I welded the seams to solidify the bracket.

Part 4 of the Garage Wall Project Build

Making It Secure

The basics of the wall are now completed. But as of now, there isn’t a permanent latch to hold it into the ceiling, and it folds down to the 15° angle, and that is it. And it’s not braced at that angle, so if you climb too high, it will start to fold back up!  So, I added two support braces that are also hinged, so they fold up into the ceiling, then fold down and lock into the structure with pins, bracing the wall at 15°, 45° or 50°! I also fabricated some brackets to provide additional support where the wall attaches to the ceiling joist, so that all the weight isn’t supported by just the hinges when the wall is in use.

I also needed to add a couple detachable extension panels to extend the wall a bit further down, and add a kick plate on the left side. I didn’t design the wall with these permanently attached for both height clearance issues, and to leave an area exposed in the garage ceiling where I have a shop light mounted.

This piece of sheet metal I had lying around from some shelving is about to be transformed into a bracket for locking the wall in place

This piece of sheet metal I had lying around from some shelving is about to be transformed into a bracket for locking the wall in place

The bracket has been cut & folded into shape

The bracket has been cut & folded into shape

I welded the seams to solidify the bracket.

I welded the seams to solidify the bracket.

The bracket was drilled with keyholes so it slides into place and registers into two locking pins. This bracket is designed to take the weight off the hinges when the wall is used in the 15 degree position. I created a bracket for the other wide of the wall that provides similar support for the 45 and 50 degree positions.

The bracket was drilled with keyholes so it slides into place and registers into two locking pins. This bracket is designed to take the weight off the hinges when the wall is used in the 15 degree position. I created a bracket for the other wide of the wall that provides similar support for the 45 and 50 degree positions.

A simple swiveling mechanism locks the wall in place against the ceiling, keeping it out of the way when not in use

A simple swiveling mechanism locks the wall in place against the ceiling, keeping it out of the way when not in use

Support braces lock in the wall at 3 different angles

Support braces lock in the wall at 3 different angles

Here you can see the wall locked in at 50°, and also the hole that would be used when setting the wall at 45°. To lock the wall in place, a bolt simply slides into the appropriate hole on each side of the wall.

Here you can see the wall locked in at 50°, and also the hole that would be used when setting the wall at 45°. To lock the wall in place, a bolt simply slides into the appropriate hole on each side of the wall.

Side view of thew all locked into place

Side view of everything all locked into place

Rear view of the wall locked into place

Rear view of the wall locked into place

Folded up and locked out of the way.

Folded up and locked out of the way.

Mounting of the kick-place extension, also locked in place with sliding pins

Mounting of the kick-place extension, also locked in place with sliding pins

Design of the detachable kick-place extension panel

Design of the detachable kick-place extension panel

View of the extension panels mounted from behind

View of the extension panels mounted from behind

The two extension panels in place. The upper extension panel is keyholed to slide over bolts and lock into place. The bottom kick-place extension locks in with pins.

The two extension panels in place. The upper extension panel is keyholed to slide over bolts and lock into place. The bottom kick-plate extension locks in with pins.

The bottom extension panels in place.

The bottom extension panels in place.

Continue to Part 5 of the Garage Wall Build

The large panel all drilled out.

Part 3 of the Garage Wall Project Build

Covering It Up

With the structure all framed up and mounted to the ceiling joist, it was time to work on the climbing surface. I’d be using 3/4″ sanded plywood with T-nuts arranged in an 8″ grid pattern. I decided to go with a standard grid, vs a staggered or random arrangement, since the wall would primarily be used for training, where arranging holds in a symmetrical pattern is preferred.

The 8" grid pattern is chalked out, ready to be drilled.

The 8″ grid pattern is chalked out, ready to be drilled.

Holes for the T-nuts have been drilled.

Holes for the T-nuts have been drilled.

The T-nuts are in place, ready to be screwed in. I went with the screwin version of the nuts vs the pronged versions even though more expensive, since they're easier to mount straight in the hole.

The T-nuts are in place, ready to be screwed in. I went with the screw-in version of the nuts vs the pronged versions, even though more expensive, since they’re easier to mount straight in the hole.

