169: Tetromino Key Holder

One of those tiny changes the pandemic brought to us is an increased amount of clutter in our entryway. Where there were once only keys and sunglasses, there are now antibacterial hand sanitizers, gloves, simple disposable masks, KN95 rated masks, printed art masks… lots of masks.

Jennifer recently decided to clean up our entryway a bit by adding some simple hooks to keep the masks off of our tiny bookshelf surface. Those hooks performed admirably over the last year. However, since last month’s project I wanted to use some more of the walnut material and figured a key holder would work great.

I decided to use one of my favorite geometric design elements, tetrominos. You’d think with how much I lean on these seven little shapes I’d be a decent Tetris player, but that’s regrettably not the case. Thankfully you don’t need to know how to leverage hard drops, twists, and t-spins to cut stuff out of wood!

When sketching up a few different variations on the design, I initially considered wrapping the key holder around the corner, but that concept was discarded. Some leftovers are visible still in the sketchbook shot above. Eventually, I landed on a design that would use a base piece for the main body and then six individual tetrominos glued on top to give them an extruded look. The base piece would be an almost-symmetrical vaguely roundish shape constructed out of tetrominos.

I whipped the design together in Illustrator and cut up the walnut plywood sheet. Six white hooks were screwed in to hold the tetrominos in place on the base, but I used some wood glue as well to make sure they wouldn’t rotate. Once the glue dried, I oiled the surfaces and mounted the piece to the wall.

In hindsight, the vector stroke I used to delineate the shapes on the base plate are very hard to see once the walnut is oiled. The dark lines on the dark surface provide no contrast. I should probably have engraved them deeper or thicker and given them a white outline with acryfill—it would have matched the hooks, too! But I enjoy the shape, and the utility is obvious.

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