Project Overview

For the upcycle project I will be designing a climbing hangboard using offcuts and scraps of different pieces of wood. As a climber and an engineer, designing and creating my own hangboard is a great way to introduce crossover between my passions. Hangboards are common training devices used for climbing to improve grip strength and upper body strength. An example is shown below:

Hangboard by Metolius – Rei [1]
The hangboard will be both functional and decorative. Additionally, I have always wanted to improve my woodworking skills and imagine that this project will help me develop these skills.

Aesthetic Overview – Patchwork

Patchwork is the aesthetic which best describes the look and design I am going for. While patchwork is traditionally used to describe the combination of various fabrics, I have decided to translate this aesthetic to woodworking. The style in which my project will be manufactured includes combining a series of scrap and off cuts of different pieces of wood in order to create one large slab of wood which is large enough to manufacture the hangboard out of. Multiple examples of this style of woodworking exist currently and come in many different forms.

Humpback Whale 2023 – Blake McFarland [2]
The Humpback Whale by Blake McFarland is an example of the use of patchwork woodworking in order to create an advanced art piece. This whale was created using a solid block of wood glued together at different heights and then filled with epoxy. The epoxy filled artwork allows very strong emphasis to be placed on the patchwork art style.

End grain Cutting Board – Johnny Brooke [3]
Less complex than the previous whale is a cutting board created using the end grains of different pieces of wood. These can be made using large slabs of wood, or more commonly, they are created with smaller off cuts which are already lying around in the shop. This style is much more closely related to what I would kind of aesthetic I envision my hangboard using. The hangboard will consist exclusively of wood as its structural component with a similar visual appearance to the cutting board above, however, due to the 3D nature of hangboards, it will implement three dimensional elements like the whale shown above.

Final Thoughts

The patchwork aesthetic from a woodworking perspective is a very unique one with a lot of imagination to be had. Designs range from the whale above to cutting boards, to chess boards, and more. All that really matters is that different types of wood are included in the design. In the case of my design, the materials will be scrap pieces of wood which, on their own, would be incapable of being used in any sort of woodworking project. In order to source the material, I will be reaching out to local woodworking, art studios, and shops looking for small pieces of wood which can be used for the project.





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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Travis Mulford
    May 7, 2024 9:43 pm

    Hello Ian,
    This is a super cool idea, and seems like it would be very useful to have for climbing. I am personally a big fan of this patchwork aesthetic, and it reminds me a lot of epoxy resin tables that people will build. I’m wondering, how will you ensure that the hangboard is strong enough to support your weight with the patchwork and adhesive?


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