Friday, January 23, 2015

How to Build a Freestanding Fingerboard Mount

Fingerboarding is one of the best ways to consistently build finger strength for climbing. That said, it is almost a prerequisite that every serious climber have easy access to a fingerboard, preferably in the comfort of their own home. The crux is finding a way to mount the fingerboard without damaging or leaving unsightly holes in your wall... this is where building a freestanding fingerboard mount comes into play!

The objective of this post is to build a simple, inexpensive, and strong freestanding fingerboard mount using everyday tools and materials that you may already have laying around your garage or shed.

Material List for Building a Freestanding Fingerboard Mount

Tape measure

A box of 3" decking screws


Circular saw or hand saw

Two 6' 1"x6" strips of wood

Two 8' 2"x4" strips of wood

Two 4' 2"x4" strips of wood

One 3' 2"x4" strip of wood

Two small 5" 2"x4" blocks of wood

Two 3' 1"x6" strips of wood or a 1'x3' sheet of .75" plywood

Two eyebolts and quick links (optional)

One fingerboard

How to Build a Freestanding Fingerboard Mount

Step 1: Measure and mark all your materials to the proper lengths.

Step 2: Make all the necessary cuts.

Step 3: Start by screwing the 8' 2"x4"s to the middle of the 6' 1"x6". I used 4 screws... do this for both sides. Note to make sure the 2"x4"s are perfectly perpendicular and flush with the 1"x6"s.

Step 4: Once you have the sides built, attach them together by screwing the 3' 2"x4" into both 1"x6"s behind the upright 2"x4". Put 2 screws through the 1"x6" into the end of the 3' 2"x4" and 2 screws through the 3' 2"x4" into the upright 8' 2"x4"s.

If you completed the previous steps correctly, this is what you should have so far... make sure to check the mount rests perfectly flat on the floor during this stage so you can make any adjustments if necessary.

Step 5: Lay the top of your mount down on an elevated surface so that you can easily screw into it. Now attach your two lengths of 3' 1"x6"s, directly on top of each other, flush with the 8' 2"x4"s using at least 4 screws (see notes for plywood). Finally attach the fingerboard to the two 1"x6"s using the mounting instructions that included with the fingerboard.

Step 6: Attach the two 4' 2"x4" support braces on a 45 degree angle to the ground on both sides. Just as a rough estimate they should touch the floor around 3' from the vertical 2"x4"s. Use the two small blocks to fill in the space between the braces and the 1"x6"s. Put at least 2 screws through the 1"x6" into the block and at least 2 screws through the brace into the block from the other side. Also, use 2 screws to attach the braces to the vertical 2"x4"s.

Step 7 (optional): Screw your two eyebolts directly into the bottom of your 1"x6", attach the quick links, and you are all ready to go!

Using your Freestanding Fingerboard Mount

Step 7 is optional based on how you plan on using your fingerboard mount. That said, given fingerboard repeaters are arguably the most effective training tool for building finger strength, I personally feel a fingerboard pulley system is absolutely necessary. For more information on fingerboard repeaters and the fingerboard pulley system, make sure to check out the posts on Fingerboard Repeaters - Training for Climbing and the Fingerboard Pulley System.

Also, I am using a basic Metolius Project Board in this setup, but I encourage you to get creative. Try mounting different pinch grips or a small "kick board" to train different grip types, almost like a mini system board. As long as the exercise type is static in nature (see notes), the sky is the limit... so get after it!

Quick Notes on Building your Freestanding Fingerboard Mount

-I chose the type and dimensions of wood based on whatever I just had laying around in my garage. That said, you can easily adapt the instructions to cater to whatever type of lumber is easily accessible to you. With that in mind, try to keep your vertical supports and braces at least 2"x4" in order to withstand the forces generated from fingerboarding.

-If you do choose to install a fingerboard pulley system and need to offset more then 25-30 lbs or if you end up using a single sheet of plywood, you may have to modify this design to include another 2"x4" length of wood running between the two vertical 2"x4"s behind and flush with the bottom of the lowest 1"x6" in the picture. This will give you a much stronger mounting surface to screw in your eyebolts and hang the pulley system.

-Again, the goal was to build a simple, inexpensive and strong freestanding fingerboard mount using everyday tools. As such, this is not the most elegant freestanding fingerboard mount design I have seen, but it meets and exceeds all those criteria. Keep it simple, safe and functional...

-A little bit of "wobble" during use is normal, but use common sense... This design was meant for holding STATIC weight and not supporting dynamic movements. Always check to make sure that your mount is in good condition and that there is nothing loose or cracked before each use. You are responsible for your own safety.

--Chris Casciola, Guest Blogger and Author of SeekingExposure. For more tips on building DIY training tools and training for climbing make sure to check out his blog and follow SeekingExposure on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter!


Anonymous said...

What do you gain over just putting the hangboard above a door?

Chris @ SeekingExposure said...

Valid question... In my case, my wife made it absolutely clear that the only way I was putting up a fingerboard was if it did not ruin the walls - lol.

With that in mind, I turned to a doorframe mounting system like the Blank Slate. Unfortunately because the door and wall layout in the room I wanted to mount the board was non-standard I had trouble getting a good fit. That is what lead me to build a freestanding fingerboard mount. So to answer your question... just a little bit more flexibility and a lot more sweat equity!

If you prefer a simple door frame mount I highly suggest looking into a setup similar to the BlakeSlate system. A few of my friends have similar DIY versions, which I hope to get up on the blog very soon, that work very well.

In the mean time, I have had a few readers email me to mention they were dealing with similar constraints (spouse approval, rental rules, etc.), which is why I wanted to put up a post on building a freestanding fingerboard mount.

In you have any further question, please do not hesitate to leave another comment or contact me directly at

Colinvong said...

Thanks for the write-up. I had a bunch of left over lumber and this was the perfect way to use it. Took about 3 hours but I had to do the cutting with a hand saw.