Tag Archives: keys

20: Leather Key Fob Strap

It’s the big 2-0! Jennifer worked on some leather a while back, but when our dear friend Brenn needed an elegant way to attach one of his new key fob to some spare keys, I volunteered to try my own hand at some fairly riveting work.

Prototypes, including a rivet I positively smashed before realizing how to hammer them.
Prototypes, including a rivet I positively smashed before realizing how to hammer them.

It didn’t take long to determine the leather to use based on the size of the opening available. I didn’t spend much time doing preliminary measurements, so you can see from the iterations that both length and rivet hole placement changed often. While I wasn’t ready to rivet with the first three pieces, I had better luck with hole placement on the fourth. Unfortunately, I discovered that you can hammer a rivet too hard and it got crushed at an unpleasant angle. Thankfully, the final strap had better luck with the hammer..

My second rivet attempt worked wonderfully.
My second rivet attempt worked wonderfully.
This leather cleaner and conditioner is an extra step, but totally worth it.
This leather cleaner and conditioner is an extra step, but totally worth it.

I was determined to etch “Brenn’s Spare” on the leather, but the etched surface was hard to see.  Thankfully, when I cleaned and conditioned the leather (mostly to get rid of smelly laser scorched edges) some of the rub brightened up the letters significantly. I hope they retain some of that brightness over time.

The leather conditioner brightened up the etch considerably.
The leather conditioner brightened up the etch considerably.

The trickiest part of this project was entirely due to my disinterest in doing some measurements beforehand. I just grabbed a piece of leather, decided on four inches to start, and went nuts. I was thrilled to discover that I had enough space to fit some nicely laid text on instead of trying to squeeze it in. I was also lucky that it only took five tiny bits of leather to get it right.  Now finished, I’m left wondering if Brenn’s main set of keys can feel envy.  Perhaps they should be given the custom treatment, too!

I positioned the rivet so that there would be little space for the ring to slide around.
Lookit that swanky set of yet unkeyed key fobbery!