Rustic Wooden Keys {Inspired by Pottery Barn}

2 Materials
$10
1 Day
Medium

Back in September, Handan told me that she had a great project for me. She had just published a post about her knockoff Pottery Barn outdoor pumpkins, and she was riding a glorious wave of accolades and adulation. She had knockoffs on the brain, so what better way to capitalize than to make some more knockoffs? And who better to make them than me? She showed me a picture and pointed towards the basement.

I protested that there was a good movie on TV that required viewing.

She thrust the picture closer to my face. She pointed to the basement.

I informed her that my video game characters hadn’t seen me all day, so they were probably missing me. Even robots get the blues, I warned her.

She pointed at the picture, then stabbed her finger towards the basement.

I changed tactics and told her that I needed to mow the lawn. The grass couldn’t possibly survive another day without my immediate attention.

Picture. Basement.

I knew the fight was lost. The fix was in. It was over before it even began. I took the picture and gave it a closer look.



Where the heck did she get a Pottery Barn catalog, anyway? She’s never even been to a Pottery Barn! Meh, probably best not to ask.

I had learned long ago not to question her sources. Or her motives. Or her opinions. Or her wardrobe. It’s an unforgiving world, and a man must learn quickly if he is to survive.

*****

Yeah, so I could make those keys. But I wasn’t keen on the crossed ones, so I decided to make two big ones and one little one. We had some old, mismatched chair spindles in the basement, but they were a little too mismatched. I wouldn’t have been able to stain them to a uniform color, so I bought some table legs from Home Depot instead.

My original thought was to make the bow (that’s the part of the key you squeeze between your thumb and forefinger) at the thick end and the bit (that’s the business end of the key) at the tapered end. The problem with that idea was that it would be hard to attach the bit to a tapered cylinder. I waited for an idea to spark in my gray mush, but after a few sputters and backfires, I flip-flopped my original thought and decided to make the bow at the tapered end and the bit at the big end.

Since the table legs were some sort of hardwood (they looked and felt like oak, but they didn’t smell like it), I went with oak for the bit. Unless you have a bandsaw, I would recommend using a softer wood, like pine. It would be much easier to cut and shape using hand tools (jigsaw, sandpaper, etc) than oak. I had a lot of spare oak in the basement from a shelf that I had built for our son a few years back and recently disassembled. One of the planks is pictured above. I wanted the bit to be a little fancier than the Pottery Barn keys – something with curves and angles. I grabbed a pencil and a ruler and started to sketch out a design.

When I was satisfied, I cut out the design on the bandsaw and then used that piece as a template for the other two.





With the bits cut out, I turned my attention to the bows. The Pottery Barn keys had used the same shape bow for all of the keys, but the short key’s bow was smaller. I’m lazy.


They look good on the wall, but I prefer displays with a little depth, so I gave them a different home.







I hope you liked my Pottery Barn inspired rustic wooden keys.

If you like woodworking, I would also like to share another project with you: my Turquoise Inlay Cheese board.

 
Do you like it? I thought you would!


I explain every step from "how to crush your own turquoise" to
"how to make this board," so you can make one just like mine.
Thanks for reading!

-Greg

Suggested materials:

  • Wood
  • Wax

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Handan & Greg @ The Navage Patch

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Jessica Serrano-Gregg
    Jessica Serrano-Gregg
    on Feb 24, 2017

    Ok... so I'm really wanting these... can I put a customer order in? I can pick them up! You wouldn't even have to ship them. I'm in love with these and I believe I must have them!!! I have lots of craft stuff I could certainly barter with or pay a handsome ransom for these glorious keys to my heart... please don't break it! lol I'm seriously begging for these! These are amazing and if you're thinking of making these to sell you're mistaken... I want these! Great job and nice tutorial but the last time I touched a saw thingy mahjig was in 8th grade wood shop and made a beautiful foot stool when I promptly took it home when finished, and then my sister promptly sat on it when the legs promptly splayed out and the seat cracked in half... yeah it was a footstool not a seat! Grrr so now I'm jaded... lol

  • Lyn
    Lyn
    on Mar 12, 2017

    I would love some of these for my hallway. Do you make them to order? If so how much please? Don't forget to include delivery to the U. K thank you

    • Hi Lyn, thanks for writing! I don't make them for sale. All the things my wife and I make for our blog we also use in our home. Maybe some day I'll have the time to make things for sale, but right now, the blog takes up my time. Thanks again!

  • Alice
    Alice
    on Jun 27, 2017

    Do you sell them? Would love to get 3. How much?

Join the conversation

2 of 100 comments
  • Bbunny
    Bbunny
    on Jun 26, 2020

    Amazing job and not only do I like your keys so much better that PB's, I prefer your arrangement over theirs. You are incredibly talented!

  • Chris Keating-Ingelse
    Chris Keating-Ingelse
    on Jun 27, 2020

    Greg- you are a master of woodworking (but you know your place in the home! LOL!). Love, love, love this project and always enjoy your witty banter! Cheers!

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