Key Wallet Improvement

Introduction: Key Wallet Improvement

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

This is the key wallet I have been using for quite a few years. The leather exterior is still intact and feels good in my pocket. The inside portions of this key wallet are no longer as good. A couple of months ago one of my house keys fell out and I lost it. Before that, my key wallet occasionally separated from my car key while I was driving and the wallet fell to the floor of my car.

Step 1: Removable Hooks

These removable key hooks are very common in these key wallets. After a while problems develop. With a little wear these hooks can release from the hinged mounts in the key wallet. The eye on the hooks can also become bent and open just enough that a key can come out with a little twisting force. This is the only one of these hooks I have remaining in my key wallet. Some have been removed because they would no longer stay in place or because the eye opened and keys were no longer secure in the hooks.

Step 2: My Solution

I attach my keys with a closed wire ring I added. I am able to do that because I have a wire feed welder. If I could find a smaller key ring I might use one of those and spare myself the effort.

Please click on the photo with this step and look at the text boxes I added. One highlights the factory-made hole for the removable hook. Another indicates a hole I drilled in the side of the hinged mount for the removable hooks. The wire loops I made need a second hole so they can pass through the hinged mounts.

One of the text boxes highlights a flawed weld that is barely acceptable. Another text box shows mars in the plastic on my car key where heat from the weld permeated the wire loop and melted the plastic. I should have had a wet rag nearby before beginning to weld.

I tried to keep the wire loops as small as possible. It helps that I am retired and carry fewer keys than I once carried in this key wallet.

When I take my car in for service I am not able to remove my car key from my key wallet, but give over my key wallet for the time they are working on my car.

Step 3: Concerns Related to Welding

I already mentioned the problem I had because a heated section of wire came into contact with the plastic on my car key. And, I mentioned a barely acceptable weld. Commercial key rings about 5/8 inch in diameter would be a good choice. If they exist, I may not have looked hard enough.

The wire I used is about 15 gauge steel wire from the hardware store. I bend the loop I need. The key must be on the loop and the loop must pass through the holes in the hinged mount. I let some of the key wallet hang off of a piece of aluminum angle I use while welding. The aluminum angle functions as a heat sink to help keep from blowing away the wire with too much heat. I use spring clamps to hold the wire in place on the aluminum background piece. Sometimes the welding wire coming out of my welder's gun has a curve in it and the weld does not begin exactly where I wanted it.

See "A" in the drawing above. If I use a side cutter to cut the wire, the ends have points. I need to get them as close as possible or I get what you see in "C." A gap forms between the ends of the wire with balls on them from wire that melted and ran away. If I square the ends as in "B" I am less likely to get the result seen in "C." Still, it is a contest with yourself to fuse the ends of the wire together without the ends melting and running away. Sometimes I need to cut a new piece of wire and try again. It does not help that the wire from the hardware store usually has some kind of coating that does not weld very well.

I have found this to be a very good solution for a key wallet that is still good, but the idea still can have some irritating problems in the execution.

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    4 Comments

    0
    bmohr
    bmohr

    1 year ago on Step 3

    I wonder if a spring ring like used to hold pet vaccination or name tags to a collar might work instead of welding. It would still be hard to remove the key from the wallet when taking your car in, but it might save the welding headaches you mentioned. Alas I don't use such a wallet, but like your ingenuity.

    0
    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you for your comment. I thought I had mentioned what you suggest, but it is not there, so I did not. They are called split rings for a keychain. We have a couple in the house, but a smaller diameter than I usually see would be preferable. Those exist, but I do not see them in stores.

    0
    bmohr
    bmohr

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes! Split rings. I forgot that is what they're called. I did find these on Amazon which are 5/8 inch (16mm) like you mentioned, but I don't think you need 50!
    https://www.amazon.com/Nickel-Plated-Split-Rings-1...
    I checked my dog's collar and the vet tags use a 5/8" split ring. If you had it to do over, maybe you could get a few from a veterinarian for free or nominal cost.
    If you want to go even smaller, these go down to 5mm, but I think it would be brutal trying to open them. Definitely need the split ring pliers.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RHTH484/?coliid=I107P...

    0
    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you for the links. I looked again at my key wallet while using it today and noticed I did need to make at least one wire ring egg-shaped to make everything fit. That could be a problem yet to be solved with the split rings.