that is built into the upper surface (with the logo right side up).   Anyways, based on the mediums I was super happy with these rungs.  

I was quite surprised and and a bit disappointed with the smalls after unboxing because they were not consistent thickness.  I suspect that the set of smalls that I received is not typical for wood grips, and perhaps represent an earlier manufactured set, or a set that slipped past quality control.  Two rungs are thinner on the ends than the others due to the fact that the wood is warped and likely was warped before the sanding process.  The sanding reduced the warp by thinning the holds on the ends.  One rung was especially warped and is noticeably thinner than it should be.    

How much thinner are these, and how much does it really matter?   They seem about 1/16th of an inch thinner, perhaps a bit more at one end.  Is that enough to really matter?  Perhaps?  I can't tell yet because I put the thinner rungs near the top of the ladder.  Perhaps once I am using them regularly I can better assess how much it increases the difficulty of the rungs.  For now I would rather have them in place than deal with exchanging them or any nonsense.  Besides, if they really bugged me I could shim the ends to get the right depth.  

Going forward I plan to add 2-3 more rungs in each the medium and small ladders.  I am not sure if I will buy more of the wood grips or if I will make my own.  I am now certain that I can make them consistent to the standard sized models from wood grips.  For the smalls I think I will make my own from standard oak moulding and a bit of time with the orbital sander.  The big functional advantage of the wood grip rungs (besides standardization) is the incut, in addition to the rounding.  However, on the smalls, most of the depth of the rung is rounded, so the incut was not nearly as pronounced as on the medium rungs.    The final lesson I would draw from all of this is that it if possible, I would open and inspect all the rungs in a set before purchasing just to make sure they seemed as consistent as possible.  

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