I want to screw a board in my house to mount indoor climbing holds, like an indoor wall. so a piece of board with evenly spaced screw holes in it that accept the standard screw mounts for climbing holds. something like this:

enter image description here

Problem is I don't know how to do this? Multiple questions:

  • What type of board?
  • How do I get the screw holes in (what the holds screw into)?
  • What size bolts/screws do I need?

I'm happy mounting the board, that's the easy bit. It's actually building the board itself I'm stuck on.

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    While what you want to do after installation (practice climbing) is outdoor related, what you are asking about in this question is a do-it-yourself home modification project. As such, the question would be more appropriate on Home Improvement where a much larger percentage of users are familiar with the task you are actually asking about. On that site, you would probably get answers that address safety issues and how to attach the board to the wall to be able to hold your weight, which should be very significant concerns.
    – Makyen
    Nov 2, 2016 at 15:06
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    I'm a rock climber, health and safety isn't my thing...I'll have a bouldering matt under me to stop my bruising my knees, it's better than having a 5' run out of rope and bad rock :)
    – user2766
    Nov 2, 2016 at 15:17
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    But you would not be happy if you managed to injure yourself practicing climbing, which prevented you from going on a climb you had been planning for months, due to the climbing board you installed yourself ripping out of the wall as a result of being improperly attached. In addition, you would then also have to deal with fixing any damage to the wall. Unless, that is, you get the same enjoyment out of practicing in your room as you do from actually climbing a rock.
    – Makyen
    Nov 2, 2016 at 15:26
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    Why not go ahead and do it right for grins. Attacking to studs through sheet rock is not the easy bit. Spacing out from the wall is will be mechanical leverage working against you.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 2, 2016 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


Typically, using 3/4" (19mm) plywood board is strong enough for this use. And the bolts you want are 3/4" (19mm) plus enough each end to screw into the hold and to accept a nut.

Bolts used for most holds are M10 or M9.5, so check which your hold supplier uses, and then make sure the holes you drill are that thickness. This sort of bolt seems to be the most common in metric countries.

Don't use more than 2 holes per square foot (21.5 holes per m2) of wall surface (think the industry standard is 2.25 but err on the safe side)

Tightening them up doesn't require anything clever - no countersinking required, just tighten them right up. I wouldn't mount it flush to the wall anyway - you are better off leaving that gap so you can get at the bolts as needed, rather than remove the entire piece.

If covering an entire wall, fix the climbing wall to all your studs, not just at each end, in order to avoid the board pulling away in the centre.

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    In your link the bolts are M10 and from what I read in a quick google search, mostly 3/8'' (M9.5) seem to be used for climbing holds in non-metric regions. Just as a remark, I do not know which is really mostly used, you probably have to check with your holds supplier. Holds are usually anyway the most expensive part, so adjusting the rest to the optimal holds supplier makes sense.
    – imsodin
    Nov 2, 2016 at 13:45
  • That's a good point! That was a quick link to the UK supplier I have used in the past. I'll update the post.
    – Rory Alsop
    Nov 2, 2016 at 13:46
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    AFAIK climbing holds tend to be secured to t-nuts. So you drill the hole, hammer/screw in the t-nut to the rear face and then screw in the bolts from the front. No need to access the rear once it's set up. (e.g. see the t-nuts on @Rory's link in the answer: coreclimbing.co.uk/shop/tools-fixings/m10-t-nuts/…)
    – Dan
    Nov 2, 2016 at 14:19
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    Joist or stud - they mean different things in the US and in walls they are studs. Just for clarification. Nov 2, 2016 at 16:20
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    3/8" != 9.5 mm. The clearance hole may be the same, but if you're running a bolt through be sure the nut matches.
    – Chris H
    Nov 2, 2016 at 16:21

You will need to counter sink (fostner) the nut (bottom right) on the back side (because it will be up against the wall). A drill press would be nice. Or space the board from the wall. Any solid wood thick enough. If you are not going to counter sink then you should be able to use plywood. Practice on a short section.

hand set

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    Those nuts need a slight counterbore anyway. To get the plate to sit subflush is slightly tricky and requires a more specialist drill bit which isn't as easy to align to the main hole. Too deep and it would weaken the attachment or even the board. Spacing the board off the wall would bea easier.
    – Chris H
    Nov 2, 2016 at 16:23
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    @Paparazzi yes, and +1 already but if you use a Forstner bit to counterbore for the plate part of those biting nuts it would still be tricky. With a press I'd counterbore with a spade bit as the first operation, using that to provide the pilot hole. And a press only has a certain throat depth, especially the benchtop acessory versions, limiting how far you can get from the edge
    – Chris H
    Nov 2, 2016 at 16:27
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    Spacing the board off the wall is an incredibly dangerous suggestion. Nov 3, 2016 at 3:58
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    @Whatisname you'd only need a sheet of 3mm ply. This wouldn't increase the leverage appreciably. Alternatively you could fix sturdy cross-members across multiple studs and screw your board to these. In this case the spacing would be almost a bonus
    – Chris H
    Nov 3, 2016 at 7:37

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