Introduction: Key Holder Made From Old Wheelbarrow Handle

About: I like to make things and then make videos of making those things.

My dad gave me a really old wheelbarrow with broken handles. I made new handles for the wheel barrow, but I didn't want to just throw the old wood away because I thought the weathering on the old wood was really cool. So I made this key holder. Follow along and I will show you how I did it.

Don't forget to check out the video above to see it being made and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments.


Below are links to tools and materials I used in this article. It is either the exact tool/supply or something very close.

- Old wheel barrow handle

- Hooks

- Quick clamps

- F style clamps

- Hammer

- Saw

- Hand plane

- Router table

- Keyhole router bit

- Combination square

- Drill

- Teak Oil

- Polyurethane

Note: The links in this article are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Step 1: Breaking the Handle - Part 1

I wanted to keep the weathered and beaten look to this project so instead of cutting the wood I decided I would break it.

I used a scrap bit of wood and a 3/4" piece of metal pipe as a fulcrum. I lined up a hole in the handle on the fulcrum and then clamped one side down. Using a clamp on the other side and the magical power of leverage #foreshadowing I was able to break it exactly how I had planned.

Step 2: Breaking the Handle - Part 2

From the previous step I was left with a much shorter piece. This meant that I lost my leverage and I needed to expend a lot more force to break the handle. On top of this, the location where I wanted to break had a much smaller hole.

I first tried the same method as before. I placed the hole over the fulcrum and then used a clamp to apply pressure. Unfortunately this did not work and instead I broke two of my quick squeeze clamps (watch the video at the top to see the break in slow motion) So I replaced the small clamps with a much stronger F style clamp, but I still did not have enough leverage.

I then tried hitting the end with a small sledge hammer, but it had no effect.

Lastly I resorted to cutting a bit of the handle. I wanted to minimize the amount I cut, so I kept cutting and then hitting it with the hammer until it broke. It only broke about halfway through and left a little bit sticking out. I turned it over and broke the last bit off using just my hands.

Step 3: Removing Some of the Weathering

I wanted to remove some of the weathering, but not all of it. I could have used a sander for this, but I felt like a hand plane would give a more uniform look.

I set the hand plane to take a very thin layer off and just kept checking on my progress until I felt happy with how it looked. I repeated this for all four sides.

Step 4: Adding Keyhole for Mounting

Using a keyhole bit in my router table I added two spots that can be used for mounting the key holder. I used some clamps to act as stop blocks to ensure that I would not cut too far with the router bit.

The thing to keep in mind about using a keyhole router bit is that you need to keep the project firmly pressed against the fence.

Step 5: Drilling Holes for Hooks

I measured and marked 3 holes. As this project is on the rustic side of things I wasn't too concerned about spacing, but I did want all of the hooks to be at the same height. In order to achieve the same height, I used my combination square and I set it at approximately the halfway point of the wood.

I then took the work piece over to the drill press and drilled three pilot holes for the hooks.

Step 6: Adding Finish - Part 1

I wanted to protect the wood, but at the same time I felt that the colour was a bit off from what I saw in my mind. So I added some teak oil and this changed the colour perfectly. The oil finish I use is very easy, just wipe it on and wait a bit and wipe off any excess.

Step 7: Adding Finish - Part 2

Before moving to this step I made sure that the oil finish from before was completely cured. The can said it would be cured in 72 hours, so I decided to wait twice that long plus a day!

I then added a layer of water based polyurethane. I know a lot of people will tell me that water and oil don't mix, and that is why I waited for it to be completely cured. If you are worried about this, then just use oil based polyurethane. I have done this in the past and not had a problem.

I wanted to ensure that all the nooks and crannies were covered so I put on a very thick coat. The main thing to keep in mind when adding a thick coat is to make sure you get any of the drips as they develop. If they harden you will need to sand them off later and that can be annoying.

Step 8: Adding the Hooks

I threaded all of the hooks into the holes. I started with just using my fingers, but as always I needed to switch to pliers to finish the job.

Step 9: Hang Keys and Enjoy!

The last step is to hang the project and enjoy it! This one happened to be for a friend of mine, but I liked it so much I may make another for myself.

I hope you enjoyed this project. I always enjoy finding new ways to use old material. If you liked this, you may want to see more from me by following me on other social media.



If this inspires you to make something please let me know in the comments below!

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