Swedish Idea: Key Grips From Scrap

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Project by ChuckM posted 01-01-2012 08:51 PM 2839 views 22 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This use of scrap to make key grips—submitted by a Swedish reader—appeared in the Feb. 1996 issue of FW.

From the test cuts (before using more fancy woods), I came up with a few learning points:

1) Instead of removing half the thickness of a key’s shaft on one blank and repeating the same on the opposite blank which I did for the first grip, I found that I could carve out the full recess on one blank and glue a thinner blank to complete the assembly. Routing or carving out the recesses is a time-consuming step in this project.

2) If the recess is an hair shallower for a perfect fit. don’t try to make the recess deeper to fit; file down the thickness of the key’s shaft instead.

3) A belt sander would give a faster and more consistent edge look on the grip than using rasp and file (do use the hand tools for the few keys that have special meanings for you though).

4) You can rout out recesses for several blanks on one board before cutting the blanks to final size; it’s easier to work with a large piece of wood than with each small blank (measuring 1 5/8” x 1 1/4” x 1/4”).

5) You can cut or grind the size of the key’s shaft smaller so the final wooden grip stays close to the size of the original key.

I used a brass tube for pens (88k 7840 from Lee Valley Tools) and a 1/4” square brass tube as the materials for the key rings.

This was completed on New Year’s Eve…Happy New Year.

(P.S. Stamp your initials on the grip to personalize your project.)

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

9 comments so far

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3305 days

#1 posted 01-01-2012 09:09 PM

Nice idea….......

-- mike...............

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4269 days

#2 posted 01-01-2012 09:18 PM

Nice idea. Have to file this one in the memory bank for future use.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View TNwoodchuck's profile


102 posts in 3978 days

#3 posted 01-02-2012 12:11 AM

An elegant solution for an “Arthur…” issue some of us older folks seem to have developed.

Thanks especially for sharing the tips from your learning curve.

-- Chuck near Nashville - “All you are unable to give possesses you” (Andre Gide)

View Robsshop's profile


907 posts in 3178 days

#4 posted 01-02-2012 03:25 AM

ChuckM,very cool approach to personalizing something that we actually carry around with us most of the day ! It seems as time goes on natural materials often give way to plastics or some composite material in our day to day lives,and having the timeless medium of wood right there in your pocket is a welcomed change !Great post and Thanks for sharing…....ROB

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View Marpintero's profile


211 posts in 3490 days

#5 posted 01-02-2012 03:28 AM

Hi Chuck. I had a similar idea a while ago but never up the result on Lumberjocks. I show you a photo as an advance. I use it daily and are very comfortable. Good job!
Hola Chuck. Tuve una idea similar hace un tiempo, pero nunca subí el resultado. Te muestro una de las fotos como adelanto. Las uso a diario y son muy cómodas. Buen trabajo.

-- Our lives are marked and bound together by concentric rings. Martín - Argentina

View ChuckM's profile


615 posts in 3869 days

#6 posted 01-02-2012 03:47 AM

Thanks all for the comments.

TNwoodchuck: Suffers of arthritis will find this kind of grip very helpful.

Marpintero: Your designs are nice; I’d use one of them (on the left or in the center) for one of my car keys. Thanks for sharing. Swedish idea, Argentina design…and Japanese car!

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View a1Jim's profile


117337 posts in 3780 days

#7 posted 01-02-2012 06:27 AM

Cool idea well done.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View spud72's profile


331 posts in 3697 days

#8 posted 01-03-2012 02:19 AM



-- Guy,PEI

View Rob Mammen's profile

Rob Mammen

67 posts in 2895 days

#9 posted 01-04-2012 12:20 AM

what a wonderful way to dress up a plane and simple key. this is an excellent idea and very well executed.

-- Rob, You have failed if you have not tried.

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