Three screws hold the T-nut in place. These screws really just secure the nut flush with the surface and keep it from spinning. When a hold is bolted to the wall, these screws aren't actually subject to any of the load.

Three screws hold the T-nut in place. These screws really just secure the nut flush with the surface and keep it from spinning. When a hold is bolted to the wall, these screws aren’t actually subject to any of the load.

The large panel all drilled out.

The large panel all drilled out.

I got the T-nuts from Escape Climbing. I thought the bag of 100 was going to be enough, but I came up a few short, and ended up ordering another bag.

I got the T-nuts from Escape Climbing. I thought the bag of 100 was going to be enough, but I came up a few short, and ended up ordering another bag.

Ready for nuts

Ready for nuts

The right panel has been secured, and the left panel is ready to go into place. It proved to be a bit tricky to lift and hold this in place by myself, but since it's nearly midnight, I'm on my own to make this happen!

The right panel has been secured, and the left panel is ready to go into place. It proved to be a bit tricky to lift and hold this in place by myself, but since it’s nearly midnight, I’m on my own to make this happen!

The panels are in place!

The panels are in place!

A view from the back side after mounting the panels. Care was taken to ensure none of the framing overlapped the T-nuts. For the T-nuts that are over the top of the header piece, overlapping was unavoidable, but the header was clearanced in these spots prior to mounting the plywood, so there's still room for a bolt to protrude when mounting holds in these locations.

A view from the back side after mounting the panels. Care was taken to ensure none of the framing overlapped the T-nuts. For the T-nuts that are over the top of the header piece, overlapping was unavoidable, but the header was clearanced in these spots prior to mounting the plywood, so there’s still room for a bolt to protrude when mounting holds in these locations.

Continue to Part 4 of the Garage Wall Build

The left and right half coming together. They'll remain separate until mounted to the rafters, then be bolted together for form a single structure.

Part 2 of the Garage Wall Project Build

Framing it up

Now that I had the basic design worked out, it was time to start with the cuttin and the screwin! I’d build the wall in two sections to facilitate lifting it into place for attachment to the garage joist. The two halves would then be glued and lag-screwed together to form one solid unit. I had debated keeping the two halves separate, allowing for just half of the wall to be lowered and used independently, but decided against this due to the extra supports that would be required to lock it into place when lowered, along with the fact with such a small wall, it’s rare that I’d only want to use half of it anyway.

A beefy header was built into the frame about 7′ up, to which the hinges would be mounted. Although my design would include several locking pins to take some of the weight off the hinges when in use, this connection was still the most crucial for the structural integrity and safety of the design, so a total of 8 5-inch heavy-duty gate hinges would be used, and bolted through the structure, rather than just screwed in.

The main structure was built from 2×4 lumber, with 2×6’s utilized for the hinge attachment structure. The frame would be faced with 3/4″ plywood as the climbing surface and provide the final structural rigidity. All framing was glued and secured with construction-grade screws, and either lag-screwed or bolted through when necessary.

Left half of the wall framed up, with temporary supports holding it square.

Left half of the wall framed up, with temporary supports holding it square.

The beefy 2x6 header to which the hinges will be mounted.

The beefy 2×6 header to which the hinges will be mounted.

The header is lag-screwed in from the sides, as well as glued and screwed from every angle

The header is lag-screwed in from the sides, as well as glued and screwed from every angle

The left and right half coming together. They'll remain separate until mounted to the rafters, then be bolted together for form a single structure.

The left and right half coming together. They’ll remain separate until mounted to the rafters, then be bolted together to form a single structure.

The hinges are going on! Heavy-duty 5" gate hinges are bolted through the header, and will then be bolted to the garage joist.

The hinges are going on! Heavy-duty 5″ gate hinges are bolted through the header, and will then be bolted to the garage joist.

The wall is in place! 5 of the final eight hinges have been attached, and the folding functionality of the wall can now be tested.

The wall is in place! Five of the final eight hinges have been attached, and the folding functionality of the wall can now be tested.

Folded up into the ceiling with a temporary brace holding it up

Folded up into the ceiling with a temporary brace holding it up

The garage door slides just over the top of the structure when in the up position. The garage door must be partially lowered for the wall to fold down into place.

