Crack Machine

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Gary Carpenter

climber
SF Bay Area
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 30, 2005 - 01:19am PT
A recent post by Tom Higgins ("...my embarrassment caused me to make and incessantly use an adjustable, wooden/rubber practice crack nailed to the outside of my home in LA. The crack machine helped me develop technique for Yosemite slots, including the wide part of the Owl.") has sparked my interest in building an adjustable crack machine.

Looking for suggestions/specs. Can't get to the valley often enough to get up to speed on off-width. I'm hoping a crack machine would help develop off-width techinque. Would appreciate any advice.

Thanks

Gary
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 30, 2005 - 01:40am PT
didn't think to look when you asked...

try: http://www.tradgirl.com/climbing_faq/home_walls.htm#crack

actually, Tradgirl is still a great place to get info...
spyork

Trad climber
Fremont, CA
Sep 30, 2005 - 01:53pm PT
Now you are getting me thinking. I have been watching my local gym get worse and worse (CityBeach Fremont). The guys I climb with are speculating that it won't survive much longer.

The only reason I go to the gym is to keep in shape so I can climb outside. Aesthetically, I don't really like gym climbing, and it is where I have been injuring myself (bouldering). I practice alot on their cracks, wide (fist), narrow hands (for me), and fingers to thin fingers.

If my local gym closes, then I am faced with more than an hour drive to another gym.

Now I am wondering if I can train in my garage and backyard.

Hmmmm.....

dmitry

Trad climber
Chita, Russia
Sep 30, 2005 - 06:06pm PT
A friend on his "crack machine"
Different and rather simple design, very effective.

http://photos.rockclimbing.com/photos//500/50057.jpg

bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Sep 30, 2005 - 06:33pm PT
I have one like the one shown in the picture that dimitry linked. Pretty easy to build! Depending on the size of hands it takes it can be wicked hard.
Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Oct 1, 2005 - 02:02pm PT
I'd like to find a way to put some quickrete or some other covering over my crack so I dont have to tape or get splinters and have a more rock like feel.
The crack is fully adjustable and can be flared, its 12' tall.
Lg

Trad climber
NorCaL
Oct 1, 2005 - 07:26pm PT
hmm, can't see the quick rete adhering to the wood without tacking some wire down first, maybe? Or, glue some coarse grit sandpaper on the insides.
Fingerlocks

Trad climber
where the climbin's good
Oct 2, 2005 - 12:16am PT
I've made these before and found two things helped. First, make it deeper by using a 2x8. Second, stiffen it up by putting a 2x4 facing on it to make each side an "L" section. You can fix those mini-foot chip holds to the facing if you want to add variety.

Also, instead of a single bolt in the middle of the board (as per your photo), put in pairs of bolts with one at the front and the other at the back. This lets you flare the crack.

For OW, I'd probably make plywood frames. Even just a 16" depth would let you throw an elbow in. Doing 24" might be better.
Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Oct 2, 2005 - 12:55pm PT
Its hard to tell in the photo but the bolts are stagered and this allows for flaring of the "crack". I took the photo of the bolt to show how it can be adjusted by moving the "floating" board on the bolts. I dont have a bolt on the top of the crack and this is something I need to add as the top flexes, otherwise its quite solid. Also I can change the angle of the entire wall from less than vertical to slightly overhanging. I must say that the spiders use the wall more than I do..
Fingerlocks

Trad climber
where the climbin's good
Oct 3, 2005 - 11:21am PT
You don't find that the board bows out under the pressure of a hand jam?

