In late 2020 I made my own holder for the pair of headphones that I was using in all of my WFH Zoom and Teams meetings. This design fit the curve of the headphones and the spacing between the wall made it easy to return the headphones to their home, just as easy as it is to remove them for use.
Since then, I designated a couple more pairs of headphones that each serve specific purposes around the house. I bought a pair of wireless gaming headphones that stay in the living room and don't stray too far from the couch. Also, as a Christmas gift for the family, I bought an electric piano and reused a pair of wired headphones as monitors so we can learn and practice on the piano without disturbing everybody in the house.
Both headphones are resizable and are generally around the same size as my office pair, so I wanted to reuse the design of the original hook, but change the mounting setup to fit each location.
In 2018 I added a thin shelf next to our living room couch for a place to store my iPad and charging cables. I wanted to keep the gaming headphones in the same general area, so my thought was to hang the new hook off that shelf. I also had some scrap left over from the shelf so I could match the wood to make it a cohesive piece.
I originally wanted to use a piece of wire or some sort of metal connected to the shelf and driven into the back of the hook to hold the headphones up. It had to be strong enough so the headphones wouldn’t move or fall off.
Because I knew the thickness of the shelf, I could get a way with making this hook a little deeper than my previous hook design.
The piano lived in another room in the house and next to it was a three-shelf, rolling utility cart made of metal. We had an extra hook with a strong magnet on it that would be perfect to attach to the cart, so I thought I could bend the hook on it and use that to hold up the wooden hook for the piano headphones.
Being near a shiny black electric piano, I thought this would be a good place to use a black polyurethane finish that I had used on my side table. At that point it didn’t exactly matter what wood I used, but I quickly got an idea for that.
Revisiting a Classic
So the wood for the gaming headphones was already selected, but for the piano I thought this would be a great use of scraps from an actual piano, since I had a bunch of that laying around already. I pulled out a piece that was around the right thickness, but I would need to cut it down to a workable size.
The wood used for the piano felt like it was generally strong but not too dense. It was easy to cut and shape. I wasn’t sure what type of wood it was made out of, but it would make since if it was made from fir or birch as that’s what a lot of pianos were made of at that time.
I used the original headphone hook to figure out the size and then cut down the scrap based on the direction of the wood grain.
On the gaming hook I wanted to cut the wood down to create the least amount of wasted material, so I marked and cut it down to the length of the original hook, with the plan to double it up with a glueup.
I cut the gaming hook again in the middle, then turned it around so that the wood grain wood match up when I laminated it. I wanted the seam to live where the headphones sit so when you look at the front face of the hook you wouldn’t see where the pieces were glued together. This all worked out well and the dimensions fit the wider band of the gaming headphones.
With the glue up done, I traced the original hook to draw the outline onto each piece.
I used the table saw to cut them down to just about the height of the final hook—leaving a little extra material knowing that I would be sanding it down to the curve shape.
Following the process of the original hook, I cut down the pieces and used a belt sander to get a rough shape. Then I used a handheld sander and 220 sandpaper to smooth out the curve.
I used a drill press to create the mounting hole for the piano hook, based on the hook on the magnet.
For the gaming hook I tried experimenting with a few different materials. I started with a thick piece of sculpting wire, but found that to be too flexible. I tried bending a wire hanger but found that to also not be a great fit. As I was looking around my workbench I realized I had collected a ton of allen wrenches over the years, so I selected one of the shiny ones and cut it down with a hacksaw.
I used the drill press to drill a hole at the size of the allen wrench into the back of the wood piece. I took the shelf off of my wall and drilled a hole into the center-rear of it.
I still had the same wipe-on poly that I used on the original slim shelf, so I mounted the hook without any glue so it would stand up freely, then I wiped on the finish. I let that dry and added a second coat later.
I also did a dry mount of the piano hook onto the magnet so I could wipe on the black poly mix.
I attached the magnet to the top of a jar and repositioned it based on what side I was finishing. I started with the back and did just one coat there, then made sure to eliminate bubbles as I covered the front and the sides. I really liked how you can see the grain of the original piano wood behind the shiny black polyurethane.
Mounting in Place
I mixed up some strong, thick epoxy so that once they are mounted the hooks wouldn't move or reposition themselves. This was especially important for the gaming hook because it would be attached to the bottom of the shelf and there was no other support to hold it into place.
I used the point of a wooden skewer to guide the epoxy into the holes, then after putting the metal mount in I wiped off the excess epoxy while it was still viscous.
I wanted to make sure it was straight so I measured and aligned it so the hook was flat in both directions. Once I had that down I moved it aside to a place where it wouldn’t get bumped or moved while it was drying.
While some accuracy was important for the piano hook, I just had to do a little bending of the magnet’s metal hook to get it lined up. The metal was pliable but strong enough to hold up the pair of headphones that would go on the hook.
I dropped some epoxy into the back of the piano hook and then connected the magnet to it.
After it dried I moved it over to the utility cart to make sure that the angle would be flat when attached to the cart.
The design for the original headphone hook works well and I use it every day. Reusing that design made it just as easy to remove and store the new headphones. During the process of this project I realized that I have a ton of pairs of single-purpose headphones (one for mowing the lawn, one for playing drums, etc ...). So far these are the only ones that warrant creating hooks, but if I ever need to get a new pair for something, I know which design I’m coming back to. 🎧