I was getting a bit bored of just using command hooks to hang my keys and personal items so I decided to come up with an alternative. After digging around my house I came across some spare 1/4" audio jacks and 1/4" connectors so I decided to create this key holder out of them for something a little different.
Step 1: Supplies and Tools
The connectors I had found in my house were a little bent out of shape so I decided to just order some new ones from Amazon. The ones I bought came with a spring cable protector but they can be purchased without them if wanted.
Wood (at least 1/4" thick by 8.5" x 2")
This was made at The Makerbarn so I had access to a variety of different tools and used as follows:
1/8 box joint jig
3/8 Drill bit
Step 2: Cut Wood to Size
The first step was to cut the wood to size. Using the table saw I cut the block of wood I started with down from 1.5" thick to several 1/4" thick pieces. As far as I know this should work for all 1/4" audio jacks but theres still the chance that it may have a longer/shorter shaft and you may need to adjust the thickness if you're not using the jacks I linked too Then using the miter saw I cut them down into the following pieces:
1 = 8.5" x 2"
1 = 5.75" x 2"
2 = 2" x 2"
Then I cut the box joints in all of the pieces using the table saw and box cut jig. These sizes are all based on only needing to hang 3 keys. Obviously if you need to hang more keys then you'll need to alter these measurements. I could have squeezed 5 jacks at this size but I didn't have a need for it and liked the wider spacing of them in the end
Step 3: Drill Holes and Insert Connectors
The next step was to drill the holes for the connectors. I did these just by eyeballing them because I had some room for error, but if you wanted more jacks you'd want to make sure to measure exactly and make them as even as possible. Using a drill press and a 3/8" drill bit I drilled these 3 holes all the way through the material. I then finger tightened the jacks into place. The jacks we're simple enough to assemble, simply insert the shaft into the hole you drilled, place the washer, then screw the nut into place.
This step could probably be completed after assembling the pieces if you wanted to, but I was worried about having enough space to insert them afterwards and decided to do it before.
Step 4: Assemble, Glue, Fill Holes, and Sand
For this step I just laid the project on it's side like in the first picture and got it fairly even on both sides just by eye. Then I carefully moved it to the glue table and put plenty of glue on all the joints.
After waiting a bit for the to become semi-dry and more stable I sanded it very carefully and slowly. I did this because I wanted the wood dust to stick to the glue and patch whatever holes were left from the odd angle of the box joint. Then I waited for it to completely dry and patched the remaining holes with wood filler.
I was planning on painting this so I wasn't worried about the filler matching the original wood or it looking perfect. If you wanted to keep a wood finish or stain this then you'd want to take extra care on this step.
I then sanded it once again to create a smooth transition between the joints like in the last picture.
Step 5: Paint and Hang
After painting the top and edges (I didn't worry about the bottom) I was ready to hang it. I could have drilled holes in the pieces for screws but decided to just use several Command strips to hold it in place. I was mounting this on a smooth bookshelf so they were able to hold on very well. If you we're going to mount this on a bumpy wall or something otherwise not smooth, then you would want to use screws or something stronger.
For the keys themselves I used my an old wire hanger and my Leatherman to attach the audio connector to my keys. I simply bent the hanger into an oval and then flattened one end so it wouldn't fit through the smaller end of the audio connector. I'm sure theres a myriad of ways you could attach these but this is what worked for me.
Thank you for reading and I hope you're successful in making your own!