Note: this is the first post in a series we are calling SOLVE CLIMBING ORIGINS where we discuss the inspiration behind, and the process of creating our holds. stay tuned for more...
The idea for the Solve Climbing Burls holds started back in the Summer of 2014. Solve Climbing shaper and artist in residence, Jered Bernert and I were enjoying a beer in his garage when I noticed a cool looking wood hueco that he sourced from a felled tree during his day-job as an arborist. Jered had intended to turn it into either a mirror or a clock and I mentioned that it would make a sweet climbing hold. We both agreed. Thus began the process of sourcing the most interesting shaped and usable Burls we could find. Over the next 15 months we were able to acquire enough Burls from Colorado and the Pacific Northwest to mold a few sets.
To make sure the wood could actually be molded into plastic holds, I showed a few of the Burls to David and Stan over at Catalyst. Both of them sounded excited about this project and thought the wood grain texture would come through really well in a silicone mold. Awesome! Now on to the next step in turning this idea into reality.
Our next hurdle to tackle was how to put our logo on these things. In the past we have used either Solve logo stickers or 3-D printed discs with our logo to push into the foam shapes. Neither of these methods would work with the wood. After some research, it was decided that laser engraving our logo into the wood Burls would be a good solution.
However, due to the large size of the features, several of the holds couldn't fit into the engraving machines at many of the local engraving shops. To our relief we found a shop in Broomfield, CO with a machine big enough to engrave all the Burls. This company did a great job and I was really excited about some of the wood grain detail that came out in the Solve logo.
The final step before sending the Burls off to be molded was a few light touches with some sandpaper to soften some of the edges on these holds as well as remove the rotted wood inside some of the huecos. We decided to do minimal alterations to these holds to preserve much of the natural look of the wood. Satisfied with the condition of the Burls, we boxed them up and shipped them to Catalyst to be molded and turned into plastic.
All of us were really excited to see how this experiment would turn out. There were definitely some challenges with the molding process but the crew at Catalyst did a fantastic job and the hollowbacks look great! I was super stoked on how much of the wood grain detail translated into the plastic. The wood grain gets even more pronounced when chalk is applied to the holds.
The Burls are super unique holds and I'm glad we were able to experiment with this idea and create some wild new climbing holds. Have fun and enjoy monkeying around on some Burls by Solve Climbing!