Being able to change the angle of the whole rig is good. I only built one that was set up that way, but it got used a lot more than the others. It was for overhanging hands all the way to a full roof. Good pump.
Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Oct 3, 2005 - 01:49pm PT
the board may bow out a little but nothing that causes problems. I've got bolts every few feet. The top is the only problem.
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Oct 3, 2005 - 02:06pm PT
I've coated my cracks with elastomeric deck coatings and sand. I had material left over from jobs. You can buy elastomeric paint at any paint store. It'll be a little thinner but will work fine.
One coat paint as a primer- or use a primer. Second coat of paint. While it is still wet cast 60 mesh sand (or smaller if you can find it, maybe even cornmeal) to saturation. In other words throw a lot of sand onto it. It helps if you have the wood lieing flat. After it dries brush as much sand off as you can and put a third coat of paint. At this point it may be too rough so what I did was sand it down a bit and then put one final coat. I did the same thing on my adj. chimney.
Buy a quart of paint and experiment.
Zander
poop*ghost

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Oct 3, 2005 - 02:24pm PT
Would grip tape for skateboards work? It may be almost too gritty.
Fingerlocks

Trad climber
where the climbin's good
Oct 3, 2005 - 06:25pm PT
We did that skateboard tape once. It worked, but it is pretty grippy. Nice for overhanging flares.

Something like what Zander did is better.
Gary Carpenter

climber
SF Bay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2005 - 03:51pm PT
Thanks for the tips and encouragement guys. I took Radicals advice to heart and didn’t procrastinate, just got with it and I think we have a very workable OW crack machine.

I took Fingerlocks suggestion and used 24 inch plywood panels. Split two 4x8 sheets of ˝” OSB lengthwise and stiffened them with paired 2x4’s. Used ˝” all-thread rod to provide adjustable struts.

Here are some photos (hope they work, this is my first time posting a photo).



The off width crack machine. 16 feet high 24 inches wide.



Super Topo’s own Dr. Ed Hartouni in action! (He doesn’t even remotely resemble the Off Width Angel)

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 17, 2005 - 04:10pm PT
you forgot to say what paint you used to give it a bit of friction...

...and only a little bit at that (but much better than before you painted it!).



My eyes are closed because I am trying to imagine myself doing it effortlessly...
scuffy b

climber
S Cruz
Nov 17, 2005 - 04:26pm PT
Don't the bolts get in the way? Have you tried it at many
different widths?
sm
mynameismud

climber
backseat
Nov 17, 2005 - 05:30pm PT
This is what I have learned from making a couple of crack machines.
I use either 2x10 or 2x12. 3/8" barstock over drill the holes just a bit for the barstock. Also offset the holes by about 5" so that when the rig is setup with about a 20 degree angle the bars are in a vertical line. I have found that if the pairs are about 3' apart the machine does not expand to much. I like the pais to be vertical so if you fall out you tend not to hit as much. Making the machine overhang abit also keeps you from hitting the barstock on the way down.
Grit helps prevent splinters. I use verithane and grit from Orchard. After adding grit put on another couple of coats and sand just a bit between coats.
put a piece of surgical tubing over the barstock ends.
I used a belt sander to round the edges and to make the crack vary in size a bit. This helps when making it real thin. A wood rasp would save your sander a bit.
I like to use 2 nuts on each side of one board and keep those holes tight. Use two wing nuts on the other board and make those holes bigger. Also use larger washers on that board
Most important
#1 Don't tell the guy at the hardware store or lumber yard you building a "Crack Machine".
#2 do not name your cat Crack Kitty.
Gary Carpenter

climber
SF Bay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2005 - 06:05pm PT
Ed: The paint is Gliddens Deck Paint with a double dose of the slip resistant additive that Home Depot sells.

Scruffy: The bolts (all-thread bars) are easy to avoid. They are spaced 4’ on center vertically and are set-back 12” from the front edge. Since it’s set up as an off-width and not a chimney the climbing is done mostly on the front half of the panel. I currently have it set up to model the top of Sacherer Cracker. It is about 5” wide at the base and increases to about 12” wide at the top.
scuffy b

climber
S Cruz
Nov 17, 2005 - 07:07pm PT
Thanks. I wondered because when I do 6" (at least in a corner)
my knee goes in 14", and I certainly don't have long legs.
My nickname (no R) has more to do with scabs and bruises than
with grooming or dress.
Can you position your machine to simulate corners or is it always
straight in?
sm
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