Colour variations in wood/ knots
Wood is a natural product. It grows out of the ground! It’s a varied and interesting material with wonderful properties for training on. However wood isn’t a uniform material, and has natural variations in it’s density, colour and texture.
We make Beastmakers out of tulipwood (from the poplar tree). We chose this wood as it comes from sustainable sources, it carves and finishes well and it has a great texture for training on. It’s smooth, yet has enough grip to feel solid under your fingertips while hanging even the most marginal holds.
Tulipwood comes in a huge spectrum of colours. From a very pale cream colour, to green, yellow and even sometimes dark brown and purple. We love the variation in colours and the fact that no 2 fingerboards look the same. Occasionally we hear from people who are unhappy about the colour of their fingerboard, because it doesn’t match another one that they have seen elsewhere. To us, that’s the interesting thing about wood. It is all totally different.
Should I use chalk on my Beastmaker?
Yes! Wood is an amazing material to train on. It’s texture is just grippy enough to function properly (i.e. you can actually hang on to it!), while being smooth and kind on the skin. One of the main advantages of wood over resin fingerboards is that wood absorbs a bit of moisture from your skin. Resin isn’t porous so once the chalk on the surface has absorbed some sweat from your hands the rest of the moisture is left hanging around and making things slippy. Wood can absorb a bit of the moisture from your hands, leaving the holds feeling grippy after a number of repeated hangs.
The only downside of using chalk is that you have to take care of your fingerboard between hangs and sessions. You should use a soft natural fiber brush to clean off the excess chalk. We tend to clean the holds between every set to keep the fingerboard in good conditions.
If your look after your fingerboard, your fingerboard will look after you...
How should I clean my beastmaker?
If you brush your fingerboard with a soft, natural bristle brush regularly it won’t ever need any more cleaning. If you allow chalk to build up and cake the pores of the wood it will start to feel slippery and minging. In this case you can clean the wood back to it’s natural state with your aforementioned brush, or if things have got really bad you can use a bit of sandpaper (120 grit works best to give the right texture) to gently sand the crusty chalk build up off.
When fingerboarding you tend to have a lot of rest time. Brushing the fingerboard is a good use of your rest time! It will keep the fingerboard in good condition and it will make your session more consistent as the friction will remain the same throughout the session. And over time you won’t find it getting caked with a thick, greasy, chalky residue.
Do I need to varnish or lacquer my Beastmaker?
No! Our fingerboards have been designed to be used with a little chalk and nothing else. The texture is (in our opinion) perfect for training on. If you seal or lacquer the wood it will create a very slippery surface on the holds which will be unpleasant to train on.
Our fingerboards are not designed to be mounted in a position where they will get wet. They are fine to mount outside, if they are covered over from direct exposure to the weather. If they get rained on they are at risk of swelling and splitting.
Which Beastmaker is best for me?
Pretty much any climber can use either the Beastmaker 1000 or 2000 to improve their finger and arm strength. However, we originally designed the 1000 to be an “easier” fingerboard and the 2000 to be a “harder” fingerboard.
We tend to say that if you are bouldering up to Font 7C/V9 (leading French 8a/5.13) the 1000 will be the best board for you and if you are climbing 7C/V9 (French 8a/5.13) and above the 2000 may suit you better. However we know of loads of very strong climbers that only ever use the 1000, and loads of guys just starting out who get a lot out of the 2000. It’s up to you!
Mounting your Beastmaker
Depending on your situation there are countless ways to mount your fingerboard. Beastmakers are designed to sit nicely above a doorframe, but this doesn’t mean that this is the only place for them! Check out our “Your Setup” page for some brilliant and inventive mounting ideas! Remember the fingerboard wants to be totally stable, and also mounted on a vertical surface. A few degrees either side of vertical will drastically effect the difficulty of the holds, especially the slopers. We have known people who have struggled away on their fingerboard for months before realising it’s actually a few degrees overhanging, and therefore feels desperately hard!
Why do some Beastmaker fingerboards feel easier/harder than others?
Provided our fingerboards are mounted correctly (i.e. on a plumb vertical surface) there can be a few reasons why fingerboards can feel different.
Over time, and with continual use, Beastmakers will gently wear in. The grain of the wood contains soft areas (where the tree has grown quickly in the summer) and harder areas (winter time - slow growth). Over time, with repeated use and brushing the grain will begin to wear unevenly - leading to increased grip on the holds. This effect is especially (only really) noticeable on Beastmakers that are mounted in commercial walls/gyms as they get a lot of traffic.
The beauty of Beastmakers is that they can be easily be restored to their original texture. All this takes is a (very) gentle sanding with some fine (120 grit) sandpaper. This only needs to be done when the holds feel noticeably different to the unholdable areas of the fingerboard. In reality this hardly ever needs to be done on a home fingerboard, but does sometimes need done on a fingerboard in a commercial centre.
Wood is an interesting material to train on. It’s main advantage over resin is that is is smooth on the skin, without feeling slippery. It also can absorb a bit of moisture from your fingers. However, if you have very dry skin, or are training in a very dry atmosphere (never really a problem for UK based fingerboarders!) Beastmakers can feel slippy. In this situation, using less chalk will probably be better than using as much chalk as you’d use when rock climbing. Wood responds well to a bit of moisture. So if you are slipping off the slopers with no warning, it may well be that your hands are to dry.
Why is the app so hard?!The app has been designed as a guide for training, not necessarily an exhaustive training manual! The grades (beastly 5a, beastly 6a etc.) have nothing to do with actual grades, they are simply the names we gave to the workouts while making the app, and we liked them, so they stuck! Don’t get disheartened if you are a 7A/V6 boulderer (or even an 8A/V11 boulderer) who is struggling on the Beastly 5a workout, that’s quite common!
Training isn’t something that you should be able to do easily. It’s supposed to be hard and challenge you - that’s what makes your body adapt and become stronger!