By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Here's a good last-minute gift project. This key rack is easy to build, inexpensive, and just right for almost anyone. We used a scrap piece of pine and letters we found at a craft shop. Small, rubber-coated cup hooks are used to hold the keys, and a foot of chain hangs the key rack from the wall.
You'll be able to purchase most of the materials in one stop at your home center or hardware store. Often you'll find a scrap bin with cutoff pieces of pine and hardwood that would be ideal for this key rack.
Begin building the key rack by cutting the board (A) to size. Our key rack measures 5 inches by 12 inches, but you can make a larger one if you'd like. With a ruler and pencil, mark the location of your key hooks. They are located 2 inches apart beginning 3/4 inch from the bottom of the board and 2 inches from one end. Drill a 1/8-inch pilot hole through the layout marks.
Drill two more 1/8-inch holes in the top edge of the board I inch from each end for the chain screws. Then sand the board and letters with 120-grit sandpaper.
Have one team member apply a small amount of glue to the backs of the letters, while the other spaces them evenly on the face of the board above the holes for the key hooks. Wipe up any excess glue with a damp rag, especially between the letters.
When the glue has set, give your key rack a coat of polyurethane varnish or a wipe-on finish and let it dry. Then attach the chain with two number 4, 3/4-inch-long brass pan-head screws. Screw in the cup hooks, and your key rack is ready for duty.
Two to three hours for cutting, building, and assembling, plus drying time for glue and finish.
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Find helpful advice and tips about tools, finishing, safety practices and a glossary of woodworking terms at Before You Begin