The deWoodstok Extendable Bouldering Brush: A Review
With this adjustable and affordable brushing system, you’ll never have to deal with hard-to-reach greasy holds ever again
BY AARON PARDY NOVEMBER 5, 2023. Gripped.com
If you spend any time bouldering outdoors, you know how important conditions are for climbing at your limit. A slimy, damp, greasy, or chalk-caked hold can ruin a session. If the hold is near the bottom or accessible from the top of the boulder, it’s no big deal – just brush the hold. But what if the hold is out of reach, too high from the ground and too low from the top? You could tape your brush to a stick, but long sticks can be hard to find. It can also be a pain to get the angle of the taped brush stable enough to adequately brush the hold.
deWoodstok’s Extendable Bouldering Brush is an elegant solution to this problem. The product is made up of three parts: a lightweight extendable pole, a wooden brush head that’s adjustable in angle, and two wooden brushes with boar hair bristles. I had the chance to test out their Extendable Bouldering Brush over the past few months on plastic and on rock in Squamish, BC and Leavenworth, WA.
Who are deWoodstok?
They’re a company based out of the Netherlands and they’ve been making brushes since 2013. Started by a team of three climbers, the deWoodstok trio designed, manufactured, and assembled all the brushes themselves. The innovative, adjustable angle design of their brushes caught the attention of many, including the IFSC. deWoodstok’s brushes soon became a mainstay at World Cups and now they’re used worldwide by more than 800 gyms and many outdoor climbers.
The Extendable Bouldering Brush
deWoodstok’s flagship product, the Extendable Bouldering Brush, is a wildly efficient and surprisingly inexpensive tool for cleaning and maintaining good conditions on a boulder. To use it, first choose which side of the brush head you want to use: the Big Brush, perfect for slopers, jugs and other large surfaces, or the Small Brush, ideal for crimps and other small features. Next, adjust the angle of the Brush Head using a metal lever so that the brush makes perfect contact with the rock surface. Finally, adjust to the pole length to whatever height you need to comfortably reach the hold. All of these adjustments can be made in a matter of seconds as you move from hold to hold across the boulder.
After months of use, I’m blown away by the durability and ease-of-use of the Extendable Bouldering Brush system. The adjustable angle of the Brush Head is the real gamechanger. I’ve used extendable brush poles in the past, but never one with an adjustable brush angle. Brushing is so much more effective and efficient when you customize the angle of the brush to each hold. The hold surfaces are cleaned more effectively and the life of the brush is extended by preventing uneven wear.
The wooden construction of the brushes and brush head is nice touch. Less plastic use is always a good thing and the wood gives the brush a cool, unique look. It’s also really nice that the whole system is lightweight. The pole easily slides down the middle of a closed crashpad for transport.
Perhaps the feature I was most impressed by was the quality of the brushes. They are very soft and supple, so much so that I was worried at first about their durability. This concern turned out to be unfounded as they’re still in great shape after a few months of use. These brushes clean plastic or rock quickly and thoroughly without any concern for rock damage. The high density bristles stay in place and don’t shed like so many other brushes on the market. Once the bristles do start to wear, you can easily flip the brush or replace it completely by unscrewing two bolts. You could actually add any brush you want to the brush head by drilling two holes into your brush of choice.
deWoodstok offers two different brush poles, the Extendable Stick and the Extendable Stick XL. The Extendable Stick is the lighter weight and shorter version of the two options, perfectly suited for bouldering outdoors. Un-extended, the pole measures 114cm (3 feet 9 inches). By simply twisting the pole open and closed, you can quickly and securely adjust its length up to 202cm (6 feet 8 inches).
The Extendable Stick XL is a much burlier (and longer) option perfect for indoor climbing. This is the pole that you see at all the Word Cup events and it’s the model that gym owners and managers should definitely opt for. You can adjust the length of the pole by clicking a button and then sliding the brush in and out. Its length ranges from 135cm (4 feet 5 inches) to 240cm (7 feet 10 inches).
Both versions of the Stick come with a connector for securely attaching the brush head to the end of the pole. After months of use, I noticed no issues with these connectors or the poles. They are super solid and can withstand heavy use.
deWoodstok makes other products as well, including a wooden hang board and wooden hand brush. I also got the chance to test out their Bigger Hand Brush. This beefy brush is great for brushing holds indoors or out that don’t require a pole to reach. It features the same classy wooden design and amazing high-density boar hair bristles found on the Brush Head.
The Extendable Stick XL on the left and the the Extendable Stick on right right.
To learn more about deWoodstok and their Extendable Bouldering Brush, I spoke with Jonathan Cramers, one of the co-founders of the company. You can read our short interview below.
It’s my understanding that deWoodstok was the first to introduce an adjustable brush. How did you and your team get the idea to design a brush that’s adjustable in angle?
We are climbers ourselves and we were aware of the problem that sometimes holds were hard to reach with a regular straight brush. The idea came to have a brush positioned at an angle, but ideally you want the angle to be adaptable to the holds of every boulder problem. We did a some research and saw some funny things (like a toilet brush on a stick used for competitions), but to our surprise, no well-designed brushes, adjustable in angle were yet on the market. The three of us were climbing partners and we decided to dedicate our free evenings to develop a new brush. We simply thought we could contribute to the climbing community. We sketched, made prototypes, and experimented in a little workshop garage. The local gym was our test court, the local climbing community our test panel.
Can you tell me a bit more about the deWoodstok brush bristles? Many brushes on the market seem to use stiffer bristles. I find your brushes to be quite soft and supple, brushing the rock really well without damaging the rock in any way.
We did extensive research on this topic. We tried all kinds of types of bristles from coconut to fibers of a Mexican plant. We tried various suppliers. We made many prototypes with different densities and hair length. We evaluated the brushes on their performance – how well they remove chalk dust, how long they last, how they affect the rock, etc. The current brushes are the result of this process, and they are for sure responsible for the success of the product.
Why are deWoodstok’s brushes made of wood?
The less plastic the better! Wood is sustainable and beautiful. Also we found a way to produce the brush heads from wood for a reasonable price. That’s important, because we always wanted to keep the brush affordable for the customer.
Can you tell me a bit more about the deWoodstok team? How big is the team? Are you all located in the Netherlands?
We are a small team – still just three people. Developing a product like this requires vision and a hands-on attitude, but not necessarily a large team. The three of us are passionate climbers and we’ve been friends for many years. We all have a creative background and experience in developing products. Our focus is on improving our product and servicing customers. We cooperate with local partners in the Netherlands that assemble the products and distribute them all over the world. We don’t spend on employees and hardly any on marketing. We just keep it simple, so the product stays affordable.
Written by AARON PARDY NOVEMBER 5, 2023.
Original text at Gripped.com