Headphone Hook

Will Browar playing the drums

Will Browar

November 1, 2020

Working in 2020 means making whatever space you have available your base of operations. When buying our house, we knew that the extra bedroom on the first floor was to become some sort of office, but after moving all of our stuff in it became the room with all of the unpacked stuff, and a couple of desks. Since we've been working from home so much this year, we’ve taken some time to spruce our little office up and make some quality-of-live improvements.

One of those updates was to add in a set of metal pegboards, by a company called Wall Control, for some easy-to-get-to storage. This gave me the goal of getting some stuff off the desk, including my everyday headphones.

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Design

The pegboard works with standard pegboard hooks, but you can also buy flat hooks that go into slots along the surface of the pegboard. I like these because they are easy to move, but once you get them on they stay in place. The thing about these hooks is that if I were to just hang my headphones directly on the hooks they would absolutely ruin the material of the headband part of my headphones over time.

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As far as things you can buy go, I've seen some hooks that go under the desk and stands that sit on top and most of them have some sort of flat or curved hook that contours to the shape of your headphones. I decided to take a block of wood, create a rounded edge to rest the top of the headphones on, and attach them to the flat pegboard pegs.

The Things You Learn in Wood Shop

After cutting the wood down to the height I wanted, I used a 6 in. bit as my guide and drew the cut line onto the wood. I then walked around my basement shop and tried to figure out what tool would work the best to take a rectangle and cut it down to a smooth arch. I recently got a drill press, so I thought that maybe I’d drill a bunch of holes close to the line and then cut away and sand it down from there. Looking at my table and miter saws, I thought no way is that happening.

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I didn’t actually have wood shop at my high school, but in college I had a 3D design course in RIT’s well-equipped wood shop. There we had access to a band saw—which would have been perfect here—but I also learned how to use a belt and disc sander. While I know it would be cheaper to just buy a headphone stand, I used this as an excuse to pick up a belt sander that I had been thinking about getting for a couple of years.

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It didn’t take long to get dust flying and for the piece to begin to take shape.

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Next up I got a couple of the pegboard pegs and measured and cut them to the depth I wanted them to be. I used a vice to hold them still and slowly cut them down with a hack saw.

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Going back to the wood piece, I measured out and drew guides for the pegs to where they would be inserted into the back. I figured the drill press would give me a straight cut down into the wood, so I got a clamp and fired it up.

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I drilled one hole at the top and one at the bottom of the guide, then I drilled through the middle and then used a screwdriver as a chisel to cut away the middle portion. After a quick dry run, the pegs fit perfectly.

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Sanding Surprises

As I was sanding down the wood block with a finer grid sand paper, I noticed that the color of the wood started to change. As if there was a dye or stain already on the wood. I bought it from a lumber store that often reclaims wood, so I wasn’t super surprised, and in the case of this piece I sort of liked the change in appearance right where the headphones would lie.

The wood was already on the dark side, but I still wanted to finish it, so—after a touch of stain conditioner—I reached for one of my two favorite finishes: wipe-on polyurethane.

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The red color and the pattern had a sort of grilled salmon sort of look.

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After a little epoxy in the holes, the pegs were secured and all that was left to do was wait for it all to dry and cure.

Fin

This was a super simple project and it’s about all I could get to do these days. It’ll be a nice addition to our newly organized office space.

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