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best surface for crack machine?
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Nov 8, 2011
Hi:

I want to build a little mini crack machine, just big enough to do pullups and hangs from.

I've seen a few threads on here suggesting that bare, sanded wood would be the best surface in terms of skin-friendliness, others saying that's not so good. One thread showed a fellow using a crack machine with leather gloves, guess I'd rather avoid that if possible, especially if I'm going to try to get down to smaller sizes. Probably where I could use the most training right now is 0.75 camalot size, and I think gloves would pretty well defeat the purpose there.

I was thinking of maybe trying to face the wood with some kind of stone, but would be interested in hearing of other approaches folks have had success with.

Cheers,
David
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
246 points
Nov 8, 2011
You stay away from mah pig!
David Horgan wrote:
Hi: I want to build a little mini crack machine, just big enough to do pullups and hangs from. I've seen a few threads on here suggesting that bare, sanded wood would be the best surface in terms of skin-friendliness, others saying that's not so good. One thread showed a fellow using a crack machine with leather gloves, guess I'd rather avoid that if possible, especially if I'm going to try to get down to smaller sizes. Probably where I could use the most training right now is 0.75 camalot size, and I think gloves would pretty well defeat the purpose there. I was thinking of maybe trying to face the wood with some kind of stone, but would be interested in hearing of other approaches folks have had success with. Cheers, David


grip tape, but that will make the surface probably more high friction than any real rock would ever be.
camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Joined Jun 27, 2006
1,369 points
Nov 8, 2011
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
Actually, just sand and paint it. A friend used sandpaper once on his crack machine and it was too painful to climb bare handed. You want to be able to use it without gloves. You'll enjoy it a lot more. Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Joined Jan 1, 2001
1,527 points
Nov 8, 2011
Stich wrote:
Actually, just sand and paint it. A friend used sandpaper once on his crack machine and it was too painful to climb bare handed. You want to be able to use it without gloves. You'll enjoy it a lot more.


Wouldn't paint make it too slick?

Agree on avoiding the gloves, for sure...
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
246 points
Nov 8, 2011
World Champion NY Giants logo
mix sand with paint for texture. It shouldn't be worse on your hands then real rock. Over time the sand will fall off and you can choose to repaint if you want. Sergio P
From Idaho Springs, CO
Joined Oct 23, 2004
237 points
Nov 8, 2011
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
David Horgan wrote:
Wouldn't paint make it too slick? Agree on avoiding the gloves, for sure...


It depends on the paint you use. But try it sanded without paint first to see if you like it.
Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Joined Jan 1, 2001
1,527 points
Nov 8, 2011
Skiing around.
A friend of mine glued burlap fabric to the surface of the wood. worked pretty good Darren in Vegas
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Feb 13, 2006
2,223 points
Nov 8, 2011
Whaaaat?
I'm surprised the hold manufacturers have come out with something yet. Maybe you could research the climbing hold manufacturing process and mold yourself a sweet crack? BackCountry
From Ogden, UT
Joined Oct 29, 2009
421 points
Nov 8, 2011
I used thin pieces of sandstone (scraps from the quarry). Use the highest rated contruction glue you can find and clamp or weight to increase the strength while it is drying.

If you use stone, grind the outside edges a little.
KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
Joined Mar 22, 2006
85 points
Nov 8, 2011
25' drop...wheeeeee!
I'd go with shale or slate. Both are pretty easy to come by due to their use in flooring/decking(not the bad kind). I feel like shale has a pretty average texture as far as rock goes, and slate's naturally flat and is a bit smoother for more of a challenge. JesseT
From Portland, OR
Joined May 5, 2011
114 points
Nov 8, 2011
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Best simulated cracks for training I've seen are just bare wood.

Yeah, its slick, so, won't tear your hands up and you're forced develope good technique. Using a grippy surface defeats the purpose, IMHO.
Brian in SLC
Joined Oct 6, 2003
11,031 points
Nov 8, 2011
Head full of lead. Photo by Frosty Weller
I've built a crack machine hangboard that I surfaced by wrapping the boards with climbing tape. I wrapped the boards instead of just putting strips on as it tends to stay on better. The more you overlap, the better. Also, use the good curity kendall tape as it has the best adhesive. This type of surface is friendly on your skin, gives you extra grip, and is cheap and easy to install.

I think I still have my hangboard but I don't use it. I'd probably give it away for a 6 pack. If you want to be able to master fist jams it's perfect. Hand jams are problematic in narrow doorways.

