Introduction: Simple Wooden Key Holder // How to Make

Picture of Simple Wooden Key Holder // How to Make

I made this project because I needed a place to keep my keys. I scoured the internet and there were a million and one complicated key holders / racks, but I wanted to make something simple. This is what I came up with.

There's also a build article and SketchUp model of this key holder on my website if you're interested.

Step 1: My Key Holder Video.

Here is the video I made showing how I made this key rack for my entry way.

Step 2: Rip Your Material to Rough Dimensions.

Picture of Rip Your Material to Rough Dimensions.

The first thing I did was rip some walnut to it's rough dimensions. I ended up with a piece that was 1" x 1-1/4" x 16" long.

Step 3: Prep the Four Sides of the Work Piece.

Picture of Prep the Four Sides of the Work Piece.

Then I hit all four sides of the key holder with a block plane. You can sand it if you don't have a plane. But a sharp plane does something magical to the grain that sanding just can't do. No matter how smooth a grit you work up to.

Step 4: Cut the Key Holder to Length.

Picture of Cut the Key Holder to Length.

Then I cut the key holder to length. I don't show it here, but there was some checking on the end of my workpiece. So I ended up cutting the key rack a little bit shorter. It ended up about 15" long. I sanded the end grain after I cut it to length.

Step 5: Cut the Key Groove.

Picture of Cut the Key Groove.

Then I cut the groove for the keys. This is a standard 10" table saw blade kerf width, and I found that a key fit perfectly in it. It may be hard to see, but I did have the blade turned about 7 or 8 degrees. This makes the keys sit level once placed into the key holder because they want to fall with gravity and end up at a slight angle. You don't need to turn your blade, but I think it adds to the finished product.

Step 6: Set Up the Router Table for the Key Hole Bit.

Picture of Set Up the Router Table for the Key Hole Bit.

This is the contraption I set up on the router table to put a keyhole in the back of the key holder. I'll show you the keyhole later on down if you're not quite sure what that is.

Step 7: Lower the Piece Down on the Keyhole Bit.

Picture of Lower the Piece Down on the Keyhole Bit.

Here I'm plunging the key holder down onto the keyhole bit. Then I pull it from the front fence to the back fence. I used the scrap piece to reference the distance from the end of the key rack. I put the key hole in from the end at 2". And made sure the depth didn't interfere with the key slot.

Step 8: This Is What the Keyhole Looked Like.

Picture of This Is What the Keyhole Looked Like.

This is what the keyhole bit does. It makes a larger hole, with a track up towards the smaller hole for a screw or nail head. This is how I attached the key rack / holder to the wall.

Step 9: It's Ready to Put Up!

Picture of It's Ready to Put Up!

After a quick coat of clear poly, the key holder is ready to go up! I put two screws into the wall where the keyholes were. And slid the holder onto the screws. You can see just how easy this is in the video.

And that's it. My simple wooden key holder.


ThomasL1929 (author)2016-12-04

Excellent! The slight upward bevel with the center kerf cut is ingenious! I made one modification. Mounted a 3/8", 45 deg V chamfer bit in the router table, and adjusted the fence to take approx 1/16" (maybe a hair more) down the center of the entire kerf. Makes for insertion of the key tip a bit easier, and the bevel still holds them in securely! Simple, thoughtful, easy design and build-thanks!

Adam Gabbert (author)ThomasL19292016-12-04

That's an awesome idea. It probably adds some visual interest and makes it easier to get the keys into the kerf. I'll have to do that on the next one, if there ever is a next one.

Glad you found it helpful!

JeffLH (author)2016-11-15

Very ingenious. Great idea. I love simple practical solutions.

unrep (author)2016-11-14

What a great idea - so simple, so good!

dogtails2 (author)2016-11-14

I love this! One quick question...

Why the slight degree change on the table saw? You didn't show it in the video and I wanted to double check before I started cutting.


Adam Gabbert (author)dogtails22016-11-14

It's hard to se in the shot where I run the key holder through to table saw to make the key slot. But the blade is turned 7 or 8 degrees so that when the key gets inserted, it will be level. If the cut was square, the key would lean down.

Thanks for checking it out!

Lolman4000 (author)2016-11-14

You should change the name to "Simple Wooden Key Key Holder"

jcorpx (author)2016-11-13

So elegant. Kudos.

Adam Gabbert (author)jcorpx2016-11-13

Thank you!

Oldbear (author)2016-11-13

It seems I need to buy a keyhole bit for my router table. I'm going to watch the rest of your stuff to see if there are any other tools I can justify buying.

Great Instructable.

Adam Gabbert (author)Oldbear2016-11-13

Thanks. :)

hammer9876 (author)2016-11-13

The ultimate in simplicity. Now, I no longer have to keep the cup-hook factory in business. (Although, the keyhole stuff was pretty mysterious. Off to do some research.)

DaleB45 (author)hammer98762016-11-13

Keyhole bits are awesome! I set mine to a depth of 5/16" and use a plunge router. It's definitely a good idea to use some kind of guide or jig to ensure a straight cut and rout about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. It looks very professional that way, but if it's not straight...quite the opposite.

hammer9876 (author)DaleB452016-11-13

Added to my Christmas list. Thanks!

Adam Gabbert (author)hammer98762016-11-13

Awesome! Thanks!

Printy (author)2016-11-13

Can you add a link to your video? On mobile it doesn't show the video and doesn't take me to it so I can't see the way you use the key holder. It looks clever though, simple and minimalist which is right up my alley. Nice job!

Adam Gabbert (author)Printy2016-11-13

I added a link to the video in the description of the video. Hopefully, you can view it now! Thanks.

MerlinTheGreat (author)2016-11-13

In all its simplicity, this is genius.


silkier (author)2016-11-13

Excellent. Simplicity exemplified

Adam Gabbert (author)silkier2016-11-13

Thanks. :)

3366carlos (author)2016-11-12


Adam Gabbert (author)3366carlos2016-11-12

Thanks. : )

offseid (author)2016-11-12

Super! I just may try this.

Adam Gabbert (author)offseid2016-11-12

Awesome. Thanks for checking it out!

kneimanis (author)2016-11-11

Nice job. I really like the simplicity of the design.

Adam Gabbert (author)kneimanis2016-11-11

Thanks. :) I didn't expect so much instructables love.

Swansong (author)2016-11-11

This came out really nice :)

Adam Gabbert (author)Swansong2016-11-11

Thanks. :)

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a husband, dad, contractor, woodworker, tinkerer and all around busy dude. That said, I put projects out when I can. A weekly basis ... More »
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