The garage door slides just over the top of the structure when in the up position. The garage door must be partially lowered for the wall to fold down into place.

All the hinges mounted. The excess bolt thread still need to be cut off.

All the hinges mounted. The excess bolt thread still need to be cut off.

Here you can see all eight hinges and how they secure the structure to the garage joist.

Here you can see all eight hinges and how they secure the structure to the garage joist.

Detail of the hinges. The hinges are bolted all the way through at all connections. Grade 5 and Grade 8 bolts were used for maximum strength

Detail of the hinges. The hinges are bolted all the way through at all connections. Grade 5 and Grade 8 bolts were used in both 1/4″ and 5/16″ diameters for maximum strength.

The excess bolt thread have now been cut off with the angle grinder, so everything sits flush with the surface.

The excess bolt threads have now been cut off with the angle grinder, so everything sits flush with the surface.

A view of the hinge mounting bolts from behind the ceiling joist.

A view of the hinge mounting bolts from behind the ceiling joist.

Continue to Part 3 of the Garage Wall Build

More detailed plans showing the wall dimensions and hinged attachment points

Part 1 of the Garage Wall Project Build

Before I committed to building an at-home climbing wall, I needed to come up with a design that would meet the following requirements. This was key, because I wanted a wall that I would be motivated to use on a regular basis, but would not interfere with normal day-to-day activities.

Climbing Wall Requirements:

  1. Take up no permanent floor-space
  2. Not interfere with vehicle parking
  3. Stowable design that was still easy to access & deploy
  4. Tall enough to be worthwhile
  5. Multiple or variable angles
  6. Safe & secure
  7. Cost effective

After much measuring in the garage, the brainstorming and sketching began.  My garage has a unique design that has an open loft-like storage area, rather than a sealed off attic. This was going to be perfect for attaching a hinged structure that could flip down, then fold back up into the ceiling when not in use.  The space would allowing for a 10′ tall by nearly 7′ wide climbing surface, and I planned for the default wall angle to be 15°, with stops built in so the wall could also be set at 45° and 50°. The left side of the wall would be 4′ wide, and when set at 50°, would be used for H.I.T. training. The right side of the wall would be 32″ wide, and be used for campusing when set at 15°. The height would allow for 9 campus rungs at “Moon Spacing” (22cm).

Rough sketch of the design and how it will fit into the garage

Rough sketch of the design and how it will fit into the garage

More detailed plans showing the wall dimensions and hinged attachment points

More detailed plans showing the wall dimensions and hinged attachment points

Sketch showing the wall in profile, and the three angle settings

Sketch showing the wall in profile, and the three angle settings

Mocking up the positioning and angle

Mocking up the positioning and angle

Some temporary framing on the left side of the wall. Clamped into place to set the 15 degree angle

Some temporary framing on the left side of the wall. Clamped into place to set the 15 degree angle. The wall will be hinged from this ceiling joist, which has an additional 2×6 sistered to it for supporting the additional load and connections.

Mocking up the positioning of the wall, and determining where it will hit the floor when at the 15 degree angle.

Mocking up the positioning of the wall, and determining where it will hit the floor when at the 15 degree angle.

Continue to Part 2 of the Garage Wall Build

First climb on the garage wall!

What started as a passing idea and rough sketch a few months ago has finally started to happen. A climbing/training wall in my garage!

Since I have but a modest 20×21′ two-car garage, and also enjoy wrenching on my cars in there, I needed a solution that wouldn’t actually take up any permanent floor or storage space. Fortunately for me, my oddly designed garage had a loft that left the gable ends of the garage open all the way to the roof. This lead to the design of a 10′ tall variable angle design, hinged so it folds up into the ceiling when not in use.

In the next several posts, I’ll document the idea and construction process of my epic garage wall.

Garage Wall Part 1 | Design
Garage Wall Part 2 | Framing
Garage Wall Part 3 | Surfacing
Garage Wall Part 4 | Securing
Garage Wall Part 5 | Holds
Garage Wall Part 6 | Training

First climb on the garage wall!

First climb on the garage wall!

50x2

50×2

Here’s a quick video demonstrating the wall’s fold-down action