My friend Steve requested a key-shaped key hanger for Christmas, (and I finished it just in the nick of time). It's a fairly easy project if you have a drill-press and scroll/band saw. Total cost of the project was $1.73 for the key hanger hooks from the local hardware store.
I always have a wide selection of plywood stock handy for last-minute projects, but hardwoods like pine or birch would have been fine for this project as well, I just like how the grains come out on the top layer of the ply once it's finished.
3/4" thick plywood
4 Brass Cup Hooks ($1.73 at my local hardware store)
Minwax Wood Finish
Sandpaper (assorted grits between 80-320)
Slot-cutting bit (optional)
Center Punch tool + Hammer (optional)
Safety Glasses (mandatory)
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Step 1: Find a Template
This step is pretty straightforward (for you anyway) - I have attached the template, so you can just print it out and tape the two parts together. (This template was created from two different key patterns I found online, so it is technically a completely unique design).
I taped the cut-out template to my plywood piece, and marked the centers of all the hole positions with a hammer and center punch (a pen works just as well too).
I've detailed the sized of the holes to be drilled in the attached image.
Step 2: Drill the Holes
After peeling off the template and saving it for later (you never know), I set up my drill press and drilled the 1", 3/4" and 5/16" holes into the ply, as shown in the image attached.
It helps to put a scrap piece of wood under the wood you're drilling through, in order reduce the splintering on the back face of the piece.
Step 3: Cut It Out
I'd suggest using a scroll saw for this step if you've got one. I personally used a jig saw that I've converted into a scroll saw (not the safest, but it's been a faithful tool for the better part of two years), and results don't lie.
Just watch your fingers and don't forget safety glasses!
Step 4: Sand and File It Down
I used an assortment of files, and various grits of sandpaper, starting from a rough 80 grit and smoothing it over with 320 grit by the end.
It is important to make sure the corners and edges are all smooth and free of burrs and splinters, in order for this to be an attractive thing to use.
This is definitely the most painstaking, long, and probably boring part of the process, but the result is well worth the effort. Just make sure the key is comfortable and pleasing to the touch, and then rub it down with another round of 200-320 grit (for good measure).
Step 5: Drill the Cup Hook Holes
I used a 3/32" drill bit to drill the four holes that hold the cup hooks, but that may change depending on what size cup hooks you decide to use.
I used a ruler to draw a fine on the face of the wood so that the holes would line up neatly, drilled approximately 1/2" deep into the wood, and spaced the holes about 3.75" apart.
Step 6: Make the Hanging Slots
Now, there are special router bits that are used to cut hanging slots (an example: http://i.imgur.com/uBvw8.jpg). Since I have neither a router or the necessary bit, I make my hanging slots a bit differently - with two drill bits, and a dremel sawing bit.
I don't really recommend my way of doing it, but if you don't have a router, this is probably the easiest way to do it:
1. Drill two aligned holes slightly larger than the screw head you'd use to hang the key holder, like I do in the picture.
2. Drill two holes slightly larger than the screw body right above the previous two holes (these will be the slots). Use the drill bit to clear the material between the two holes to creat the slot.
3. Use a file to clean up the slot if need be.
4. Lower the dremel sawing bit to the bottom of either large hole and cut into the upwards direction to create the cavity that the screw head will rest in.
Like I said, not the best way, but I've been doing it this way long enough to have gotten pretty good at it. Whatever you do, just be safe!
Step 7: Stain It and Attach the Cup Hooks
I used a Minwax Stain called "Golden Pecan" and was extremely happy with the result.
I stained it by using a rag (instead of a brush, because rags do not leave brush marks and allow to spread the stain uniformly), and of course wore disposable gloves. (Stain is a pain to wash off your bare hands).
After staining, I screwed in the cup hooks into the pre-drilled holes, and that's all she wrote.
Very simple project for beginners, didn't take me more than a few hours from start to finish, and cheap on top of it all.
Hope you enjoyed the ible, and that you post your own projects in response!