Monday, March 9, 2015

A key hook 2 years in the making

If you know me at all you know that I am pretty much always looking for something. My cell phone, my ID, my keys, and now, my mittens. Despite my efforts to stay organized, my keys allude me about 80% of the time. When I lived in a shoebox of an apartment it was pretty easy to find the missing object most of the time. I only had 800 square feet to search. But now with 3 bedrooms, a garage, a basement, and living space, the search for missing objects has become a significant portion of my day.

In an attempt to get the key situation under control I decided I need a key hanger. About 2 years ago I saw this key hook on Pinterest and thought it was a great and very cute solution. I started saving keys for the someday project. I kept a little cache of my high school locker keys, bike lock keys from the locks cut off my stolen bikes, keys to apartments I moved out of, etc. In November the day finally came that I had enough keys! All I had to do was bend them and I would have something as beautiful as this.
I brought the keys home with me for Christmas and asked my dad for his help with the key bending. We went out into his cold garage to find pliers and he gave the first key a tweak. It snapped in half. He tried another, same result. At this point I decided that this wasn't going as planned. Perhaps my dad lacked the finesse necessary for such a task.

I went went back home to Wisconsin and tried again in my warm house, with my remaining keys. I broke one immediately. I tried warming the key over a candle first then bending, and broke another. I was beginning to give up hope. Then, I decided to give up and use one "real" key that came with my house. After all, a key to your first home seems like a good sentiment for the key holder. Of course, this one bent perfectly the first time with no trouble.

Luckily around this same time I was fighting another battle with keys my home. See, when I moved into my house I was given about 10 keys. All of them opened knobs on 3 of the 4 exterior doors and the deadbolt on the back door. The front door, conversely, had no key at all. This was completely unfathomable to someone moving from LA, but when I asked the realtor he simply explained that people don't lock their doors here. What!? Needless to say I had the lock changed so that I could lock my front door, but when I did so was given exactly one key to the door. Copies, I figured would be easy enough to get made. This is where I was wrong. I tried the local True Value Hardware, but the kid learning made me two copies with the wrong blank that wouldn't fit in the door. I tried the "Minute Key" kiosk at Menard's and got two more keys that didn't work. I went to Home Depot and the women there told me that no, they couldn't make that key. So I stopped locking my door again and hid the key away for fear of losing it, but on the bright side, at least I had more keys to play with.

When I heated it up and tried to bend it, one of the useless keys from the True Value ALMOST worked. I was just giving it a tiny final tweak when it snapped. Infuriated, I pulled out the super glue and stuck it back together. The "Minute Keys" alternatively, bent without a fight. Of course, they're the ugliest ones.

After this whole fiasco I had spent about $15 in keys and burnt myself twice. I had a scary little graveyard of broken keys to my house, car, old apartments and padlocks, and I had exactly 4 kind of ugly bent keys.

Good enough.

I went to Goodwill and paid 99 cents for this sweet "Gone Fishing" sign that I can only imagine adorned the wall of someone old man's office.
I removed the metal hanger and gave it a couple of coats of white, glossy spray paint. Then, I tried to come up with a classy way of attaching a ribbon to the back. I tried nails, I tried glue. But alas, duct tape was the answer.
Using some little baby-sized 6 cent screws and my cordless screwdriver I affixed my 4 ugly bent keys.
All in all, this is not at all what I expected, but it was 2 years and about $20 in the making, so I'm hanging it up anyway.

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