Good luck -
Dan
D@n
From Boulder, CO
Joined Sep 10, 2005
186 points
Nov 8, 2011
Go to Supertopo and email Ed Hartouni. I believe that he and his frineds use one frequently; he's a friendly guy and and will certainly respond. Dana Bartlett
From CT
Joined Nov 18, 2003
963 points
Nov 8, 2011
Get a good thick paint and add grit. Hardware stores carry a fine sand that is normally added to paint for concrete steps that works well. If you use normal latex paint it will last OK, but if you want good long term performance then use a marine or epoxy paint.

Now for my unsolicited 2 cents: With a decent friction factor inside the crack by making it rough, you may learn to finesse you jams rather than using brute strength if the crack is smooth and slippery.

Good luck
Kent Pease
From Littleton, Colorado
Joined Feb 13, 2006
122 points
Nov 8, 2011
Mathematical!
I heard about some guy using ceramic tile in his crack machine. Dunno how it really worked out, but it's another option I suppose. Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Joined Jul 11, 2008
123 points
Nov 8, 2011
Let's see some pics DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Joined May 24, 2011
191 points
Nov 8, 2011
+1 for bare wood, no gloves JoeR
From Eugene, OR
Joined Aug 22, 2011
26 points
Nov 9, 2011
Dusk at the Rim Lounge, San Rafael Swell.
I used garage floor paint with sanded grit mixed in. Available at the local big box stores. Seems to work well. Bill Duncan
From Jamestown, CO
Joined Mar 30, 2005
2,890 points
Nov 9, 2011
Bare wood lightly sanded.

Painted is too slick. And since the entire purpose is to develop crushing jam strength, while avoiding abrasion/gobies, any sand/rock etc for added texture is a detraction, not a bonus. People add sand because they paint and with plain paint it's way too slick. But sand in the paint blows ass, parts of it crumbles off and it isn't nice on bare hands.

Tape? Surely you're kidding? That'll be nice after a few months when the glue is bleeding through the surface of the tape and it's like climbing a flypaper crack.

One more thought...if you are building a little thing for hangs, don't bother with adjustable, just make side-by-side cracks at different fixed sizes so you can work multiple sizes without having to mess with adjusting it. Suggest 7/8", 1", 1 1/8", 1 1/4", 1 1/2", and fist.
Will S
From Joshua Tree
Joined Nov 15, 2006
1,275 points
Nov 9, 2011
Head full of lead. Photo by Frosty Weller
Will S wrote:
Tape? Surely you're kidding? That'll be nice after a few months when the glue is bleeding through the surface of the tape and it's like climbing a flypaper crack.


Have you tried it? The tape actually doesn't bleed glue at all. If anything, the tape gets drier. At any rate, if you climb the same crack for more than a few months without being a Jedi at it, you're going to need more than a crack machine to get better.
D@n
From Boulder, CO
Joined Sep 10, 2005
186 points
Nov 9, 2011
I did one with sand and paint. It is really hard on the hands to the point that you don't want to use it without taping hands. I would go with just coarsely sanded wood or if you NEED to add a surface gluing on slate/flagstone (sandstone) or any thin flat stone would work I guess. You can always add texture later but it is hard(er)to take it off. If you are just trying to make a crack hangboard +1 on making a couple side by side with fixed sizes. Do it so that for example the right hand piece of wood for the 3/4" is the left hand side for 1", ect... NickMartel
From Tucson, Arizona
Joined Aug 30, 2011
1,456 points
Nov 9, 2011
Thanks to everyone for the replies! I guess I can start with the bare wood and build up from there if that doesn't work for me.

Cheers,
David
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
246 points
Nov 9, 2011
jugging pitch 1 leaning tower yosemite
Instead of sand in the paint, you could try a little crushed walnut shell. It is commercially available for just such a purpose (Adding a non-slip texture to painted or coated floors) It might be a little friendlier to the hands. Geoff Bindeman
Joined Nov 19, 2007
16 points
Nov 9, 2011
Photo Credit: The talented Pete Garceau
anyone want to post up some photos of their crack simulators? Never done it and would be interested to see Dave Alie
From Golden, CO
Joined Feb 25, 2010
35 points
Nov 9, 2011
Myself placing a a blue/yellow offset MC to protec...
Dave Alie wrote:
anyone want to post up some photos of their crack simulators? Never done it and would be interested to see



A friend of mine built this though i'm not sure what he does with it.

picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/...

picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/...
rock_fencer
From Columbia, SC
Joined Dec 20, 2009
253 points
Nov 9, 2011
David Horgan wrote:
Thanks to everyone for the replies! I guess I can start with the bare wood and build up from there if that doesn't work for me. Cheers, David


This sounds like a pretty sensible solution.
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
34 points


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