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Question about home climbing wall
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Jan 17, 2013
I have a quick question. My wall is under construction right now. I have put up the 2x8 vertical joists that support the plywood. My concern is that these joists aren't perfectly inline/parallel. When I put a flat object(like my level, or plywood)up against the joists not all of the joists touch it. Some touch it at the top 3 ft but dont at the bottom three feet. I know that the angle and or the length of the joists might be off. when I put the level up against the joists the space between the level and some of the joists is as much as 1/2 inch. Others are off by 1/4 inch. FYI this angle of this wall is 45 deg. So my question to you is, does this 1/2 inch gap between the joist and the plywood matter? Meaning when I screw the plywood on, it will be in contact with most joists but not all of them (3/5, 2 of 5 are off). If this is a problem how do you suggest fixing it? I am kind of a perfectionist (but dont have much experience with construction) so I have been stewing over this worriedly for a few days. Am I worrying about something that is not a big deal or should I try to fix it? Should I go to the extreme and buy new 2x8s (there are 5 joist here)and start over being more meticulous that the cuts are perfect?
Let me know what you think... I appreciate any advice.

Oh and I am following the metolious guide for construction, I am using joist hangers to connect the joist to my headers.

James Yates
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Joined Sep 12, 2011
21 points
Jan 17, 2013
Get a good straight edge - piece of steel etc or use a laser level - use that to measure the actual gaps carefully. Then cut shims (spacers) to fill the gaps you have - be they 1/4" or 1/2 or tapered from one end to the other. You can do this easily on a table saw or with a circular saw with some care. You will basically be making that front edge straight and even with the rest. Then attach your plywood - you'll be fine - just used long enough deck screws to get through the shims and into the actual framing lumber itself. Chris Rice
Joined Jan 11, 2013
15 points
Jan 17, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Awesomeness!
I'm no expert, but I've built a couple using the same plans. I had the same problem initially. My fix was to shim the bottom of the joists inside the joist hanger at the footer (hopefully that makes sense. You can tack a peice of string across the joists and while you're shimming them you see if you have them in the right place or not. I spent a lot of time on the same step, and I think it paid off, but don't lose sleep over it.

If the play is only 1/4" and the plywood rests against most of the joists, you should be fine, you can shim them behind the plywood like the last poster said. What you really don't want is one or two joists sticking out further than the rest. If you secure the plywood sheets with good self-drilling screws there should be no issue.
Chris Horton
From Tucson AZ
Joined Jul 3, 2010
260 points
Jan 17, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
Have had that happen at times too, over an 80 ft. length of wall. Even my 3/4 inch plywood used had enough give to flex and get to the wood with a good 3 inch deck screw driven in. Blank spaces found had no ill effects on the working of the boards and wall. Go for it! Woodchuck ATC
Joined Nov 29, 2007
3,092 points
Jan 17, 2013
If you can get behind your wall once you hang plywood, I would hang the plywood then get back there and shim after the fact. Just tap some shims in where needed. If you use 3/4 plywood, it will be plenty ridgid once you shim, and like previous posters have said, the plywood may flex. I have some gaps in mine at home cause I ain't no engineer, and always get ahead of the level. Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Joined Sep 29, 2011
14 points
Jan 17, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: the man was smart
cut the high spots off with a saw, you have plenty of wood to work with. if you are a perfectionist you wont like shims and it may keep you up at night thinking about the shim job. shims would work though but I'd just cut the high spots off in place.

if you know someone with an electric hand planer you'll be psyched.
T Roper
Joined Mar 31, 2006
1,059 points
Jan 17, 2013
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the scenario, but:
plywood bends nicely, mostly it will average out, distances sound pretty small. Would be a drag for a wall in your livingroom, but no biggie for climbing wall.
-not sure if you did this, but if you don'tknow how to check for crown/warp/twist at lumber yard that is super helpful, cement floor at hom center makes handy reference.

-Trick: when using screws to pull two boards together, drive the screw until the head just contacts the wood, then back off until the screw is only in the plywood, then drive screw all the way home. Sucks it up tight!
-star drive structural screws rule. Way better than Phillips
-get a screw driving bit holder for your drill (little sliding sleeve, dunno proper name of it, like $7). Really helps to drive straight at awkward angles
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
247 points
Jan 17, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Destroyer of popcorn
Like other have said, the plywood should have enough flex to make up for any miscalculations.

+1 for NOT using phillips head woodscrews. T25 head screws work way better.
Doug Lintz
From Kearney, NE
Joined Apr 19, 2004
1,134 points

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