We have waited 25 years for this new material Dannolast, to finally become a reality. In fact it is the changes in technology that keeps us excited to be part of the revolution.
For many years, around 30 to be precises, climbing holds have been made from two main ingredients; Polyester Resin (PE) and sand. Pigments and some filler powders are used too but the PE acts like a glue, sticking the sand together in one solid cast lump. In the early days climbing holds resembled ‘lumps’ too.As time went on the shapes got better. Our first experience of this method was back in the summer of 1994 when we started to make climbing holds for our gym in Hull. Having cut our teeth on this project we got involved with a well known climber and S7 was born. We used a fine texture for our S7 training holds and we continued to pour PE at our site in Hull for many years to follow.
Eventually S7 went to Hollywood, well the US anyway. So we only then produced holds as we needed them for our own gym. For those who have experience of making PE holds, or working with Polyester Resin you will know how unpleasant it is. This halted dead any ambitions of making holds commercially to supply other gyms.
It was only when Polyurethane (PU) was taking off did we get the urge to get our gloves on again.
Now PU development has been a roller coaster of a ride too. Like anything new it has been trial and error, with a lot of errors. Working with our European producer we tried and failed with a few issues. Mainly how do you make a PU hard wearing. Dr French came up with the answer, Dannomond. Dannomond actually works. Now its the only PU that gets produced and all basic (soft) Polyurethanes production has stopped.
Now Dannomond is good but it still doesn’t quite last the same for wear as good old PE. PE might chip, scratch, fade and generally lose its lustre but it doesn’t wear down much.
Dannomond is also double the price of Polyester Resin based holds. Personally we feel its worth it and only buy holds in Dannomond now for our gym in Hull. Yes, we even buy holds from our competitors because, well, every gym needs a wide selection of holds to choose from and as such we are all brothers in arms more than competitors in this industry.
Both a PE hold and a Dannolast hold are tightened up on an uneven surface. This is the most common way a climbing hold would break in use. First, the Dannolast actually can be seen bending slightly. Then the PE hold explodes in a lot less torque.
So how do you bring the price of the best PU ever created (tested at The Castle in London, not just our words) and make it more wear resistant?
Add the sand!
Yes, adding sand is the answer! Although we have known this for almost as long as we have been making PE holds. The problem is the process. You can easily mix the two parts of PU together and then add sand without it going almost instantly solid. So back to Dr french’s lab and a new machine and whole new process is born. Expect to see Dannolast introduced in the summer of 2019. It will be available for all our hold sizes up to XXL and 3XL which will still be only available in Dannomond. With the ‘surface hardening’ option the Dannomond holds have a layer of… sand added just in to the surface of the mould before the Dannomond is poured. Giving the light weight pure PU with sand where you need it.
In this test a climbing shoe is rubbed hard and fast over both a PE (polyester resin) hold and a new Dannolast hold. Not only does the ‘PU’ based hold resist wear s good a the PE hold, it also keeps its colour better.
- If you have big lead walls and your route setters have to haul the holds, then Dannomond is still the best choice.
- For the high traffic top ropes and all those boulders then the Dannolast is for you.
- Whatever you choose we are stoked to have the best materials available to Rockcity Climbing Holds for the job in hand. Dannolast and Dannomond.
- Dannolast is more resistant to scratches, chipping and breaking than Polyester Resin. However Dannolast still has all the hard wearing properties of PE too.
- Dannolast holds feel like Polyester Resin holds (that will be the sand)
A screw is forced through the hold despite it not having a pilot hole it just self drills a new hole and doesn’t crack, despite being an incredibly small and thin hold.