CGR put the Metolius Woodgrips Fingerboard through it’s paces…
Value for Money ***
Earlier in the training season we published Katie’s review of the Beastmaker 1000 fingerboard. At the same time I received another wooden fingerboard from US manufacturers Metolius – The Compact Fingerboard. This is a compact version of the Deluxe.
I’ve been a fan of wooden holds for many years now, I can remember training with the legendary Paul Craven (training meister extraordinaire!) in 1986 on wooden holds screwed to his attic beam (we shared a house in Leeds just don’t tell the landlord). The benefits of wood are: it has great friction – even with sweaty holds; it’s cheap, environmentally friendly (if sourced responsibly) and most importantly it’s very skin friendly – allowing training to happen even with shredded skin.
The Compact Board certainly looks nice and fitted in well with the décor of my house, Katie decided to mount hers in the garage I mounted mine above the bedroom door – this was more important than you think. I had fought for many years (since the removal of my whole climbing garage to make extra garden space) for some extra training, wood was the marital compromise. The quality of the board was very good, it looked nice and felt very skin friendly. The wood is sustainably sourced Alder, Metolius stated that the criteria for wood selection came down to: suitability for climbing, availability, sustainability, and affordability. The board was not machined from a single solid block but from a block laminated using smaller sections. Very similar to a modern table you might buy from Ikea. The wood is very dark and had an excellent grain for friction.
It was very simple and straight forward to mount, it came with eight deep and aggressive screws and pre drilled holes to place them in. I was mounting to brick so had to find some wall plugs and within 20 minutes I had the board installed and ready to use. There is a video tutorial to help with installation on the Metolius website. It really wasn’t difficult at all, you would need to remember is that you are going to hang your entire weight off it so be careful what you attach it too.
So, how was the board for training on? I am a great fan of fingerboards and have used a homemade wooden one for several years now. The most useful thing about having a fingerboard is the convenience, I can always find 10 or 20 minutes to hang around on the fingerboard, no matter how rubbish I’m feeling. It’s at its most useful after a run, and a great session will include some light stretching, a 40 minute run and up to 20 minutes on the finger board.
There was a good variety of holds, mostly in pocket format. There were two really comfortable jugs and a large sloper on the top. The CNC machining left each hold rounded and smooth to hang off, I didn’t get any skin pinching that can often come with artificial climbing holds. Together with the tight grained wood it felt for a very comfortable training experience.
So, put all these things together. The pleasant aesthetic, the beautiful feel and the comfort I feel that wood is the way forward. You do pay for that, up to £10.00 more than a Metolius Project Board (a similar size) but I feel it’s worth the extra cost. A nice fingerboard that I can see me using for many, many years to come. The only feature I would change is to make the sloper more of a slight 5o angle as it was flat on the top of it and I found I could hang on for more time than I wanted to.
Finally, I used the board in conjunction with the Metolius 10 minute sequence guides. I have been using these for about 4 years now and found them great as I like the motivational factor of them being 10 minutes – I can always find 10 minutes to train, however busy I am!
For stockist vist: www.beyondhope.co.uk