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Fancy Key Chime

This key chime is similar to the easy key chime in the way it sounds, but it takes longer, and more power tools are used in the construction.


Materials Needed:

  • one piece of 1x2 lumber, length dependant on number of keys
  • one piece of 1x4 lumber, 1inch longer than the 1x2 strip
  • 2 pieces of hardwood dowel, 8"long, 3/8 or 1/2 inch diameter
  • strong fishing line, or string if you wish (absorbs some of the sound - fishing line is better)
  • many, many keys (around 40)
  • paint to decorate base and top
  • clear coating stuff, like on bar counters. The stuff I used was called Pour-On High Gloss Finish, by EnviroTex Lite. (The package says, "one thick coat equals up to 50 coats of varnish")
  • wax paper, scotch tape, scissors, wood glue, measuring tape, sandpaper
  • drill press with 5/16 and 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch bit (depending on the width of your dowels)
  • a saw (miter or hand)

    1. Count your keys. Multiply the number by .25 and then add 3; that will be the number of inches long your 1x2 lumber will be. Add another inch, and that will be the length of your 1x4 piece. Cut these boards to length with the saw. Sand the rough edges.

    2. Paint or stain the boards whatever background color you want, and if you wish, decorate the base and the top. I used fabric paint on mine, since that was what I had. Be as creative or simple as you wish.

    3. Get some clear sealant to seal and protect the decorated surfaces. Follow the directions on the packaging. Allow to dry.

    4. On the top, measure 1 1/2 inches in from the end on each side; then mark every 1/4 inch with a pencil; make your line of marks 1/4 inch from the edge. (diagram) Using a drill press with a 5/16th bit, drill a hole through the top piece, from one side to the other, at each mark.

    5. On the underside of the top piece, 1/2 inch from each end, drill a hole about 3/4 inch deep into the bottom of the top piece, using a bit the same as the width of the dowel rods. Insert some glue into the hole and put dowel in, wiping away any excess glue. Let dry.

    6. Drill two more holes in the base for the dowels to rest in. Place the holes using the dowels in the top.

    7. To hang the keys you have some options: You can thread some thin cord through the holes and the keys, using either individual loops or a continuous strand; or you can make a separate loop for each key out of fishing line or wire. I recommend fishing line for the sound; but some of my more attractive keys tended to walk off with the kids when I used thin fishing line. Perhaps stronger fishing line or wire would be too tough for the kids to pull off - I haven't experimented with that yet. In any case, choose something, and hang one key from each hole, arranging the keys from small to large. Make the widest part of each key hang evenly with its neighbor. Then enjoy the beautiful sound!

    click here to hear the fancy key chime


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